Creative Strategies to Keep Birds Safe from Cats

Keep Birds Safe from Cats

The internet is full of information with answers that you want to hear. But AI technology doesn’t know how to tell two sides of the story yet. There’s misinformation construed as facts about how to protect birds and people who own cats.

It’s up to writers and readers to untangle the truth. Cat predation numbers and protecting birds in our backyards are two touchy subjects.

The Smithsonian Institute studied the impact of free-ranging domestic cats and blamed stray or feral cats for bird population declines. Alley Cat Allies says the numbers should be more accurate and from inclusive studies.

While one study overrules another, it’s up to responsible pet owners and animal lovers to arrive at a solution to protect wild birds and be the voice of feral and domestic cats.

Measures To Prevent Birds Killing by Cats

how to stop cats coming in your garden

Whether we agree or disagree, we must protect backyard birds and properly estimate how many birds do cats kill. We also need to protect outdoor cats and understand the effects on wild birds and other wildlife, even if the numbers don’t always make sense.

Here are more tips on how we can help both animal species.

Put a Bell on the Cat’s Collar

Tinkling bells or bright colors on collars aren’t foolproof to prevent a cat attack when they hunt birds, though it’s a popular recommendation. Cats are formidable hunters. Even the felines who are accustomed to sunning on the sofa retain that instinct.

cat wearing a bell

For birds and small animals, the sound of bells isn’t on their instinctive warning list. The same applies to brightly colored collars that might catch birds’ attention and warn birds of the potential danger.

If you can’t keep your cat indoors, keep your pet safe with the best cat collars when they leave your backyard. Not everyone is a fan of your prowling cat.

Keep Cats Indoors

For some cat owners, that’s like saying cat jail. However, by providing your indoor cats with a stimulating environment, most cats adapt. Again, many outdoor recreational tents or structures can offer your cats the best of both worlds and keep wildlife safer.

cat in a cat-house

Create a stimulating environment for indoor cats. Cats are creative creatures, happy exploring boxes and sunspots. Besides, pet stores have a massive selection of cat toys to entertain your feline. Undoubtedly, you’re your cat’s favorite toy. So set aside time each day and enjoy playing with your cat.

Keeping cats indoors might protect backyard birds and other animals that share the habitat.

If you keep pet cats indoors, you might have to learn how to get cats to get along for a happy, peaceful home. But it gives birds better odds of surviving, though it doesn’t reduce the feral cat problem.

Put Up a Fence

cat fence

Good fences make good neighbors, but they probably won’t work unless it’s an invisible fence for cats.

Cats are skilled climbers and very acrobatic. Smooth vinyl or wood might prevent a cat from jumping or climbing, but nothing is an obstacle if there are bushes, trees, or furniture around.

Also, birds like to perch on fences and entice cats, so keep cats inside and play with them. Cat owners can check out these fantastic cat patios and build a catio to protect birds.

Feed Birds Naturally

Bird feeders are a wonderful way for cat owners to invite nature into their yards, but they won’t protect birds. Birds, insects, and plants are all part of a natural cycle, and you don’t want your birdfeeder to become a drive-through like Mcdonald’s for your cat to catch wild birds.

cat deterrent for garden

Feeding birds is best when planting native plants that provide fruits and seeds and invite insects. This natural method helps to prevent birds from gathering at the feeder and offers space to hide for birds and wildlife.

Spay and Neuter Cats To Keep Their Population Under Control

Spaying and neutering your domestic cat is a serious obligation. While kittens are adorable, we don’t need any more cats. Every local shelter has cute cats, and we’d encourage you to take one home.

Please spay and neuter, and while this doesn’t cure a cat 100% from hunting wildlife, it helps reduce cat populations and helps other animals at your local animal shelter.

Some states or counties issue ordinances about humane traps, but it’s virtually impossible to ensure the safe treatment of outdoor cats once they’re caught.

Don’t Feed or Shelter Stray Cats

how to deter cats

Yes, we have two trains of thought on this debate. Feeding a feral cat will give it a better chance of surviving for longer, and it’ll likely have more kittens. Not feeding them won’t necessarily keep cats away.

On the other hand, well-fed strays won’t have to kill birds or other wildlife in your garden.

As with every subject, there’s a world divided. At WAF, we try to be compassionate toward every animal species, and if you want to feed the feral cats, don’t leave the food out overnight, as it can invite other problems.

Contact Animal Welfare Shelters for Feral Cats

Sometimes it’s difficult to tell stray cats from pet cats. If you find a wild cat, determine if it’s actually a stray and make the right decision.

If you resign feral cats to a welfare shelter, look for a no-kill shelter.

how many birds do cats kill

Precautions at the End of Bird Owners

This article is about bird lovers working with cat lovers to problem solve. It’s terrific that renowned institutions are looking into the problem (it’s been almost a hundred years), but it’s up to you and me.

As bird lovers, you can help too. Did you know other animals, like rats, are also predators?

Provide Cover

A bare lawn doesn’t provide shelter for birds or wildlife. Instead, create a natural environment that provides hiding places and a food source. Remember to plan your landscaping. It helps to know how long do birds stay in the nest to protect the birds’ habitat.

Install Bird Feeders at a Safe Distance

cat deterrent in garden

It’s vital to put your bird feeder at a safe distance. Consider using a tree branch or a tall, smooth plastic post that cats can’t climb. Also, ensure no shrubs or garden ornaments help predatory animals as a launch pad.

Your bird feeder should be small and have a steep roof so a cat can’t use it as a hunting tool. Keeping a bird feeder clean also saves bird lives and prevents the spread of disease.

Install Nesting Box With a Predator Guard (Protection During Nesting Season)

Bird nesting boxes are a fantastic solution, but not all bird species nest in boxes. If you opt for birdnesting boxes, hang them 6 to 9 feet above the ground and away from ground predators.

The entrance should be only big enough for feathered visitors and shouldn’t have a perch.

how to stop cats killing birds

In Outdoor Aviaries, Use Bird Cages

If you’re a cat owner, try positive reinforcement to train your cat, but it seldom works. Instead, taking preemptive precautions and building a safe area outdoors keeps everyone happy.

Remember, other wildlife also like to prey on birds, especially those kept in aviaries. To protect your birds, suspend the cage to make it inaccessible to predators. A cat’s paws and claws can still get inside the bars of most bird cages and harm small birds.

Use Ultrasonic Motion Detectors

Motion detector lights might protect birds and wildlife, but it’s not foolproof either, and resident cats and birds will get used to them. A motion detector sprinkler might have better results by spraying the stalking felines, warning the birds, and no harm comes to either.

Keep Your Bird Cages Indoors

stop cats in garden

If you like to keep avian pets, you might want them to experience the real sun and wind now and again. To keep your songbirds or exotic birds safer, keep them inside with the window open, or if you take them outside, make sure you stay with them in the garden.


Bird populations are declining, and it’s time we did something about it instead of playing the blame game. Cats might be a big part of the problem, but ultimately, humans are responsible for cats, and we must protect birds.

It’s important to implement multiple steps to balance cat populations, wildlife, and predators and learn to adapt our behavior.

Monika Martyn
Monika Martyn is a nomadic minimalist and published author. Her pet portfolio includes experience with over forty cats and dogs, and she becomes their surrogate and a valued pack member. One of her proudest accomplishments is typing while petting a fur baby on her lap. She also excels at dog-speak and cat-talk and is working on mastering fish lingo. Aside from her animal advocacy, she is passionate about the environment, plastic pollution, and living with less (not including chocolate and coffee). She practices yoga and meditation faithfully. She’s experienced living abroad and believes that together people can evoke change for the better. Or at least be kind to one another despite our differences. She has an uncanny knack for remembering people’s names. She’s proud of her two Pushcart Nominations, her debut novel, and her marriage. When she’s not writing, she’s thinking about writing. Monika believes that education is the biggest gift to humanity at any age.

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