Gardening In Depth

5 ways to stop your cat from killing birds and other wildlife

5 ways to stop your cat from killing birds and other wildlife thumbnail
Tyrant Farms is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Unfortunately, our sweet cuddly cat (and yours) is a homicidal maniac when it comes to wildlife. Here’s how we stopped our cat from killing birds and other wildlife — and how you can, too.

We love cats. They’re funny, quirky, adorable, and affectionate critters.

Our cat Bob is a soft, corpulent pile of cuteness who seems to think he’s a lap dog, as evidenced by the fact that he wants to spend most of his non-sleeping minutes on our laps getting his belly and neck rubbed.

Bob, happy and exhausted, after playing a game of "undercover kitten." How to keep your cat from killing birds, by Tyrant Farms

Bob, happy and exhausted, after playing a game of “undercover kitty.”

Some shocking cat statistics 

Yes, cats are adorable. Unfortunately, they’re also killing billions of birds and causing wildlife extinctions. Here are some cat statistics that may surprise you: 

How many cats are there in the United States? 

Estimates vary, but according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, there are about 60 million PET cats in the United States. There are also 30-80 million “unowned” cats (strays, feral cats, farm cats, etc.).

That’s a lot of cats! 

How many birds do cats kill each year? 

According to Peter Marra, a conservation biologist and director of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center in Washington, D.C., cats kill somewhere between 1 to 4 BILLION birds each year in the United States and have caused a minimum of 33 extinctions. 

It’s hard for us to get our heads around numbers this large and disheartening. 

Why do cats bring you dead birds and other animals?

Cats bring you dead or injured animals because they love you and want you to learn to be a good hunter, too.

You’re part of their pride. So those “gifts” are their way of trying to teach you (incompetent human) how to kill animals as well as they do.

It’s also important to note that your fully or partly outdoor cat only brings you a very small portion of the maimed or dead animals they kill. So what you see is not necessarily representative of the full toll they’re taking on the wildlife around you. 

The importance of wild birds 

As you might know, birds are absolutely critical to the health of functional ecosystems. Birds serve as pollinators, insect control, fertilizers, and seed distributors, among many other important functions.

As one of countless examples: we love watching Eastern phoebes nest under our back porch each spring. These little flycatchers dart around our fruit trees and forest edges hunting insects with mind-boggling acrobatic grace and surgical precision.

Another round of Eastern phoebes getting ready to fledge. These amazing

Another round of Eastern phoebes getting ready to fledge at Tyrant Farms. These amazing birds in the tyrant flycatcher family Tyrannidae, nest under our back porch every summer, sometimes producing multiple broods.

We also love watching various species of songbirds nest in our fruit trees and shrubs.

“Invasive” cats and the extinction of native North American bird species

The wide-scale killing of wildlife by cats is a classic example of an introduced invasive species wreaking havoc on a new ecosystem. It’s akin to kudzu blanketing entire forest edges throughout landscapes here in the Southeast.

Consider this: 1/3 of the 800 total native bird species in the US are currently endangered, threatened, or in significant decline. And we now know that cats are by far the biggest killer of birds.

Knowledge comes with responsibility 

This information means that we humans (especially cat owners) have a responsibility to do two things:

1. Acknowledge that there’s a serious problem that’s getting worse; and

2. Try to figure out how to stop our cats from killing birds and other wildlife. 

Bob relaxing indoors with Svetlana, one of our pampered Welsh Harlequin ducks. Bob would love to kill small songbirds if he could, but our ducks regularly show him who's boss. How to stop your cat from killing birds, by Tyrant Farms

Bob relaxing indoors with Svetlana, one of our pampered Welsh Harlequin ducks. Our ducks regularly show Bob the Cat who’s boss. Even though Svetlana rules the roost, most birds would not fair so well around our cat.

5 ways to stop your cat from killing birds and other wildlife

After lots of research plus trial and error, we’ve managed to stop our cat’s wildlife killing spree. Below is a list of five proven steps you can do to stop your cat from killing birds and other wildlife:

Step 1. If at all possible, make your cat (or cats) an indoor cat.

Our cat Charlie has always been an indoor pet, and is so non-athletic that we’d be shocked if she could kill a moth. She certainly doesn’t pose a threat to wildlife, even if she were to venture outdoors.

However, our other cat Bob showed up to our house as an abandoned outdoor cat and is completely acclimated to outdoor living. He’s also an incredibly adept hunter.

Given his background, there’s virtually no way for us to switch Bob to an indoor cat at this point. If we could, we would.

This means we’ve had to figure out other ways to stop Bob, our outdoor cat, from killing birds and other wildlife…

Step 2. If you have an outdoor cat (even if it’s confined to your yard), put Birdsbesafe® cat collars on them.

Remember what we said up above about songbirds not being able to see cats? Well, Birdsbesafe collars take that science into account.

Their colorful collars allow birds to more easily see your cats from a distance and escape to safety in time.

Bob the cat (front) might share a bed with Svetlana the duck, but that doesn't mean he doesn't dream of killing wild birds and other animals. Since Bob adopted us, he's been neutered, has an in-ground electric fence, and wears a Birds-Be-Safe collar. These steps have drastically reduced the destruction he's caused to wildlife around our home.

Bob the cat (front) might share a bed with Svetlana the duck, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t dream of killing wild birds and other animals. Since Bob adopted us, he’s been neutered, has an in-ground electric fence, and wears a Birdsbesafe collar. These steps have drastically reduced the destruction he’s caused to wildlife around our home.

Do Birdsbesafe collars really work?

An independent, two-season field study by Dr. Susan Willson at St. Lawrence University published in the Global Ecology and Conservation Journal (GECJ) in 2015 concluded that the Birdsbesafe collars reduced bird fatalities by a whopping 87%!

(You can buy Birdsbesafe collars on Amazon.)

This means that — if widely adopted by cat owners — these collars could prevent hundreds of millions (perhaps billions?) of bird deaths each year in the US alone.

Apparently, these collars don’t inhibit a cat’s ability to successfully hunt rodents. However, they will inhibit their ability to hunt lizards, due to the respective structure of each animal’s eyes.

Good news for gardeners and farmers! 

Birdsbesafe collar - stop your cat from killing birds

Bob the cat being fetching while showing off his Birdsbesafe collar and electric fence collar (more on that below). Birdsbesafe collars are one of the main tools you can use to stop your cat from killing birds.

*Note: When birds are fledging in our yard, we do not let Bob out unsupervised, even though he’s wearing a Birdsbesafe collar. Yes, fledglings can see him better, but not being able to fly very well makes them especially vulnerable. Please do the same.  

Do bells on cats protect birds? 

Yes, bells do help stop cats from killing birds, but they don’t work as well as Birdsbesafe collars. A study in New Zealand found that bells reduced bird fatalities by about 41%. By comparison, Birdsbesafe collars reduced bird fatalities by 87%.

Step 3. Spay, neuter, adopt.

Another way to stop your cat from killing birds? Help keep cat populations under control.

There’s absolutely no reason to let your cats make more cats unless you’re a breeder, so please get them spayed or neutered.

There’s also an extra reward for neutering your male cats. According to Veterinary Centers of America (VCA Hospitals), the benefits of neutering your male cats include:

  • they’re less likely to range as far;
  • neutering eliminates spraying in 85% of males (we happen to be in the unlucky 15% on this one!);
  • they’re less aggressive;
  • they’re less likely to fight, get injured, and have abscesses — or cause injuries to other cats.

Also, there are countless numbers of “unowned” kittens and cats who need homes. These can be found at your local animal shelters. If you must have a cat, adopt one and raise it as an indoor cat.

Step 4. If you have an outdoor cat, get an in-ground electric fence.

A few years back, Bob’s now-deceased brother Oscar (who was likely taken by coyotes) would travel the neighborhood in search of rodents to kill. Cats also kill as many as 20 billion mammals in the US each year: rabbits, moles, voles, mice, etc.

One day, Oscar showed up lethargic and covered in blood, which the vet later informed us was the result of two BB gun pellets. As it turns out, in our state, it’s legal to shoot other people’s pets who trespass on your property.

Between our two mostly outdoor cats’ potential to kill wildlife and be killed by bb gun-wielding neighborhood kids, coyotes, etc, we decided it was time to put an electric underground fence in our yard to keep our cats in our yard.

Hey, it’s way cheaper than vet bills!

bob and oscar von kitten - stop your cats from killing birds and other wildlife. Caption: Bob (left) and his now-deceased brother Oscar (right). As far as we know, cats are the only animals that regularly fall asleep in the middle of a fightThe fence we used is very easy to install (see Amazon product links below) and only took us a few hours to have up and running. It took us a couple of weeks to train our cats using the small white flags that come with the kit, but after that they knew exactly where the no-go perimeter zones were.

Bob (left) and his now-deceased brother Oscar (right). As far as we know, cats are the only animals that regularly fall asleep in the middle of a fight, as happened here. The electric fence we used is very easy to install (see Amazon product links below) and only took us a few hours to have up and running. It took us a couple of weeks to train our cats using the small white flags that come with the kit, but after that they knew exactly where the no-go perimeter zones were.

Is it inhumane to deliver a mild shock to a cat to keep it in your yard? Perhaps so.

But we think it’s far MORE humane than allowing our cat to unnecessarily kill or maim hundreds/thousands of other native animal species in the forests and fields near our house.

The underground electric cat fence and accessories we use & recommend: 

1. PetSafe In-Ground Fence package – This product comes with one adjustable cat collar (you can get more if you have more cats), enough wire for 1/3 acre, and white flags to help train your cat(s) on the location of the fence boundaries. 

Other items you may want to consider getting: 

2. Collars – The fence package comes with one cat collar, but if you have multiple cats or need replacements, this is what you’ll need.

3. Collar replacement batteries – 4-pack batteries last us 1 year per cat. So 2 cats = 8 batteries/year. 

4. Surge protector – Our first fence was fried during a lightning storm, so we kicked ourselves for not getting a surge protector from the start. We remedied that when we replaced the fence, and the second one has made it through some serious lightning storms.

PetSafe provides loads of information on how to install the fence AND how to train your cats on it. It’s surprisingly easy and simple to set up. 

One note of warning: your PetSafe fence will keep your cats from leaving your yard, but it won't necessarily keep other wildlife from entering your yard. For instance, we regularly have skunks that come to visit. Despite being sprayed by skunks on numerous occasions, Bob the cat seems to have trouble resisting getting into fights with skunks. This means we've also had to become experts at getting the skunk spray off of our cat, which you can read about here. (No, tomato juice doesn't work.)

One note of warning: your PetSafe fence will keep your cats from leaving your yard, but it won’t necessarily keep other wildlife from entering your yard. For instance, we regularly have skunks that come to visit or raise babies under our front porch. Despite being sprayed by skunks on numerous occasions, Bob the cat seems to have trouble resisting getting into fights with skunks. This means we’ve also had to become experts at getting the skunk spray off of our cat, which you can read about in another article if you’re ever in need! e. No, tomato juice does not work.

Since most of our yard is comprised of no-till, mulched veggie garden beds, installing the perimeter wire for our electric cat fence was super easy. In spots in our yard where there’s still turf grass lawn, we simply used garden staples to tamp down the wire firmly to the soil.

Our lawn mower passes right over the tamped-down wires without a problem.

Is it hard to train cats on the PetSafe in-ground fence?

PetSafe provides white perimeter flags that you stick into the ground where your electric fence wire is located. You only leave the flags up until you’ve completed kitty training.

It took our cats about a week of training (2-3 “training sessions” per day) before they understood where the perimeter boundaries are. The collars give a warning “beep” that increases in frequency the closer they get to the line. Too close, and the cat gets a zap.

Electric cat fence results: years after initial installation? 

Years after installation, our  PetSafe in-ground fence still works great. The only time our remaining cat, Bob, “escapes” his yard is when his collar battery dies.

Our electric cat fence has saved us an enormous amount of stress (where’s the cat? dead? injured?). It’s stopped our cat from killing birds and wildlife. It’s probably also saved us far more in vet bills than the initial price of the electric cat fence.

And that’s a good investment, as far as we’re concerned.

Bob the Cat at home, where he should be, getting a belly and chest rub.

Bob the Cat at home, where he should be, getting a belly and chest rub. Bob wants you to stop your cat from killing birds, too.

Step 5. If you can’t adopt a stray cat and make it an indoor cat, take it to an animal shelter.

This is a controversial subject… It’s one of those ethical conundrums where there’s no absolutely perfect scenario. However, we do think there is a clear best answer

A stray cat is absolutely guaranteed to kill birds and other wildlife, even if it’s got a nice person leaving food outside for it. That’s what cats do. They hunt, regardless of whether they’re hungry.

Ideally, you can bring the stray cat to a no-kill shelter. Ideally, the cat then finds a nice home where it can live out its days indoors happily murdering stuffed toys, sofa arms, and socks.

By getting a stray cat out of your ecosystem, you are guaranteed to stop the cat from killing countless numbers of birds, lizards, frogs, toads, rabbits, moles, and other native critters. These other animals have a right to exist, and they play a critical role in their/our ecosystems.

Still not convinced that you need to bring the stray cat to a shelter?

By bringing a stray cat to a no-kill shelter, you’re either saving or drastically extending the cat’s life. As it turns out, the average stray cat only lives for about two years, whereas an indoor cat will live for 12-18 years.

If you love cats and nature as much as we do, we hope you’ll take the steps necessary to stop your cat from killing birds and wildlife.

Given how much unnecessary damage is being done to other species as a result of our shared fondness for felines, we cat owners have a responsibility to make things better. 

References & Recommended Reading:

5 Ways (that actually work!) To Keep Your Cat From Killing Birds and Other Wildlife


stay in touch

Like what you're seeing here? Please be sure to subscribe to Tyrant Farms so we can let you know about new articles you'll love.


  • Reply
    June 17, 2023 at 5:16 pm

    One thing not usually mentioned and not possible for many is the strategy I’ve been using. I accompany my cat on walks in the morning and evening and did so with my previous cat. They, and the birds are quiescent during the middle hours of the day. They love having the company and frequently come to get me if I’m not out yet. They got used to it because I followed them with a double leash and comfy jacket early on. (You have to start very young and hold it loose, more like a bridal train, and “train”, actually gain cooperation, with subtle movements and voice, and no yelling or pulling, more like teaching a young toddler.Some small animal harnesses, for ferrets, etc. come in sizes that fit kittens and can be like the old “training bras” that 10 year olds wore.) If the leash gets taut,they can back out of the harness. I can’t stand seeing people pull or yank them to try to maket hem walk like a dog., Just stand still when the cat wants to go a different way than you and use a nice voice to reinforce cooperation.

    I think an “indoor cat” is one that has a companion animal, preferably a sibling, at least 2 window seats and 2 climbing trees, a human that engages them in games at least twice a day, preferably stairs and a hallway to run around, a catio in a yard with some plant life in it and that they can move around in, not just sit on a small shelf. and an owner who has patience to show the cat where to stretch and claw and gives gentle praise and no harsh punishment or who is not fussy about their furnishings. Many can not provide this, its mostly for high earners. Many also can not do the patient positive education I do with my cats. An apartment or small house with no one home is sometimes better than being in a cage in a shelter unless its a fabulous one with playground and playtime. But it is a very unatural boring life for a cat, and, to me, is also cruel. So is leaving a cat outdoor all day or night without it having a means to get inside for safety, rest, comfort, food, and drink.

    The first year of a kittens life can be spent habituating it gently to a half and half life. Chasing bugs in a catio is great and my cat does that when I go to bed since one of her 3 catios is attached to a window. I spent about 1K on catios, trying to make her an indoor cat in a small apartment. Now I spend many hours with her outside, mornings and evenings, and have a radiofrequency tracker (fantastic!) to know where she is at other times. I don’t know a really good solution for people who have neither money nor timeand patience. Perhaps join with another kitten owner right from the get-go to give them a more interesting natural life with your protection.

    Comments welcome. (I do wish though that people who want to watch birds in their yard would take some of the responsibility by heeding the advice to keep the feeders away from cat hiding places. Bird experts seem to agree that the birds don’t really need the extra food, its more for the pleasure of the human.)

  • Reply
    January 27, 2023 at 12:33 pm

    CATS …ARE….PREDATORS!!! Get over it! you can’t make it something other than what it is! you take an obligate carnivore and domesticate it thinking it will be different than its original instinctual nature. When we try that kind of behavior modification on humans for some activity one may find repugnant(for whatever reason – usually religious/ideological belief driven) we call that abuse and violence towards that individual!
    Get over it or don’t have a cat!

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      January 30, 2023 at 3:23 pm

      Thank you for your comment. Yes, this article very clearly acknowledges that cats are predators – very efficient ones at that. The point of the article isn’t to deny the reality that cats are predators, only to clearly acknowledge a problem while also trying to help develop one part of a broader solution set to that problem.

      The problem: there are 60 million pet cats plus up to 80 million “unowned” cats in the United States. These are non-native predators that are demonstrably wreaking havoc on native wildlife. For anyone who happens to own a cat or cats, there are proven methods that can be deployed to mitigate the amount of destruction their cat(s) can have on native wildlife. This doesn’t mean the cat ceases to be a predator, only that the damage they cause is minimized or contained.

      In some other countries like Australia who have similar problems with cats, Aboriginal Australians hunt and eat feral cats and the government is also trying to eradicate them using other methods: Given the emotional component of the human relationship with cats, it seems difficult to even get some people here in the US to acknowledge that there’s a problem, despite what seems to be clear and compelling evidence.

      We have a cat, not by choice, but because someone dumped kittens who were accustomed to outdoor living on our front porch many years ago. Thus, we have a responsibility to minimize the damage our remaining cat can do to nearby wildlife.

      • Reply
        January 6, 2024 at 1:39 pm

        I whole heartedly agree with all the advise here. I am doing what I can to keep my 3 cats from killing birds. 2 of my cats (female) don’t care for chasing birds. My boy has an addiction that I am working to curb. The issue with mice is one I do not discourage. I find that all the statistics here about cat populations decimating bird populations very discouraging. Not for the reason you may imagine. Cats don’t come close to the primary predator for decimating bird and wildlife populations. The reason so many wildlife are driven to extinction has nothing to do with cats. That’s right PEOPLE are the biggest threat to all forms of wildlife and even themselves. I will continue to minimize the impact my lone boy cat has on our neighborhood. But until we can curb the impact people have on our environment. The effect cats have is a drop of water in an ocean of man-made insecticides, loss of habitats, pollution,etc,etc. The list is all but endless. Until we can get a handle on the human problem concentrating our efforts on the cats is just something to do to make us feel good without having to address the real issue.

    • Reply
      June 15, 2023 at 11:26 am

      Blimmy – yeah ok Tim what ever you say!

  • Reply
    Michele Zagorski-Goreski
    November 3, 2022 at 9:02 am

    I have a concern that the collars ( if I understand correctly) are not break away collars. From the way they seem to hug the cat’s neck, I would think they have some sort of elastic nature to them such as can be found in some kitten collars. Again, I could be completely wrong in assuming that, but I wanted to offer my thoughts because maybe others are thinking the same as I am and are refraining from purchasing. Maybe some are also so sold on the collar that this concern never entered their minds.
    My intention is too be helpful in posing the question. I have seen in the past much trouble with elasticized collars and cats getting snagged in low lying brush and bushes resulting in much risk and harm to the cat. I did check out Amazon to see if I could learn more about its construction but did not find any info. Could you please elaborate on the construction of the collar? Thank you in advance for answering my concerns.

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      November 3, 2022 at 11:49 am

      Hi Michele! There are two collars referenced in this article so we’ll address both:
      1. Birdsbesafe collars actually slip over whatever breakaway cat collar you already have on your cat. It’s more like a covering for your existing collar.
      2. The electric collars (for electric cat fences) are made with a stretchy elastic material, so cats won’t get dangerously snagged with them. Unfortunately, this means that our cat has sometimes “lost” his and we’ve had to pay for replacements.

  • Reply
    Jessica wiliam
    August 3, 2022 at 9:28 pm

    Thanks for sharing useful information. This helps me a lot.

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      August 4, 2022 at 11:15 am

      You’re very welcome! We hope the info provided helps lessen the toll your cat(s) take on local wildlife.

  • Reply
    Claudia Fahey
    May 20, 2022 at 7:50 am

    So i have 2 c outdoor cats that are somewhat feral both fixed, mother and daughter i was able to rehome 3 kittens of the litter but not the 4th. Daughter is a killing machine even though we feed them well and she has had shots as she is tame enough to take to vet. I already have 4 rescue cats including 2 special needs I cant bring anymore inside. I wasnt aware that cats are considered invasive…how sad Ive grown up with cats and love them dearly. Ive stopped feeding the birds to start out with but now they climb the trees is there anything I can spray on the trunks to keep them from climbing? Thanks

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      May 20, 2022 at 1:25 pm

      Hi Claudia! Sorry you’re having issues with your cats killing wildlife. As far as keeping your cats from climbing trees, any sort of spray/smell you apply is going to inevitably wear off and need to be reapplied regularly. Instead, we’d recommend utilizing something more permanent. Depending on the size of the tree(s) you’re dealing with, you could either: a) make a collar type contraption similar to those used to keep squirrels from climbing bird feeders, or b) put a slippery metal or plastic strip around the tree about 5′ off the ground that would stop your cats’ claws from gripping thus preventing them from climbing higher (these are called tree baffles and you could probably purchase them online). If your trees have low-hanging branches that your cats can jump into, that’s going to be trickier to deal with. Then you might just have to create some kind of tall fence barrier around the tree to keep your cats from gaining access. Presumably, there are birds nesting in the referenced tree(s) that you’re trying to prevent your cats from getting to? Regardless, hope these suggestions help!

  • Reply
    July 25, 2021 at 6:22 pm

    I have been crying since last night when my inside/outside GPS wearing cat had a bird in the backyard. I chased the cat away and thought the bird was ok but died in my hands. I’m wrecked. The neighbor has a sanctuary of a backyard set up to attract birds. The only way I will never feel this bad again is if I keep the cat inside 100% of the time. I have another cat who stays in the yard and doesn’t jump the fence and enjoys being outside. I have been crying all day. I love them dearly, but I wish I never got cats.

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      July 26, 2021 at 8:54 am

      So sorry, Adele! Unfortunately, it’s very difficult converting a cat that’s used to being outdoors into being a fully indoor cat. Since you do have a fence already, another possibility that’s not mentioned in this article is getting either: 1) a cat fence topper, or 2) cat fence spikes (link to referenced items on Amazon: We have large grape vines and other fruit growing on our fences so those options wouldn’t work for us, but perhaps they will for you. Best of luck!

    • Reply
      November 22, 2021 at 6:14 am

      And I’m crying here at 3am because my neighbors cat who I took in with permission and gave him medical care (asthma) is a killer…of anything. He brought in an adult rabbit and there was a blood bath in my hallway and he did damage to this innocent rabbit who looks like he is suffering neurological damage. No emergency care vets are open. So I’m sitting here crying. I feel your pain and I do not know what I am going to do about this cat….he loves us dearly. So broken.

      • Reply
        Aaron von Frank
        November 22, 2021 at 12:43 pm

        So sorry, Diane. We feel your pain. Seeing the data from scientists who calculate the toll that cats take on wildlife is tragic, but it seems abstract. When you actually experience the carnage yourself over and over, it becomes real. Hopefully you can use some of the tips in this article to help stop your cat from killing wildlife.

    • Reply
      May 26, 2022 at 4:04 pm

      Adele let’s get a grip here. The cat surely you know that cats are hunters by nature they are not maliciously killing the wildlife believe me I know what you’re talking about because I felt very upset when my cat killed a mourning dove although the idea that I wish I never got the cat never ever crossed my mind because it’s simply in their nature it’s a predatory instinct so please do not fault the cat for that if you’re that upset about it then simply keep your cat inside.

  • Reply
    Susan Petrie
    May 1, 2021 at 6:24 am

    I have two cats who are well looked after, who come and go freely in and out of the house. They do sleep most of the day indoors. i have a largish garden and I have just found a pair of robins nesting in a low tree. they have just started building and are busy coming and going with leaves etc. What do I do. It is early in the season so do I let the robins take their chances or do I disturb them to find some where else to nest. (we also have neighbours who have cats.

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      May 1, 2021 at 9:55 am

      Hi Susan! That’s a tricky one. We’ve had similar situations with birds nesting in our yard, on our porch, etc. What we’ve done is try to erect temporary caging around the area to keep our cat (and other cats) out. That at least keeps cats from getting to the nest. Then you have to try to monitor the development of the baby birds so you know when they’re going to fledge and leave the nest. For the first couple of days after fledging, they’re pretty vulnerable to cats and other predators since they’re very clumsy fliers and inexperienced at detecting and escaping predators. We keep our cat under pretty heavy lockdown when fledges are about. Typically, the fledges and parents leave the yard within the first day or so. Hope this information helps you and keeps your cat from killing birds!

  • Reply
    December 26, 2020 at 8:39 pm

    Our cats are indoors only, but a few weeks ago an intact stray showed up and is killing birds in our backyard. We put a break-away collar with a bell on him and are feeding him plenty, but he still hunts though his victim count has, thankfully, decreased.

    We took him in to have him tested for diseases and had him vaccinated, and we are going to have him neutered next month. But we absolutely cannot take in any more cats (we have several of our own and were arm-twisted into taking in 3 of a relative’s who can no longer care for them), and the only no-kill shelter in the area is full. The only other option is animal control, who are so full they kill dogs and cats after 48 hours.

    This is a human-caused problem and it makes me so angry that irresponsible idiots refuse to spay/neuter and the rest of us have to clean up their mess.

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      December 27, 2020 at 8:36 am

      Ugh, so sorry to hear this, Pat. Yes, cats are basically an invasive predatory species infestation, but they also happen to be cute and like people due to thousands of years of domestication. A perfect storm for small-sized wildlife in their path. Hope you’re able to figure out a workable solution for the new stray in your yard.

  • Reply
    Kim Palmer
    December 19, 2020 at 6:54 pm

    The problem with no-kill shelters is not really what you think. I try to find a no-kill shelter when I get a new cat. I try to find one there first. When I got my last cats I asked about where they take the others that do not get a home. I asked because I had never seen so many cats in my life. They told me that a ranch about 20 miles away got all of the cats. My friend of mine had 140 acres and people were always dumping their cats on her property. One needs to know that they are exposed to all of the wildlife. Fox, coyotes, bears. eagles, etc. catch them and kill them. What is worse? ?

  • Reply
    Rachel Bailey
    October 20, 2020 at 4:44 am

    Thank you for this post – I came across it by chance. I am a garden designer with a permaculture slant including edible perennials in all my designs. I love nature and especially birds. Recently a new housing development near me has brought with it lots of cats and I am seeing the impact on our bird populations. I don’t own a cat, but I have just shared the research paper and link to Birdsbesafe collars to all my cat-loving friends! So thank you for posting about this.

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      October 21, 2020 at 7:01 am

      Glad to hear the info was helpful, Rachel! It’s much easier to implement these procedures on your own cat rather than someone else’s, but hopefully more and more people will get on board to prevent their cats from killing wildlife.

  • Reply
    Mamma bear Australia
    August 25, 2020 at 7:58 pm

    Thank you so much for that great article. My cat Lego is just a killing machine. Today he brought me a baby duck and I was heartbroken. He is getting around a bird a week and it’s killing me. I’ve reduced his outdoor hours significantly – like your “Bob”, Lego is just not an indoor cat and so I have to look at other ways. I have contemplated the cat fence but wanted to know if they really work. I want to stop him from getting out at all. We have a beautiful reserve with a big pond across the road and I can’t tell you how many animals – mice, rats, monitor lizards, ducks, baby birds and skinks he has brought home for me. 🙁 I’m going to invest in one of those fences today. I think you are right in how much it will reduce damage to the wildlife and reduce the possibility of vet bills. Here in Australia we have nasty paralysis ticks that have cost me $000’s in the years. So thank you for a great article!

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      August 25, 2020 at 10:21 pm

      Thanks for caring and best of luck keeping your cat from killing birds and other wildlife! Paralysis ticks – yikes! You Australians have quite a lot of terrifying critters to deal with. It’s amazing that Lego is still alive given the circumstances.

    • Reply
      June 4, 2021 at 6:01 pm

      Cat fences work! I have one (home made) and my cats get to enjoy the backyard, which keeps them from going crazy.
      It also keeps them warm in summer when the AC is at 71 degrees!
      The commercially available ones are nice, but out of my budget.
      I wish more people would get them – would you make your dog stay inside for its whole life?
      You still have to use the collars, and keep them them inside when birds are fledging.
      We have a section of wire fencing we use to enclose our bottle brushes when a Cardinal builds a nest there.
      It protects the nest but does not help during fledging time.

  • Reply
    October 7, 2019 at 1:07 pm

    I have a serious, and unique situation. My son and I adopted a cat that had been left behind by a family that moved. He was declawed and neutered. Imagine leaving a declawed cat behind! He also can’t talk. We don’t know what happened to his focal cords. The neighbors told us he has been known as the neighborhood cat for the two years he has been by himself, but neighbors have been feeding him and bringing him in when the weather is bad. I did not want him running around without the proper vet care. My son and I adopted him. We took him to the vet and had tests done, and he got his rabies vaccine. He was a very healthy 8 year-old cat. We knew he was used to being outside. We wanted him to be an inside/outside cat. His name, the one we gave him, is Shelby. A neighbor made him a trinket out of a small scallop shell that we put on his collar; in addition to his rabies license. He basically stays inside until sunset, when we let him out. Sometimes he comes back in for a couple of hours until out for the night. The problem is, he is killing rabbits! He brings them to the front door as presents. I open the door and I’m mortified. My son said rabbits are an intrusive species and can ruin an ecosystem like they did in Australia. I only care that it’s disgusting and I want none of it. I get so mad I want to take him to a shelter. He makes enough noise from his collar that he can’t get a bird. I can’t put an electric fence, we have been renting this home for 6 years. The rabbits were coming into our yard and I love watching them. What can I do? He would be so unhappy being inside the entire time. Taking him to a shelter seems like a cop out. We decided to adopt him and now we’re giving up. Any suggestions are appreciated.

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      October 7, 2019 at 4:39 pm

      Sorry to hear this! Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like there’s much you can do if he is to remain an outdoor cat without an electric fence to keep him contained. Older/larger rabbits might be able to escape him due to their size and speed, but younger rabbits won’t have much of a chance – especially if he finds rabbit nests.

      As for rabbits being a problem to a healthy ecosystem (e.g. invasive species), that sort of thing is nearly always the result of the introduction of a non-native species that has no natural predators/resource competition within the new ecosystem. In this case, wild rabbits are native throughout the US and their predators are abundant, thus holding their populations in check. Rabbits can be a pest via eating your garden plants (especially edible greens), but birds of prey alone keep them from ever being too overpopulated and problematic.

      Statistically, the lifespan of your cat is likely to be greatly reduced by virtue of him spending a lot of time outdoors (especially with no claws). So the problem might not be a problem for too many more years.

      Sorry not to have a good solution to offer you under the circumstances described.

    • Reply
      Talia the something
      October 24, 2019 at 7:25 am

      try a catbib and add loud bells to his collar

      • Reply
        November 30, 2019 at 2:20 pm

        As I mentioned in my comment, he has a shell and rabies badge in his collar. It makes for a loud combo and I know that’s why he hasn’t been able to get birds. Since I wrote my comment two months ago, he left me another present. I keep saying me because I have a chair right outside our front door that I use to read and sit in the Sun. His last two kills have been left by the chair. The last time he did this, the rabbits organs were placed around my chair; it was totally creepy. Cats kill for sport, even if we’ll fed. I’ll never understand this but the experience has confirmed one thing. I am a dog person.

        • Aaron von Frank
          December 2, 2019 at 2:39 pm

          Sorry to hear that. Lots of animals engage in surplus killing (including dogs) so that phenomenon is not unique to felines. Bob will likely be our last cat for the same reason. We wouldn’t actually have a cat if he and his brother hadn’t been abandoned in our yard years back.

  • Reply
    August 25, 2019 at 3:59 pm

    Hello! 🙂
    Thanks for the informative article, this PetSafe fence method could be a lifesaver for us with my cat. Do you put the Birdsbesafe collar on to the PetSafe collar or you out it on a separate one?
    Thanks for your answer in advance!

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      August 26, 2019 at 11:19 am

      You’re very welcome! The electric collar goes directly on our cat’s neck. Separately, he wears a breakaway collar (with a BirdsBeSafe cover over it). So he has on two collars – one for the fence (to keep him in our yard) and one so birds can see him. Does that make sense? If not, I can snap a photo for you.

      • Reply
        A B Molnar
        August 26, 2019 at 3:50 pm

        Thank you for the quick response! Yes, it makes perfect sense! Then I’ll purchase a breakaway collar from BirdsBeSafe as well (not just the collar cover). I was just worried whether two collars would make my cat’s neck too “crowded”. But seeing that this “two collar method” has worked for you for years, it will probably work for us as well 🙂 Thanks again for writing your experiences down! You’ve got such a lovely blog!

        • Aaron von Frank
          August 28, 2019 at 10:39 am

          You’re very welcome, and good luck!

  • Reply
    Emma Rose
    March 28, 2019 at 6:20 am

    My outdoor cat cannot seem to keep a collar! I have bought him many and they all come off and get lost somewhere around the neighborhood. I know it’s important to use breakaway collars to reduce risk of strangulation, (and I have seen him get a collar stuck on something and not be able to breathe), so I’m hesitant about your collar suggestions. Do you have any thoughts on this?

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      April 7, 2019 at 9:49 am

      Hi Emma! Great question. The electric cat fence collar has an elastic part so a cat *can* pull their heads out of it if they get stuck. Our cat has managed to slip out of it when he’s been in tricky situations. As for the Birdsbesafe collars, those actually slip over the top of whatever collar you’re already using – breakaway collar, etc. Hope that helps!

      • Reply
        Emma Rose
        April 10, 2019 at 9:19 am

        Yes, it does! Thanks!

      • Reply
        Priscilla Verdia
        June 20, 2019 at 2:04 am

        I wish I thought these were safe for the cats, but I don’t. I want to save wildlife, so I’m keeping my three tabby cats inside now that it is bird nesting season. I’d love to slip a collar on them and feel safe letting them outside, but I wouldn’t. And The electric fence is out too. Think about what happens if the cat gets out when the electric fence batteries die. How will he overcome his fear of shock to return back over that line of fence? Surely, he doesn’t understand the concept of dead batteries. And the Birdsafe colorful collar is an accident waiting to happen to your cats. If a collar is snagged on a nail, branch or barbed wire and the cat begins to panic, the collar will be tightened with each spin of its body. I’m not risking my pets to either of these options. I hope your pets stay safe. I believe you mean well. I just can’t try either of these.

        • Aaron von Frank
          June 20, 2019 at 8:48 pm

          I should also add that another benefit of taking the measures outlined in this article is that we’ve drastically reduced injuries to our cat (and other cats) from him getting into fights with neighborhood cats. He’s now far outlived the average life of an outdoor cat.

  • Reply
    March 24, 2018 at 4:30 am

    Useless. Was expecting a how to train in-house cat not to kill in-house bird.

    Nature is balanced, humans shouldn’t get themselves “too” involved with it unless to correct other humans’ mistakes.(like #2)

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      April 8, 2018 at 9:22 pm

      Sorry to disappoint. The title of the article is “5 WAYS TO STOP YOUR CAT FROM KILLING BIRDS AND OTHER WILDLIFE” so I don’t think we indicated the article was about indoor birds and indoor cats.

      • Reply
        April 8, 2018 at 9:59 pm

        “Your cat” can easily be misunderstood with “indoor”.
        Mostly, neither owners want their cat outside nor Cats themselves like to go outside needlessly, anyway.

        I appreciate your effort, sorry for calling it useless.

      • Reply
        June 15, 2023 at 11:21 am

        Well, I didn’t find your article “useless”. Thank you its no silver bullet granted, but it’s a realistic approach and better than doing nothing. Just felt compelled to jump in and say thanks after such a rude comment above. Me, I blame the Mother for the lack of manners and what people unknowingly miss out on in life with a lack of manners.

  • Reply
    Suzy Hayes
    September 8, 2017 at 11:16 am

    We kindly & lovingly supplied our new neighbors with the stats on cats/wildlife from Cornell, Audubon, ABC, Lost Birds of Hawaii, etc.; which only fell on their uncaring, deaf ears. After months of carnage, the ONLY thing which has worked to keep my neighbor’s fat cats out of our yard & which has cease the slaughter of wildlife on our property…….we released our 2 American Black & Tan Coonhounds. We haven’t seen their cats since!

    • Reply
      Aaron von Frank
      September 14, 2017 at 11:43 am

      Ugh, it’s so frustrating when people are not just causing damage, but don’t even care about the damage they’re causing! Kudos to you for trying and also for coming up with a solution. Even though you now have an oasis for wildlife, it’s likely your neighbor’s cats have moved elsewhere to continue their killing spree.

Leave a Reply

Native Passion Fruit (Passiflora Incarnata): How To Grow, Forage, & Eat How to hatch goose eggs – tips, tricks, and troubleshooting How to hatch duck eggs via a mama duck or incubator Best EDIBLE plants to grow in shade (fruit, herbs & veggies) Understanding duck mating & courtship 9 amazing duck facts that will blow your human mind