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How to Keep Cats From Killing Birds: 7 Possible Ways

Hallie Roddy

By Hallie Roddy

cat hunts a bird in a meadow

Our cats can easily trick us into believing that they are sweet, affectionate pets that would never hurt a fly. However, even the most domesticated felines still have an innate drive for hunting prey. Cats can sit near a window and watch birds for hours and if you allow your cat outdoors, they might even bring you a gift from time to time.

Whether it is your cat that is killing birds or a feral cat from the neighborhood, there are ways to put it to an end. The most important thing is to remember that cats are doing what they were designed to do and shouldn’t get punished for following their instincts.

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Top 7 Ways to Stop Cats From Killing Birds

1. Bring Your Cat Inside

The simplest solution for keeping your cat from killing birds is to keep them in the house. It might take some time to adjust to the new lifestyle, but it’s a safer situation for both the birds and your cat. Winter is usually the best time to start this transition since fewer birds are outside, and they’ll likely prefer spending more time away from the cold.

You don’t have to take away a cat’s outdoor time altogether. Installing a cat patio or purchasing a cat tent still allows your cat to enjoy the fresh air and stimulation of nature without putting them or other animals in danger.

cat patio
Image Credit: SariMe, Shutterstock

2. Have Your Cat Wear a Collar With a Bell

Cats are most successful at hunting when they have an opportunity to sneak up on their prey without being noticed. Putting a bell on their collar will give the local birds a heads-up whenever your kitty is sneaking around. Of course, this does not guarantee that they won’t catch any more birds, but the number of birds killed will likely decrease.

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3. Keep Cats Indoors During Fledging Season

The fledging season occurs when young birds are being raised and still working on developing their wings for flight. It’s common for these young birds to fall out of their nests or attempt to fly before their wings are ready. Unfortunately, this also means your cat has an easy kill waiting for them. Reducing the number of birds killed around your house is as simple as keeping your cat indoors until all baby birds have left the nest.

a tabby maine coon cat at home
Image By: Daniel Zopf, Unsplash

4. Avoid Dusk and Dawn

While it is safer to keep cats indoors at all times, we understand why some pet owners prefer to have their feline friends explore the outdoors during the day. If you can, try to restrict their access to certain times of the day. For example, birds mostly come and go from their nests during dusk and dawn. Keeping your cat inside at these times reduces the bird’s chance of being stalked.

5. Only Take Them Out on a Leash

Training your cat to feel comfortable in a harness and walking on a leash can be a little time-consuming but will be well worth the effort. Your cat will still get to go outside and explore but won’t have so much freedom that they are still killing the birds around your property.

a medium haired cat on a leash outdoor
Image Credit: avbocherikov, Pixabay

6. Use a Wireless Cat Fence

If your cat tends to wander the entire neighborhood, you might consider purchasing a wireless cat fence. Your cat will wear a collar with a receiver attached, and a centralized unit creates a zone around your property. If your cat tries to go outside of the area, then the receiver will either send a tone or a static correction to push them back into the zone. Most pets learn quickly where the boundaries are and tend to stay in their own backyard.

7. Adopt or Rehome Strays

Sometimes it isn’t your cat at all that is killing the birds. Instead, it’s a local stray doing their best to survive. Consider adopting the stray and giving them a warm, welcoming home, or try to rehome the cat so they aren’t left out on the streets. Keep in mind that some feral cats might not have had any human interaction before, and, in some cases, strays might not be able to fully adapt to domesticated life. On the other hand, there might be some people nearby who will welcome these feral cats as barn cats to keep their rodent population down.

a stray cat lying on a sidewalk
Image Credit: dimitrisvetsikas1969, Pixabay

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True animal lovers often have to face the struggle of accepting that their cats will kill birds while not wanting any animals to get harmed. If your cat has a fierce hunting instinct, that doesn’t mean you have to allow them to continue harming local wildlife. We hope that this list helps you save the birds in your backyard while still giving your cat the stimulating life they deserve.

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Featured Image Credit: digitalienspb, Shutterstock

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