The World Around Us – Protecting Birds

Who doesn’t love a baby animal? Yet every spring, millions of baby birds are killed by one of our favorite companions — cats. The argument that it is just nature is not appropriate — we domesticated them and added them to the already challenging environment our feathered friends face. In fact, the Audubon Society strongly opposes feline trap/neuter/release programs because of the dangers to all birds.

We need to consider the following facts: the number-one, human-caused threat to birds in the US and Canada, is hunting by domestic cats; approximately 2.4 billion birds are killed in the US each year by free-roaming cats; even well-fed cats will hunt and kill; and finally, just the presence of cats has been shown to decrease the nesting success for some birds.

…the number-one, human-caused threat to birds in the US and Canada, is hunting by domestic cats; approximately 2.4 billion birds are killed in the US each year by free-roaming cats; even well-fed cats will hunt and kill; and finally, just the presence of cats has been shown to decrease the nesting success for some birds.

Adjusting a free-roaming cat to live indoors may take some time, however, here are some suggestions for doing so: add a playmate to the household, such as another cat or dog; provide interactive toys and scratching posts that are changed or moved from time to time; place cat perches near a window for viewing, and provide hiding places such as cardboard boxes and kitty tents and perhaps, add a screened-in, window extension. If you still want to let your cat outside, consider a “catio” (a securely confined outdoor area) or take your cat for a walk using a leash

A last thought — many birdfeeders are placed near windows to give cats a close view, but frequently birds fly into the glass. Keep the feeders a distance away, near greenery where birds can rest and eat, and consider placing stickers or clings on the windows to alert them. However, if they do have a collision and seem injured, give them a short while to recover before taking action. Sometimes they are just stunned and need some time to regain their strength. Not having to fend off the advances of a cat is to their advantage!


New York State Humane Association Humane Review, Vol.XXXIII Spring 2019.