CATS!!!

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CATS!!!

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Absolutely sick of them! Even though my wire fox terrier does a good job of seeing them off there are still 2 who creep in when he's not looking and they are taking my birds. They've also made off with four of my new fish and quite a few of my frogs, even though there is a net over the pond. It's heartbreaking and as much as I love animals/wildlife/birds etc I am ready to get a gun and shoot the things. My son, who's a university student, also gets pretty wound up about it and he says "mum, you just know that when that cat goes back to its home the owner will be saying 'oh look at darling Tiddles, he's brought his mummy a little birdie', but we've seen the other side of that!" If anyone has any ideas other than a gun I would be grateful because hearing those birds screaming as they're caught is very upsetting for us all.

Verified Answer
  • Do the cats who come in your garden have collars with bells one them? Also, you could move your bird tables away from bushes and trees - cats can hide under bushes to stalk the birds.

    I am a cat owner myself and I can assure you if our cat brings in any birds (he has bought in about three in the past three years) we certainly don't praise him for it. He gets a massive telling off - i'm trying to condition him not to bring them in.

    It's very saddening as we don't like him killing birds as much as you do. We have managed to save one bird before that he bought in that was still alive and unharmed once it had gotten over the shock.

    If you know who the owners of the cats are, you could always tell them about it and see if they can help at all?

  • We had a problem with cats inour garden, 3 of them. Whilst we hated them for chasing and in a couple of instances catching the birds, we also hated discovering their covered up poo in our flower beds when hoeing or weeding.  We finally resorted to one of those electronic devices and found it very successful. I actually watched a cat creeping around a bush one morning when he suddenly shot off out towards the gate. I assumed he had been assailed by the electronic beep. So different to last year when I was nearly tearing my hair out and hating every cat on sight. I was even thinking up the most ghastly ways of doing away with any I got hold off lol. That used to make me feel better lol.  So I recommend the electronic device.  Good luck

  • There are a number of sonic devices available. These emit a high-pitched sound that only cats can hear each time they trip a sensor. However, there is only one sonic product that the RSPB recommends and that is Catwatch - http://shopping.rspb.org.uk/p//R0123.htm

     

    There is an automated option, the scarecrow, which is attached to a hosepipe, and will deliver a water jet when activated by a motion detector - (http://www.deteracat.co.uk/scarecrow_water_jet_pack.htm)

     

     

    Other cat deterrents include:

     

    ·      Surround the area with a fence (chicken wire etc) that leans in the direction from which the cat will approach. The cat is unable to climb over such an angled fence and should prevent access to the nest,

    ·     Taut wire or string fitted 10-15 cm above the fence-top makes it difficult for cats to balance on the fence,

    ·      Specially designed strips of plastic spikes on top of a fence, shed roof, nestbox roof etc to prevent cat from walking on it - I would think these to be very effective in your situation if they are positioned correctly, (http://www.livesafe.co.uk/Prikka-Strip_webpage.htm)

    ·     Place ½ full plastic bottles in borders. This is an old gamekeepers trick – light reflection is supposed to deter, but as mentioned in an earlier thread, they need to be moved periodically to remain effective,

    ·      Unwanted CDs can be threaded on twine with knots in between to keep them apart. String these across flowerbeds or hang from trees. Again, the light reflections deter,

    ·     Spiked tree collar to prevent climbing up a tree – available from Jacobi Jayne, http://www.jacobijayne.co.uk/ or tel: 0800 072 0130.

    ·     Vaseline or other grease on or around any possible entrances that may give access to the nests,

    ·      Placing clippings from thorny or spiky plants under bird feeders and under bushes will prevent cats from using these areas to stalk birds,

    ·     As previously mentioned, there is a garden plant, Coleus canina, on the market. It is marketed under names ‘Pee-off’ and ‘Scaredy cat’. This plant has a pungent odour that is said to repel cats and other mammals from the garden. It should be available from a number of garden suppliers,

    ·     Scent deterrents will either serve to repel or mark a territory (Silent Roar), Alternatively, try orange or lemon peel, since cats are not keen on the smell of citrus - Vinegar, chilli powder or paste around areas where the cat walks through or likes to sit can also be very effective. 

     

  • The thing is with cats is that that they completely screw up the food chain as, in normal/natural circumstances, there would not be anywhere near the concentration of predators in a given built up area were it not for dometic (and i use the term loosely) cats.  I find small anti personnel land mines are the best bet - they make a bit of a mess though.

  • Yes I hate them too Wonderwoody. Last Spring in my garden was total carnage, however, after some serious garden reorganisation I think I have cracked it. I moved planters around to block vulnerable areas and I also  bought something called PRIKKA -STRIP from my local hardware store which I fixed on the top of the fence panels where they came in my garden. This has done the trick as they clearly do not like the feel of spikey plastic under their dainty little feet! I haven't had a cat in my garden now for a month - although they are still around as I've seen them in my neighbours garden. Constant vigilance is required though -as who knows when the 'enemy' will reappear!

  • I too am sick and tired of cats stalking and killing birds in our garden.  We have invested in 3 of the Catwatch deterrents which I like to think are helping.  We live on a military base though so our neighbours are quite transient which means we constantly seem to have new cats living in the area which need "educating".

    My latest idea has been to dot hanging baskets frames around the borders where the cats like to hide before they pounce.  Putting the metal frame upside down makes an obstacle for the cat, it doesn't detract too much from your garden as you don't really notice the green frame but still allows you to spot the wretched things if they are lurking!

    We also keep a plastic bottle half filled with water handy by the door to throw at any visitors - it won't hurt them if they are hit (I am a member of the RSPCA!)  but certainly puts them off visiting again. 

    What is really making me cross though is a new neighbour who has put out loads of bird feeders and has a very predatory cat - it lies under the feeder just waiting for its next victim - some people are just so stupid and completely selfish! 

  • I live in a bungalow in a row of three, which is situated at the end.  in front of the bungalow is a communal area which we look after.  There is a pyracanthea hedge which the black birds love to nest in.  The next door neighbours have three cats.  This week the cats have caught three blackbirds all babies.  My husband has now fenced off the bottom of the hedge as the cats were crawling under the hedge to get to the birds.  My husband spoke to the neighbour about her cats kiling the birds and her reply was that she did not like the cats bringing the birds into the house, but there was no offer of stopping them doing it or even helping towards the cost.

    In our back garden which is fairly new I have planted bushes etc that will attract wildlife but there is no sign of any birds.  I have a electronic cat scarer also.  Is there anything else I can do to attract the birds in the back garden.  The cats do not venture into the back garden.

All Replies
  • I have at least one solution which, for me, really does work!  Own one cat and train him not to take birds!  Cats are very territorial, and if he is allowed the freedom of the garden, he will keep it free of visiting marauders.  Our current cat is 14 years old now, and came to us as a 7 year old ex-farm cat who hunted everything!!!.  I feed the wild birds, loads of them, so finding a solution was absolutely essential.  Diligent aversion training with the garden hose at the first sign of definite 'setting' of a bird for a few days worked wonders.  Of course, we also used plenty of reassurance that we did love him, just not that particular behaviour.  I'm sure a lot does depend on the nature and intelligence of the particular cat, though.

    It wasn't long before Tiger caught on and became a bird watcher and protector, even if my heart was in my mouth the first few times we came home from shopping to find our resident family of magpies and Tiger all waiting together on the step for our return!!!!  He has proven himself time and time again on our 2 acre property, to the stage where the birds will come and tell him if there are other cats around.  The most notable recent example was when he successfully rescued a kookaburra from the grasp of a neighbour's cat, despite having a broken leg himself.  He even rounds me up at bird feeding time, and comes to find me if a bird has found its way in through his cat flap, so I can catch and release it as quickly as possible.

    Naturally, I believe it is the responsiblity of every cat owner to do what they can to disuade their pets from harming birds at all, not just disuading them from bringing caught birds inside.

     

  • I get fed up with two or three cats coming into my own garden sometimes, although to be fair I've yet to witness one take any of the birds.  A solution I've tried is to half fill some plastic bottles with water, and place them in strategic positions.  The idea is that a cat looking down and suddenly seeing moving water will get confused (I've actually seen this in action).  The important thing about this method though is you have to regularly change the position of the water bottles, just so that the element of surprise isn't taken away.  This is very important because personally I've been reduced to slamming windows shut just to scare the birds into taking avasive action when I've seen a cat start to prowl.

     

    Another method is a plant called Coleus canina, often known by the common name: Scardey Cat.  This omits a stench which is supposed to frighten cats, and having once worked in a garden centre I can certainly vouch for the stench (would frighten the horses!), although things might come back to the element of surprise.  A major problem with this plant is that it is half-hardy and thus not suitable in areas where frosts can occur, (as a year round method).  Also I've read that growth rate can be a problem, so I'd sugest using this as a container plant.  Also there are plenty of people who are passionate about birds but in addition, have a cat that they love very much; so Coelus canina, might not be an ideal situation.  To be honest I think the most important thing is for cat owners to take responsibility for their pet(s).  Thankfully the majority of cat owners are responsible but I can understand people's frustration when they are faced with the tiny percentage of cat owners who don't take enough responsibility for their pet.  I don't think bringing in legislation with regards to licensing and cat collars would be a major problem. 

  • There are a number of sonic devices available. These emit a high-pitched sound that only cats can hear each time they trip a sensor. However, there is only one sonic product that the RSPB recommends and that is Catwatch - http://shopping.rspb.org.uk/p//R0123.htm

     

    There is an automated option, the scarecrow, which is attached to a hosepipe, and will deliver a water jet when activated by a motion detector - (http://www.deteracat.co.uk/scarecrow_water_jet_pack.htm)

     

     

    Other cat deterrents include:

     

    ·      Surround the area with a fence (chicken wire etc) that leans in the direction from which the cat will approach. The cat is unable to climb over such an angled fence and should prevent access to the nest,

    ·     Taut wire or string fitted 10-15 cm above the fence-top makes it difficult for cats to balance on the fence,

    ·      Specially designed strips of plastic spikes on top of a fence, shed roof, nestbox roof etc to prevent cat from walking on it - I would think these to be very effective in your situation if they are positioned correctly, (http://www.livesafe.co.uk/Prikka-Strip_webpage.htm)

    ·     Place ½ full plastic bottles in borders. This is an old gamekeepers trick – light reflection is supposed to deter, but as mentioned in an earlier thread, they need to be moved periodically to remain effective,

    ·      Unwanted CDs can be threaded on twine with knots in between to keep them apart. String these across flowerbeds or hang from trees. Again, the light reflections deter,

    ·     Spiked tree collar to prevent climbing up a tree – available from Jacobi Jayne, http://www.jacobijayne.co.uk/ or tel: 0800 072 0130.

    ·     Vaseline or other grease on or around any possible entrances that may give access to the nests,

    ·      Placing clippings from thorny or spiky plants under bird feeders and under bushes will prevent cats from using these areas to stalk birds,

    ·     As previously mentioned, there is a garden plant, Coleus canina, on the market. It is marketed under names ‘Pee-off’ and ‘Scaredy cat’. This plant has a pungent odour that is said to repel cats and other mammals from the garden. It should be available from a number of garden suppliers,

    ·     Scent deterrents will either serve to repel or mark a territory (Silent Roar), Alternatively, try orange or lemon peel, since cats are not keen on the smell of citrus - Vinegar, chilli powder or paste around areas where the cat walks through or likes to sit can also be very effective. 

     

  • Wattle15

    I have at least one solution which, for me, really does work!  Own one cat and train him not to take birds!  Cats are very territorial, and if he is allowed the freedom of the garden, he will keep it free of visiting marauders.  Our current cat is 14 years old now, and came to us as a 7 year old ex-farm cat who hunted everything!!!.  I feed the wild birds, loads of them, so finding a solution was absolutely essential.  Diligent aversion training with the garden hose at the first sign of definite 'setting' of a bird for a few days worked wonders.  Of course, we also used plenty of reassurance that we did love him, just not that particular behaviour.  I'm sure a lot does depend on the nature and intelligence of the particular cat, though.

    It wasn't long before Tiger caught on and became a bird watcher and protector, even if my heart was in my mouth the first few times we came home from shopping to find our resident family of magpies and Tiger all waiting together on the step for our return!!!!  He has proven himself time and time again on our 2 acre property, to the stage where the birds will come and tell him if there are other cats around.  The most notable recent example was when he successfully rescued a kookaburra from the grasp of a neighbour's cat, despite having a broken leg himself.  He even rounds me up at bird feeding time, and comes to find me if a bird has found its way in through his cat flap, so I can catch and release it as quickly as possible.

    Naturally, I believe it is the responsiblity of every cat owner to do what they can to disuade their pets from harming birds at all, not just disuading them from bringing caught birds inside.

     

    Its a good idea but the trouble is I already own a wire fox terrier who is not cat friendly at all. He catches the odd rat as well so I'd recommend getting yourself a terrier if you're bothered by either cats or rats! The cats sneak in when he's not around i.e snoozing upstairs so i think the electronic device will be the best option for me to fill in the gaps between terrier patrol.

    I agree cats should come under more control as their faeces are even more dangerous to children than that of dogs and of course you never see the one lurking in your flower beds etc until it's too late. I'm sure if my dog wandered into peoples gardens, killed their fish/birds etc and poohed all over the garden there would be uproar and he would be taken away and probably put down!

  • Placing clippings from thorny or spiky plants under bird feeders and under bushes will prevent cats from using these areas to stalk birds,

    This part of your answer is ideal as I have a firethorn bush in my front garden which I have just pruned. these clippings can go under the conifers where the cats sneak in.

  • Before anyone gets caught up in scattering plastic water-filled bottles about, I'm sorry to say that this has long ago been debunked as an 'urban myth' but keeps cropping up again in a slightly different guise.  Originally, many years ago, it was started as a practical joke, supposedly to prevent dogs fouling front lawns.  The 'jokesters' must have got a lot of fun out of their success, as for years everywhere we went, front lawns were scattered with half-full plastic bottles!  As so many of those who were caught up in this can tell you, it just didn't work!   Nor will it work for 'scaring' cats!!  Every now and then someone finds an old posting on the internet and away it goes again!  I'm afraid this is one practical joke which, thanks to the internet, really has gone viral.  ;-).

  • To be honest, with regards to the plastic bottles method of scaring cats, I'd have to admit from personal experiance that it can be limited as a deterrent.  I think this is mainly to do with cats eventually getting over the initial shock of seeing their reflection in water.  So as a method of seeing off invading cats its probably only useful if the bottles are moved around regularly.  As for positioning the bottles, I think its best to place them so that cats don't get a view of them until they are close to them.  Of course if you have a serious problem with cats, I don't think half-filled plastic bottles alone will help.

     

    Paul.

  • I agree, Wattle15.  Have been a cat owner and confirm that they are actually intelligent beings and not fooled by such things.  (the water bottle idea, I mean.)

    Re my previous suggestion, I found the Company which sells 'Silent Roar' which is lions dung & sounds to me much more likely to work than most of the others. it is available from Expert Verdict on:  www.expertverdict.com and costs £12.95 for 500 g. - enough for '3 months in medium sized garden'. Worth a try I would think.

  • black or white pepper sprinkled over the ground where they go will deter cats for at lest a month if not longer when dry but wares off quickly in wet weather i  am trying pepper corns as they dont get washed away

    they really hate the pepper it gets up their noses and apparently causes alot of pain

    so just the sleightess wiff will get them running away

  • Wonderwoody

    Absolutely sick of them! Even though my wire fox terrier does a good job of seeing them off there are still 2 who creep in when he's not looking and they are taking my birds. They've also made off with four of my new fish and quite a few of my frogs, even though there is a net over the pond. It's heartbreaking and as much as I love animals/wildlife/birds etc I am ready to get a gun and shoot the things. My son, who's a university student, also gets pretty wound up about it and he says "mum, you just know that when that cat goes back to its home the owner will be saying 'oh look at darling Tiddles, he's brought his mummy a little birdie', but we've seen the other side of that!" If anyone has any ideas other than a gun I would be grateful because hearing those birds screaming as they're caught is very upsetting for us all.

    Hi Wonderwoody,  Have you actually seen the cats taking fish from your pond?  The reason I ask is that several friends and I were losing a lot of fish from our ponds, so we decided to monitor the ponds using cheap but effective cctv which we connected to otherwise defunct VCR's - the results were that Herons were the culprits, and although many cats were captured on film not one of them went anywhere near the ponds, our conclusions were that cats taking fish from ponds was an urban myth!  I do hope our findings were correct as I am having enough problems with the Herons as it is!

    On the subject of marauding cats - My garden has been designed to be creature friendly but I have a large number of feral cats in my area and they are decimating the wildlife in my garden, I have contacted all the supposedly relevant authorities - who proved to a person to be totally inneffctive - Cats protection League will only capture the moggies neuter/spay them and re-release them back in the same area.

    I am fully aware that feelings run very high when this subject rears it's ugly head but I feel that Ferals should be euthanised (is that spelt right?)  after all the RSPB ordered a cull on the Ruddy duck due to its rampant breeding with indigenous species - threatening to destroy the strains - so why not feral cats? are they not endangering our native species too?

    I have to confess that I am not really that comfortable with destroying the cats - but needs be.

    I shall now sit back and brace meself for the barrage of replies caling me all sorts of nasty person.

  • When, you won't cop any flack from me!!!  There are far to many feral cats, and this is a world-wide problem.  If they are born feral, they stay feral, and do not make suitable candidates as family pets.  They grow big and savage because they have to be so to survive, and are very successful hunters indeed.  Capture and euthanasia is by far the kindest solution.  Here, in our state forests, and soon to be in our national parks, licenced hunters are encouraged to shoot feral animals, and feral cats are very high on the priority list because of the damage they do to native wildlife. 

     I love our native wildlife.  I also love my cat, and take full responsibility for his actions.  Cats CAN usually be trained not to hunt birds, and where this is not possible, must be prevented from hunting them.  A bell around the neck just doesn't do it.  Cats very soon learn to walk and even run silently while wearing these, so the collars are worse than useless because they lull the cat owner into a state of false security.  If you aren't prepared to ensure your pet does no harm to wildlife, DON'T HAVE THEM!

  • Wattle15

    When, you won't cop any flack from me!!!  There are far to many feral cats, and this is a world-wide problem.  If they are born feral, they stay feral, and do not make suitable candidates as family pets.  They grow big and savage because they have to be so to survive, and are very successful hunters indeed.  Capture and euthanasia is by far the kindest solution.  Here, in our state forests, and soon to be in our national parks, licenced hunters are encouraged to shoot feral animals, and feral cats are very high on the priority list because of the damage they do to native wildlife. 

     I love our native wildlife.  I also love my cat, and take full responsibility for his actions.  Cats CAN usually be trained not to hunt birds, and where this is not possible, must be prevented from hunting them.  A bell around the neck just doesn't do it.  Cats very soon learn to walk and even run silently while wearing these, so the collars are worse than useless because they lull the cat owner into a state of false security.  If you aren't prepared to ensure your pet does no harm to wildlife, DON'T HAVE THEM!

    Hi Wattle, That is what I simply adore about the Aussie attitude - straight to the point - no fussin - get in there do the job and get out - oh how I dispair of the fluffy brit attitude.

    Like you I love our wildlife and would not want to see any creature suffer, and do not begrudge feral beasts their lives - we all have to eat - but a balance must be struck. Here in England feral cats are now protected! - how stupid is that, I could easily trap and destroy them humanely but would face the wrath of the police, I am really narked off with the double standards of this country and some of it's people - if I had me time again I would definately have been an Aussie citizen years ago, too old now sob sob

  • The thing is with cats is that that they completely screw up the food chain as, in normal/natural circumstances, there would not be anywhere near the concentration of predators in a given built up area were it not for dometic (and i use the term loosely) cats.  I find small anti personnel land mines are the best bet - they make a bit of a mess though.

  • Yes I hate them too Wonderwoody. Last Spring in my garden was total carnage, however, after some serious garden reorganisation I think I have cracked it. I moved planters around to block vulnerable areas and I also  bought something called PRIKKA -STRIP from my local hardware store which I fixed on the top of the fence panels where they came in my garden. This has done the trick as they clearly do not like the feel of spikey plastic under their dainty little feet! I haven't had a cat in my garden now for a month - although they are still around as I've seen them in my neighbours garden. Constant vigilance is required though -as who knows when the 'enemy' will reappear!

  • Whilst I appreciate the comments from Red Robin and that harming animals, any animals, is a serious cause for concern I must admit that when browsing down the thread and reaching Richard's post I had to laugh out loud!

    I've had similar problems here with neighbours cats and the best answer, for everyone concerned, were bells on the collar........

    I'm still smiling as I write this.......thanks for making my day Richard.....