Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: August 18, 2023 by Crystal Uys


Written by Stephen Pritchard

Cats have been domesticated for more than 10,000 years, but domesticated cats still share many attributes with wild cats. The desire to hunt is one of them. Many cat lovers are also big bird fans, which means cats’ remarkable hunting skills can often be cause for concern.

Indoor cats live longer and healthier lives, but some cat guardians just can’t or won’t confine their cats to live indoors. The following will help you make your garden safer for birds if your cats go outside.

Attach a bell

A bell on your cat’s collar can warn birds that they’re about to be had for lunch. A study by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds found that a bell on a collar could reduce predation of birds by 41%, making it a simple and effective way to help keep birds safer.

Keep your cat well fed

As many as 25% of cats in the UK are considered obese; in the United States, that number is a staggering 53%. It goes without saying that it’s important to not over-feed your cat. However, if your cat is underfed, he or she is much more likely to go searching for food elsewhere.

Choose dinner time wisely

Birds are most vulnerable during sunset and sunrise, as this is when they are most likely to feed. Try feeding your cat at these times so they’ll be less likely to catch birds.

Keep bird feeders above ground

If you enjoy a garden full of birds you probably feed them. Avoid leaving birdseed on the ground – this invites cats to pounce on unsuspecting birds. Instead, place feeders where cats will have trouble getting to them. Consider placing spikey plants such as holly around feeding stations and bird baths to keep cats at paw’s length.

When things go wrong

It can be distressing to bird lovers when your cat brings his prey into your home. Remember that it’s in your cat’s nature to hunt and attempting to discipline or scold the cat will have little effect but to upset him.

With proper precautions, birds and cats can peacefully coexist in your garden.

This article was written on behalf of helpucover. helpucover is a trading style of Pinnacle Insurance plc, an insurance company who offer a range of cover including Income Protection, Pet Insurance, GAP insurance and Gadget Insurance. For more information, visit

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9 Comments on How to Keep Wild Birds Safe from Your Cat

  1. I have many neighbor cats that room around and I have found parts of birds left on my deck or ground. I had quite feeding but; the birds but; some good tips to have one up high outside. I have a bird in the house and he hangs high up and out of reach as I have one that was a stray and loves to try to get the bird. I really didn’t want to give up either so I did this. He can watch him and the bird is safe.

  2. The poor cat I grew up with was a victim of birds. They used to dive bomb him and peck him on the head. Now my tame cats are indoors-only. As far as ferals are concerned, the key is getting them neutered and overfeeding them. Yes, overfeeding them. My ferals are fat, and I have yet to see one dead bird in 4 years of maintaining a feral colony of around 12 cats at an apartment complex.

    • That’s a great suggestion for those who are feeding feral cats, Rainy. While we don’t want ferals to join the obesity epidemic, feeding them enough so they don’t have to hunt will certainly help!

      • I hadn’t thought to consider that feeding the ferals would help to keep the local birds safe. Rainy is completely right about the key to the feral colonies is having them neutered, and keeping them appropriately well-fed makes perfect sense now that it has been brought to my attention.

  3. I’ll never forget visiting friends upstate NY and sitting watching the birds at and below the feeder. Their cat came over and went into a hunting posture ready to attack one of the birds. I said to my friend that I didn’t think it was fair to lure the birds so the cat could attack them. She replied that the cat never can catch the birds because they are too fast. Just then, right before our eyes, the cat pounced and caught an adorable little chickadee! We were both in shock. She said she had never seen the cat catch one in all the years they’d lived there. Guess she wasn’t always watching.

  4. I’ve read that putting a bell on a cat’s collar is a constant irritant to their highly sensitive hearing. Besides, a cat quickly learns how to move without jiggling the bell, so it’s rendered ineffective. Seems cruel to me.

    • That’s interesting. I’ve always thought that bells would be irritating for cats, but I had not heard that they can figure out how to move without jiggling the bell. I shouldn’t be surprised – after all, they’re cats! 🙂

  5. I honestly believe that this whole cats killing off all the birds thing is some myth because I’ve had cats my whole life and I think like 2 birds have ever been killed. I’ve watched my cats, it’s REALLY hard for them to catch them. Our neighborhood is FULL of birds, we wake up in the spring/summer to hundreds of birds singing. Just in my life, in my experience, I haven’t seen any of this to be true.

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