About Our Cat Friends

Domestic Cats

Why is this such a problem?

Many of us here at Bird Refuge are cat lovers as well as bird lovers. But, we believe that owners must take responsibility for their animals. Every year domestic cats seriously injure, maim, or kill millions of protected songbirds and other wildlife in our nation. Most owners are unaware as to how vast the damage is because cats that roam often take victims outside of their yard. Although it is instinctive for cats to hunt, the domestic cat is not a natural predator for wild birds. They are another man-made threat to our native wild birds. The results are deadly! In addition, the danger to cats who run wild is very real - feral cats live an average of 2 years, domestic cats allowed to roam freely outside live an average of 5 years but cats kept indoors live an average of 15 years!

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Nest, dragged down by cat, with two barely alive chicks still remaining.
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Notitce the bruising and swelling where the chick has been mauled by a cat.
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Mother opossum defending her young against stalking cat.
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Adult dove with near-fatal puncture wounds that were described by donor as "a little cut"

Each spring and summer large numbers of nestlings, fledglings and even adult birds are injured by cats. Bird Refuge treats birds with horrendous injuries commonly seen as fractured or crushed bones, punctured internal organs, skin and feathering that has been bitten or clawed away. Even what appears to the untrained eye as minor wounds lead to fatal infections if not treated immediately due to bacterium carried in the cat's saliva. If you care about our songbirds and other wildlife, you will want to obey state and federal laws and take responsibility. Here are a few tips to help:

At a minimum, keep your cat indoors during the heavy nesting months from May through August. Some mistakenly believe that allowing the cat to go outdoors in the evening results in fewer attacks. Many nests are destroyed at night. Often, one of the parents is killed on the nest along with the chicks. The parent bird has no defense for a night attack. Putting bells on cats helps very little. Most cats learn to stalk in such a way as to "silence" the bells. Fledglings just learning to fly are too inexperienced to escape.

Allow your cat outdoor time by attaching a long leash to a clothesline while keeping a close eye on him. This will keep him from roaming the neighborhood.

For More Information

For helpful information on how to keep your cat indoors and train an outdoor cat to stay indoors, see American Bird Conservancy, The Humane Society of the United States, and You can also build an outdoor enclosure for you cat which keeps it and wildlife safe Outoor Cat Enclosure

Keeping your cat indoors as a responsible owner is not only safer for wildlife but for your cat. And yes, we have had our own indoor cats for years.