What can Bremer do when their cats catch little birds

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picture: imago | impression

Domestic cats hunt many young birds during the breeding season – and kill them. We asked experts how cat owners can help birds.

There are always wild numbers circulating online about how many birds cats hunt and kill in Germany – there is talk of up to 200 million birds a year. Bird conservation expert Lars Lachmann of the German Conservation Union (NABU) finds that too high due to the lack of reliable calculation models. He is even convinced that “no bird species in Germany are threatened by cats.” The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) agrees.

However: Cats also naturally hunt birds, especially species that are easily accessible, such as blackbirds, robins, or sparrows. They also like to take them home with them, not necessarily to please their owners.

Why do cats actually hunt, even if they are well fed?
Cats are hunters by nature, and you can’t break this instinct about them. When pet cats hunt birds or small animals such as mice, it is often to pass the time and satisfy their desire to play.
Why do cats like to bring their prey home?
Even if it is inconvenient for the owner to find a dead bird or mouse on his doorstep or even inside its four walls: in fact, this is intended as a sign of appreciation, that is, an expensive gift. And accordingly, you should not scold your cat, but thank her.

Domestic tigers are harmless to the ornithologist. Outdoor cats that still have a home hunt just to pass the time. The biggest problem for birds are feral domestic cats.

Lars Lachmann, Bird Conservation Expert at Naboo

woman playing with cat
When cats are properly occupied, their hunting instincts decrease. (Icon picture)

Photo: Imago | addictive stock

How do I prevent my cat from hunting birds and other animals out of boredom?
The answer is quite straightforward: make sure to satisfy your cat’s playful instinct. When your cat is busy, she has less reason to hunt.
Are there other ways to reduce my domestic cat’s hunting instinct?
NABU and other nature conservation organizations recommend that domestic cats be neutered or spayed. This is especially useful for kitten cats, who then roam much less often. This also prevents the spread of feral cats, which are a much bigger problem for birds and small animals than for domestic cats.
Neutral and always busy, the cat keeps the dead birds with her – what’s the point now?
Then the cat should become an alarm signal for the birds. There are two ways to do this: First, you can put a bell on it so you can hear the birds early when a cat sneaks up on it. But this has two drawbacks: cats are very sensitive to noise and therefore need some time to get used to the bell. On the other hand, many domestic tigers sneak up so cautiously that they can move without ringing the bell.

The second possibility is the so-called cat collars. They are so strikingly colorful that young hunters quickly notice the birds. But here too, it may take some time for the house cat to get used to it.

Wouldn’t it be better not to let the cat go out in the first place?
Conservationists actually recommend this – but not as a permanent measure, but only during the breeding season from mid-May to mid-July. Then you should not let the cats go out in the morning hours.

In general, you cannot leave cats in your apartment or house permanently unless you get used to them at an early age. Once they get to know the freedom of movement abroad, they want to have it again and again.

If cat owners are constantly making sure that their cats are not outdoors in the morning hours from mid-May to mid-July, this will be very beneficial for the birds, as this is when most of the fledgling young birds are outside.

Bird protection expert Lars Lachmann from Naboo

Can I also actively protect birds?
For example, you can make tree nests resistant to cats by installing metal or plastic cat repellent collars. For this purpose, nesting boxes should be installed at a height of at least 2 meters so that cats find it difficult to reach them. Land breeders help landscape gardens with dense shrubs. There is good protection for birds, especially when it comes to shrubs with thorns, such as hawthorn or wild roses.

This topic is in the program:
Bremen Ains, today, May 18, 2022, 11:30 pm

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