Cats or birds?

14 June 2020 by
Living together in peace Living together in peace
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What should we do if we love cats but also worry about the blackbirds and sparrows living in our garden?


After taking care of nestlings, injured birds and adopted cats for years I do not really feel partial to any of them, and I am sure there is a solution, so we do not need to choose.


The culture of keeping animals is not really developed well enough in our country, many people don’t feed cats properly, not to mention their care and vaccination. It can have many reasons. Firstly, there is still a bad habit of saying that “they’ll be fine, they can catch something for themselves”, and on the other hand, in many cases there is not enough food on the table for even the people. As a result, obviously the number of birds also declines in the area, and most of the stray pets are still starving, as not all of them are hunters.


For example Snowflake, who was saved from the attic from another village, was guarding the little nestling that fell on the ground until we put the birdy back into the nest. Of course I have a counterexample as well, the beloved Socks. After her owner died, she had been a member of a wild cat colony for a year before her adoption, perhaps this is the reason why her ability to catch smaller animals has developed so well.


So it is good to be aware of the fact that it is only a myth that all of them can catch birds. However, it is unquestionable that it is in their blood, and most of them cannot resist the tweeting temptation.



So if you don’t want cats wondering in your garden, I would suggest the following gracious solutions:


  • Sterilised cats usually do not go too far from their home, so it is easy to figure out who the owners are, and we can try to talk to them politely and find a solution together. This could be, for instance, keeping the cat inside in a safer place, a vertical cat proof fence with a safe top, or a spacious catio.


  • In certain cases an abundance of breakfast can work too, which can help discouraging them from hunting.


  • Moreover, we can try to keep away unknown cats by putting rose or acacia branches beside the fence, or we can plant thorny bushes there, like raspberries.


  • I have heard another great tip recently from the leader of a cat rescue association, namely an elastic collar with a small bell. It was invented specifically for this reason, and it is important to be flexible, because in case it gets caught in something, the cat can get her head out easily. On top of that, its tightness should be checked regularly by slipping one finger underneath it, since that way they will be unable to trap their legs in the collar. And it is also worth putting a tag with your phone number on it.


  • Unfortunately it is not a fail-proof solution when birdies leaving their nests for the first time, so if we are aware of some sparrows or thrushes trying their wings in our garden, close our beloved pet at least for a few days, until the young birds become stronger.


  • The smell of coffee grounds can also help keep them away, we can throw it on the ground around the tree where the nest is. But this is not a foolproof method either.



  • If we think that the cats visiting our garden have no owners, it is worth domesticating them, since all animals have souls, and they can also become our loyal and grateful friends. But if we don’t want to do that, or we can’t afford taking care of more pets, we should call a cat rescue foundation, who can help finding a new home for them. If you just chased them away, you would probably drive away some starving or ill living beings, who would need your help.


  • Sterilisation is also important to avoid another unwanted litter.


To sum up, I would definitely suggest everybody to try to keep the cats inside, with connection to an outside kennel if possible, or for lack of it, with a cat proof fence. If you can’t do the latter due to financial reasons, but you want to take them outside, you can still accustom them to a leash fixed to a harness, and then you can walk together. Thus they will live longer, as we protect them from accidents, and we don’t put the protected bird species in danger either.



(The Hungarian translation is available on


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