B is for Birds: Birds and CatsAs part of the A to Z blogging challenge, today's letter is: B. My topic today is Birds and Cats.
Cat's Fascination with Birds
It's a little after eight in the morning, and already I've chased Groucho off of the bluebird house in our backyard. The man who built our home (and who we consider a friend now) gave us a lovely handmade bluebird house as a gift after we moved in. Another friend gave me a bluebird house, and my husband built me several. We placed them around the yard and lovingly watched our new tenants.
Until this happened:
At first, we thought it was funny. Then one morning I looked out of my kitchen window and saw to my horror that Groucho, our tiniest cat, was on top of the bird house like his brother Whitey above. Except that Grouch leaned over and very casually fished into the birdhouse, snagging a baby bluebird which he was drawing very carefully from the nest.
I raced outside and managed to unhook the terrified bird from his claws and shove it back into the nest. Scruffed, cuffed and I hope chastened, Groucho was marched into the house, where he eagerly watched the birdhouse from the windows for another hour.
He's still a menace to the birds. He tried it again this morning, except that the nest was empty.
The scene of the crime....
Birds and Cats
According to the Perfect Paws website, all cats are born with a hunting instinct. Whether that instinct is strong or weak depends on the individual cat. It doesn't matter how well-fed or domesticated the cat. Motion, such as the fluttering of wings or the scampering of rodent feet, attracts the attention of cats.
Once their attention is caught, cats go into the stalk-pounce-grab mode. The stalking mode is familiar to pet parents everywhere. The cat's pupils dilate, and it goes into the hunter's crouch. The hindquarters may wiggle as the cat's muscles twitch in anticipation of the pounce. (Known to us in this house as: wiggle butt.)
Then, when the moment is right, the cat springs into action. The pouncing, grab, kill motion completes the cycle whether a cat is stalking a bird, a mouse, or his favorite toy.
Preventing Bird Deaths from Cats
The only way that I know of to prevent cats from killing songbirds in the garden is to put a collar with a bell on the cat. If you do put a collar on your cat, make sure it is the 'breakaway' kind that if caught on a branch or fence, stretches or opens so as not to harm your cat. The bell tinkles as the cat moves, warning birds of impending doom.
Now this is all well and good, but I find I can't take my own advice. The last time I tried to put collars on the outdoor cats, Shy Boy, Groucho's brother, thought it was great fun to grab the end of the collar tab and pull. I caught him just in time as he was choking his brother with Groucho's own collar. So much for collars. Whitey is like Houdini, wriggling out of his collar seconds after it's on and Shy Shy wants to kill his brother in play. So I'm safer without them.
I am home most of the time. I work from home, and so when I spy Groucho stalking his prey, or climbing on top of the bluebird house the way Whitey did above, I can catch him and bring him indoors. Usually after an hour or so he settles down for a nap on my bed and forgets all about the bluebirds.
Until next time.
Cats and birds...what's your experience? Leave a comment below!
|Groucho, adorable but a confirmed bird hunter.|