How To Stop Your Cat From Hunting Birds

June 1, 2017

Is your cat a master hunter? Want some tips on how you can help prevent your cat from catching birds or bringing in dead mice? Nadia Crighton investigates the new products to help to stop your cat from hunting.

Cats are masters at the pounce, play and catch! For many cat owners finding mice or, worse still, rats on the lounge-room floor is an annoying occurrence (cue mum screaming at this point!).

Cats love to chase and weed out these feral rodents. However, most cat owners do not appreciate the left-overs strewn across the kitchen floor.

The other concern is birds. Over the years our purring princesses and princes have had the finger firmly pointed at them as the main cause of the demise of native bird populations around the world. With so many vets and cat professionals on either side of the bird killing debate, most cat owners agree that regardless of who is right or wrong, they would prefer their cats not to bring anything dead or clinging to life into the family home.

So, what can you do to stop your cat from killing rodents or birds?

The most obvious one is keeping your cat indoors. However, for some cats, this is an impossible notion. Perhaps keeping them inside during the night time. However, if you want to turn your outdoor dwelling cat into an indoor cat, this will take patience and willpower (and a whole different blog!). More info on turning your outdoor dwelling kitty into an indoor cat here.

The latest trend in helping prevent the killer instinct is specially designed cat collars. For many cat owners, the days of strapping a bell to your cat are diminishing. Not only can some cats still hunt regardless of how many bells they have on, some cats have even been known to sit outside their owner’s windows at night shaking the bell continuously until they are swiftly removed (yes, our feline friends are incredibly smart and resourceful!).

Here are some of the new and improved top selling cat collars to prevent hunting and how they work;

The CatBib
This incredible CatBib was scientifically trailed at Murdoch University and found to stop over 80% of cats killing birds and small prey. They are a safe bib that is secured using a strong hook and loop fastening. It’s made from lightweight neoprene that is not only soft and stretchy, but also incredibly durable. The CatBib acts as a barrier between the cat and its prey. When your cat pounces; the bib gets in the way of the hunting process and allows the prey to escape. The bright colour also acts as a warning signal for possible prey. These are by far the most effective new way to help prevent your cat from hunting prey. They also come with reflective designs.

BirdsBeSafe Collar
These BirdsBeSafe collars are great at reducing the amount of prey your cat catches. The brightly coloured collar resembles a hair-scrunchie (yes, think 1980s Madonna style). The bright colours act as a flag to warn birds and rodents that the cat is near and ready to hunt.

Flashing Cat Collars
These cat collars are also good at preventing your cat from being struck by a vehicle at night. Making your cat super-visible, they have also been known to help prevent that number of rodents and birds caught during night time hunting sessions. Understandably these do not work as efficiently during the day.

Sonic Wave Cat Collars
These devices can be attached to your cat’s collar and emit a sonic wave warning birds that a cat is near. The jury is still out on how effective these collars are; some reports note that they can reduce the prey death rate by 51%.

Cat Bells
Even though they are the oldest form of prevention, they do reduce the number of successful hunts. Studies have shown that cats who wear bells killed fewer birds than those who did not. In total during the six-week study, the cats not wearing the collar caught 378 animals, including 82 birds. When the cats wore bells, they caught only 41 birds by comparison. The type of cat bell can also make an impact. The cowbell shape is much more effective than the tinkle of a ball bell.

Alarm Cat Collars
These cat collars sometimes emit a beep, while some are pounce reactive and will signal and audio and visual alarm to the prey. Some owners have reported a reduction in caught prey, while some cats adapt their hunting techniques to avoid the activation.

Keeping your cat inside at night (from dusk till dawn) or building an outdoor cat enclosure is the best advice to keep your cat from hunting. Obviously having a litter box available during this time is paramount.

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