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“Despite the large numbers of birds killed, there is no scientific evidence that predation by cats in gardens is having any impact on bird populations UK-wide.”
Quote RSPB:- ‘Cats and Garden Birds’
MG and myself are keen birders and on a recent trip up Strathspey we visited a new RSPB hide at Insh Marshes where we picked up some information leaflets including one entitled ‘Cats and Garden Birds’. At home we have a number of feeders in the garden and, also, a couple of Siamese cats! The leaflet proved to be very interesting and the following contains quotes and information from the leaflet. So, why do the RSPB make the above claim?
1) Between a quarter and a third of all animals killed by cats are birds. Most of the rest are mice and voles.
2) Many millions of birds die naturally each year, mainly through starvation, disease or other forms of predation.
3) There is some evidence that cats tend to take weak or sickly birds.
4) We also know that of the millions of baby birds hatched out each year, most die before reaching breeding age.
5) It is possible that most of the birds killed by cats would have died anyway from other causes.
6) Those bird species that have undergone the most serious population decline (eg skylark, tree sparrows and corn buntings) rarely encounter cats.
Never the less, I agree that it is better if cat predation is reduced and the leaflet then goes on to give ideas on how to do this. There is a cat collar with a quick release device that pops open under pressure (the same idea as with the ties worn by police officers etc) and this should release easily if caught in a hedge. For non-cat owners the RSPB suggest an ultrasonic cat deterrent and claim that their CATWatch device will reduce cat visits to the garden so should also help those who have a problem with cats using the garden for a toilet.
Finally, for would be shooters, there is a reminder that cats are protected by law and that it is an offence to trap, injure or kill them.
As a case study I look at our own situation. When our cats make a kill they like to bring a ‘little present’ for Mum & Dad. The kill is deposited and eaten in the sitting room, dining room or back doorstep so, undesirable as this is, we do have a fairly clear picture of what they kill. Actually, it is not a lot and the two main species are house sparrows and goldfinches. Are they in decline? Ten years ago a goldfinch was a rarity in our garden and something to get excited about. Now, we have a horde of twenty to thirty goldfinches every day. House sparrows have never been an issue as they nest in the eaves of our neighbour’s house and we feed their families for twelve months of the year.
If you wish to read the whole leaflet for yourself it is available on the RSPB web site:

You might also be interested in two other RSPB leaflets:

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Hi Bulbaholic, Where we are most of the smaller birds are killed by bigger birds, the cats seem to kill more mice, voles etc, than anything else, Derek.

6 Jan, 2014


We have always had cats, and they never wear collars ... yet I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of birds they have killed over the years.
I know this because as you say, they always bring their prey home.

Some people just don't like cats and will say anything to discredit them.

6 Jan, 2014


I have 3 cats and many bird feeders in the garden. All my cats wear quick release collars with bells fitted to act as an early warning system. I know that these collars do work by the rate at which I have to replace - there is at least 1 loss a week, collar that is.
My cats are more inclined to bring home mice, voles and rabbits.
We have a neighbours new kitten coming out now and they refuse to put a collar on him. We now call him kamikaze kitten - due to the fact that the birds don't hear him coming therefore they aren't alerted as quickly as they are with other cats. He leaps from everywhere to catch them. I dread the day I will find him impaled somewhere he shouldn't be!
Thanks for putting this on - I saw the question the other day and chose not to post.

6 Jan, 2014


My word i did not see this blog and ive just put a light hearted blog on about cats/birds.
Just in case i do like cats :-) VERY MUCH!

6 Jan, 2014


Thankyou Mr B, will have a look, like you I have cats and also feed the birds, a few years ago the sparrows were a rarity around here but they made a comeback, now there are literally hundreds of them, we always get the finches, birds of the tit family, blackbirds and in recent years the doves and pigeons have increased in vast numbers, the flipping magpies are more of a threat than anyones cat.....
I find a short sharp squirt with a water pistol or the hose discourages the cats and with my own I teach them where they are allowed to go.......

6 Jan, 2014


Thankyou Bulba - a very informative blog.

6 Jan, 2014


My mother always said cat collars got stuck on twigs.

7 Jan, 2014

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