How to Protect Garden Birds From Cats

Written by Danny Yeoman, Wild Bird Expert


With 11 million pet cats currently in the UK, there is no denying they are a popular pet. Unfortunately with cat ownership, there often comes the risk of wildlife hunting. 

Our feline friends are designed to be the perfect predator. We can’t really blame them for doing what comes so naturally. However hunting behaviours can be distressing and can have an impact on wild bird populations. 

Here are some top tips for reducing hunting and keeping your beloved garden birds safe. 

Use a Cat Collar & Bell

According to research from the RSPB, cats that wear collars with bells, came home with  41% fewer birds than usual. 

This is an easy and inexpensive way to give our feathered friends a helping hand. Remember a cat collar should always be quick releasing to allow them to escape if they get tangled up. 


Lock Cats Inside 

Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting your feline friend needs to be locked in all the time. However it is worth keeping your cat in, when wildlife is vulnerable. 

Birds are likely to be feeding or searching on the ground for food after rain or damp weather. Birds are also very active an hour before sunset and an hour after sunrise. 


Play with your Cat

Our moggies are made to hunt! Hunting behaviour in cats is primarily driven by endorphins. Ultimately our cats hunt because it fulfils their natural instinct and physically and mentally enriches them. 

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t expertly replicate the hunting process at home… Play is the perfect way to give your cat a ‘hunting high’, without harming wildlife. 

Dedicating 15-20 minutes twice a day to play with your cat and engage their hunting senses. This will greatly reduce the amount of prey they bring back into the home. 

The trick is learning to play properly, for help check out our Guide to Playing with Cats. 


Neuter and Spay 

Neutering and spaying is an essential part of cat ownership. This reduces unwanted pregnancies, disease, stress and straying. 

In tact cats are more likely to wander, thus encountering and endangering more wild birds. A neutered cat is ultimately a much happier cat!


Feed a High Quality Diet 

Cats that are often left unsatisfied with their meal or are inadvertently not fed enough, are more likely to seek nutritional extras…

A well fed, well played with cat is more likely to stick close to home and close to their owners side. The perfect cat diet should be high in meat, high in fat and packed with beneficial extras such as joint care, prebiotics and omega 3 oils. 

For more help understanding cat diets, check out this Guide to Cat Nutrition. 

Remember even if you have a cat, feeding the garden birds always does more good than harm.

Feed your feathered visitors the very best and nutritious diets, head over here to find out more about Peter & Paul Wild Bird Food.