My neighbor's cat spends a lot of time in my backyard. Should I be concerned about it killing my birds?

What can I do to keep cats out of my backyard?

There are over 60 million domestic cats in the United States.

Feral and free-ranging cats kill millions (some estimates exceed 200 million) of native birds and other small animals annually;

Birds constitute approximately 20%-30% of the prey of feral and free-ranging domestic cats;

The American Ornithologists' Union, American Association of Wildlife Veterinarians, International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians, Inc., and the Cooper Ornithological Society have concluded that feral, homeless, lost, abandoned, or free-ranging domestic cats are proven to have serious negative impacts on bird populations, and have contributed to the decline of many bird species. Worldwide, cats may have been involved in the extinction of more bird species than any other cause, except habitat destruction.

What you can do...

- If your neighbor has a cat try to educate them on the danger to the birds that you feed and encourage them to keep their cat inside.

- Cats can be discouraged from coming into your yard by exposure to water from your garden hose.

- Cats do not like loud noises. They can sometimes be trained to stay out of your yard if you have a noisemaker ready whenever you see the cat. A metal can filled with coins can be loudly shaken or a child's "ray gun" can be used to discourage visits.

- Do not feed cats other than your own. Do what you can to eliminate cat's artificial food sources. Bring in pet food at night and secure trash cans by fastening the lid tightly or enclosing in a bin with a locking lid. 

- Keep bird feeders away from bushes and underbrush where cats can hide. If a free-roaming cat remains a problem at your feeder, you may need to stop feeding birds for while to allow the cat to move to other hunting areas.

- When all else fails you can trap the cat in a humane way and transport it to an animal shelter.   Make trapping a pet cat a last resort and check your local ordinances first!  In some communities, it is illegal to trap a neighbor's cat even on your property.  Use a live trap baited with sardines or tuna spread on newspaper or a paper plate. Place the bait in the back of the trap so that the cat must enter the trap to get the bait. Check the trap regularly, preferably every hour. To keep from capturing animals such as raccoons and opossums, only trap during the day. Be very careful not to be bitten or scratched; stray or feral cats can carry rabies and other diseases. You can receive additional technical assistance on dealing with nuisance domestic cats through your local Humane society or animal shelter.

Close - P.O. Box 181 - McKinney, TX 75070
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