Problem with neighbour's birder cat

jannab(5 NS)September 30, 2007

Can anybody help me with suggestions about what to do with a particularly annoying cat? I have bird feeders on my deck and no matter how many times I chase her off, she's back again and she catches some, which drives me crazy. I think I'll put a gate at the top of the deck stairs, which won't stop her, but she'll have to jump up on the railing and at least the birds would see her and get some warning. Is there any kind of spray or substance I could put down which would turn her off?

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nestmaster(5b WA-USA)

Many bird feeders can turn out to be cat feeders. Best to talk with your neighbor and/or figure out how you can place your feeders so that the cat can't get near them. We gave up on feeders for their propensity to spread disease unless cleaned very well and very often. We now occasionally toss bird seed into a 25' blue spruce and our dog does a good job of keeping cats out of the yard. You might consider getting a pooch.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2007 at 8:39AM
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buford(7 NE GA)

The only thing you can do is make the feeders too high for the cat. Of course, then you'd have to climb up to fill them, but it might be worth it. I have 3 cats that go outside and feeders in the yard (not deck) on 8 foot poles. You also need to leave the area around the bottom of the poles clear so the cats can't sneak up on the birds.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2007 at 9:56PM
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terryr(z5a IL)

Talk to the neighbor about the cat trespassing on your property and why you object to it trespassing. If they continue to let the cat roam, call animal control about using a trap. Trap it and call animal control to come and get it or take it in yourself. There are many many sites you can find that list why it's in the best interest of the cat to be inside and not out. I don't understand anyway. There's leash laws for dogs, but nothing for cats. The neighbors cat can come onto your property at will and hunt birds, but if you have a dog and it goes onto their property and hunts the cat down, that's wrong. Cats and dogs aren't a part of nature.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2007 at 8:57PM
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I agree, talking to the neighbor is the best tactic. It will keep both the kitty and the birdies safe. Please don't take their pet to animal control. If you feel you must trap the cat, return it to the owner in the trap.

As a girl, I leash trained a 3 year old outdoor/indoor cat after a neighbor threatened him. Cats can convert. Humans are harder to work with. My current kitty has a 20 foot leash for supervised garden outings.

If kitty takes the same path to the bird feeder, rig up a thread and some pop cans with pennies in them to crash down and create a phobia. You may have to do this more than once or in more than one area.

Good luck with the neighbor. Talk to both spouses if it continues to be a problem. Our neighbor wouldn't keep his dog on a leash, but his wife was able to make him change over the course of a few months. Don't expect them to keep the cat in because they care about the birds. If they do it, it will be because they are concerned about the cat's safety or friendliness with the neighbors. While I'm sure you wouldn't actually do anything to hurt the cat, if you think it would work, carry the kitty back to their house and let them know you are worried about her safety with a "Tony Soprano" tone in your voice. Mention the stray dog/coyote/skunk/speeding car you have seen recently.

Cat-loving and bird-watching
Squirrel Girl

    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 9:33PM
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ljrmiller(z7 NV)

I'd suggest feeding the visiting predatorkitty with nice, fattening, tasty tidbits, as much as kitty wants. She should eventually get too tubby to successfully catch any but the most impaired of birds. Two of mine have cheerfully munched, snacked and cadged their way to a fat old age, and are content to just sit and watch the birds at the feeders. The third only rarely manages to catch a bird now, because he's as old as the other two--they are all between 10 and 13 years old.

At least two of these guys are still good mousers, which is a good thing with my neighbors' mess (the place looks like a personal dump) and the falling birdseed in my garden. The third is good only at chasing shoelaces.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2007 at 1:30AM
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terrene(5b MA)

Ljrmiller, LOL at fattening up the neighborhood cats so they get too chubby to catch a bird! :)

I have two female cats, one is strictly indoors and the other has limited outdoor privileges. Mostly she catches mice, moles, voles, and chipmunks, which is beneficial for the house and gardens, but she does catch the occasional bird - mostly fledglings that she finds and they're not even near the feeders. This bothers me a great deal and she usually has to stay in for a week or so after that.

I also have several neighborhood cats that come through the yard and lurk near the feeders from time to time. Mostly they check out the catnip though.

I understand that cats are a non-native species and they are having a serious impact on populations of native birds. Humans are a non-native species and we're having a serious impact too! Our activities result in many natives birds dying due to loss of habitat, windows, windmills, airplanes, cars, pesticides, etc.

I would NEVER trap someone else's house pet and take it away. I knew the names of the neighborhood cats and the houses they lived in before I even met their owners! I love my pets like family members and imagine other cat owners feel the same way. I would be devistatated if one of my cats disappeared and I never knew what had happened to her.

That said, I would make sure that the feeders are mounted so that the cat can't reach them and that the birds have a nice clear view whenever the cat is around. The birds are quite aware that way when predators are lurking.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2007 at 10:55AM
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terryr(z5a IL)

So if your pet cat that you allow to roam where it wants, comes onto my property and my black lab, who's fenced to stay confined to my property, decided to eat the roaming pet for lunch, that would be fine with you? Or would that too, be my fault? I cannot understand letting a pet, something you consider a family member, roam where ever it chooses to go. To interfere with the serenity that somebody has worked hard on. I've worked hard on my wildlife habitat and to think of some cat coming here to kill the birds, bunnies and chipmunks that call this home, is something I will never understand. And because you can't keep your pet on your own property, I have to make concessions on my property? Mount my feeders up high so the cats can't get them? Mount the bird houses up high too? What happened to it being my property? I don't understand the logic.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2007 at 10:47PM
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terrene(5b MA)

If your dog or a coyote ate my cat for lunch, well that is one of the risks that a cat owner takes when they let their pet outside. I am well aware of the risks, and we have plenty of coyotes in the area, so I minimize her outdoors time and never at night.

There is a reason that one of my cats goes out and the other doesn't - the one who doesn't is a tiny cat who isn't terribly bright. The one who does is wary, intelligent, stays close to the yard, won't go near anybody, even the neighbor lady who'd love to pat her, and I've never seen her cross the road (which is fairly rural anyway). So she is fairly safe when she goes outdoors and does a service by keeping the small rodent population in check near the house and in the gardens. (Is it a coincidence I've never had a problem with moles and voles in the garden?)

When you create a wildlife habitat or put up bird feeders, you are inviting all types of wildlife including predators to come to your property. In the past month, I've had two birds taken from the feeders by a Coopers or Sharpie - despite the fact that they are pole-mounted with baffles out in the open yet within 10-15 feet of plenty of evergreen and deciduous cover.

So mounting the feeders and birdbaths properly doesn't just pertain to cats - it also pertains to squirrels, hawks, raccoons, and other pests that might get into the feeders or predate on the birds.

And lastly, despite the fact that our town has strict leash laws and dogs must be licensed, I still have a wandering neighborhood dog come through the yard about as frequently as does a cat. Neither bothers me in the least, in fact on two occasions I've grabbed onto a neighbor's female golden retriever when she's come through the yard because I know she's normally fenced and not supposed to be running the neighborhood.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2007 at 8:53PM
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terryr(z5a IL)

There's a food chain in nature. I allow the food chain to work as it should. Cats however, aren't a part of the food chain. Never have been, never will. The Cooper or the Sharpie is doing what it is supposed to do. They belong in the wild, a pet cat does not.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2007 at 9:39PM
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I beleive a cat should be kept indoors. They should not be allowed to torment the neighbors buy using their gardens for toilets, spraying their buildings with urine, killing the birds that come to the neighbors feeders, and killing the lizards and frogs that eat insects and walking on the neighbors cars. I trap every cat that comes to my property and call the pound to come and get them. I work really hard on my wildlife garden and yard. If my neighbors want their cat back they better check the pound. This is a wildlife forum. I cant believe you think it is okay for the neighbors cat to come to this persons house and kill the birds that she is trying to save. Wildlife is suffering at the hands of humans and to encourage people to let their cats run free IMO is irresponsible. People need to be educated about this. Cats harm wildlife, it is in their makeup to kill, they cant help it, its what they do naturally. Please keep your pet cats indoors for everyones sake. They said it is not a one time occurence, by accident, it happens a lot.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2007 at 12:11PM
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Animals kill things to live. If too many of one type of animal or bird disease happens to kill the overpopulation. What is better to die by a carnivore not matter what type or starve to death or suficate because the animal is not able to breath or see, such as several of the bird and animal virus's cause.

I know a lot of people do not believe in nature they want their own happy version but nature is mean.

Every one of these messages cause the anti and pro cat factions to come unglued. Some of you really would like what is happening in Puerto Rico right now to happen to all the cats and wild animals but I do wish that you would step out of your cosy world and look at real life.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2007 at 8:36PM
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terryr(z5a IL)

Huh? I'm not unglued and I honestly don't understand what you're trying to say?

    Bookmark   November 14, 2007 at 9:11PM
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Watch this thread go from zero to 60. Almost every time this comes up the thread gets closed down because of the angry reactions of the posters. This is one subject like politics and religion where no one really reads what is posted.

If it is the Puerto Rico part, check the news there is a company(s) in Puerto Rico hired to collect and destroy animals, mostly dogs. They have been throwing them off bridges and doing other things like burying all of them dead or alive in the same grave.

If there is another part that you don't understand I will try to explain if you will tell me what part.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2007 at 9:28PM
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The reason they have to collect animals in such a way is because people let their animals run around and breed. If they kept their animals home then this wouldn't happen. Its the peoples fault not the animal but the animal pays the price for it not the people. Go after the people that let their animals run loose and breed and you will solve that problem of unwanted and abandoned animals. Get them spayed or neutered and keep them home. If you are a cat or dog lover then you would do this for the animal not yourself. It protects them AND everything else. We had a librarian killed here because some people thought their animals should run free. The woman had over 200 bite wounds and died a horrible death. All because someone wouldn't keep their animals home. How selfish.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2007 at 9:52PM
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It is not the collecting that I have a problem but the disregard for life. Many of the animals were collected from their homes and were not running lose. Please read the news.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2007 at 10:22PM
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terryr(z5a IL)

maifleur, I have been here at GW for a good long while. I have seen these types of posts and I do know that some people, not all though, do lose their temper. I think it's sad that a discussion cannot take place without somebody getting all huffy about assuming that others don't read the news. I have an opinion as do you.

The OP came for suggestions about trouble she was having with a neighborhood cat. I gave a suggestion. Please share your suggestion on what you believe the OP should do.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2007 at 11:50PM
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caavonldy(8/9 N CA)

We have 5 cats, all are spayed or nuetered. They don't run free. It's just not safe. As far as the cat that is comming around and killing birds, I would trap it, take it back to it's owner and the owner would be told that it goes to the pound the next time it comes around. It's the owners responsibility to keep the cat out of other peopls yards.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 7:37PM
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To terryr, sorry my comments offended you but my comments were I hope, to make Jannab think about options. My suggestion based on a less contained view of life is that all things are part of nature. Although the cat may catch a bird that is part of life cyle. The best and sharpest will live and when they breed their traits and learning are passed on to the babies.

If a person wishes to sentence an animal to death I personally believe that the person should be there while the animal is put to death. Many times the groups that should attempt to find homes for animals are the worst groups to turn an animal into. In this area depending on which 'shelter' you go to if you bring an animal and claim it to be your own it is immediately destroyed. Their belief is that if the animal was such a nice pet the person giving it up would have found a home. Therefore it is a problem animal. Some will only take tame animals.

The more people are aware of actual conditions the less they are to feel guilty when they make a decision on what to do. It may not be the same decision others would take but a decision they can accept in their own mind.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 9:14PM
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terryr(z5a IL)

maifleur, try as I might, I cannot find anything that backs your assertion that domesticated cats are a part of nature. Could you be so kind as to point me in the correct direction of that fact?

We have only 1 shelter here. A no kill shelter. I have no fear of taking anybody's pet cat out to that shelter. After of course, the owners are already put on warning that their pet is causing destruction on my property.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2007 at 11:26PM
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terryr I am sincerely glad you have only one shelter. Even our no kill shelters run out of space. They do try to place all they can. We have had several no kill shelters in our state that were shut down because they had too many animals and too few donations to maintain what they had. I worked with a group for a short time on catch and release of cats. The things that happen at shelters should never happen any where. Ask your shelter, shelter volunter, or vet what happens when a animal goes to a shelter. Demand to know how things are done or you will get the sugar coated version of how they wish things happen.

I would like everyone that is thinking of taking a animal of any kind to a shelter to volunteer at a shelter it will be a real eye opener.

Nature does not like a vaccum if the domesticated cats were not there doing the job of killing things that they can catch other animals will move in to take the place of the cat. No,domesticated cats are not in most areas what people think of as part of nature,in this country, but they do have a purpose. I would rather have the cats than a pack of cayotes or non domesticated cats like bobcats or in the southwest the small wild cat, sorry I can not remember the name has rows of spots, that is moving north from central America.

I realize that we will never agree. But please volunter and think about the pests and the preditors we would be facing without cats. We may be back in the Middle Ages and really need the cats if fuel keeps higher and we switch to alternate means of transportation.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2007 at 1:06AM
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terryr(z5a IL)

Could I have the link to a site which says "nature does not like a vacuum if the domesticated cats were not there doing the job of killing things that they can catch other animals will move in to take the place of the cat.?

I can type in coyote prey, coyote in nature, and come up with many sites telling of the importance of coyotes in our ecosystem, same applies to bobcats. But for the life of me, I cannot find anything that talks about domesticated cats having a natural role in our ecosystems.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2007 at 9:18AM
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Terry, I agree with you about the cats and about the discussion. People should be able to civilly discuss things here without being rude. I am quite certain that not everyone here agrees on everything. It is not a crime. What is a crime is when people are disrespectful in their disagreement. I used to have outdoor cats, but thanks to reading and thinking about the discussions on this forum, I have changed my opinion. So, I think it is important to keep talking about such things.

On the cat issue.........for some reason, people think cats are impossible to control, so they abdicate responsibility for the damage they do in other people's yards. The fact is, they are not native wildlife and take a big toll not only on birds but on other native wildlife. Anyone who wants to be see another viewpoint, check the link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cats Indoors

    Bookmark   January 17, 2008 at 7:04PM
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terrene(5b MA)

It is absolutely true that Felis sylvestris cattus is an invasive, non-native species in North America, and many other parts of the world. Well, so are dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) and humans (Homo sapiens) for that matter.

There are very good reasons why humans domesticated cats and dogs for thousands of years, and kept them as companions for purposes that were a matter of survival. IMO, there is no better solution to a problem with small rodents, whether that be in the house, the yard, the farm, the grain mill, or small grocery in the middle of New York City, than a CAT. That's right, a good mouser works better than poisons, traps, exterminators, etc.

Yes there is nothing native or natural about Felis cattus running around the countryside. Nor is there anything natural about our homes, our cars, our roads, our factories, our dumps, etc. existing in the countryside either. We don't live in anything close the shangri-la that existed in North American prior to occupation by Europeans.

IMO, a controlled and balanced population of outdoor cats can serve a useful purpose. The damage that rodents like mice, moles, voles, and chipmunks can do IN and OUT of buildings is astronomical. They reproduce like crazy and carry disease and damage property.

I have no interest in arguing on the Internet, and I don't get worked up over other people's opinions. But to trap a neighbor's cat and take it to the pound, thus sentencing it to death, is IMO outrageous. My cats are spayed, vaccinated, and fed moderately, and the one that goes outside has very limited outdoor privileges. Thank god I have tolerant neighbors.

For the record, I as disgusted as the next person with irresponsible pet owners who neglect their animals and contribute to the feral cat population and the millions of dogs and cats being euthanized every year. I also believe that in some cases animal populations that are out of control should be culled.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2008 at 10:26AM
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terryr(z5a IL)

Thank you vonyon ΓΆΒΊ

    Bookmark   January 19, 2008 at 6:09PM
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Hi Jannab -- thanks for asking the question, I had the same one, and posted it to the bird watching forum, so you can view all their responses there. But I didn't get any feedback as to whether to use the anti-critter repellents you can sprinkle or spray around -- has anybody ever tried these products and do they work?

At first we thought our cat was feral, but it seemed too well fed to be that -- it accepted chicken etc. but turned its nose up at dried cat food --- personally, I like the suggestion of feeding the cat until it's too fat and slow to chase the birds, lol!

Am going to try and fence around the birdfeeders, but I had planted a large hummingbird garden and am concerned that the cat can jump up and reach the hummingbird while it's at the flower nectar (most plants are 1- 2' tall), and it's pretty large to fence in.
Also, had wanted to put an in-ground pond in for bird bathing - only 3 - 6" deep for birds only, but may have to reconsider and go with a bird bath that's above ground.

We do love cats, and our indoor only cat of 16 years having passed away, we started giving this cat affection and food, and it now seems to be a permanent fixture on our doorstep --so it's our own fault -- but we also don't know where it lives, it seems to be a roamer and we are not its only destination.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 5:41PM
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terryr(z5a IL)

Can you bring in the cat and make it your pet? Keeping it inside? No matter how tall you make a fence, the cat will get over it.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2008 at 6:56PM
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no, can't adopt the cat, our job takes us on the road too much. would if we could, it's had a mat in its fur ever since it's been coming around, so not being cared for very well. will have to try the fence, and maybe pick up one of those summer soaker guns, lol, for when it gets too close.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2008 at 8:07PM
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i had the 'baiting the birds'problem with my cat.i put a couple of bells on his works great.maybe you could get neighbors to bell their cats.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2008 at 5:52PM
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aleksandras(7 NC)

Bells don't do any good. The only thing that can stop a cat from catching birds but still allow the cat to roam outside is catbib.
My two cats wear it when they go outside. The stay in the kennel, but sometimes birds get in the kennel as well....

    Bookmark   January 27, 2008 at 8:48AM
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terryr(z5a IL)

No, the bells don't work. I've never seen the catbib though, so can't comment on it.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2008 at 8:47PM
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aleksandras(7 NC)
    Bookmark   January 28, 2008 at 4:12AM
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Irresponsible cat owners do not have logical thinking, They make decisions based on how they feel,not what is in the best interest of everyone involved,wildlife-humans- and yes there own cats.The natural predators of rodents and smalll mammals are hawks and owls, study has shown that owls kill triple of rodents in one night then one cat does, so whats that tell you? Cats kill for sport taking food out of the mouths of the natural predators mouths period. domesticated cats dont eat the rodents they kill.We do not need your domesticated cats controlling any pest around our homes,the reality of it is this a domesticated cat that is allowed to roam unsupervised is the pest within communitys, therefore take responsibility for your cats it is in the best interest of everyone involved for health and safety issues,Wild birds who come to feeders or use bird houses only do so because they lack food and housing within forest habitat,I would rather see a natural predator of wild birds -sharpie or coopers take a bird or mouse,he will actually eat it,unlike the domesticated cat who kills for sport.If you knew your facts you would know domesticated cats do not serve a useful purpose within our communitys, they kill for sport, damage property, become nuisances in the community.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2010 at 3:19PM
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One of my neighbors has 6 cats or more and the other neighbor has one. Sometimes the smell of the urine is so strong in my yard that I can't stand to be outdoors. My husband can't go outside because he gets really sick. His eyes swell shut and he breaks out. He has to take medicine because of those cats. I've never said anything directly other than my husband and son have really bad cat allergies. They both work so they let the cats outside and leave for the day. I don't think they're aware that it's a real problem for us. Can I put a litter box in their yard? Would their cats use it if it was available? I am planning a raised bed garden in hopes that it will be a cat free zone. I ordered a yard guard to place at the only entrance. I think that it's better to live like neighbors and I don't want to make enemies. I wish there were some sort of a solution to this issue.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 1:31PM
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Min3 South S.F. Bay CA

utility- there is NO cat-free zone except a swimming pool. (:

if you don't want to confront your neighbors more forcefully, you can secretly set live traps (daytime only- you will get raccoons/possums/skunks at night) and take the cats away to an animal shelter. your neighbors wouldn't know it was you doing it. min

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 11:49AM
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Haven't been around here for a long time, but I'll put in my two cents if it's okay :) Our area has a bylaw about cats running loose, so we're allowed to live-trap and bring them to the shelter. They will even come and pick them up if you don't have a way to get to the shelter.

I for one am very much for live-trapping. I spent a lot of time and money to keep my yard wildlife friendly, and I don't appreciate well fed pets coming into my yard to kill the birds/chipmunks etc that I attract.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 9:26PM
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