Help! My Cat is a Killer

April 14, 2016 at 9:00 AM by Nikki Wardle

Killer cat and how to care for the critters in your back yard

We hear this common question from cat owners all the time: "How can I keep my cat from killing birds?" Can you do anything to keep your feline friend from ridding the neighborhood of birds, squirrels, and mice? Here's our advice for perplexed cat owners.

Feline Predation Explained

As you've probably already guessed, cats are natural hunters. Sharp claws, sensitive hearing, and that signature stealth make them ideal predators in the wild. When the "wild" is your back yard, this behavior can be problematic.

However, the first thing to remember is that you can't train this behavior out of a cat. Feline predation is as natural as that purr you love or those lazy afternoon cat naps. The best way to prevent your cat from killing other animals is to take precautions.

1. Give the Birds a Warning

One of the most effective and common ways to keep cats from killing birds and other small animals is by putting a bell on their breakaway collars. The jingling can alert whatever prey your cat is stalking, giving them a chance to get away before he pounces. Studies have shown that bells significantly reduce the number of kills a cat can make; for some studies, the data suggested that kills were cut in half.

2. Keep Your Cat Entertained

House cats may hunt while they're outside because they're bored. Giving your cat other distractions could help her resist the urge to run off after a chirping bird. Give your cat toys that allow him to mimic this predator behavior without causing any mayhem.

3. Put Feeders in Safe Places

Finally, find safe places to put your feeders for squirrels or birds that are difficult for your cat to access. This can be a chore since cats are masters at accessing nearly anything, but get creative to keep your backyard friends safe.

Topics: Pet Care

Nikki Wardle

Written by Nikki Wardle

Nikki has been writing for Intermountain Pet Hospital since 2014.