One of the problems cat owners face is the presence of birds that eat the cat food outside their house. These same birds also drink from the water dish and use it as a bird bath.
The most common types of birds that exhibit this behavior are blackbirds, blue jays, and pigeons. They are notorious for having no fear, flying over to a cat’s dish and eating the kibble right out of it.
Even though it might seem harmless, there are underlying problems that may arise if this is allowed to continue by the cat’s owner.
One of the issues that may come from this is your pet cat contracting a disease from a virus or bacteria that the birds may expose them to by using the water dish as a bird bath. Transmission to cats may happen through the contaminated water and kibble. Diseases like Salmonella are carried by some bird species, as well as a host of other parasites. They can make your cat very ill, and you also run the risk of something spreading to your other pets or your children.
Another issue is that the birds may be consuming a lot of the cat’s food. You may end up spending more than you have to on cat food, or it could leave your cat malnourished.
Also, the threat to life and health here is a two-way street. If the birds can expose your cat to disease, your cat can kill these birds when they come too close. Cats have had a significant impact on the lowered numbers of wild birds near human dwellings.
For the benefit of both your cat and the birds that live around your property, follow these simple steps:
Keep your cat on a feeding schedule.
- Limit the access birds have to your cat’s food by feeding your cat at the same specific times every single day.
- Stand watch during the entire feeding period so you can chase the birds away.
- Keep these feeding times short.
- Make sure to take the bowl, empty or not, inside the house after each meal so the birds cannot get to it.
- Always clean the feeding area after each meal so nothing will attract the birds.
- This method is free and trains your cat to eat on time. This also keeps other animals from eating the leftover cat food that used to be outside.
Get an enclosed feeding station.
- Outdoor kennels or enclosed feeding stations with a swinging door can be helpful in keeping the birds outside of the enclosure.
- This provides the cat with a place to eat their food with no annoying birds trying to steal their food.
- If you do not have the means to buy a commercial feeding station, you can make one yourself by attaching a flexible flap on the side of an old storage bin as a door.
- This is ideal for cats whose owners may not have the time every day to watch over them as they feed. This way, the cats have a secure place where they have their food and water.
Try bird repellent spray.
- On the railings, furniture, tree branches, and other possible landing areas for birds near the cat’s feeding area, spray a decent amount of bird repellent. This will discourage the birds from hanging around your patio.
Buy mesh netting.
- Try to nail a netting on your patio overhang, long enough so it just barely touches the ground.
- This is the most straightforward way of keeping the birds off of your patio.
Tape metallic or reflective paper around your patio.
- Birds do not like seeing metallic paper flapping around and shimmering in the wind.
- You can also use tin foil, metallic garden spinners, or old CDs.
Install objects or machines to keep the birds away.
- Wind chimes are an easy way to keep birds from entering your patio. The sound startles the birds and keeps them away.
- There are commercially available devices that emit ultrasonic waves that can scare off birds without hurting them. The ultrasonic waves cannot be detected by cats and people.
Put up scarecrows.
- Did you know that scarecrows can work on your patio, not just in the middle of a field? They do, so try making a human-shaped object to prop up near your cat’s feeding area.
- If you don’t want to build a traditional scarecrow, you can make decoys that look like larger birds, such as hawks or owls.
- Make sure to place the decoys in places where the birds will be able to spot them. If you can fashion a simple contraption to make the decoys move every couple of seconds, that is even better.
Get a dog.
- In the mornings and evenings, when birds are the most active, let your dog out into the yard to get some exercise and help chase the birds away.
- Be sure to leash and monitor your dog properly so that the birds will just be chased away and not injured.
- This is effective in two ways: birds are kept away and your dog gets its daily exercise.
Keep your backyard tidy.
- Make sure that the birds have no water or food sources around your house.
- Remove any rubble or thickets that birds can use as shelter.
- This will also keep other wild animals from nesting around your property.
Birds eating your cat’s food from the patio can be very annoying. It can expose your pets as well as your family to the diseases that birds carry. They can eat up a lot of your cat’s food, causing malnutrition or making you spend more money because you have to constantly buy new cat food. There are multiple safe and humane methods that you can use to keep the birds away from your patio. At least one of them is for sure going to work for you and keep the birds away for good.
Image: istockphoto.com / kozorog