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When I first moved here I purchased a bird bath and table to encourage the birds but have had no visitors because the neighbouring cats love to sit in my garden. So since a cat caught a bird I have disposed of the bird assessories and now enjoy the cats company and take my bird food to the woods where there is a large clearing.
Its nature isn't it! my siamese used to bring rats in and let them loose to run around inside! she obviously thought she was doing me a favour. I think its a case of swings and roundabouts, they keep the rats and mice down and its survival of the fittest for the rest!
recently i visited a local nursery who said they had a very big problem with rabbits and they have tried everything including electric fences. i suggested getting a cat and was told "Oh no a cat wouldnt catch a rabbit", well i said "you must tell that to my cats bert and ernie who between them catch and eat atleast 4 a day and i have the feet and tails and sometimes the ears to proove it" but still they have room for cat food.
I used to have a cat. Usually it would leave presents at my doorstep. Most of the time she would leave a few bones from a mouse or a bird. She ate very healthily so why she would eat the wildlife amazed me. Oh well! At least I know she loved me. Suppose you cannot take the hunter out what used to live completely in the wild.
I have to say I hate cats. They are a pest. Neighbouring cats come into my garden to scare the birds that come to use the feeders. What was particularly upsetting this year was a blackbird fledging that we watched all summer being fed by the parents. Last week it was caught by one of the neighbourhood cats and though it escaped it died of shock. What I particularly hate about cats is the fact that they come in to my garden and use one of my flower beds as a litter tray. Imagine the outcry if I let my dog defecate on the street let alone in someones garden. I would be grateful for any ideas on useful and successful cat deterrents so I can enjoy my garden and the wildlife.


I haven't got a problem with cats, but I have with a Leylandi hedge that is growing out on to the garden. I have been thinking, what if I had it cut severely back to the brown inner branches? Would the green grown on them again? Or, would it be best to have it taken out to earth surface level leaving the roots in? What do you suggest?

Please let me know. I'm sure there are plenty of people with Leylandi hedges of over 20 years who would want to know your professional answers.

I inherited a Leylandi hedge in '88. At that time I wasn't into gardening so unfortunately they got very tall! I have removed all the bottom branches up to six foot. The leaves don't grow back and I grow hardy geraniums and laurel underneath them.
I have three cats and I also have numerous bird feeders and boxes in the garden as I enjoy watching the visiting birds and wild life. We don't have a problem at all with the cats trying to catch the birds, although they seem to like hunting mice. We very often find all three of them enjoying the sun in the garden, whilst the birds are on the feeders. The cats just don't seem to be bothered as it's far too much effort for them to catch a healthy bird. The only problem we get is the Sparrow Hawk but we hopefully solved that by planting tall bamboo which the smaller birds use to hide in. I think it's far more likely that the Swift was either ill/old or had been injured by a Sparrow hawk rather than any cat getting to it. I've never seen a sparrow hawk going for a swift but I know they do try and get the house martins we have during the summer months.
I am pleased to read such rounded cat comments - on the whole. I am the owner(?) of two cats who predominantly catch rats and mice and, very occasionally, birds. We have had a long running cat argument at work and in our discussion topic entitled, "Cats" in our Facebook Group (Wiggly Wigglers). It is, by far, our most popular topic and seems to have attracted several cat haters who seem unable to take a moderate view with regard to our feline friends. It has also been a much discussed topic in our weekly podcasts? Why is this such a hotly debated subject when, as I see it, man has created far more problems for birds than cats alone, such as loss of habitat, cars, pesticides etc etc etc?
I have two cats and I, too, love to encourage and feed the birds in my garden. I keep the cats in at night, both for their own safety and that of the birds, who feed mainly at dawn and dusk. Normally we get presents of individual feathers which they find lying on the ground, so it seems that they satisfy their "gift-giving" instincts in this way!

We have also had occasion to deter other cats from our garden and the best way to do this, we find, is to get one of those water bottles with a sports cap, fill it with tap water and spray the intruder with water when you see it in your garden - it'll soon learn not to go there again!

We have had the honour of a visiting sparrow hawk in our garden. So far it seems to have a taste for the local pidgeon population. It is not afraid of humans either as I was able to observe it resting in a tree at the bottom of the garden for a good half hour before it decided to lazily fly into the garden next door.
We live next to a conservation area with a large lake and lots wildlife including various rodents, snakes, migrating water birds etc. Our neighbours have two cats that are left to run wild 24/7 with no bells, killing this wildlife (and stalking my chickens). We have brought up the subject of putting bells on them on a couple of occasions - to at least give the 'locals' a chance - we were told "It's dangerous, no-one knows just how many cats are strangled by their own bell collars every year" Oh, that's alright then - as long as your overfed cat's are ok! Should we persue this? Since moving here, we have taught our hunting dog to "leave" anything that comes into our garden - this includes ducks, foxes, rabbits, pheasants, doves, snakes. Everything that is except CATS!
We too have had a sparrow hawk in the garden this year, we regularly feed the birds and have sited our bird table next to a large bamboo so as to give some protection for the birds. I have regularly found piles of feathers and whilst I find this upsetting, it is nature and the hawk has to eat as well, however last week it was chasing a blackbird which managed to fly in through the open window of my neighbours conservatory, the hawk was not so lucky and flew into the window killing itself.


i dont hate cats, but i do chase them out of my garden, theres really only one persistent one, we also have a sparrowhawk, seen it sat in a tree at the front, but about a week ago i witnessed it fly in for a starling, whilst it was awful to think of the poor starling, to witness the speed and prowess of the hawk, was just amazing.
I have two cats, which I took in when they were found in a neighbour's coalshed as tiny kittens, almost dead. I am a dog person really, but the cats needed a home, so... They catch mice all the time, but don't seem very interested in birds. All of the killing upsets me, but it is what cats do. I read somewhere that cats can catch only the weak birds which might be likely to perish anyway. Where there are bird feeders, make sure that there is enough clear space around them, that a cat would have room to make three leaps before reaching it. Seemingly, this is enough time for birds to see the cat and flee.

I know collars with bells are recommended, but as I would hate to have a bell ringing round my neck constantly, I don't like to inflict it on another living creature. By the way, my cats are terrified of the visiting pheasants, and it is very funny to see them running into the house when they hear one approaching.

We have had cats (indoor only)and had a dog. Neighbour's cats do get our birds but never bury anything, however the dog would catch, kill and partially bury a squirrel or starling.

Do your best to get along with your neighbors by discouraging the cats using your yard as a litter box. We have this problem too. Look where they are going and why. I have found they usually use the dry soil patches under the eaves of the house. I put a thick layer of hazelnut shells a foot or so from the house foundation under the eaves looks beautiful and the cats don't like the sharpish but not harmful edges of the shells underfoot. I have also used twigs from our trees and scattered them in areas cats would use. These two methods have eliminated the problem for us. Just remember cats aren't trying to annoy you on purpose, they just gotta go!

I doubt if cats were responsible for the swift's death unless it was old or sickly. As I understand they do not land except to feed their young in the nest and sleep in their roost.

I have always had cats and yet my sparrow and tit populations have increased from a handful to hundreds in the years since we have been here. Many nest in the eaves of the house or in an old barn and we get visitors from the nearby woods as well as seasonal invasions.

I feed the birds all year, up high out of feline leaping reach and the ground feeders are fed in the open out of pouncing reach with no cover for felines. I lose a few to the local sparrowhawk but even fewer to the cats.