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Baby robin season

My damn cat just killed a baby robin and I feel like crap. The mother is squawking and jumping around the yard. It's baby bird season right now. Please keep your caT indoors!
Help Protect Baby Birds by Keeping your Cat Indoors

One of the best things you can do to protect the birds around your home is to keep your cats indoors. Millions of birds of different species are killed by domestic cats each year, according to scientific studies. Even birds that survive cat attacks often die from an infection brought on by the cat's claws or teeth. Keeping your cat indoors will help protect baby birds, and it will also keep your cat safe from cars, attacks by other animals, diseases, and parasites.

More on injured bird and wildlife care.  http://www.awrc.org/baby_birds.htm

Don't beat yourself up, just learn from the experience 18.May.2006 17:12

No such thing as a "Bad Kitty"

Batman: Mother Nature can be very cruel, cats are predators, but hopefully YOU have learned from this horrid incident and will not allow it to happen again. You are so right, keeping cats indoors not only protects wildlife but also the felines themselves. Some people build very elaborate outdoor wire enclosures for their cat companions which obviously would require a roof/top and sometimes includes a small tree within for climbing. Not everyone can afford such a luxury. To help make a small ammend for what the cat did make sure you provide the wildlife in your yard with fresh water daily this spring and summer and occasionally some sunflower seeds/fruit/nuts/seeds.

Thanks 18.May.2006 17:37


Thankyou for your kind advice. Yes, I used to feed the birds a LOT until I got this killer cat that would sneak outside at every opportunity. My other cat hates going outdoors. So for those thinking about getting a cat make sure its an INDOOR Cat not a regular outdoor cat! It will save yourself huge headaches later. Anyway, somebody on another forum told me she uses a leash for her cats! I'm going to try that. The outdoor wire thing I've seen too. Might try that. Cats were bred for getting grain eating mice and are very good at that but killing 100's of millions of wild native songbirds every year is a horrible turn of events. I still have a birdbath which is very high up and safe from cats. Thanks again.

sorry to hear 18.May.2006 17:52


That is really too bad, and I understand how badly you felt. My DOG once killed a baby grosbeak and the parents called for two days. It was horrible. Birds kill themselves against our window too. As mentioned, nature can be cruel. Cats are a major killer of the songbirds and your advice about keeping them inside would be a big help.

come on people 18.May.2006 20:43

use your brains

(1) housecats are from africa (remember the statues in egypt?) they're not indigenous to this continent

(2) if kitty had to fend for himself, there would be a lot fewer kitties in portland, each cat would stake out a territory and not allow other cats to hunt inside it, extra cats would starve or be killed by larger predators or other cats

(3) housecats are kept alive in unnaturally large numbers by human intervention, and they can deplete the bird population beyond any natural point of equilibrium

Non-native, invasive species propogated by our culture 18.May.2006 23:02


Cats are just another non-native invasive species introduced and propogated by some for pleasure at the expense of many other biological organisms. Besides being very effective bird killers, they also kill snakes and salamanders as well.

Most people also use kitty litter which is made from clay that has to be mined. Then they throw the clay and feces in the garbage making a real toxic mess.

Be responsible, don't have cats for pets. Don't feed feral cats. Do get cats fixed. Do keep them inside if you must have one. Don't use clay for kitty litter. Do find a safe, non-mined alternative.

meow 18.May.2006 23:41


Get a bell collar for the cat. This will help alert and scare away birds.
About birds flying into windows, you can tape pieces of sparkly ribbon or other random things to the glass. This way birds don't think there's an opening where the glass is.

hey, I agree generally with you, Brian, 19.May.2006 00:12


however, feral cats should be fed. they should also be safe-trapped and neutered/spayed. don't make feral cats suffer because some idiot human dumped them somewhere. also, the cats that are here now should be adopted and cared for, but they should always be spayed and neutered - not allowed to breed. don't be cruel. it's not the cats' fault that humans are idiots. I don't disagree that there should be an end to domestic pets - humans have fucked this over so badly that up to 10 million unwanted ones die/are killed each year in the US alone because humans overbreed them and allow them to breed. but it's not fair to make them suffer for our mistakes.

Humans are a non-native species 19.May.2006 10:07


As beings created for human exploitation, cats deserve our care and protection. Cats are not the biggest culprits in terms of wildlife destruction and landfill usage. Humans are.

Some ideas:
Put bells on your outdoor cats (replace/rearrange periodically as cats may learn how to walk without them jingling), don't feed the birds (it's a setup if you have cats), provide protective habitat for birds (thorny and/or dense bushes).

Brian 19.May.2006 10:37


Good advice Brian. Yes, and cats kill squirrels too! Lots of them. Is clumping cat litter made of clay? Maybe we need stronger stray cat enforcement /laws in Portland. Too many stray cats around.

Not only robins 19.May.2006 16:42


It's a lot more than Robins. Cats prey on many of our song birds that migrate up from SA to nest. Birds like Louisiana Water Thrush, Kentucky Warbler, Ovenbird and MANY MANY more.

There are about 66 million cats in the United States. 40 million are free to roam outside. This is not good news if you are a bird!

Cats are not a natural part of the ecosystem and compete with native predators.

Extensive studies show that approximately 60 to 70 percent of the wildlife cats kill are small mammals, 20 to 30 percent are birds, and up to 10 percent are amphibians, reptiles, and insects.

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin coupled a four-year cat predation study with data from other studies, and predicted a range of values for the number of birds killed each year in the state. By estimating the number of free-ranging cats in rural areas, the number of kills per cat, and the proportion of birds killed, the researchers calculated that rural free-roaming cats kill at least 7.8 million birds and perhaps as many as 217 million birds a year in Wisconsin.

Well-fed Cats Do Kill Birds: Well-fed cats kill birds and other wildlife because the hunting instinct is independent of the urge to eat. In one study, six cats were presented with a live small rat while eating their preferred food. All six cats stopped eating the food, killed the rat, and then resumed eating the food.

Cats With Bells on Their Collars Do Kill Birds: Studies have shown that bells on collars are not effective in preventing cats from killing birds or other wildlife. Birds do not necessarily associate the sound of a bell with danger, and cats with bells can learn to silently stalk their prey. Bells offer no protection for helpless nestlings and fledglings

Cats are not ultimately responsible for killing our native wildlife--people are. The only way to prevent domestic cat predation on wildlife is for owners to keep their cats indoors!

Cats Aren't The Only Culprits, Your Taxes Are Being Used Too 19.May.2006 17:02

OHSU Employee

Get real. Humans have domesticated cats, just as we have dogs, so it is now our obligation and responsibility to care for them. If you are so upset about songbirds being destroyed why aren't you protesting up here at OHSU? Perhaps you are not even aware of their studies being conducted on songbirds or is it simply easier to blame it all on cats?

ohsu and songbirds 19.May.2006 17:49


I remember reading about the songbird studies up at OHSU a couple of years ago. Aren't they about hearing loss? Please tell us more "employee" as to what kinds of birds are used, how they are acquired and what the research is.

Bravo Hew Man! 20.May.2006 21:24

animal lover

And bravo to others as well who accurately pointed out humans are non-native, and much more dangerous to wildlife than cats.

By the way, that infamous University of Wisconsin study was quite flawed, and was disparaged by many other well-respected researchers and institutions. Go to alleycats.org for some good information. Yes, cats are safest indoors, and they do kill wildlife, but the UofW study greatly exagerated their impact.

To Brian, who suggested letting feral cats starve: humans are much more destructive than cats could ever be. Starve yourself, and don't procreate. Humans are the species that need to be culled on this planet. Letting an innocent animal starve to death is morally bankrupt.

Bring back large predators! 21.May.2006 00:44


Domesticated species would seem to have come about as extensions of human ego, bred to meet socio-economic conceits and commerce schemes. The pet component of the domesticated would seem to be truly cultivated (i.e. domesticated) for human gratification and filling lingering emptiness comensurate with civilized H. sapiens alientation from the natural world. This emptiness becomes all the more desparate as the human environment becomes more and more customized for the purposes of the dominant culture of the dominant species--i.e. industrialized, capital intensive, urban and suburban concentrations of technological humans living in environmental machines, having conquered the natural world at last.

If house cats are to be let loose to run at large, and if there aren't coyotes, owls, large raptors and other larger predators around to keep the balance--cull the pack--having them wear bells isn't a bad idea. Especially if they're the size of cow bells!

Big words for a simple statement, Bitterroot 21.May.2006 10:54

animal lover

Why the faux-intellectualism to simply state you think humans domesticated animals for their own selfish needs and pleasure?

Actually, dogs and humans co-evolved together originally in a mutually-beneficial relationship. Humans got protection, dogs got easy food, and both got companionship. To a somewhat lesser extent (because most cats are not pack animals, they are solitary) cats and human did the same later on. Cats, however, have not fully domesticated like dogs have.

I am the "guardian" (though I think they guard me) of several dogs and cats, and am glad for it. They soothe me in a way most humans cannot. They love me, and I them. What is wrong with this? God forbid we should have love in our life.

Are there far too many dogs and cats in this world? Yes. Have human created some truly ridiculous breeds? Oh god yes! But the basic bond between humans and companion animals, I believe, is a good one. And while we as a species should never just content ourselves with such domesticated creatures at the expense of wildlife and wilderness, there is nothing wrong with enjoying a close bond with another animal, as we rightly should interfere as little as possible with wildlife.

i am nourishishing baby robins who are at least 9 to 10 days old 23.May.2006 19:41

krystal Chica_baby_18@yahoo.com

hey i wanted to say thank for letting me read about ur stories i think some i am very sorry to hear about but some i was enthused read about anyways my experience come now i found to baby robins in my back yard which the mother abondaned them so now i am taking on a great experience of being there mother i have been feeding them crackers with water all in to a cream. now at first i didnt know how to take care them or waht to feed them until i brought them to school and talked to some science teachers now they were very helpful on how to take care of my triplets that what my mom calls them anyways thanks for reading my great experience love krystal if u have any comments u can email me at  Chica_baby_18@yahoo.com

same happened to me sort of 13.Jun.2006 18:14

Sue Smigla sushismigs@yahoo.com

I found a fledgling robin myself last week sfter my neighbors cat caught it, but it is eating and drinking fine so far. Feeding him ground beef (like it comes in long grind strips) works great. The birds love it and it gets them used to "worms". I've also heard that dog food is very nutritious but I've never used it and not sure if that advise is true. We released our robin yesterday into the glorious day only to have the neighbors cat come up with him today. He is not so lucky now. Looks like a broken wing and leg. I fully xpect him to be dead when I get home. This really sucks!!!

I have an escape proof cat fence 01.Nov.2007 06:23

Frisky Kitty katie@purrfectfence.com

I have had a virtually invisible and escape proof cat fencing system - www.purrfectfence.com for several years now and not only has it allowed my cats to enjoy the outdoors, but it has kept them from roaming freely and stalking birds. The birds know where the cats are, so they are even able to co-exist in the same area, as the cats no longer have element of surprise. This has beena life-changing experience for me, my cats, and the birds for sure.