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problems with cats

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Old Friday 2nd September 2005, 11:32   #1
squink
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problems with cats

I just moved from aberdeen to chesham in buckinghamshire with my boyfriend. the thing is my boyfriend has cats but when I lived in aberdeen I didnt have cats and I had bird feeders and a table and everything and really enjoyed watching the birds. Im scared if I do that in the new garden which is considerably smaller, the cats will hurt the birds. Can anyone give me any tips or help in finding ways of preventing them getting near the birds?
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Old Friday 2nd September 2005, 11:44   #2
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The RSPB website has good advice, and Jos Stafford posted some good ideas on a previous thread.
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Old Friday 2nd September 2005, 11:45   #3
Jos Stratford
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Two possibilities - get a new boyfriend or, if preferred, check any of the previous threads on this subject, some have some good advice - click the links below under 'similar threads'
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Old Monday 5th September 2005, 20:14   #4
ermine
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well, if the cat owner is your boyfriend then you have far more influence on the cat owner than most of us have on other people's pets which are pests in our gardens. The solution is obvious.

keep the cats indoors

and above all else, if you have to let it out.

don't put the cat out at night

because that's when they seem to do most of their hunting - it's what they're designed for, with their superb night vision. Though from observation, most birds get got by cats in the daytime. Which brings us back to the principle of keeping them indoors, so you can enjoy them :)
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Old Monday 5th September 2005, 20:19   #5
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If you cannot convince your boyfriend to keep the cats indoors then the best course of action would be not to put any feeding tables out as you would only be inviting the birds to their last dinner.
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Old Tuesday 6th September 2005, 06:42   #6
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I note that there's a tendency to try and jump on these cat threads, on the principle that they end up as a slanging match between cat lovers and haters.

On a general principle I'm not really for that - frustration with irresponsible cat ownership is part of garden bird feeding, and the cat lovers can have their say - a good rant at least means both viewpoints can get it off our chest for a while. It won't change a thing, but makes us feel better. As long as the thread is properly titled people sick of the debate can avoid it :) However

If previous threads really do contain valuable gems then howsabout distilling a Cat FAQ. It can have a specific reference to what the RSPB say about cats, which is http://www.rspb.org.uk/gardens/advice/cats/index.asp

I also searched the previous threads as was recommended , and even though I actually recall seeing some good advice from Jos a while back I couldn't find it, either searching on the name or in an earlier ref to cat threads. These recommendations to look at earlier stuff need to be more specific to be of help, otherwise all it is saying is oh no , yet another cat thread, go away please...

To summarize the gist of what I can recall from those threads and have discovered myself-

Do not situate your bird feeders near low ground cover where cats can lurk and leap out. Also avoid the situation where a cat can lurk on a garage roof or flat roof and launch an attack from on high. The sad thing is that birds need some cover to dive into should they come under aerial attack from a sparrowhawk, so you need dense thorny bushes/trees like hawthorn/holly which small birds seem to be able to navigate but cats and hawks can't.

Use a pole to get the feeders high off the ground to hamper ground based leap up and chomp attacks - feeder base about eye level is a good start

if you have a wooden bird table (it probably isn't high enough then ) slide a piece of round PVC drainpipe over the wooden riser pole so cats and squirrels have a harder time getting purchase to climb up.

Ultrasonic cat deterrents do work, in my experience, and in the RSPB tests The RSPB pussyfoots (!) around this issue since a lot of their members are presumably cat-lovers. In my experience of ultrasonic deterrents you need saturation coverage - they may detect the cats from 10m but they only have enough grunt to deter a cat at about 2m. Defend entry points and your bird feeders - but to do that well may need a lot of these. I have four, for a postage stamp sized garden. Run them off a mains power supply (running only the low-voltage 9V in the garden!). I no longer have cat crap in the garden and the revolting stink of Tomcat is gone too.

These things aren't silent whatever they say so you shouldn't locate them if they are active anywhere where you will spend more than a couple of minutes, (even if you can't hear them). I also did have a concern that they will slowly deafen Starlings, whose auditory frequency range is higher than humans when in the breeding season, but this doens't seem to be the case - they still fly up and rap to each other with the usual Starling noise and seem to respond to each other.

A battery-powered water pistol gives you the best range at short notice, second only to a straight-through bike pump filled with water, which score on delivery. A really aggressive soaking policy will eventually discourage cats, but it has to be sustained over months, so isn't practical since the cats will simply crap on your lawn at night or when you're at work.

Finally, and this is my own opinion and experience, which probably doesn't apply in this specific case because the cat isn't owned by a neighbour -

People are extremely attached to their pets. It will hardly ever help to approach the cat owner, who thinks the world of Tibbles in the same way as you think the world of your garden birds. Don't approach them about the effect of their cats on your garden. They will have observed this, and if they are responsible owners they will have taken corrective measures. If there is a cat problem that persists after a few weeks then the owners, by definition, are not responsible owners. Criticism of people's pets is seen as antagonistic. Tibbles' owner knows in an intellectual and theoretical way that it kills birds but doesn't want to be confronted with the fact, since it forces them to acknowledge an ugly reality of one of their lifestyle choices. And none of us likes that!

And to be fair to the cat owners, while owning cats is a really odd and unnatural thing to do, so is feeding garden birds when you think about it.

Last edited by ermine : Tuesday 6th September 2005 at 06:47.
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Old Tuesday 6th September 2005, 11:09   #7
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I agree with KC. Putting out the feeders knowing cats will be allowed into the garden would in my mind be irresponsible.

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Old Tuesday 6th September 2005, 11:48   #8
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(And to be fair to the cat owners, while owning cats is a really odd and unnatural thing to do, so is feeding garden birds when you think about it.)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dogs have owners, cats have staff :-)

I have two cats and I feed birds. The ground feeder has a cage over it and the pole for feeders has a dome half way up.

The cats aren't really interested in the birds anyway but even visiting cats can't get at them.
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Old Tuesday 6th September 2005, 17:21   #9
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"Ultrasonic cat deterrents do work, in my experience, and in the RSPB tests The RSPB pussyfoots (!) around this issue since a lot of their members are presumably cat-lovers. In my experience of ultrasonic deterrents you need saturation coverage - they may detect the cats from 10m but they only have enough grunt to deter a cat at about 2m. Defend entry points and your bird feeders - but to do that well may need a lot of these. I have four, for a postage stamp sized garden. Run them off a mains power supply (running only the low-voltage 9V in the garden!). I no longer have cat crap in the garden and the revolting stink of Tomcat is gone too.



These things aren't silent whatever they say so you shouldn't locate them if they are active anywhere where you will spend more than a couple of minutes, (even if you can't hear them). I also did have a concern that they will slowly deafen Starlings, whose auditory frequency range is higher than humans when in the breeding season, but this doesn’t seem to be the case - they still fly up and rap to each other with the usual Starling noise and seem to respond to each other."



Having read the contents of your post, some personal based information which may interest you and others.

"Ultrasonic cat deterrents do work, in my experience"

I purchased 3 Ultra Sonic deterrents. On some cats they work, but not on all. My two cats ignore them, and sit beside them watching the birds. My near neighbour's cats react to them. My far neighbour's cats also ignore them. So in my case, they are not a perfect solution, just a spasmodic one, depending on the individual cat.

"I also did have a concern that they will slowly deafen Starlings, whose auditory frequency range is higher than humans"

I also note that since buying these deterrents, and installing them around the garden, (on continuously) the bats which we saw every evening, seem to have disappeared, along with the high levels of moths in the garden.

Using the bat detector, the frequency range of the cat deterrents is similar to that of Pipistrelles. I wonder if the cat deterrents are actually flooding the local airways with jamming frequencies.




Regards


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Old Tuesday 6th September 2005, 18:42   #10
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Malky,

I don't think these things work best when running continuously. Just as we get used to the earache of living next to a busy road your cats are now used to this racket. Mine (and the catwatch the RSPB tested) have PIR detectors which detect the body heat of warm blooded critters like cats. And birds :( And presumably bats if they get too close, though I wouldn't expect to see bats at cat height! Moths wouldn't trip them- they're cold blooded and even iif they weren't they're far too small.

The best one of mine goes off right away it gets a trigger, and this is effective on most cats apart from one deaf ginger cat. I attach a sonogram of that - you can see it varies between 13kHz and 16kHz and is not a pleasant sound at all, though not loud. The surprise value seems to work on most cats. Starlings and blackbirds but not house sparrows trip it, but the starlings and blackbirds do not seem to care.

I have three more, which are the B&Q type, on elevated flat roofs, but these have a short delay between trigger and going off which makes them less effective on cats. These are higher in frequency, just above 16kHz, and are audible as a 'pressure' in the ears. I wouldn't like to have any of these on all the time - it wouldn't be fair on the neighbours though they are older than me and may not hear this. And although I hate dogs with a vengeance it wouldn't be fair on the neighbour who has dogs, as he is a responsible dog owner. His dogs don't appear to mind or generate any response when the deterrents are triggered. There is a fence in the way and so they are not in line of sight.

I have set mine with a door switch to interrupt the power to them when I go into the garden - I have a concern that these are a hazard to hearing if active and people are in the garden.

But it's £120 well spent to not have to tangle with cat crap all the time. The RSPB study of catwatch http://www.rspb.org.uk/gardens/advic...tdeterrent.asp
showed it reduces the number of cat visits to 68% of control and the dwell time of the remaining cats to 62% or control, resulting in cat-hours being reduced by just over half to 42% of control. Their triallists probably didn't go for blanket presence like I have - my results are much better, I have less than 10% of the original cat presence and hardly any cat crap now.
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Old Tuesday 6th September 2005, 19:45   #11
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Strategically placed mines in the flower beds seem to do the trick.......the craters make great birdbaths and wildlife ponds too afterwards

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Old Tuesday 6th September 2005, 20:38   #12
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We have a small garden which backs onto a belt of woodland which is begining to be colonised by Grey Squirrels ( none since 1947 I'm told) and the neighbours cats seem to pay more attention to the squirrels than the birds using the feeders.

Best suggestion is to try to site feeders in spots where the birds can see approaching cats and make good use of natural cover
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Old Wednesday 7th September 2005, 01:57   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jos Stratford
Two possibilities - get a new boyfriend or, if preferred, check any of the previous threads on this subject, some have some good advice - click the links below under 'similar threads'
The best advise i think Jos .
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Old Wednesday 7th September 2005, 08:03   #14
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Cat FAQ proposal

Sigh. The 'similar threads' aren't any use, at least the ones thrown up by the board for me. After a fairly extensive search of the board - The thread Jos seems to be referring to is this one

which contains suggestions for cat owners who wish to both feed birds and allow their cats out in the same area. It also contains a fair amount of bad temper The thread is probably useful to the cat owners amongst us. It's not tremendously useful to the non-cat owners suffering cat invasions.

Once agian, if cat owners wish to jump on threads posted by newbies sick of cat attacks, a Cat FAQ is needed for this forum which would contain

1) the things you can do to discourage other people's cats as a non-cat owner

RSPB - catwatch

Stinky plants

live trapping (US readers ONLY)

2) the things you can do to eliminate kills as a cat owner if you really have to let your cat out and really have to feed birds

Cat owner's problem space and solution

3) links to RSPB/audobon society other stuff to back the FAQ up

RSPB on cats

4) what's wrong with some of the more obvious solutions

what's wrong with rat poison


Just vaguely referring to previous posts without any exact references is no substitute for a FAQ. If you want to tell people to shut up on this topic you have to show where this has been done before. Else leave 'em alone to do it all again and just don't look at the thread.
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Old Wednesday 7th September 2005, 12:45   #15
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I don't think Jos is referring to any particular thread at all.I have never seen that thread.
I joined in Feb.2005 and there has been at least 8 or 9 threads since then....maybe more,and no doubt they will continue.
I started off by screaming and shouting back in Feb., on the cat zzzzzzzzzzz thread because I was so fed up of losing birds to the 7 uninvited moggies who visit my garden, and all I can say is I began listening to people like Jos, and I realised that cats are here to stay.I had my work cut out but it is paying off for me.
It is a bit like a round-a bout where the same problems occur over and over, with no singular, permanent solution,that works for everyone.Whoever comes up with the answer and sells it ,will fast become a milionaire.Infact,on an earlier thread, Mothman said he had.I think he suggested a licence and keeping cats in,or on leads.
I have used several pieces of advice from those threads, which have helped a great deal and will continue to search for a perfect solution.........I wont hold my breath.........though
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Old Wednesday 7th September 2005, 13:07   #16
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For what its worth...

I've heard that Lion (or other Big Cat) dung makes an effective moggy deterrent. I don't know where you'd get it if you don't live near a zoo (e-bay?) but if it works there's obviously an untapped market for some budding entrepreneur to exploit.

Otherwise, I think this offers a definitive statement: http://www.birdcare.com/bin/showencyclopedia?cats

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Old Wednesday 7th September 2005, 15:40   #17
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Originally Posted by MarkA
For what its worth...

I've heard that Lion (or other Big Cat) dung makes an effective moggy deterrent. I don't know where you'd get it if you don't live near a zoo (e-bay?) but if it works there's obviously an untapped market for some budding entrepreneur to exploit.

Otherwise, I think this offers a definitive statement: http://www.birdcare.com/bin/showencyclopedia?cats

Mark
Wonderful thought Mark, but no,I have spoken to people who have used it and wasted money.A whole heap of it
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Old Thursday 8th September 2005, 10:52   #18
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Wonderful thought Mark, but no,I have spoken to people who have used it and wasted money.A whole heap of it
Oh well. Another good idea bites the dust
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Old Thursday 8th September 2005, 22:52   #19
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an electric fence is a good idea,the type used by farmers for sheep and cattle,a friend of mine was having trouble with cats taking birds and crapping in his garden,once they have a shock of it they wont be back for ages.
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