Fluttering birds around the bird feeder in your yard are almost guaranteed a visit from wandering outdoor cats. Unless you take steps to keep cats away, the birds might end up as lunch. Try various repellents to determine what works and, if your cat is the culprit, keep him indoors.
Specific scents can help you keep cats away from birds in your yard. You can use a commercial cat repellent or you can scatter lemon or orange peels on the ground in the off-limits areas. Cats dislike the scent of citrus so this might do the trick. Another tactic worth trying is planting coleus canina about three feet apart around the bird feeder. This plant emits an odor cats find offensive, making them think twice about returning to your yard.
Water as a Repellent
A natural repellent to keep cats away from birds is water. When you notice a curious cat coming into your yard, arm yourself with a water-filled spray bottle and surprise him with a squirt of water. The sudden mist of water startles the cat out of your yard. Alternatively, install a motion-detecting sprinkler system. Aim the motion detector away from the bird feeder to the area where cats enter your yard. When the system detects a cat, it activates and squirts water in his direction, which scares the cat away.
Sound as a Repellent
Loud noise can startle unwanted cats away from birds. Aim a motion-detecting ultrasonic device at the area where cats enter your yard. When the motion detector senses the cat, it emits a high-frequency sound that humans can't hear. The loud sound is unpleasant to the cat and he'll take off. Alternatively, shake a can of coins when you catch a cat entering your yard for a similar effect. With consistency, cats will eventually stay away.
To put a stop to cats climbing over your garden fence, top it with an outward-angled chicken-wire fence. When cats attempt to climb up the fence to get near the birds, they won't be able to get past the overhanging chicken wire. Spiky, thorny shrubs, such as berberis and holly, planted in areas where birds perch, can also help to keep cats away. Alternatively, scatter clippings from these plants under the bird feeder and under bushes that cats might use to observe their prey.
- The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds: Cat Deterrents
- Neighborhood Cats: Keeping Cats Out of Gardens & Yards
- Projects for the Birder's Garden; Fern Marshall Bradley
- Cats Behaving Badly; Celia Haddon
Kimberly Caines is a well traveled model, writer and licensed physical fitness trainer who was first published in 1997. Her work has appeared in the Dutch newspaper "De Overschiese Krant" and on various websites. Caines holds a degree in journalism from Mercurius College in Holland and is writing her first novel.