A Conversation for Wild Birds and Domesticated Cats


Post 1

Lady in a tree

I sympathise with your cause. I am owned by two cats and they have from time to time bought in birds.

However I must advise against putting bells on cats collars. Compared to our hearing, a cat's hearing range is more than two octaves above what we can discern and a bell could be harmful to their hearing in later life (tinitus). Imagine wearing a bell around your neck for the rest of your life - just how annoying would that be?

Anyway - my cats are 4 years old now - in those four years they have bought in a total of 8 birds. Times that by say 2 for the ones they don't bring in (16) and then divide by 2 cats (8 ) and divide by 4 (years) and that makes 2 birds per cat per year.

I wouldn't call them viscious killers and bird decimators - would you?


Post 2


I agree. Bells are cruel. I have bought squeaky leather shoes for my cat instead.

smiley - winkeye


Post 3

Lady in a tree

smiley - laugh I am picturing that now! Do they leave them by the door when they come in?


Post 4

Shorn Canary ~^~^~ sign the petition to save the albatrosses

I hope you're not frightening the birds in that tree, lady smiley - winkeye

It doesn't sound as though your cats cause the birds too many problems. Cats are individuals and not all are good hunters. Apparently white cats aren't much cop at hunting. They're badly camouflaged (unless there's snow on the ground) and a lot of them are a bit deaf.

As to the bells deafening cats or damaging their ears - well, that's a new argument on me. Most of my cat owning friends (owned by might be more realistic as you say) argue that the bells are pointless because cats are such stealthy movers that the bells never make a sound. I have no experience of them - not having a cat - but I depended on the study carried out by Glasgow University. The consensus of opinion seems to be that the bells don't jingle until the cat pounces, then, if the bird is quick (and many are) that is just sufficient warning to enable them to escape.

Squeaky shoes sound like a fine idea, but can persuade the little rascals to keep them on?


Post 5


I don't know about the study, but our oldest cat Smokey, an old hand at hunting and the only cat of ours to survive to her age in a very long time, apparently has no difficulty hunting whatsoever despite the extremely jingly tags that were recently added to her collar. It's amazing, really, she can't lick herself without alerting people across the room, but when the time comes she's still lethal.

Also, to the person above, I very much doubt that the cats of ours that hunt bother to bring in anywhere near half their kills, especially since we discourage it when they do. Something to consider.


Post 6


I don't know if the bells save any birds but they can't hurt the cats hearing. Ear damage is a matter of the energy in the sound overwhelming the cillia in the inner ear. Either very loud continuously or very, very loud suddenly will do it. Everyday sounds that your cat hears are thousands of times more powerful than the tiny bells that we collar our cats with. Come to think of it... a bell around your cats neck would save small animals if the bell weighed a kilo or so.


Post 7


An Australian author of a book on permaculture advocated bells for cats - 10Kg bells...

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