Cat Owners Called to Action to Safeguard Vulnerable Songbirds

cat and birds

In a groundbreaking survey, it has emerged that nearly half of cat owners in the UK are at a loss on how to effectively shield songbirds from their pets. Collaboratively, Cats Protection and Songbird Survival are stepping forward with expert advice aimed at mitigating cats’ predatory instincts.

The eye-opening study, encompassing 1,000 cat owners and orchestrated by Songbird Survival, revealed a startling lack of awareness, with 46% of respondents admitting ignorance on measures to curb cat predation. Alarmingly, less than 10% of participants could identify the trio of scientifically endorsed strategies known to diminish hunting behaviours: nocturnal confinement of cats, offering a protein-rich diet, and interactive play sessions.

Susan Morgan, the CEO of Songbird Survival, highlighted the urgency of the situation, noting: “March marks a critical period for songbirds, initiating the nesting and breeding season that extends into July.” She elaborated on the heightened vulnerability of birds as they engage in nest-building, feed their fledglings, and display riskier behaviours in search of nourishment for their young.

Despite many cat owners possessing a deep-seated concern for bird conservation, Morgan underscored the necessity for further educational efforts to safeguard songbird populations, stating: “Caring for your cat in a manner that mitigates their hunting impact is a minor yet immediate modification we, as cat guardians, can adopt to foster the prosperity of songbird communities.”

Nicky Trevorrow, Behaviour Manager at Cats Protection, echoed the sentiment, stressing the importance of concerted actions by cat owners and bird enthusiasts to halt the decline of songbird numbers. She suggested installing nest boxes and eschewing pesticides as effective measures. Trevorrow also reminded that hunting is an inherent behaviour in cats, varying in intensity with age and not universally exhibited by all felines. Nonetheless, she assured that simple, strategic interventions could simultaneously protect avian life and enhance feline wellbeing.

Among the critical recommendations issued by Songbird Survival and Cats Protection are daily playtime sessions spanning 5-10 minutes to satisfy cats’ natural predatory instincts, thereby reducing their propensity to hunt. Toys that mimic prey movements, particularly fishing-rod toys, are particularly effective. A diet rich in premium meat has been scientifically proven to lessen hunting desires. In addition, keeping cats indoors during nighttime hours not only aids songbird conservation but also diminishes the likelihood of road traffic accidents involving pets.

A vital call to action from Cats Protection urges cat neutering, which significantly lowers the odds of overpopulation, fighting, and the spread of infectious diseases like Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), alongside reducing the risk of certain cancers in female cats.

Research conducted by Songbird Survival and the University of Exeter has shown that regular play and a superior diet can reduce the volume of prey cats bring home by as much as 25% and 36%, respectively.

For comprehensive advice on fostering a harmonious relationship between cats and songbirds, please consult Songbird Survival’s Get EduCated campaign at or visit Cats Protection’s dedicated page at

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