The Bird That The Cat Brought In - [19 April 2005 18:01]




Probably the worst threat to, and certainly the most dangerous predator of garden birds, is the domestic cat. When a cat shreds the sofa, the average catophile doesn’t shrug and say, “it’s in his nature”, yet that is often the reaction to the destruction of birds by the cat. Please cat lovers; teach your cats not to catch birds.


Never, under any circumstances, take a bird away from a cat, check whether it can fly, and release it. It’s probably only flying away to go and die slowly somewhere else! Cats cause horrific injuries to birds which usually need prolonged and professional treatment. Likely injuries include:


·        Puncture wounds caused by the teeth and claws. The feathers often hide these.

·        Ripped skin.

·        Burst or severely bruised liver.

·        Extreme stress caused by the cat ‘playing’ with it’s victim.

·        Broken legs or wings.

·        Crushed ribs, which can pierce the lungs.


Immediately after gently removing the bird from the cat, check for visible injuries, and then place the bird in a warm, dark place. Prepare and administer emergengy oral electrolytes to help counteract stress. Telephone your local rehabilitation centre for assistance and advice.

Should you be unable to take the bird to a rehabilitation centre, involve you local vet in helping the bird, as treatment will probably involve:


  • Setting of broken bones
  • Antibiotic treatment to prevent infection of the puncture wounds.
  • Supportive medication to prevent liver failure.
  • Stitching of rips in the skin.
  • Long-term convalescence and rehabilitation
  • Other, totally unrelated treatment, as the bird may have been weakened by some other condition which allowed the cat to catch it.

By Gordon M Duncan & Wings in Need

Animaltalk June 1999

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