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Catted birds and mammals advice

Catted birds & mammals

According to credible and reliable sources, the latest statistics show that domestic cats in the UK catch approximately 92 million prey animals during the spring and summer seasons. Out of these, around 27 million are birds.


However , these figures only account for the 'known' number of prey items caught. 

Its estimated, that the true figure is around 120 million.

Domesticated or not, cats can have an insatiable hard-wired hunting instinct that causes devasting impact on the local wildlife numbers.  However, truthfully, cats are really only doing what nature intended them to do. But this shouldn't be regarded as 'Natural' as the numbers of cats in the UK expand to over 12 million individuals and as a result resort in a very much unnatural balance of predator-prey ratios.  

not to mention, that domestic cats are an invasive species here in the UK, due to humans introducing them.

My cat has caught a bird or small mammal, what should I do?

Firstly, which may sound obvious, try to retrieve the animal from the cat.

Secondly, put the animal or bird into a carboard box, away from the sight, sound and smells of the cat or any other domestic animal in your home.



A combination of shock and a bacterial infection is extremely likely and the bird/ animal will need to be seen by a veterinary surgeon or reputable wildlife rescue almost immediately.

Why cant I just release the poor thing back into my garden?

The patient will be in shock, and therefore their bodies will have lost the basic abilities to keep them selves warm, hydrated, immunosuppressive and their heart rates/ circulation is going to be extremely compromised

This animal is dying, and its now up to you to ensure, that this poor animal gets the right help it deserves. 

Shock will require medical treatment, often utilising veterinary intervention with the abilities to administer antibiotics and other such medication to combat the shock.

Most cats and dogs, have a bacteria found in their mouths called Pasteurella multocida, which even if not directly delivered into the bloodstream of a bird or mammal , can still prove to be fatal. Its extremely toxic, and naturally occurs in all cats.


This bacteria will kill the animal within a 24-72 hour period. Therefore the animal MUST see a vet. 

I cant see any puncture marks , the bird is chirping and seems bright, do I still not release it ?

Yes, even if there are no visible injuries and or the animal is bright and alert, you mustn't release it.

The bacteria and germs found in cat salvia can live on the fur or plumage of any animal and once that animal decides to groom or preen itself, it will ingest the toxin and inevitably lead to sepsis poisoning.  Even if the cat is seen to be only 'playing' with the animal, this is enough evidence for the capture and referral to a suitable facility. 

What is Pasteurella multocida ?

Pasteurella multocida is a type of bacteria that is gram-negative, facultative anaerobic and non-spore-forming. It appears as a pleomorphic coccobacillus. Over 90% of all cats carry Pasteurella multocida bacteria in their saliva, which makes the chances of animals getting infected very high. This bacteria can spread from one cat to another through aerosolization, such as coughing or sneezing. It is also found in dogs, cattle, and rabbits.

Cats have various kinds of bacteria, known as Capnocytophaga, living in their mouths. These bacteria do not make pets sick, but sometimes these germs can spread through bites, scratches, or close contact and may cause illness, including sepsis.

How can I prevent my cat from catching birds or animals ?

There are many suggestions for this. Some will suggest putting a bell on your cats collar, however, this isn't always going to work, especially with inexperienced juvenile animals and birds who may not  understand or recognise the sounds of a bell.

Below is a few ideas that may help your local garden birds :

  • Placing bird feeders away from fences, and low hanging trees (both of which make the perfect ambush point for cats).

  • Install a 'Catio' a large pen that attaches to your house, thus keeping your cat both safe and allowing them some much-needed outdoors space. Whilst allowing wildlife the safety in the breeding season (March-September) 

  • A bell on your cats collar 'may' help

  • Try not to feed birds too close to your house

  • Place nest boxes up high and out of reach from cats.

  • If your cat is taking multiple birds a season from your garden, then its suggested not to place bird feeders or nest boxes in your garden.

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