Why raised Birdbaths are better!

In this post I am going to touch on a contentious topic for some people and as I am completely not wishing to offend anybody here is a little warning to cat lovers and owners out there; basically I think cats are completely inappropriate pets in Australia because of the destruction they cause to our native wildlife… there! That said lets look at some pretty pictures of native birds in a beautiful suburban habitat garden!

In the image below you can see a pair of musk lorikeets drinking and bathing in a Mallee Dish raised 500mm off the ground.

If you are like me and have roaming domestic cats coming into your garden during the day and night to hunt and have territorial fights, it is best to raise your birdbath out of the reach of cats. This ensures that they don’t leave their scent in the water and keep the beautiful native birds away. Birds are very sensitive to predators and will shy away from an area of the garden that they feel may be unsafe.

In the image above you can see a domestic cat drinking from a dish at night, you may not be aware of night feline visitors, according to the article below if cat owners kept their cats inside at night it would reduce their killing rate by 50%.

Natural born killers: the problem with cats

The image below was taken in my back garden which at the moment is a building site, but I am still getting bird visitors to my birdbaths that are raised off the ground or hanging from trees. Can you spot the night predator in the background? it is one of 4 different domestic cats that come into my garden …. and naturally makes me furious!

Cats should also wear a collar with a bell, or, even better, a sonar beeper that produces high-pitched tones, which doesn’t bother cats, but alerts birds to their presence. Neutering stops cats procreating and makes them less likely to roam and hunt.

There is also a product called a cat bib which has shown to be quite successful in the reduction of kills a cat can make whist wearing it.

To break up this depressing topic please see a beautiful Satin bower having a drink and his female friend below 🙂

I have seen feral cats in the desert and found them utterly revolting and frightening, I realise that domestic cats are on a different level to feral cats however we all live in this beautiful country together:

the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC), which runs private conservation reserves across the nation, released a report in December which estimated the impact of the 5-18 million feral cats on native species such as bilbies and numbats.

Each cat takes 5-30 animals a night, says the AWC, so (using a conservative population estimate of 15 million) they conclude that a minimum of 75 million native animals are killed daily. In a country struggling to conserve its unique fauna, the scale of this figure should not be underestimated.

So if you are trying to create a habitat or bird attracting garden where cats are present it is best to raise water out of reach from cats, plant plenty of dense prickly shrubs for birds to hide in and talk to your neighbourhood cat owners about putting in place some precautions to limit hunting in your neighbourhood. Good Luck!

23 thoughts on “Why raised Birdbaths are better!

  1. Greg McPherson on

    It is indeed very odd that most cat owners will not take steps to lessen the cats destructive impact. I’m not convinced it’s denial. Cat owners know their cats are killing indiscriminately. It’s almost as if many people, at a sunconscious level, oddly revere the cats actions?

    • Kath Gadd on

      I think the cat owners feel it would be cruel to their beloved pets to restrain their natural hunting instinct.

      • Bronwyn on

        I have a very intelligent and thoughtful friend who believes constraining her cat would be cruel. But killing our native birds is cruel. I don’t get it.

  2. Katie on

    I have too gorgeous cuddly cats who remain inside and have a small run outside. I have a neighbour with two cats who has said to me before that her cat doesn’t hunt. I think its really common in the city or suburbs especially that people genuinely have no understanding of the damage their cats are doing, they are happy to exist in their little bubble. Its terribly sad.

  3. Kathleen on

    Never let my cat out side. I think all cats should be restricted inside or in caged runs. And there should be programm for wild cat radiation.

  4. Bronwyn on

    I cannot understand why people let their cats roam. They surely must know the damage they cause. Our cat is mainly indoors, only goes outside supervised and has never been allowed off the property. Our next door neighbour has three cats but built them a cat run and never allows them to roam outdoors. Meantime, a large local tomcat harasses our much smaller cat and stalks our bantams. If I knew who owned it I’d talk to them but I doubt it would make much difference. I think it’s time Councils introduced a cat curfew and fined owners who breach it.

  5. Lucy Wiasak on

    We have two cats and they are indoor cats. When outdoors they are under supervision and on harnesses. I love the native birds around us and we even hand feed magpies. Why would I put them at risk. It is criminal that people let their cats roam free.

  6. Susan Barnes on

    Re. “Radiation” of wild cats? Are we going to nuke them or give them CAT scans. Just curious. Or should we put that suggestion down to spellcheck?

    • Kath Gadd on

      Hi Susan,

      My guess is that comment from Kathleen should say eradication not “radiation”, and I believe there are some Sydney councils who are moving towards a policy for wild cat eradication which can only be a good thing.

      Thanks,

      Kath

  7. Carolyn on

    Visiting friends for three weeks who own three cats, I retrieved lizards and crickets every day from their jaws. I was appalled at the amount of killing these cats did daily and do think they are totally at odds with Australian wildlife.

  8. Avalon Connor on

    I have a lovely female Birman cat called Bella. She is six now and never goes outside. She has all sorts of toys to play with and she romps around happily. I love birds and I agree with bird lovers that birds and cats should not meet. I am also a bird lover.

  9. I think everything mentioned is correct but was hoping to read more about the native garden which is why I clicked to read.

  10. Jake on

    I do think SOME cat owners are in denial to some degree and also, dare I say it, a bit complacent when it comes to restraining their cat outdoors. There are many levels of awareness in the community, and also many levels of attachment that cat owners have to their cat. Maybe it comes down to how one emotionally connects with their cat versus how one emotionally connects to native wildlife.

    • Kath Gadd on

      Hi Jake,

      Yes, I agree. For most people who keep domestic cats their level of awareness of how the native wildlife is affected by them is hampered by their love of their cute fluffy pet.

  11. Sarah on

    Great article. Love the night shots of those naughty cats caught red handed! I don’t think they should be allowed out at night at all. As a responsible cat owner there is no need. But they out everywhere where I live and also often getting run over on the busy road.

    • Kath Gadd on

      Oh well, that is the risk the owners are happy to take, night hunting vs being run over…I hate to say it but maybe Karma plays a part 😉

  12. Sophie on

    I totally agree that cats need to be controlled to protect out native birds, and also other creatures like lizards. In addition to the raised bird bath, I like to also keep a water dish on the ground for our skinks. Fortunately our shire has a night curfew for cats.

  13. Kane on

    I’ve volunteered in animal welfare with a particular focus on cats for over a decade and think this debate about cats has very little factual basis on both ends of the love/hate cat spectrum.
    To start with not all cats are killers of wild life or vermin etc and not encouraging a cat to hunt is not cruel. Cats, like most domesticated animals are quite content not to hunt and can be easily trained not to. Keeping them indoors with access to an attached enclosed outdoor run is more than sufficient for a cat to be very happy. In saying that introducing a cat to the outdoors and proactively training the cat not to pursue wildlife is easy, effective and allows the cat to hang in the garden with you when you’re out there. My two love accompanying me in the garden and the key to having outdoor non-killing cast is you introduce them to the outdoors by being with them the whole time and you train them not to pursue wildlife (aka teach them impulse control). You do not leave them unsupervised outdoors until you have instilled a habit of leaving ile life alone. My neighbour feeds corellas, magpies, rosellas, pigeons, etc with her cat ly*ng next to her, everyday and no issue. Just like my cats.
    As far as the estimates of how many animals are killed by cats per night this is pure politics of purity hysteria. Cats have been feral in Australia since 3 weeks after the arrival of the first fleet in January 1788, 230 years ago…they’re endogenised into the environment just like dingos that were introduced a few millinea before cats. Anyone who believes the numbers and the overinflated claims of devastation need to take a deep breath and reflect on how feral cats are part the diet of dingos and where there are dingos, feral cats and foxes are controlled. Environmental scientists who have an anti cat disposition “predicting” cat numbers and their impact are wrong and need to stop scapegoating cats for the massive environmental devastation that HUMANS are causing wth ou sprawling suburbs, land clearing and mining and evite their efforts to teaching the public how to manage their cats responsibly from a perspective of positive reinforcement rather than fabricated over exaggerated cla8ms of mass8ve cat crises. So frustrating to hear their hysteria echoed by people who have even less of a clue like it’s a religious dogma.

  14. Bronwyn Body on

    Wow! You sure did open up a Cat debate.
    I have never l liked Cats. We live on a farm and have a Cat for one thing only! Vermin maintenance, not that we really have had any thus far, but as we are introducing animals and there fore feed, we can expect they’ll come. Also we had 12 Brown Snakes here last year. With the introduction of stored hay, grain and various feeds they too will continue to come close to the house, where we are, our children are and our beloved Dogs are and I for one am not willing to protect the eco system with them at all. The Cat has been hired for a job, to kill kill kill. If some birds go along the way well so be it. They are in massive numbers around here and its a numbers game. Even the government will look at numbers.

  15. Paul on

    Get a dog. Birds don’t seem to mind my old dog, keeps cats away as well . Cats also hate smells they don’t like….I put coffee grinds all over my garden, they hate it.
    If I ever saw a cat in my garden I would tell the owner to lock it up, because it is illegal in some places to let cats out at night.

  16. Noela Lord on

    Pls advise cost of the Mini copper bird bath with a stand.

    Thanking you,

    Noela Lord

    • Kath Gadd on

      Hi Noela,

      All our prices are on our Shopify website,

      Birdbaths.malleedesign.com.au

      Best Wishes,

      Kath

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