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!

15 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.



  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.

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