Cats are hunters and predators by a natural instinct. It’s what cats do… If you have a problem with mice in your house or barn, then an organic rodent controlling cat is a godsend. But if you enjoy bird watching and backyard chicken raising then this friendly pet could be a formidable threat. According to the Audubon Society, cats are responsible for killing millions of birds each year in North America alone. However, according to most chicken keepers, the family cat can co-exist with the flock in most situations.
Last year I shared my experience with one of my cats using a nesting box as a perfect spot for a catnap (click here: Cats and Chickens). I received several comments from Community Chickens followers about how their cats and chickens not only tolerated each other, but seem to enjoy each others company. Does that mean that there isn’t any reason for concern or caution shouldn’t be taken when mixing these two family pets? Of course not! Within the same comments were stories of a family cat, a stray or a neighbor’s cat attacking and killing the chickens.
Knowing your cat’s personality – and supervising their first reaction and interaction with the flock is probably the safest approach to integrating these family pets… Vulnerable newborn or small chicks are especially fair game to a hunting cat and there are some cats who will attack anything – even a full grown hen. Predator proofing your coop and run, not allowing your flock to free-range (unsupervised) and a protective rooster are a few safeguards against any attack.
Share your stories, experiences and advice in a comment below and if you have photos of your flock with the family cat – post them on our facebook page! Click here: Community Chickens Facebook
These cat toys are made of re-purposed wool coats and sweaters and filled with organic catnip from my garden.