Cat With Bird In Mouth: How To Save The Bird And Redirect Your Cat’S Hunting Instincts

As a pet owner, few sights are more horrifying than realizing your beloved cat has a bird trapped in its jaws. Your first instinct will be to save the struggling bird. But interfering in the wrong way can increase the risk of serious injury or even death to both animals.

If you’re short on time, here is a quick overview: Act swiftly but calmly to startle the cat into releasing the bird without harming either. Then seek guidance from an expert on curbing your cat’s predatory impulses.

Assessing the Situation Quickly

Bird Still Alive?

When you see your cat with a bird in its mouth, the first thing you need to determine is whether the bird is still alive. This is crucial because if the bird is still alive, there is a chance to save it. Look for any signs of movement or vocalization from the bird.

If it appears lifeless, it may already be too late to save it. However, if the bird is still showing signs of life, you can take immediate action to help it.

Cat’s Level of Arousal

While assessing the situation, it’s important to also gauge your cat’s level of arousal. Cats have a natural hunting instinct, and catching a bird can trigger a high level of excitement and adrenaline in them.

This heightened state of arousal can make it challenging to get your cat to release the bird. Take a moment to observe your cat’s behavior and body language. Is it agitated or relaxed? Is it growling or purring?

Understanding your cat’s state of mind will help you formulate the best approach to intervene.

Safe Access to Both Animals

When dealing with a cat holding a bird, it’s crucial to ensure the safety of both animals. Approach the situation calmly and avoid sudden movements that could startle your cat. If possible, try to create a physical barrier between your cat and the bird to prevent any further harm.

You can use a large object like a cardboard box or a blanket to gently separate the two. Be cautious not to put yourself in harm’s way or stress out your cat further. Remember, your priority is to protect both the bird and your cat.

For more information on how to handle situations like these, you can visit The Humane Society or consult with a veterinarian who specializes in feline behavior. Remember, quick assessment and intervention are key to saving the bird and redirecting your cat’s hunting instincts in a more appropriate way.

Techniques to Release the Bird

When you find your cat with a bird in its mouth, it’s important to act quickly and calmly to save the bird’s life. Here are some effective techniques you can use to release the bird from your cat’s grasp:

1. Startling the Cat

One method to release the bird is by startling your cat. Make a loud noise, clap your hands, or use a whistle to get your cat’s attention. This sudden distraction may cause your cat to drop the bird and focus on the noise instead.

Remember to stay calm and avoid shouting or scaring the cat too much, as this may lead to further stress.

2. Blocking Airways

If your cat refuses to release the bird, you can try gently blocking its airways. Carefully place your thumb and index finger on either side of your cat’s nose, applying gentle pressure to restrict its breathing for a few seconds.

This can cause your cat to open its mouth and release the bird in order to breathe properly again. Be cautious while attempting this technique and make sure not to harm your cat.

3. Manual Removal

If the above methods do not work, you may need to physically remove the bird from your cat’s mouth. To do this, you can use a pair of gloves or a towel to protect your hands. Gently pry open your cat’s mouth by applying pressure on the sides of its jaws and carefully remove the bird.

Be extremely cautious to avoid injuring the bird or your cat in the process. Once you have successfully removed the bird, ensure its safety and provide any necessary first aid.

Remember, it’s vital to seek immediate medical attention for the bird after it has been released from your cat’s mouth. Contact a local wildlife rehabilitation center or veterinarian for guidance on how to best care for the bird.

Providing Emergency Care to an Injured Bird

When you come across a cat with a bird in its mouth, it’s important to act quickly to save the bird and provide it with the necessary care. Here are some steps you can take to provide emergency care to an injured bird:

Containing Safely

The first step is to safely contain the cat and remove it from the vicinity of the injured bird. Approach the cat calmly and try to distract it with a toy or treat to release the bird. If the cat refuses to let go, gently pry its mouth open using a towel or gloves to avoid getting bitten.

Once the cat releases the bird, carefully pick up the bird and place it in a secure container such as a cardboard box with air holes.

Transfer to Wildlife Rehab

After containing the injured bird, it’s important to transfer it to a wildlife rehabilitation center as soon as possible. These centers have the expertise and resources to provide the necessary care and rehabilitation for injured birds.

Contact your local wildlife rehab center and explain the situation. They will guide you on how to safely transport the bird to their facility. It’s important not to attempt to care for the bird yourself, as they require specialized care and treatment.

Remember, the key is to act swiftly and calmly when providing emergency care to an injured bird. By containing the cat safely and transferring the bird to a wildlife rehab center, you are giving the bird the best chance of recovery and survival.

Redirecting Your Cat’s Hunting Drives

If you have a cat that loves to hunt and brings home birds, you may be wondering how to redirect their natural instincts. Fortunately, there are several effective strategies you can employ to keep both your cat and the birds safe.

By providing more stimulating indoor play, using deterrents and aversives, and supervising your cat outdoors, you can help satisfy their hunting needs without harming wildlife.

More Stimulating Indoor Play

One way to redirect your cat’s hunting instincts is by providing them with more stimulating indoor play. Engaging toys that mimic prey, such as feather wands or interactive electronic toys, can help satisfy their hunting drive.

Make sure to rotate the toys regularly to keep your cat interested and engaged. Additionally, setting up a cat tree or shelves near a window can allow them to observe birds and other wildlife, providing mental stimulation without causing harm.

Deterrents and Aversives

Another effective strategy is to use deterrents and aversives to discourage your cat from hunting birds. For example, you can install motion-activated sprinklers or ultrasonic devices that emit high-frequency sounds when your cat approaches an area where birds frequent.

These deterrents can help create a negative association with hunting and birds, discouraging your cat from engaging in these behaviors. Additionally, using aversive smells, such as citrus or vinegar, near bird-attracting areas can also deter your cat from hunting.

Outdoor Supervision

When allowing your cat outdoors, it’s crucial to supervise their activities to prevent them from hunting birds. Consider using a secure outdoor enclosure or a catio, which provides a safe outdoor space for your cat to enjoy while keeping wildlife protected.

By supervising your cat’s outdoor adventures, you can intervene if they show signs of hunting or chasing birds, redirecting their attention to other activities. Remember, outdoor supervision is necessary to ensure the safety of both your cat and the local bird population.

Creating a Peaceful Multi-Species Home

Living in a multi-species home can be a rewarding experience, but it can also come with its challenges. Cats, being natural hunters, may sometimes bring home birds they have caught. This can be distressing for bird lovers and concerning for the welfare of the bird.

However, with some simple strategies, you can create a peaceful coexistence between your cat and the birds in your neighborhood.

Separate Feeding Areas

One effective way to minimize the chances of your cat hunting birds is to provide separate feeding areas for your cat and the birds. By ensuring that your cat has access to a steady supply of nutritious food, you can help satisfy their hunting instincts and reduce their motivation to hunt birds.

Additionally, setting up bird feeders in an area away from your cat’s reach can provide an alternative food source for the birds, diverting their attention away from your cat.

Cat-Free Zones

Creating designated cat-free zones in your yard or home can help protect birds and give them a safe space to thrive. You can achieve this by installing birdhouses or nesting boxes in high-up areas that are inaccessible to your cat.

These areas will provide shelter and nesting opportunities for birds, while keeping them out of reach from your feline friend. Additionally, consider using fencing or netting to create enclosed spaces where birds can freely roam without the risk of being hunted by your cat.

Discouraging Window Strikes

Window strikes can be a common issue when cats are hunting birds. To prevent this, you can use window decals or bird tape to make the glass more visible to birds, reducing the chances of collision. Placing bird feeders or bird baths away from windows can also help divert the birds’ attention away from the glass.

In addition, keeping your cat entertained and engaged with interactive toys and playtime can redirect their hunting instincts and decrease their focus on the birds outside.

Remember, creating a peaceful multi-species home requires patience and understanding. By implementing these strategies, you can help save the birds and redirect your cat’s hunting instincts, allowing for a harmonious coexistence between your cat and the feathered visitors in your neighborhood.


While stopping a cat from harming a captured bird can be intensely stressful, staying calm and acting decisively gives the best chance of saving both animals. Reduce future incidents by understanding your cat’s instincts and taking steps to redirect its predatory energy.

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