Friday, May 24, 2019

How to Keep Wildlife Safe From Your Cat

Calling a house cat domesticated is comical at best. We may not think about our cats’ predatory instincts while they’re napping in cardboard boxes or sitting on our chests while we marathon our favorite TV shows, but the truth is that felines aren’t that far removed genetically from their wild relatives, so they retain many of their hunting instincts.
Your fierce little feline’s adorable displays of affection ~ you know, the dead birds and the gutted lizards left on the porch with your morning newspaper ~ are actually problematic for the proverbial circle of life. House cats kill somewhere between 1.3 billion and 4 billion birds in the U.S. every year, according to the Audubon Society.
The issue is so prominent and concerning that many organizations have created programs warning about the dangers of outdoor cats, such as Ohio State University’s Indoor Pet Initiative and the Cat Indoors program through the American Bird Conservancy.
Adventure cats are, in our humble opinion, some of the best and brightest companions to have by your side as you trek across the world. Surfing? Hiking? Camping? Sailing? The sky is the limit for our favorite feline friends, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. 
Sometimes, though, things can go wrong for even the most responsible cat owners. While we believe our kitties can absolutely join us in the great outdoors, keeping the small wildlife and birds safe should be a primary concern, so read on for tips on how you can do just that.

Waffles the cat on a hike.
Even if you’re in a familiar area or in your own yard, keep your cat on a leash. (Photo: Cody Wellons)
In the Yard

Responsible cat owners have long let their pets roam the backyard without a leash, but accidents do happen, so we recommend always keeping your cat on a leash when he’s outside ~ for his safety and for the safety of wildlife. In addition to a leash, there are some other surprisingly easy ways to help keep the local little critters safe.

Keep birdbaths and feeders away from shrubbery where a cat could easily hide to attack. Cats can’t climb metal poles, so installing feeders or birdhouses atop these (instead of dangling them from a branch) can also make a big difference.

Tree wraps made of hard-to-grip metal, aluminum foil or plastic can create the same effect. Tree baffles are cones made of wire or metal to wrap around the base of trees, and they’re effective when positioned 4 feet to 5 feet above the ground.

You can also consider building a catio, so your kitty can enjoy some fresh air and sunshine while the rest of nature stays safe.

On Adventures

When adventuring, be sure your cat companion is wearing an appropriate harness and leash, preventing them from wandering off too far and causing damage when you least expect it. Keep them contained overnight when camping to ensure they can’t slip out of your tent or hammock to leave with you a dearly departed gift in the morning.

If you’re in an area laden with small animals, be sure to keep a close eye on your cat, or consider carrying them until the danger ~ and the lure of the hunt ~ has passed.

outdoor cat with bell on collar
A bell on the collar may alert wildlife that a predator is near. (Photo: R. Crap Mariner)

Consider Some Feline Fashion
Whether you’re adventuring or simply lounging in the yard, another easy way to keep your cat from pouncing on birds, moles and other creatures lies in a variety of attachments made for cat collars. This can be something as simple as attaching a bell to your cat’s collar, or it may be more involved, such as the items outlined below.
BirdsBeSafe Collars are large and bright and are intended to allow birds to see a cat before it’s too late. They fit over your cat’s collar, and they come in vivid colors that are prominent outside and easily visible, even in low light. Your kitty will look meownificent in one of three colors and pattern designs for $9.99 USD.
CatBibs prevent cats from being able to pounce properly, and they even tout some scientific backing. Murdoch University’s Biological Sciences Department ran an independent field trial and found that CatBibs stopped 81 percent of cats from catching all types of birds and 45 percent from catching small mammals. The bib also comes with reflective logo designs, making your purrfect companion visible at night to not only nocturnals but also humans. The bibs attach to cat collars and can be purchased for $9 USD.

Friday, May 3, 2019

You Could Be Killing Hummingbirds: Here’s How to Save Them

Hummingbirds are beautiful, delightful little creatures to have around your garden. Not only are they great pollinators, but they also bring fun and frivolity into your yard. Many homeowners and gardeners put feeders up to keep these precious summer personalities around.
If you don’t take the necessary steps to provide healthy nectar and clean feeders, your favorite pollinators could catch deadly infections.
Hummingbird feeders must be kept clean and free from mold and fungus, or your tiny friend could develop a serious and deadly fungus infection. This infection causes the tongue to swell, making it impossible for the birds to feed. Losing the ability to consume nectar, these sweet little birds face starvation.
A mother hummingbird can pass a fungal infection to her babies who, in turn, could also face the possibility of dying from starvation due to swelling tongues.
Not changing out the nectar enough could create fermentation within the nectar. Fermented nectar can cause liver damage, which usually will lead to death.

The Basics of Hummingbird Care

When looking to purchase a feeder, find one that is easy to clean.

To clean your feeder, flush it with hot tap water and use a bottle brush to scrub the sides of the glass jar. DO NOT use soap because it will leave residue behind. If you do use soap, use a vinegar and water solution to rinse and remove soap residue.
Inspect the feeder carefully for black mold. If you see any mold growth, soak the feeder in a solution of 1/4 cup bleach to one-gallon water for one hour.

To make the nectar, mix one part ordinary white cane sugar to four parts water. Do not use store-bought mixtures, honey, or any other kind of sugar ~ just ordinary white cane sugar will work. Bring the solution to a boil, stir to dissolve the sugar, then allow the mixture to come to room temperature before filling the feeder.
Boiling the water will help slow the fermentation process of the nectar, but as soon as a hummingbird beak dips and drinks, healthy microorganisms carried on the beak will be transferred into the nectar.
If the nectar becomes cloudy, it has gone bad and needs to be replaced. A sugar solution can spoil in as little as two days. If your feeder is hanging in the sun or outside where the temperatures are high, the nectar may start to ferment in only one day.
To avoid wasting nectar, only put out enough for the birds to consume in two or three days. If you mix up a large batch, you can keep it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

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Raven is an engaging entrepreneur who encourages others to celebrate pets as part of the family, as well as keep them happy, healthy, and spoiled with her online specialty pet boutiques ( &, and premium pet food business (

She is an enthusiastic advocate for animal rights, including wildlife & nature and likes to dabble in creative projects such as photography, digital art, custom greeting cards and more!

For more information, please use the Contact Me! page on this blog or visit her Facebook page to PM her