Now that Iceland is entering late spring, a common conflict known the world over is emerging again: the one between cats and birds.
Many birds in Iceland, both migratory and all-year natives alike, use the springtime to build nests and lay eggs. BirdLife Iceland has published an extensive blog post encouraging the country’s cat owners to keep their cats indoors during this time.
According to their data, Icelandic cats are most likely to hunt sparrows, starlings, pipits, and other small birds. While these birds are abundant, and far outnumber cats in the country, bird lovers nonetheless implore cat owners to do what they can to not only keep their cats indoors but also reduce their hunting behaviour.
Amongst their tips are to keep cats inside from 17:00 to 9:00. You can also help fulfill their desire to hunt by playing with them directly, or providing them with toys that they can stalk, pounce and claw at themselves. Spaying and neutering also reduces hunting behaviour, they write—which is a good idea anyway, regardless of its effects on any given cat’s desire to hunt.
Those who have nests in their yard that they want to protect from cats can opt to stand guard with a spray bottle of water, or buy special sprays that contain scents that cats don’t like, and spray them around the base of trees with nests in them.
Despite what Looney Tunes may have taught us, cats and birds can peacefully co-exist, provided human beings engage in a little diplomatic intervention.
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