Yeah, that’s a no brainer, but it really hit home again this weekend when my kitten Crissy discovered the hummingbird feeder.

Luckily I saw her just in the nick of time and was able to get the ruby throated hummer away from her before she hurt it.  He lost a few tail feathers and was stunned but was otherwise ok. Of course, it had to happen on a Sunday morning when there’s no vet or wildlife rehabilitator to call.

Eventually, after spending a couple of hours in a carrier in my kitchen, I was able to let him fly away. 

It didn’t look too good at first though. I set up the carrier with sprigs of Rose of Sharon and Lantana – two of the bushes the hummers like to feed from in addition to the feeders I have out. Plus, I happened to have a tiny hummingbird feeder that you put in hanging plants to put in the carrier with him.

At first he just sat stone still on the sprig of Lantana, not wanting to move. While he was in there, I was feverishly looking up what to do on the Internet and found www.rubythroat.org.

They emailed me back right away on how to get him to eat. It sort of worked. I got his beak in the feeder, but couldn’t tell if he was actually sipping any sugar water. Soon, though, he was flying around the carrier looking for a way out.

Meantime, I was in the backyard with my squirt bottle filled with water. Every time Crissy tried to go near the hummingbird feeders, she got a squirt with water. Soon, she gave up and was over the fence looking for other things to do.

Of course, the volunteers at rubythroat.org were not happy with me because I have cats that go outside.  I understand their concern. I hate when one of my cats gets a bird, but it happens only rarely. 

I do believe you can have bird feeders and indoor/outdoor cats.

Most well-fed cats, like mine, are content to snooze on the back deck or in the cool, green grass most of the day like Rosie here snoozing below the hummingbird feeder the other day.  They’re not interested in hunting – especially not birds because they’re too much trouble to catch. 

If they’re going to hunt, it’s going to be something easy, like a grasshopper, a lizard, or the occasional vole or field mouse.  ..something they can easily pounce on.

Birds, on the other hand, tend to fly off before they can get to them.  It’s a lot of work to catch a bird, waiting motionless for minutes, stalking, sneaking, staying focused and unless you’re really a hungry cat or a curious kitten like Crissy, you’re gonna go for the path of least resistance – the grasshopper – and then take a nap, knowing there’s a bowl of dry kibble waiting for you in the kitchen if you feel peckish.

However, Crissy is just a year old now, still considered a kitten, and everything is still a game and a toy. So I understood why she was fascinated.  The birds have been coming to the feeders all summer, but she just saw them yesterday so it was big deal for her, but after the squirt bottle, she was no longer interested and hasn’t bothered them since.  Good plan.

Advertisements