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Protecting Backyard Wildlife From a Cat

Category Wildlife

I have a duck nesting in my backyard. There are about 7 eggs inside and they're due to hatch anytime now. The problem is the cat next door and the owners who refuse to do anything about it. We've patched the holes in the fences, bought cat repellent, set a cat trap loaned to us by our local animal control, and rigged some wire fencing along the top of some of the entry ways on the fence. I know cats can be very clever and unless I can sit in the yard 24/7, I fear the ducklings are doomed.

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I read the suggestion about the balloons and you can bet I'm going to try that, but anymore suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Sandra

Editor's Note: Sandra posted a follow up to this request, you can read it in the feedback forum below. She also sent us a picture of the Duck and her ducklings treck to their new home! Here it is...

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June 17, 20050 found this helpful

I would sit around for a day or two waiting with my garden hose if it reached. If it didn't reach, I would buy more garden hose squirt the cat a few times if it gets close and she will probably stay away. You might find that Mother will do a great job of protecting her babies. I used to have some ducks and when mother was on the nest no one could get near her. The babies will stay close to her and they will all stay close to the water. I wouldn't worry to much about it.

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June 19, 20050 found this helpful

Thank you for the feedback. I like the hose idea, and actually have one of those super soaker water guns at the ready. Unfortunately, because we work during the week, there are times when we're not at home. But we do the best we can when we're there to check the yard often.

I like the bb gun idea too, but that one's a little trickier. It's unlawful for any firearm to be discharged within city limits where we live. And even if this weren't the case, I'm afraid my aim is not that good, and I'd probably end up shooting the momma duck instead of the cat.

I checked with a local wildlife rehab sanctuary, and they suggested that we move the ducks to the nearby lake, once they've hatched. That sounds like the good solution, but it also sounds easier than I suspect it'll turn out to be.

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June 19, 20050 found this helpful

Is there a wildlife rehabber in the area? I'm surprised the sanctuary you called didn't suggest a particular person who could help you. Your local vets might know of one, or the zoo. The Humane Society is another source. Shooting an animal is obscene. It's also illegal, for obvious reasons.

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June 19, 20050 found this helpful

Cats and dogs don't usually like the smell

of jalapeno peppers. Buy a big jar and put

the pepper along with all the juice in a blender

or food processor. Run it till the peppers are

all in tiny pieces. Then put it around the yard

where the cats might be getting in. It does

not hurt them because they smell it and go

away. It won't hurt the plants nearby either.

We have used this for years to keep cats out

of our yards and flower beds. You will have

to do it again if it rains. Good luck.

Jeane in Texas

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April 20, 20170 found this helpful

But does the jalapeño smell bother the duck and ducklings? I would not want to run hem off as well.. If that is the case, I will try something different.

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June 20, 20050 found this helpful

In addition to the cat repellent, I'm going to try the jalapeno pepper idea. I love it.

As for the rehabber question, I've made phone call after phone call to every resource that I thought could possibly help me with this problem. I even called the local National Wildlife Foundation. And the most help I received was the suggestion about relocating the duck family. I think that because I'm in the suburb of a very large city, these places are over extended as it is. I would hire a vet if I had the financial resources.

As for the whole bb gun idea/comment, I too think it's not okay to shoot/kill/harm/abuse animals, insects, birds etc. In fact, I don't even own a bb gun or a gun in general, I don't believe in them. I just don't want to get into any arguments over the internet, I find it to be useless. And besides my main goal here is to get the duck issue resolved. But as a side note I also find it obscene to allow a domestic house pet to run at large without a collar and i.d. There is a high incidence of feline aids where I live, not to mention traffic, and angry neighbors who may resort to shooting them or poisoning them. I'm mostly frustrated with the cat's people than I am the cat itself.

Thanks again for everyone's help!

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July 7, 20050 found this helpful

You can kill or severely injure animals or your neighbors with any type of gun. There are laws in most urban areas about letting animals run around loose or at least with no ID or rabies tags. Neither of these options will really solve the problem, though, and then you will have angry neighbors (though they are being irresponsible). They may not be able to have the cat inside for some reason (not that I think that's OK) and then there will be another homeless cat waiting to be killed if no suitable home is found. That said, there are sprinkler heads available that have motion detectors and will turn on when something goes near them. The ducks shouldn't mind the water, but the cats will. This will keep you from having to stay out there with the hose on guard duty. I have seen them advertised to keep nesting (and pooping) birds away from airplanes. You might check www.sportys.com in their pilot shop area if you can't find the things locally. If you have a few of these lining the outside edge of your property and no way for the cat to circumvent them, you have protected your ducks. We have the same issue, but the wild cats don't really seem to bother the ducks. Keeping the mother and babies out of the traffic and away from turtles will likely be the bigger challenge. BTW, my indoor cats love to chase balloons.

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July 7, 20050 found this helpful

Yes, I know that any type of gun can kill and/or harm animals and humans alike, that probably goes for the super soaker water "gun" (the only kind of gun that I would shoot) that I had at the ready, but never had to use.

The city I reside in actually has an ordnance against allowing cat and dogs from running at large, tagged or otherwise. The only reason this particular cat runs outside is because it always has. She actually returns home and sleeps with her people in the evening. The cat itself is rather sweet, but I understand it's her "nature" to hunt, catch, playwith and/or kill birds, mice etc.

Having said all of this I wanted to let eveyone know that the ducklings hatched on July 3rd. There were six of them altogether. I was up early and happened to notice the mama trying to get out of the garden fence, wondering to myself why she just didn't fly over. When I looked at her a little closer, I could see the outline of her babies. We had to remove two pickets from the six foot fence and it took some coaxing and guidance, but her and her brood were able to exit the yard and start making their way down the street to the water source from the nearby lake. We escorted them down and across the street. She knew right where she was going. We got to see them swin away! It was very cool!

We felt very lucky to have been home to help her out of the yard without incident.

Thank you for all of your suggestions and input!

Peace,

Sandra

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July 7, 20050 found this helpful

Hi Sandra, looks like your image didn't quite make it. If you get a chance, send it to images@thriftyfun.com and I will post it for you. Glad to hear everything went well with the ducklings!

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July 7, 20050 found this helpful

I feel the need to go on record here: shooting a cat with a bb gun CAN SEVERELY INJURE OR KILL IT. It does not just 'sting'. One of my cats was recently shot with a bb gun. The bb lodged in her spine, crushing the bone surrounding her spinal cord. Her hind legs and tail were PARALYZED and we had to resort to emergency surgery to restore her ability to walk. If the surgery had not worked, we would have had to put her to sleep. No one in the vet's office seemed to think it was unusual that a bb would cause so much damage - apparently people critically injure pets with bb guns all the time.

DO NOT SHOOT ANY ANIMAL WITH A BB GUN UNLESS YOUR INTENT IS TO KILL IT.

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Anonymous
July 7, 20050 found this helpful

Thank you claireb for stating your opinion on shooting animals with bb guns. I fully agree with you and hope no one resorts to the use of them.

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July 7, 20050 found this helpful

I went ahead and deleted the bbgun post.

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July 8, 20050 found this helpful

Thank you for deleting the bbgun post.

I feel like people misunderstood my position on using them.

For the record: I am against the use of firearms of any kind, and am well aware of how they feel as I have been shot by them at least twice in my lifetime, once as a very small child and once as an adult.

I AM for responsible pet owners, and people need to be aware that letting ANY domestic animal run at large in the city or in the suburbs can be dangerous for the animal. There ARE people out there who wouldn't hesitate to shoot at animals or people just for the fun of it. I however am not one of them.

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August 15, 20050 found this helpful

I just had to put my cat down b/c someone used a bb gun to shoot her in my own yard. Maybe try caging your ducks

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August 15, 20050 found this helpful

EJM,

I am so very sorry to hear about your cat. Please take the time to read ALL of the replies and responses to my original post. I think you will understand very clearly where I stand on the whole bb gun thing.

As for your suggestion to cage the ducks, they weren't mine to cage, they are wild and just happened to choose my yard to mate and nest. It is illegal to capture and cage any wild animal in my area as well as discharge ANY firearm.

As I'm sure you can understand, my frustration with the cat's people unfortunately lead to several misunderstandings on this message board.

If I were of the belief that shooting a bb gun at the cat was okay, I would never have posed this question on the internet in the first place. I would have just taken the matter into my own hands and shot the animal.

For the future my position on shooting/killing/harming/abusing ANY animal is as follows: I DON'T BELIEVE IN IT for any reason, period.

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August 15, 20050 found this helpful

EJM,

I am so very sorry to hear about your cat. Please take the time to read ALL of the replies and responses to my original post. I think you will understand very clearly where I stand on the whole bb gun thing.

As for your suggestion to cage the ducks, they weren't mine to cage, they are wild and just happened to choose my yard to mate and nest. It is illegal to capture and cage any wild animal in my area as well as discharge ANY firearm.

As I'm sure you can understand, my frustration with the cat's people unfortunately lead to several misunderstandings on this message board.

If I were of the belief that shooting a bb gun at the cat was okay, I would never have posed this question on the internet in the first place. I would have just taken the matter into my own hands and shot the animal.

For the future my position on shooting/killing/harming/abusing ANY animal is as follows: I DON'T BELIEVE IN IT for any reason, period.

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June 13, 20140 found this helpful

We have a mama duck who has been coming around our home, we've named Daisy! :) She's precious...Her and "Donald" have been so much fun having around. I bought them a wading pool they use and love. Daisy, has nested up against the front of our home under the gas meter.

Last night, I was standing by our front window and I hear the sounds of a cat going after Daisy Duck. I banged on the window to try to scare the cat off and ran outside. My neighbor told me Daisy broke away from the cat and flew away. Her nest was a mess and I chased off the cat who was sitting under our neighbors car.

I came up with an idea last night which I think will keep the cat away and not harm it. I took a full bottle of maple syrup and outlined the area around duck nest. I grew up having cats and they hate sticky paws! Hopefully this idea works!

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May 20, 20120 found this helpful

I have a mother Mallard that has laid 9 eggs under a bush in my backyard, which is a very small, fully fenced in yard. There is no male Mallard in sight. My problem is that there is a feral cat that keeps attacking the mother Mallard and I'm afraid once the eggs are hatched the cat will kill the babies. I know it's illegal to move a nest, but the babies won't be able to get out of my yard until they can fly. Any suggestions what do do?

By Carol

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May 29, 20120 found this helpful

If there is an SPCA office in your area call them & ask their help in removing the feral cat & also give them information about the duck. If not call your local animal pound or police dept for help. Thank you for taking care of the duck family!

Rose

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