Here’s Why Cats Eat Pigeons. (Answered)

Last updated on December 12th, 2021

Cats running after mice is a more common sight, and it’s something that numerous videos on social media and the cartoons like ‘Tom and Jerry’ have been showing for ages, but why do cats eat pigeons?

Cats eat pigeons because it’s instinctual for them to hunt and attack animals that are weaker than them, especially birds. Pigeons are vulnerable creatures and cats can easily catch these birds with their claws, however, some cats will hunt and kill pigeons without eating them.

do cats eat pigeons 18 07 2021

Yes, cats do catch birds, and it’s not something new or uncommon.

In fact, cats are born hunters, and experts believe that they’ve probably inherited their predatory instincts from their wild feline family members, like tigers, lions, leopards, jaguars, cheetahs, pumas, and so on.

Therefore, it’s evident that your feline pet will chase down and kill any prey that crosses its path.

And the list of prey animals includes rats, moles, rabbits, shrews, lizards, large insects, and birds.

So, yes, cats do attack any weaker animal that it sees or comes across, including small and medium-sized birds, like pigeons.

Do Cats Kill or Eat Pigeons?

Cats have high records of catching and eating birds, such as hummingbirds, pigeons, and others.

It’s because these feline creatures are known for their exceptional stealthiness and speed. The more they catch birds, the more confident they become.

This, in turn, motivates cats to chase and bring down pigeons time and again as they know they can do it! 

Besides, your feline pet would love to feed on these birds and rodents. However, eating these creatures is not good for your pet’s health.

There’s a high chance that your cat may suffer from stomach upsets and other health issues after gorging on birds and rodents.

It’s definitely a challenge for cat owners to curb their feline friend’s hunting instincts.

But it’s necessary to keep both your cat as well as the animals around you safe.

We don’t want these beautiful pigeons to die because of our cats. Neither do we wish to see our cats fall sick or contract any diseases after eating the animals they catch.

This is why training our feline pets to stay and be happy at home is important.

It’s our duty to keep the fauna species around us safe and protected against all dangers.

If we look after nature, nature will return the favor in unexpected ways!

Is It Safe for Cats to Eat Pigeons?

It isn’t safe for domestic cats to eat pigeons because it can lead to gastric problems like diarrhea and vomiting since your cat’s stomach isn’t accustomed to such diets, however, feral cats are least likely to display any side effects after eating pigeons because hunting for meat is how these cats survive.

Being a predator and prolific hunter, it’s natural for cats to attack and kill weak animals like small birds, rabbits, squirrels, mice, and so on.

However, these aren’t very ideal food sources for your cat as your beloved pet may fall sick.

What’s worse, if your feline friend develops the habit of eating wild creatures, it may contract a severe disease or virus and even transmit it to you or your family members.

Further, cats may be exposed to the risks of contracting Salmonella after killing and eating sick birds.

Salmonella infection also kills 10% of infected cats, specifically if they’re extremely young or old (both ages are associated with weakness and a poor immune system). 

There are many random city pigeons or other wild birds that carry dangerous diseases, parasites, and harmful bacteria.

The birds in your neighborhood may also fall sick after coming in contact with any diseased wild bird, who may intrude into our birds’ feeders.

Besides, the cat’s digestive system may also be disturbed by intaking unwanted body parts of birds, such as feathers and a few bones.

Another way your cat can fall ill after eating pigeons is when it regurgitates food that was recently eaten.

Regurgitation differs from vomiting as it brings up undigested food in the mouth.

Unlike vomiting, the food comes back either from the stomach or from the esophagus which will cause your cat to feel sick and irritated.

However, not all things that are regurgitated after swallowing are bad for your cat. There are many reasons why the food came back.

  • Your cat isn’t an active hunter, and he doesn’t have the habit of catching and eating birds. So, the raw meat obtained from birds is unusual for your cat’s digestive system, and hence, he throws up.
  • Your feline pet finished an entire bird too fast. As a result, the stomach may have expanded too quickly, thus sending signals to the brain to throw up the food.
  • Your cat may have eaten a bird carrying a lot of unwanted things in its stomach or guts. These may be hard on your cat’s digestive system, causing the entire meal to come up.

So, just because your feline member has vomited or experienced a gastric upset doesn’t mean he is sick.

How To Protect Pigeons From Cats?

Here are 3 effective ways to protect pigeons from your feline pets.

1. Keep your feline companion indoors.

As mentioned earlier, the best way to stop your cat from attacking or eating pigeons and other wildlife is to keep him indoors.

You may think that putting collars will help while your cat is still let outside.

The truth is even though these restraints are reducing the number of kills and making it hard for the cat to hunt altogether, the instincts for hunting will still be there.

The more you stop your cat from chasing another animal even when it sees them, your beloved pet may turn aggressive or even stop loving you at some point.

Being a responsible pet owner, you’re definitely concerned about your cat’s mental as well as physical health.

And preventing your cat from killing a prey animal passing by is going to eventually ruin their mental stability because their instincts are being suppressed.

2. Use strong fences around your bird feeders.

Cats are good climbers, and they can attack your birds from any direction.

Make sure that there are no high platforms or tree branches near your bird feeders, as your cat can easily jump on them from such areas.

If it’s difficult to place your bird feeders or birdbaths in such a manner, ensure to use good quality fencing properly around them.

This will automatically keep cats away from your birds.

3. Use motion detectors.

At times, we don’t want our cats to enter certain places. For instance, there are a few pet-free areas in your home, such as your kid’s room (especially if he or she is a newborn or toddler), and your study room.

Similarly, we don’t want our cats to go near bird feeders or the cages of other pet animals, as it may cause unnecessary accidents.

Since cats are the predators for most domesticated animals, except dogs, they’re likely to inflict injuries or even kill our smaller pets, like rabbits, guinea pigs, squirrels, chickens, and birds.

To prevent such dangerous situations, you need to keep your feline creatures away from other pets in your home.

In that case, you can use a cat deterrent that usually comes with a motion detector.

A motion detector senses your pet’s movements and when it approaches a restricted area (that is where you place your motion detector), the device releases a quick spray burst of water.

It startles and irritates the cat, and they have no option but to go away. Every time the cat does that, it receives a spray burst of water.

It’ll gradually make the cat realize that certain activities are unaccepted by its owners.

So, whenever your cat or any other neighborhood cat attempts to attack your birds, the motion detector will release an unexpected burst of sprayed water, which prevents the poor fellow from entering into your bird feeders.

What to do if the Injured Pigeon is Alive?

Alternatively, if your kitty brings a wild bird (while still alive), keep the victim in a well-ventilated area away from your cat’s reach.

Tend to the bird’s needs and provide as much help as you can. Immediately contact your local wildlife rescue team, who will take further action.

Or you can take the bird to the nearest vet that has experience in treating birds or other wildlife.

Get the poor bird treated without delay and after it recovers, try to release it in and around its natural habitat.

Ensure that your cat isn’t in the area where you’ll be releasing the pigeon.

Scroll to Top