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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My Dinky is dead, caught by a cat.

Her picture is in the thread 'An eventful two weeks' -- she was the new arrival then, a tiny squeaker who hadn't learned to fly yet. She was a cheeky, healthy youngster who learned quickly, and as soon as she could fly well I encouraged her to join the feral flock in the back garden to learn their skills and integrate.
She was doing really well. At first she went out after breakfast and returned at 6 pm. Then she started staying out for the night, but still came back for breakfast and dinner. She had her own cage in the balcony, and was free to come and go at any time, but if she could get into the study, she always tried to raid Piper's food (hence the funny article about the burgled pigeon). She had even managed to get a nice piece of real estate in the feral flock's nesting area.

Last Friday it was raining hard, so few of the ferals came for dinner, but when she didn't appear on Saturday morning I started to worry. The rest of the flock was on the annexe roof, together with Kitty and Katie, the mother-and-daughter feral cats who live in peace among the pigeons. There is a third feral cat, Cookie (Kitty's sister, I think) who is quite shy and sometimes sits in the neighbour's garden when I feed the others and looks up expectantly. I have often fed her.

WARNING: IF YOU'RE FEELING DELICATE, DON'T READ ANY MORE!

Well, that morning, as I looked for Dinky, I saw Cookie in my back garden, but the pleasant surprise turned to horror when I saw a pigeon wing beside her.
I ran downstairs with a sinking feeling. I found the other wing, then a severed foot, and finally the little yellow band engraved 'Dinky'.
The cat had gone. Over the next couple of hours I searched every corner, moved every flower pot, but found nothing but feathers. Worse still than losing Dinky was the thought of HOW she died. I felt sick.

Cookie has been banned from my property. I'm not feeding her any more, she can just go scrounge for the stuff the cat ladies leave out. I wouldn't harm her for following her instincts, but she's not welcome here.
Cats can learn to modify their behaviour to fit in with humans and other animals. I know, because my late cat Susie stopped hunting by the age of nine, and over the following 12 years she rescued several creatures, including a pigeon with a broken wing, by bringing them to me unharmed. Kitty and Katie can live in peace with the pigeons and sparrows, and so do the seagulls that I feed. As food provider I claim the right to exclude any violent newcomers to protect 'my flock'. It won't bring Dinky back, but it will give the other youngsters a chance.
 

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This is horrible, I'm so sorry to hear about Dinky.

Cats and pigeons just don't mix, I will always chase them away when I see them near my yard, they are just a natural preditor to all birds, it is instinct and you can't change that.
 

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I am so sorry for the tragic loss of Dinky.

Reti
 

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Teresa...............So sorry to hear of the loss of your Dinky. I don't blame you for banning the cat. Chase that cat away whenever you see her. I have a problem with a cat that hides in the bushes right before I feed my ferals. It just waits knowing the birds are coming, just waiting to get one of them. Every morning before I put out their seed I put my broom handle into the bushes to chase it away. As much as you think you can train these cats it is almost impossible to change the instincts......especially in feral cats as their instincts is what keep them alive.

Sooooooo sorry.
 

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I'm very sorry for your loss of Dinky.

But I hope you can give Cookie a chance by training her to live in harmony with the birds around her. Please don't ban her from your property. If you can, please train her to respect the birds. You've done that for Kittie and Katie.

For the safety of the birds - not only in your property, please modify her behaviour.
 

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I'm so sorry to hear about Dinky. How very sad for you to find her like that, what a terrible thing to happen. My cats all started out as ferals, but I got most of them when they were little kittens and finished raising by bottle. I already had pigeons at the time, so the pigeons helped to "train" the cats. I also employed a bird-lover's best friend (around cats): Mr. Squirt Bottle. They learned very quickly NOT to go around the birds. Again, though, this was from a very young age. And even now, my cat Chester is the only one allowed in my room with the birds. He steadfastly ignores them and won't have anything to do with them. It is instinct for them to hunt, that's for sure, though some can be trained otherwise. I hope Cookie is one of the trainable ones and doesn't get any more of them. :eek:
 

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im sorry for your loss,it is sad,our cat iggy once caught a bird and we were distraught,we bought iggy a new collar with a large bell,so the birds get warning when he is around(we time it when the flock is around,iggy stays indoors)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Cats and pigeons

I'm very sorry for your loss of Dinky.

But I hope you can give Cookie a chance by training her to live in harmony with the birds around her. Please don't ban her from your property. If you can, please train her to respect the birds. You've done that for Kittie and Katie.

For the safety of the birds - not only in your property, please modify her behaviour.
Experience has taught me that you cannot train a cat to do anything it doesn't want to do. Unlike dogs and other pack animals, who will follow a leader's instruction, cats are independent, solitary hunters. In the wild, females can team up and establish a matriarchal cooperative society. Note that it's a case of 'can', not 'will'.
I didn't train Kitty and Katie. I think Kitty was raised with pigeons, and she taught her daughter. Kitty first came to me as a frail, painfully skinny young adult, a month or so after the house she lived in became empty. When I saw her among the pigeons I was going to shoo her off when I noticed she was desperately searching the pigeon food for anything edible. But, hungry as she obviously was, she wasn't a bit interested in catching pigeons.
So I fed her, and I kept on feeding her every day. One day, she came in followed by a 3-month old kitten -- that was Katie. In all this time, they have always been fine with the pigeons. The only act of aggression (if we can call it that) that I saw, was Kitty slapping a pigeon who actually pecked her paw to try to steal the cat food from under it.
My cat Susie was a different case. Tortoiseshells are famous for establishing incredibly close relationships with their humans, and she was very eager to please me. But it still took her 9 years to overcome the killer instinct. Even in Susie's case, I didn't 'train' her. There was a certain amount of conditioning (big fusses for good behaviours, a disapproving "Susan!" for bad behaviours) but her behaviour changes were her own choice.
Cookie cannot be trusted, at least not now. I don't like to exclude any ferals, but the ones that are already 'part of the family' have to take precedent over the newcomers. So I'm sorry, but I can't allow her to endanger my feral flock. I will foster all new arrivals that come in peace, but only those.
 

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Teresa,

I'm sorry about what happened to Dinky, and am glad that you have unexpected visitors.

I had an unpleasant thought, though, when I read about your two cats getting along with your pigeons. Could it be that you are inadvertently training your pigeons to not be afraid of other, not so friendly, cats? Putting them (the pigeons) at an unnatural disadvantage?

I know that Phil/pdpbison and some of our PT members have little or no trouble rescuing pigeons in need. The pigeons seem to recognize the "good guys." I, however, do not come across as a "good guy" to the extent that I can walk up to an injured pigeon and catch or capture him, even the pigeons I feed for this purpose.

I have thought that maybe since I express it as a "capture" or "catch," just thinking in that mode might make them wary of me. Maybe if I thought, "I would like to extend an invitation to you," or "offer you my services," I might produce the proper and acceptable attitude, or whatever. But since it doesn't seem to work even when i am having warm and fuzzy" feelings of goodwill, I have to accept the situation the way it is, and be happy that they are leery of large, looming strangers named Larry or Adolph or whatever in this German city, peraps properly so.

I would like to be liked by the street pigeons, but maybe I have to settle for the occasional casual acquaintance.

I don't want to burden you. It's just a thought I had. Maybe useful, maybe worthless.

Larry
 

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Sorry to here about the pigeon it a sad lost for any pet, although you may not want to feed that cat any more this may worsen the situation, with her scrounging for food she will turn into a predator even more. when you feed the birds set the cat a food bowl by her bush, are as "tuxedobaby" did bells work great if you can catch her.
 

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Sorry to here about the pigeon it a sad lost for any pet, although you may not want to feed that cat any more this may worsen the situation, with her scrounging for food she will turn into a predator even more. when you feed the birds set the cat a food bowl by her bush, are as "tuxedobaby" did bells work great if you can catch her.
The bell is a great idea!:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Teresa,

I'm sorry about what happened to Dinky, and am glad that you have unexpected visitors.

I had an unpleasant thought, though, when I read about your two cats getting along with your pigeons. Could it be that you are inadvertently training your pigeons to not be afraid of other, not so friendly, cats? Putting them (the pigeons) at an unnatural disadvantage?
Larry
You've got a very valid point there, and I've considered that too as all thre cats are black and difficult to tell apart. But so is my pet cat, Kali, and the pigeons know better than to trust her; if the pigeons are on the house roof when Kali goes up there, they scatter immediately.
Cookie, the pigeon killer, never goes onto the annexe roof (where I feed the pigeons) during the daytime, as she's too wary of people and of the dominant pair of seagulls (these get on fine with Kitty and Katie but chase Cookie away -- how do they know?!). She sneaks into the back garden at night when my neighbours leave their backdoor open. I've already had a word with them about it, as a thief could gain access to the back of my house that way too. I think her potential victims are the pigeons who land on the garden first thing in the morning, looking for any seeds that fell off the roof the previous evening.
If I can catch her, I'll definitely put a bell on her, but meanwhile I'll continue throwing her some food into her own garden, but keeping her away from mine.
 

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the bell definatly works,you can hear iggy from a distance,we have also tried to eliminate large bushes so iggy cant hide and creep up,my husband built a large feeding table on back fence(looks like a shelf)which iggy cant reach but the birds have no problem flying off and on,we have tried to accomodate both iggy and the pigeons,iggy doesnt get out at feeding times,which is ok cos we feed the birds at mostly same time each day,iggy is a night prowler,and the pigeons are away to roost by that time so everyone is happy
 

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I'm sorry Teresa, I feed my feral pigeons and 2 feral cats, so far I didn't have problems with them, but I guess they know the rules, or I try to show them, that when I'm feeding the pigeons they are not welcome, so they show up when start getting dark, if they come before, I make sure that no birds are around, after they eat they leave, and the reason that I feed these cats is because my cousin many years ago was feeding them and they still come so for the last 5 years I'm the provider, so anyways, you just need to be careful, and make sure that cats are not close to the birds, I had the idea of stop feeding them, but then I started thinking that they will eat any bird around if they cannot find food.. so the bell is a good idea..
 

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I'm very sorry for your loss of Dinky.

But I hope you can give Cookie a chance by training her to live in harmony with the birds around her. Please don't ban her from your property. If you can, please train her to respect the birds. You've done that for Kittie and Katie.

For the safety of the birds - not only in your property, please modify her behaviour.
I'm sorry to hear about the death of your bird. How horrible. But feeding ferral cats is inviting this kind of thing. The other two cats may not be hunters, and maybe they get enough food. But many cats have very strong natural instincts to hunt, and these are ferrals. As much as I feel very badly about your loss, hard to blame an animal for doing what it was born to do to survive. And I'm sure she had no idea that she had done anything wrong. And as far as training this cat, it would be hard enough to train a pet cat if its hunting instincts were very strong. A ferral cat would be impossible. It's just that cats and birds don't go together. And the poor little pidgeon, probably didn't yet have enough time to learn about predators. The cat must have been hungry, or the pigeon would have been killed, but intact.
 

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Teresa,

I'm so sorry to hear about Dinkey. It was horrible for you to find her remains as you did. I don't blame you for banning Cookie. I hope that you can keep her from hunting where the birds are.

Margaret
 
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