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Apr 10

Wildlife Wednesday: cat grooming and bird nesting!

Cat watching nature programme

Spring: when little kittens turn into big cats…

So cats and birds may not always be the happiest of combinations. In fact in our house, our cats now get shut in as much as possible for a month or so every year because it seems so unfair for me to encourage wild birds to come to our garden only to have our mini-tigers scouring the garden for nests. The cat-shutting-in came about after one particularly horrific year when one of our cats brought in not one but what must have been a whole nest of baby blue-tits and I ended up taking the one survivor with me to my night shift at a busy mainline railway station so that I could feed it regularly and keep it warm until the the RSPCA could come and collect it the next day. I certainly got some odd looks from the contractors coming to my office that night!

There is one thing though that cats are good for when it comes to wild birds, especially in the spring, is moulting. Brushing our cats at the weekend produced several combs worth of soft fur which I’d normally throw away. At this time of year though when the birds are frantically building their nests in preparation for reading their tiny offspring in the weeks to come, I put it outside on the grass or in a net on the bird table so that our feathered friends can help themselves.

Cat and dog fur, horse hair, wood chippings, straw and old plant material are all great materials for birds building nests and with the chilly nights we are still getting, a good handful of animal fur will no doubt help keep the little birds toasty in their first few weeks of life.

So get out that brush and comb and get grooming those cats – they can be friends after all, even if in a roundabout way and from the other side of the window!

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