When your feline friend introduces a captured bird to the indoor environment, your immediate intervention is crucial for the survival of the feathered creature. You must swiftly liberate the bird from the imprisoning grasp of your cat’s mouth or claws. Conducting a rapid but thorough evaluation of the avian captive is indispensable, with the primary objective being the identification of any open or misaligned fractures, wounds affecting the chest or abdomen in particular, and any indications of acute bleeding.
In the event of an active bleed, it must be managed without delay. Ideally, employ clean tissues or kitchen towels to exert gentle yet firm pressure on the bleeding area until the hemorrhage ceases. Even a minuscule loss of blood can culminate in a severe, irreversible shock condition in birds, a scenario particularly probable in smaller bird species.
Physical and Psychological Trauma Explored
Being ensnared by a cat amounts to a traumatic incident, potentially resulting in grave physical harm or instantaneous death. Such a near-death encounter is also remarkably stressful, frightening, and distressing for the bird. Consequently, any bird captured by a cat will be in a state of intense psychological distress and severe pain. The prompt release of the bird and halting a life-threatening bleed may offer the bird a chance at survival. However, this act also carries the potential to fatally harm the creature. Any handling of the bird must be minimal. Regardless, an initial quick assessment is crucial to determine the best course of action for the injured bird.
The Essential Role of Antibiotic Treatment
Whether or not injuries are identified, every bird captured by a cat necessitates antibiotic treatment. Firstly, small puncture wounds, which may not bleed externally, can be easily overlooked. Secondly, the bird’s plumage is likely contaminated with saliva, and the bird risks ingesting deadly bacteria the next time it preens. Given that over 90% of cats carry Pasteurella multocida bacteria in their saliva, the risk of infection is extremely high. Birds captured by cats typically succumb to septicemia within 48 to 72 hours unless promptly treated with appropriate antibiotics. Consequently, releasing an apparently uninjured cat-caught bird or animal without providing pain relief and antibiotic treatment is both irresponsible and cruel, inevitably condemning the creature to extended suffering and death.
The Spectrum of Common Injuries
Birds captured by cats need to be properly evaluated by an experienced rehabber, wildlife rescue organization, or avian vet with wildlife expertise. Birds victimized by cats frequently suffer from open abdominal, pelvic, or chest injuries, often involving the air sacs. Internal organs are susceptible to damage from piercing claws and may become exposed. Birds with open wounds should be immediately taken to a veterinary clinic, as, in nearly all cases, euthanasia is the only humane and feasible option. Wildlife rescues and veterinary surgeons will generally be unable to treat or cure such injuries. Veterinary assistance is urgently needed to humanely euthanize these animals. Undetected internal injuries are another prevalent issue. They are unlikely to be identified without further diagnostic tests, which are typically withheld due to financial constraints and limited availability. Damage to internal organs is one of the primary factors contributing to the high mortality rate of cat attacks. Wing and leg fractures are also commonplace, with many of them potentially treatable, depending on the fracture’s extent and location. Access to experienced rehabbers is critical, as veterinary surgeons are often ill-equipped to offer conservative fracture treatment. However, veterinary surgeons specializing in bird treatment are required for successful surgical fracture management.
First Aid and Stabilization: The Initial Response
After the initial assessment is complete, the assaulted bird should be promptly and safely placed in a well-padded and ventilated cardboard box or secure animal carrier. The ventilated container should be securely covered and placed in a quiet, warm room with a temperature of approximately 20 degrees Celsius. Birds rendered inactive will quickly become hypothermic, especially when in shock. An additional heat pad or hot water bottle is recommended to counteract the existing shock condition. However, it is imperative to ensure the heat source is safe and does not burn or scald the bird. Water bottles should be wrapped in a towel, and the bird should ideally have the freedom to move away from the heat source. This precaution is even more crucial for birds incapable of independent movement due to age or debilitating injuries.
Recovery and Transport: The Journey to Safety
When positioning the bird in the padded carrier, it is advisable to create a makeshift nest using a towel roll and centering the bird within it. The heat pad should be placed beneath the towel nest. The bird should be placed in an upright position, with its legs in a folded physiological position beneath the body. The head should be supported, ideally slightly elevated onto the rim of the towel nest. This arrangement will secure the animal during transport and minimize the risk of aspirating saliva or blood. Stabilized birds that have encountered cats should be completely left alone for at least two hours but should be brought to an experienced wildlife rescue as soon as possible. Depending on the type of transport container used, it is important to fully cover the carrier to avoid additional stress.
The Impact of Cats on Wildlife: A Broader Perspective
Injuries resulting from contact with cats are the leading cause of admissions to wildlife rescues or veterinary surgeries. Around 75% of all admissions during the breeding season are due to cat-related injuries. However, statistics representing the number of birds caught, injured, or killed by cats are likely underestimated. They are bound to downplay true numbers, as most statistics are based on catch rates recorded at a cat’s home or on the admission numbers of wildlife rescues and veterinary surgeries. One reason is that the impact of feral cats on wildlife is typically not considered. Another reason is that an unknown number of animals caught by cats are immediately killed and not brought home. Some victims may be fortunate enough to escape immediate death, but will likely succumb to septicemia later. Others are intentionally set free by the cat’s owner, only to die later. Most of these statistically unaccounted animals are unlikely to be discovered or rescued and are highly unlikely to survive their ordeal. Unfortunately, many of these victims could potentially be saved, as injuries inflicted by cats are preventable.
Q&A About A Cat Caught A Bird and This How You First Aid For Bird
My Cat Caught A Bird. The Bird Is Still Alive But Doesn’t Seem Hurt Or Injured. What Should I Do?
When the household feline captures a feathery friend from the sky, it’s a moment imbued with concern and care. Miraculously, the bird in this instance appears to be alive and kicking, free from apparent harm or injury. Nevertheless, it’s crucial to remember the stealthy and predatory nature of cats. It is therefore recommended to have a professional veterinarian assess the avian creature for potential concealed wounds, even in the absence of overt harm. A seemingly insignificant scratch from our domesticated prowlers could, in fact, lead to a life-threatening infection, possibly hidden from the naked eye.
I Saw A Bird With An Injury But Am Unable To Capture Them. What Should I Do?
There might also be occasions when you spot a winged creature bearing signs of an injury, but find yourself unable to safely apprehend it. Should this be the case, reach out to the immediate community around you for assistance – family, friends, neighbours, or even an occasional passerby. If all else fails, the local SPCA centre stands as an excellent resource, their professionals equipped to handle such situations with proficiency.
What Should I Do If I Need To Keep The Bird Overnight?
In the event of a circumstance where you must harbor the feathered friend overnight, it’s essential to create a secure and comforting environment. A simple box lined with a soft towel can serve as a makeshift refuge. Make sure to puncture a few holes for ventilation to maintain an ample supply of air within. Station the bird inside this sanctuary and nestle it in a serene, dark, and warmth-filled corner for the night.
Feeding the bird is generally discouraged, with an exception made for fledglings that incessantly beg for nourishment (you can learn more about this from our Facebook post on after-hours care).
Hydration is important, but it carries certain risks too. Offer a modest quantity of water in a shallow dish, yet avoid leaving it in the box. An accidental spill could dampen the bird, introducing the risk of hypothermia.
Keep the surrounding environment hushed and secure, minimizing loud voices and ensuring that pets are kept at a safe distance from the box.
The following day, during our working hours, we urge you to bring the bird to our centre. Our experts will then take over its care, ensuring its best chances of recovery and return to the wild.