Cat caught birds can be saved, but only if these conditions or actions can happen:
Seek Professional Help
Bird is taken to a rehabber or veterinarian and given antibiotics ASAP. That means transferred within a few hours of the attack not the next day.
The bird is kept “stress free” and contained before and while being transported to help. When you find a cat caught bird, place the bird in a cardboard box that has a few air holes poked in it and lined with a paper towel. Close the top of the box. Keep the bird in its box in a quiet place indoors and away from any pets. (That is what stress-free means.) The bird should not be able to see movement that would spook it or hear scary noises. Don’t leave the bird in a box outside and unprotected.
Understand the Unique Injuries
The bird has to have “fixable” injuries. We cant replace a wing or leg that was torn off or broken beyond repair or fatal internal injuries.
I repeat, this is most important. A cat carries such toxic bacteria in its saliva and on its claws that antibiotic treatment needs to happen preferably within a few hours of the attack.
Every bird deserves a chance, and even if the bird can’t be saved taking the bird to a rehabber is the right thing to do. At the very least, it will not have to suffer a horrible slow death.
For Cat Owners
Keeping your cat contained indoors, outside in a “catio” or walked on a leash makes all this preventable. Your neighbors who feed birds would appreciate it, too.
This beautiful male northern cardinal was brought in by a person right after her cat gave her this bird as a “present” at her door.
The bird had a deep cut right above its eye and was missing all of its tail feathers. He was given antibiotics prescribed by our veterinarian, and the wound was cleaned and packed with a special cream so it could heal. This cardinal then had to stay in the outdoor aviary for three to four weeks, since his tail feathers needed to grow back before being released back into the wild. In total, that’s about 6+ weeks of care that for an injury that could have been prevented.
Please care and respect ALL living beings that share our planet with us. Remember any cat caught birds may be saved (like this cardinal) if brought into a bird rehabilitator ASAP for care.