Donna Caffrey

Reflections on Birds and Cats

Mixed media collage

Bird song was a constant part of the aural environment were Donna was raised. After living in Melbourne and Sydney Donna returned to river country.  She and now lives in Albury, NSW. Her works draw on her memories of birds and bird song on the rivers and farms she was raised and what she sees and hears in the new area she now lives. In this series Donna reflects on animal ownership (in particular cats), the responsibilities of the owners and the predation on wildlife by both domestic and feral cats.

Scientists estimate there are about 11 billion native birds across the country and that cats kill about 4% of the population annually. Small to medium-sized birds, birds that nest and hunt on the ground, together with birds on remote islands or arid areas are most at risk. The numbers are frightening, but our animal companions are not responsible for all of the loss of bird life. Current studies estimate feral cats kill 316 million birds a year, while pet cats kill 61 million birds annually. More than 99% of birds killed are native. Yes, it’s a scary that our loved feline can kill so many birds.

Cats are skilled and intelligent predators. Donna has been watching two kittens resident in her house practice inherent traits and learn hunting skills. She passionately believes responsible pet owners can help reduce the impact of domestic cats on wildlife (and ergo the growth of the feral population) by desexing them and keeping them indoors or in a cat run.

Donna wants her works to raise awareness of the damage done by cats to our native bird population.

Donna Caffrey’s art practice explores collage in paper, fabric and stitch.

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