Cats and birds: the joys of birdwatching for indoor cats

cats_birdwatching

With the recent bad press cats have been getting with regards to birds (read my post Faulty Science Spread Lies About Cats and Their Impact on Wildlife for more information), I thought I’d highlight one area where birds can not only coexist peacefully with cats, they can also provide stimulating entertainment for indoor cats, and the best part: nobody gets hurt.

The topic of indoor vs. outdoor cats can be controversial for many, but for me, it’s pretty black and white. All of my cats have always been, and will always be, indoor cats. Indoor cats live longer and safer lives, and as long as you provide plenty of environmental enrichment, frequent playtime, and lots of love and attention, cats will never miss the great outdoors.

A strategically placed birdfeeder could turn out to be one of the most popular choices of entertainment for your indoor cats. I happen to love birds, and love watching the activity at our feeder almost as much as Allegra and Ruby do (although I won’t chatter my teeth when I get excited…)

homemade birdfeeder

I keep a birdfeeder on my deck from about November through March. The feeder was actually built by my dad during his last visit with me, more than 13 years ago. I use the Hot Meats birdseed, which is infused with hot pepper, so squirrel visits have become a rarity, since squirrels hate the taste of hot pepper, even though it doesn’t harm them. Birds can’t taste the hot pepper. I still feed the squirrels at a second feeder that hangs from a tree in my backyard, but they were a little too hard on my deck railing over the years, chewing away at it whenever the feeder wasn’t refilled promptly. Every once in a while, they get some nuts on the deck – primarily for Allegra and Ruby’s entertainment!

The girls love the birdfeeder and it provides hours of entertainment. They blogged about the birdfeeder a little while back, here’s an excerpt:

Ruby: Allegra, look! It’s a little red bird. It matches the color of the house’s roof!

Allegra: I see it, Ruby. Mom says the red birds are called Cardinals.

Ruby: Whatever. I want to eat it!

Allegra: Silly kitten. You can’t catch it. Just enjoy watching it. Trust me, you wouldn’t want to have to be out there and have to hunt your own breakfast and dinner.

Ruby: But wouldn’t it be fun, Allegra?

Allegra: Maybe once or twice. But I really prefer having my dinner in a bowl, all nice and ready to eat.

For the full post, read Allegra, Ruby and the Birdfeeder.

If you need some help setting up a safe haven for birds in your backyard, read Bernadette Kazmarski’s outstanding post on how she created a wildlife habitat aka Cat TV in her backyard. One word of caution: if your cats go outside, do not set up birdfeeders in your yard. You would be turning birds into easy prey, and that’s just not fair to the birds.

Do your cats enjoy birdwatching?

24 Comments on Cats and birds: the joys of birdwatching for indoor cats

  1. Ihrielle
    February 18, 2013 at 10:42 am (5 years ago)

    We live in a block of flats; therefore, it would be somewhat tricky to put birdfeeders outside the windows. But we are lucky to have a big park nearby, which attracts a lots of pigeons so that my three cats would be busy all day long.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      February 18, 2013 at 1:11 pm (5 years ago)

      They make bird feeders that attach to the outside of windows with suction cups – that might be an option for you.

      Reply
  2. Viki Worden
    February 15, 2013 at 12:57 am (5 years ago)

    I had a cat, her name was Bebe. At the same time I had a parakeet named Chico. She nevered bothered him. Infact I have a picture of him sitting on her while she was laying on her side. She would chase birds, etc. outside when I let her out but I think she knew that Chico was a pet.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      February 15, 2013 at 6:09 am (5 years ago)

      That’s fascinating that Bebe was able to distinguis between pet and wild birds, Viki!

      Reply
  3. Marni
    February 13, 2013 at 4:34 pm (5 years ago)

    I set up a Kitty Entertainment System out of the window of my bedroom where my two furbabies, Fizgig and Twitch can chill in their perches and watch the birds and squirrels in the critter feeder (my feeder is open to all my backyard creatures). They both like watching but it seems that only Twitch (my little girl) chatters.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      February 13, 2013 at 5:48 pm (5 years ago)

      Allegra doesn’t chatter, either, Marni, only Ruby does. Sounds like your kitties have quite a set up!

      Reply
  4. caren gittleman
    February 13, 2013 at 2:06 pm (5 years ago)

    Ohhhh myyyy my Angel Bobo used to sooooo love watching the birds! Most of the years that we were together I lived alone in a small apt. What I loved about that apt was that it was on the first floor and it had a window seat. Bobo LIVED in that window! He used to “talk” back to the birds doing his best “chirping” impersonations!
    Poor Cody, we are on 2nd floor in a condo/apt building. I used to feed the birds/squirrels but had to stop because some squirrels took up residence in the attic above us. I got in trouble because I wouldn’t stop feeding them lol. The sound of the squirrels scratching and scurrying at night drove a neighbor of mine insane and I was forced to stop feeding them.
    As we speak Cody is sitting in the window of my office, he doesn’t get to view many birds from this perch but he oversees the cars in the parking lot 🙂

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      February 13, 2013 at 5:47 pm (5 years ago)

      Overseeing the cars in the parking lot is an important job, Caren!

      Reply
  5. Bopeeps
    February 13, 2013 at 1:57 pm (5 years ago)

    Love that picture of the girls. My apt is having a problem with bees outside my window. So Lucy and Rikki are really amused by the little guys.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      February 13, 2013 at 5:47 pm (5 years ago)

      I think that’s the first time I’ve heard of bees being referred to as entertainment, Diana! 😉

      Reply
  6. Rachelle
    February 13, 2013 at 11:39 am (5 years ago)

    My cat Ansgar loves watching at chattering at the birds, squirrels and rabbits that come to our feeders. And its great entertainment for us humans also.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      February 13, 2013 at 5:46 pm (5 years ago)

      It is wonderful entertainment for everyone!

      Reply
  7. Sarah Lynnae
    February 13, 2013 at 11:27 am (5 years ago)

    My cats actually seem to prefer watching squirrels. I’m lucky to live in on one of the older residential streets in my town, so we have some gorgeous mature trees here. At least a couple of squirrels come to visit my back deck every morning, and my kids sit on the kitchen counter and stare in fascination.

    My boy-cat, Momo, also loves, loves, loves watching leaves fall in autumn. He’ll sit at the window for a half an hour at a time, watching the leaves float and swirl in the wind.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      February 13, 2013 at 5:46 pm (5 years ago)

      Ruby loves to watch the leaves fall, too, Sarah.

      Reply
  8. TheDogMaOnline
    February 13, 2013 at 9:47 am (5 years ago)

    Thank you for sharing this! Great Kitty blog. I will share with my feline customers and we have many!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      February 13, 2013 at 5:46 pm (5 years ago)

      Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
  9. Bernadette
    February 13, 2013 at 9:25 am (5 years ago)

    Ingrid, I’m always excited to read about someone else who feeds birds and watches them along with their cats, and really surprised to find myself mentioned!

    You know it’s been an important part of my life, and the feeder outside of each window is not only entertainment for me and my cats all over the house, but through the years has also given both shy cats and territorial cats among my rescues the joy of watching birds without conflict at the window.

    And while I do take one or two of my cats outdoors it is never without my direct supervision so they don’t have a chance to catch anything.

    And best of all, you are helping to create an important habitat for songbirds and wildlife!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      February 13, 2013 at 5:46 pm (5 years ago)

      Setting up birdfeeders is a win win for everyone, isn’t it, Bernadette.

      Reply
  10. Marg
    February 13, 2013 at 8:57 am (5 years ago)

    My inside cats do enjoy watching the birds. The trees are not close to the house, so they don’t get to see a lot. I have not put out a bird feeder for 5 years now, ever since all the outside cats moved over here. The outside cats here kill very few birds. Maybe one or two a year. So it is ridiculous that cats are wiping out the bird world. I live in the country and the birds don’t gather around where the cats can get to them. If people would just feed and fix the feral cats, the birds would have a better chance.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      February 13, 2013 at 5:45 pm (5 years ago)

      That’s good that you don’t put up birdfeeders with your outside cats roaming the area, Marg.

      Reply
  11. toni / rctees
    February 13, 2013 at 7:13 am (5 years ago)

    “Cheep” entertainment for sure Ingrid. This is how Abby spends most of her days…watching birds and squirrels. Which also is “cheep” entertainment for her mother 😉

    Great post!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      February 13, 2013 at 5:43 pm (5 years ago)

      It is fun to watch our cats be entertained, isn’t it, Toni?

      Reply
  12. maru
    February 13, 2013 at 6:39 am (5 years ago)

    Abasolutelly! The boys can spend hours at the back window watching birds and the occasional squirrel. The front window is to watch the street, cars and humans, outdoor dogs and cats.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      February 13, 2013 at 5:43 pm (5 years ago)

      Kitty tv! I love it!

      Reply

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