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…)
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?