Cats often get a bad reputation with regards to birds. A few years ago, I wrote Faulty Science Spread Lies About Cats and Their Impact on Wildlife, and even though the post is a few years old, the information is still relevant. But there is a way for birds to 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 18 years ago.
The girls love the birdfeeder and it provides hours of entertainment.
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.
Ruby is sometimes torn between napping and birdwatching, so she’s come up with a lazy way to watch the birds from her window perch:
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?
Ingrid King is an award-winning author, former veterinary hospital manager, and veterinary journalist who is passionate about cats.