Last Updated on: December 24, 2017 by Ingrid King


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?

26 Comments on Cats and Birds: The Joys of Birdwatching for Indoor Cats

  1. My dynamic duo, Mercury and Venus, spend much of their early day watch mourning doves and the preferred small birds of the season outside our Arizona home. The slider has a narrow frame, so they crouch, sometimes one behind the other, and behind the center where the two door sections meet – as if they were hidden. What actually hides them is the reflection from the outside. My feeding areas are constructed so the Mourning Doves must be secondary feeders, cleaning up the seed tossed by the smaller birds as each kind sorts for its favorite – a habit that is annoying, but that this method partially handles. Lol.

  2. 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.

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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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 🙂

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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.

  11. “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!

  12. 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.

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