You can create an interesting diversion for your cat and keep your birds safe too!
What You Need
- Bird bath
- Bird feeder or bird-friendly plants
- Dripper or fountain
What You Do
- Choose a good bird watching window.
The best windows for a cat to bird watch are those that come all the way to the floor (such as a patio door) or a window near the back of a couch or chair.
- Outside, provide a spot for birds to perch near the window.
Begin by installing a small trees or shrubs in the ground or in pots. This provides a spot for birds to safely land near the window. Be aware that some male birds might react negatively to seeing their reflection in the window. Some species may even try to attack the reflection during mating season, hurting both the bird and messing up your window. If it becomes an issue, cut out a hawk or owl silhouette from paper and stick it on the window, or check out our tip on avoiding bird collisions.
- Offer a water source near your window.
Birds love bird baths and particularly water sources where the water moves or makes sound. A low tech “dripper” is a water jug with a pin hole in the bottom. The dripping water attracts birds and your cat might enjoy watching the drip as well.
- Offer birds a food source near your window.
Plant a native plant near your window, such as one that produces berries. To attract hummingbirds, plant flowers with a deep bell shape. Or if that’s not feasible, offer a bird feeder with seeds, suet or sugar water depending on the season.
- If your cat enjoys your initial efforts, get more creative.
To learn more, read Bird Watching for Cats: An Entertainment Guide for Indoor Felines by George H. and Kit Harrison (Willow Creek Press, 1998).
Adapted from “Why Curtailing Your Cat Is for the Birds” (Needs Link) by Heidi Ridgley, National Wildlife , April/May 2003.