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How to Keep Cats Away From Bird Feeders? – 7 Methods

Written by Clinton Atkins / Fact Checked by George Dukes

how to keep cats away from bird feeders

Nothing better represents the connoisseurs of comfort and a fluff of sunshine more than a cat. However, behind their little paw pads and curious whiskers are their bird-killing instinct.

This little meow meow is wild in nature. In fact, they are the number 1 threat to birds. In the US alone, cats are responsible for the death of approximately 2.4 billion birds every year.

So, as their chosen owner, we are responsible for keeping everyone’s safety. Check out our 7 proven tips on how to keep cats away from bird feeders.

Ways to Keep Cats Away From Bird Feeders

If the dangerous tubby cat nearby gives you anxiety when you feed birds in your backyard, it’s time to try out these pet-friendly ways to keep cats away from bird feeders.

#1 Make your cats stay at home

protect-bird-feeders-from-cats

If the problem is your pet cat, keeping them indoors is the easiest method to stop your cat from attacking your bird. Seal all the doors and windows shut. If necessary, install a pet-proofing barrier device.

Well-fed or not, once the cat steps outside, it becomes the ultimate threat to birds. The outside world also poses many threats to the cats, putting them at risk of infectious diseases, toxic substances from animal repellents, parasites such as worms, or getting hit by cars.

Thus, keeping them cozy inside is not only eco-friendly but also beneficial for your cat’s health. You keep the felines entertained indoors by giving them plenty of toys to play with, such as scratching posts, window hammocks, perch, stuffed mice, or plastic balls.

#2 Build a patio for cats

bird-feeder-for-cat

Cat patios, often known as “catios,” are designed to contain cats while allowing them to roam outside freely. It is basically a giant cage outside where cats can enjoy the sun, grass, soil, and the overall nature.

A store-bought catio can be made of mesh, wood, or wires. Alternatively, building your own ideal catio makes options less limited, but you should always keep your cats’ safety in mind. Don’t forget to install hiding spots to make them feel more at ease.

#3 Keep feeders out of cat’s reach

cat-proof-bird-feeding-stations

The first step in installing a cat proof bird feeder is considering where you will place it. Putting it on the ground, decks, and nearby trees is a terrible idea as the position gives easy access to the cats.

Instead, hang or place the feeder on a tall pole with a protective dome. A tall free standing bird feeder can also be a good alternative, as long as it has a pointed roof and protective disk underneath the feeding platform to keep cats from reaching the birds.

That said, the best way to keep cat from killing birds is by keeping the feline at least 10 feet away from bird bath and feeders. Therefore, a tall pole is always a better option.

#4 Consider a bird escape route

Even in the best-case scenario, a high location of the bird feeder may not always equate to a predator-free place. Therefore, allowing the birds a chance to escape from threats is also a great way to cat proof bird feeding stations.

It was mentioned earlier that nearby trees should be avoided, but trees at least 10 feet away from bird feeders are an acceptable escape. Tree houses, porch railings, and bushes are also excellent emergency sanctuaries.

In a nutshell, cat proof bird feeding stations are a combination of correct high placement and numerous escape routes.

#5 Install spikes around the bird feeder

cat-proof-bird-feeder

If you can’t still stop a neighbors cat killing birds, maybe a physical deterrent would work. 

Commonly, you can see cats in a passionately crouching motion while stalking their predators. So, to prevent them from doing this, you can add spikes around the bird feeder for cat to be deterred.

To cat proof bird house with this method, you can purchase scat mats – their pointy plastic spikes will deter your pet away without harming it. You can either lay the mat on the ground or wrap it around the bird feeder.

Another viable solution is using spiky, low-growing plants, such as cacti and carpet roses, to protect bird feeders from cats. Birds don’t care about the spikes, while most cats are smart enough to avoid something that could hurt them. 

#6 Scent Deterrents

One sassy thing about cats is they are particular about smells. In fact, their noses are so sensitive that they have up to 200 million smell receptors, while humans only have 5 million.

In other words, you can manipulate the scent around the bird feeder cats usually approach by using bird friendly cat repellent. The most effective ones are those with strong and sharp scents, such as orange, lime, cinnamon, and vinegar.

Whether you’re using store-bought or DIY repellent, remember never to spray it directly onto the feeder. Birds may consume the substance, and there’s no way to guarantee that the deterrent won’t harm them.

In addition, don’t use mothballs as cat repellent, as they contain toxic chemicals and can risk the birds’ and cats’ health.

#7 Invest in motion sensor

Last on our list is using the power of technology. Motion sensors, such as motion-activated sprinklers, can surprise cats and other unwanted animals while not being harmful.

If you are on a budget, this is one of the friendliest and most ethical ways to deter cats while having to enjoy bird watching.

FAQs

How do I keep cats from killing birds at my feeder?

There are many ways to keep cats from killing birds at your feeder. Some of these are making bird feeders out of the cat’s reach, using odor deterrents, adding spikes, and keeping cats indoors.

Cats killing birds in my garden; what should I do?

You can make your garden bird-friendly and safe from cats by not loitering foods on the ground, placing bird feeders high from the ground, placing spikes under feeding stations, and adding bushes to cover the birds.

Is cat repellent safe for birds?

It was proven that ultrasonic cat deterrents do not affect birds. While in terms of spike deterrents, birds really don’t care about them. Similarly, pet-safe odor repellents don’t impact avian species as well, considering most birds have an underdeveloped sense of smell.

Conclusion

When felines are outside, they can’t help but chase and kill birds, as the habit is imprinted in their genes. So as a responsible bird feeder or cat owner, you will need extra patience and creativity.

However, now that you have discovered the seven proven and friendly ways how to keep cats away from bird feeders, we hope that this article offers you a wide range of methods you can choose from.

Finally, you can combine various methods for better results. Try installing spikes around an out-of-reach bird feeder, for example, and let us know how it works for you. Thank you for reading.

5/5 - (2 votes)
Clinton-Atkins


Clinton Atkins

Author

Hi, I'm Clinton. Rocky and I became friends after a birdwatching trip with our new group. And we have been enjoying every adventure together. When he told me the idea of establishing a site that shares our experiences and fun, I immediately agreed. After trials and errors, here we have Thayerbirding.

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