How To Keep Cats Away From My Bird Feeders

Last Updated on September 12, 2023 by Susan Levitt

Are you tired of watching your outdoor bird feeders become a buffet for neighborhood cats? As an animal behaviorist, I understand the frustration that comes with trying to keep these curious felines at bay. Not only can they disrupt the peaceful atmosphere you’ve created for your feathered friends, but their presence also poses a potential threat to any birds in the area.

Luckily, there are several simple steps you can take to prevent cats from accessing your bird feeders. From adjusting the placement of your feeder to using deterrents and creating barriers, it is possible to create a safe and enjoyable environment for both birds and humans alike. Let’s explore some effective strategies for keeping these pesky predators away from our beloved backyard birds.

Understanding The Behavior Of Cats

Cats are natural hunters with an instinctive prey drive that is difficult to suppress. They view birds as potential prey, and this may lead them to your bird feeders. It’s important to understand cat hunting behavior when trying to keep them away from your feathered friends.

Indoor cats also have a strong prey drive but lack the opportunity to hunt in their environment. This can result in boredom and frustration, leading them to seek out new stimuli such as bird watching through windows or stalking outdoor birds at bird feeders. Providing indoor cats with enrichment activities like puzzle toys or interactive playtime can help redirect their attention and energy away from the outdoors.

It’s essential to recognize that despite our best efforts, we cannot completely eliminate a cat’s predatory instincts. Therefore, changing the placement of your bird feeder may be necessary for both the safety of your feathered visitors and peace of mind for you. In the next section, we’ll discuss some strategies for deterring cats from approaching bird feeders by adjusting their location.

Changing The Placement Of Your Bird Feeder

Understanding the Behavior of Cats is crucial in keeping them away from your bird feeders. Remember that cats are natural hunters and love to prey on birds, especially when they see an opportunity. Also, cats have a keen sense of hearing and sight, which makes it easy for them to locate any type of movement or sound around your yard.

Changing the Placement of Your Bird Feeder is one way you can keep cats at bay. Adjusting height by hanging your feeder higher than six feet above the ground will prevent cats from reaching it easily. Additionally, moving location frequently will confuse the cats as they won’t be sure where the feeder has gone next.

To fully deter cats from your bird feeders, use these three tips:

  • Place prickly bushes such as holly or rosebushes near the base of your feeder.
  • Install motion-sensor sprinklers that spray water whenever there’s movement detected.
  • Surround your feeding station with chicken wire so that cats cannot get too close to it.

As an animal behaviorist, I advise against using harmful methods to scare off cats such as ultrasonic devices or traps. These methods not only harm animals but also create fear-based associations between humans and outdoor spaces for pets. By changing placement and adjusting height while incorporating deterrents like prickly bushes or installing motion-sensor sprinklers; you can safely keep felines away from your precious feathered friends.

Transition: While Changing the Placement of Your Bird Feeder is effective in deterring cats, sometimes more drastic measures may need to be taken such as using deterrents and repellents.

Using Deterrents And Repellents

When it comes to keeping cats away from your bird feeders, there are various deterrents and repellents you can use. As an animal behaviorist, I always emphasize the importance of using humane methods that don’t cause harm to any animals involved. Natural remedies such as citrus peels, coffee grounds, or vinegar sprays can be effective in repelling cats without causing them any harm.

Another way to deter cats is through scare tactics. You can set up motion-activated sprinklers near your bird feeders or place a fake owl or snake nearby. These types of devices use startling sounds or movements to scare off potential predators such as cats. However, keep in mind that these methods may not work for all cats since some individuals may become desensitized over time.

To help you choose the best method for your situation, here’s a table outlining some common deterrents and their effectiveness:

Deterrent Effectiveness
Citrus peels Moderate
Coffee grounds Low
Vinegar spray High
Motion-activated sprinkler High
Fake owl/snake Moderate

It’s important to note that while natural remedies and scare tactics may work for some situations, they aren’t foolproof solutions. For long-term success, creating physical barriers around your bird feeders is often necessary. In the next section, we’ll explore different ways to create these barriers and protect your feathered friends from feline intruders.

Creating Physical Barriers

Physical barriers can be an effective solution to deter cats from accessing bird feeders. DIY barriers are a cost-effective option that can be easily implemented by homeowners. These may include placing chicken wire around the feeder or hanging it on a tall pole with a slick surface, making it difficult for cats to climb up.

Hiring contractors to install more permanent and sophisticated barriers such as fences, netting or cages may also be considered. Although this may require additional expense, it is worth considering if you have many bird feeders in your yard or live near areas where feral cat populations are high.

When creating physical barriers, it is important to ensure they do not cause harm or stress to cats. Avoid using sharp objects or materials that could injure them. Instead, opt for humane solutions that will prevent access while keeping wildlife safe.

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Remember that each cat has unique behaviors and habits, so what works for one might not work for another. Experimenting with different types of barriers can help find the most effective strategy to keep cats away from bird feeders.

  1. Start with simple DIY barriers like attaching PVC pipes around poles.
  2. Consider hiring professionals when dealing with large-scale projects.
  3. Always prioritize safety and avoid harmful materials.
  4. Test out different methods until finding the best barrier for your situation.

Creating physical barriers requires some effort but can save birds’ lives and ultimately improve backyard biodiversity. However, preventing cats from accessing food sources alone isn’t enough; providing alternative food sources for cats should also be part of any comprehensive plan aimed at reducing their impact on local wildlife populations.

Providing Alternative Food Sources For Cats

Creating physical barriers can be effective in keeping cats away from your bird feeders. However, there are also other alternatives you can try to prevent feline intruders. Providing alternative food sources for cats is a good option that not only keeps them away from the birds but also provides them with nutrition they need.

One way of providing an alternative food source is by planting cat-safe plants in your yard or garden. These plants will attract cats and keep them occupied while preventing them from preying on birds. Some examples of cat-safe plants include catnip, lavender, mint, and wheatgrass.

Another option is setting up outdoor feeding stations specifically for stray or neighbor cats. This will give them a designated area to eat without bothering the birds at your feeder. You can even set up motion-activated sprinklers or alarms to deter cats from coming near the feeders.

By incorporating these methods into your backyard setup, you’ll have a better chance of deterring unwanted visitors while still creating an environment where both wildlife and pets can coexist peacefully. In addition to trying out these methods, one important thing pet owners should consider doing is training their own cats to stay away from bird feeders.

Training your own cats requires patience and consistency but it’s possible through positive reinforcement techniques such as rewarding good behavior with treats or playtime. By training your feline friends, you’re ensuring that they won’t pose a threat to local wildlife and encouraging responsible pet ownership practices within the community.

Training Your Own Cats

Imagine you have a beautiful garden, filled with colorful flowers and thriving plants. One day, a group of mischievous cats discover your garden and begin to wreak havoc on it. They dig up the soil, knock over pots, and even climb onto your bird feeders in search of prey. You try everything to keep them away but nothing seems to work.

As an animal behaviorist, I would recommend positive reinforcement training for your cats. This technique involves rewarding good behavior instead of punishing bad behavior. For instance, when your cat stays away from the bird feeder or plays in another part of the garden, give them a treat as a reward. With time and consistency, they will associate staying away from the bird feeders with getting treats.

Negative reinforcement is also effective in deterring cats from unwanted behaviors such as jumping on the bird feeders. This technique involves creating an unpleasant experience whenever your cat engages in undesirable actions like using motion-activated sprinklers that spray water at them when they get too close to the bird feeders.

Training your cats may take some time depending on their age and temperament. However, patience and consistency are key ingredients for success.

Collaborating with your neighbors can also be helpful in keeping cats away from bird feeders especially if they allow their own pets to roam free outside. Together you can create safe zones where birds can enjoy feeding without fear of being hunted by predators like cats. By working together we can make our neighborhoods more wildlife-friendly while still allowing our pets to enjoy outdoor playtime.

Collaborating With Your Neighbors

Now that you have trained your own cats to stay away from bird feeders, it’s important to consider the role of community in keeping birds safe. Collaborating with neighbors is key when it comes to protecting wildlife. Organizing events and sharing resources can bring people together and create a sense of responsibility towards local ecosystems.

One way to collaborate with neighbors is by organizing birdwatching or nature walks. This not only promotes awareness about the importance of preserving habitats but also provides an opportunity for people to exchange ideas on how they can protect wildlife in their area. Sharing resources such as birdseed or providing information on where to purchase cat deterrents can also be helpful.

In some cases, seeking professional help may be necessary if cats are consistently posing a threat to wild birds. Animal behaviorists specialize in identifying underlying causes of certain behaviors and developing strategies for changing them. They can work with both cat owners and those affected by feral cats in order to find solutions that benefit everyone involved.

It takes effort from individuals within a community to make a difference when it comes to protecting local wildlife. By collaborating with others, we can learn from each other and develop strategies that will ensure the safety of all animals involved. Seeking professional help should always be considered if preventative measures are not effective, so don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance if needed.

Seeking Professional Help If Necessary

As a concerned pet owner, it is natural to feel overwhelmed when faced with the challenge of keeping your feathered friends safe from curious cats. While there are various DIY methods available online that claim to deter felines from bird feeders, these solutions may not always work for everyone.

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If you have tried several approaches and yet find yourself struggling to keep cats away from your bird feeders, it might be time to consider consulting experts in animal behavior. A certified professional can help assess the situation and provide tailored advice on how best to address any underlying behavioral issues exhibited by your cat.

Hiring professionals such as an animal behaviorist or a cat trainer may also be necessary if you have multiple pets at home or if your cat’s behavior appears out of control. With their specialized knowledge and training techniques, they can help modify your cat’s undesirable behaviors effectively without causing harm.

Remember that seeking professional help is not only beneficial for your cat but also ensures the safety of other animals around them. By taking this step towards responsible pet ownership, you can gain peace of mind knowing that you are doing everything possible to protect both your beloved pets and wildlife in your area.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use A Bird Feeder With A Built-In Cat Repellent?

As an animal behaviorist, I have studied the effectiveness debate surrounding bird feeders with built-in cat repellents. While these feeders may seem like a convenient solution for those looking to keep their feathered friends safe from feline predators, there are alternative options that may be more effective in deterring cats. For example, placing the bird feeder on a tall pole or hanging it from a high branch can make it difficult for cats to access. Additionally, planting cat-resistant plants around the area where the feeder is located can help discourage them from getting too close. Ultimately, it’s important to remember that no method is foolproof when it comes to keeping cats away from birds, but taking proactive steps can certainly reduce the risk of harm to our winged companions.

Will Placing My Bird Feeder Higher Up Keep Cats Away?

As an animal behaviorist, I often get asked if placing bird feeders higher up will keep cats away. The answer? It’s not that simple. While it may seem like a logical solution to avoid feline predators, there are both pros and cons to this approach. On one hand, elevating the feeder can make it harder for cats to reach. However, on the other hand, some studies suggest that elevated feeders actually attract more birds – which in turn attracts more cats. Alternative solutions include using squirrel baffles or enclosing the feeder in wire mesh to deter unwanted visitors. Ultimately, finding the right method for keeping your feathered friends safe requires careful consideration of all available options and a bit of trial and error.

Should I Avoid Using Bird Feeders Altogether If I Have A Cat?

As an animal behaviorist, I highly recommend bird friendly landscaping and cat proofing your yard to ensure the safety of both birds and cats. While it may be tempting to use bird feeders as a way to attract more birds to your yard, it’s important to understand that this can also attract cats who see them as easy prey. Instead, consider planting native shrubs and plants that provide natural food sources for birds while keeping them at a safe distance from any potential predators. Additionally, make sure your yard is secure by installing fences or using outdoor enclosures for your cat so they can still enjoy the outdoors without posing a threat to wildlife.

Is It Safe To Use Chemical Repellents Around My Bird Feeder?

As an animal behaviorist, I caution against using chemical repellents around your bird feeder. While they may seem like a quick fix to keep cats away, these substances can harm both felines and birds alike. Instead, consider alternative methods such as placing the feeder in a location that is difficult for cats to access or installing a motion-activated sprinkler system. Remember, it’s important to find solutions that are safe for all animals involved.

Can I Train My Neighbor’s Cat To Stay Away From My Bird Feeder?

Neighbor diplomacy is key when dealing with cats that are not your own. It’s important to approach the situation in a friendly and understanding manner, as cat owners can be protective of their pets. Training someone else’s cat may seem like an easy solution, but it can cause tension between neighbors. Instead, consider alternative deterrents such as motion-activated sprinklers or placing bird feeders out of reach on poles or high surfaces. These methods not only keep cats away from the feeder but also prevent other unwanted visitors from accessing the food source. Remember to always prioritize peaceful coexistence with those around you, both human and animal alike.


In conclusion, keeping cats away from bird feeders can be a challenge, but there are several effective strategies that you can try. While bird feeders with built-in cat repellent systems may seem like an easy solution, it’s important to do your research and make sure the product is safe for birds and other wildlife.

One option is to place your bird feeder higher up in a location that’s difficult for cats to reach. However, keep in mind that some determined felines may still find a way to climb or jump onto the feeder. Ultimately, the best approach will depend on your individual circumstances and resources. As an animal behaviorist, I recommend trying different methods until you find what works best for you and your feathered friends.

Just remember: keeping cats away from bird feeders is like trying to stop a dog from chasing its tail – it takes time, patience, and persistence. But with a little effort and creativity, you can create a safer environment for both your backyard birds and neighborhood kitties alike.

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