How To Keep Cats Away From Your Bird Feeder

Last Updated on September 12, 2023 by Susan Levitt

If you’re an avid bird watcher, the last thing you want is to see your feathered friends being preyed upon by cats. While it’s natural for felines to hunt birds, as a responsible pet owner or wildlife enthusiast, it’s important to find ways to keep them away from your bird feeder.

Cats are curious and tenacious animals that can easily climb trees and fences in pursuit of their prey. Their presence near bird feeders not only endangers the lives of birds but also creates a stressful environment for them. In this article, we’ll explore some effective strategies on how to keep cats away from your bird feeder while ensuring the safety of our feathered companions.

Understanding The Danger Of Cats To Bird Feeders

There’s nothing more heart-stopping than seeing a cat lurking near your bird feeder. While they may look cute and cuddly, cats are natural predators with a strong hunting instinct that can pose grave danger to birds. In fact, studies have shown that domestic cats kill billions of birds each year in the United States alone! As such, it is important to understand how to keep these feline hunters at bay if we want our feathered friends to thrive.

Cats’ hunting instincts are hardwired into their DNA. They are built for speed, agility, and precision – all traits that make them formidable hunters. When they spot a bird perched on a feeder or flitting around in the bushes nearby, their primal instincts kick in and they pounce without hesitation. Sadly, this means that many birds fall prey to these skilled predators before they even know what hit them.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect your backyard birds from becoming dinner for neighborhood cats. Bird conservation efforts recommend using certain types of feeders and placing them in strategic locations away from areas where cats like to hide. By understanding the habits of both cats and birds, you can create an environment that encourages safe feeding while minimizing risks.

If you’re serious about keeping your feathered friends safe from prowling cats, then choosing the right bird feeder design is crucial. Not all feeders are created equal when it comes to deterring predators – some offer better protection than others depending on factors such as size and placement location. Let’s explore some effective strategies for selecting the best type of bird feeder for your unique situation.

Choosing The Right Bird Feeder Design

Understanding the Danger of Cats to Bird Feeders is crucial in keeping your feathered friends safe. However, choosing the right bird feeder design can also make a significant difference. The type and material of your feeder will determine whether or not cats can access it.

Material options for bird feeders include metal, plastic, glass, and wood. Metal and plastic are excellent choices since they’re durable and difficult for cats to climb on. Glass feeders may be an attractive option but pose a risk if they shatter during a cat’s attempted attack. Wood feeders may look charming but aren’t recommended as they can easily scratch or chew through them.

Maintenance tips are essential in ensuring that your bird feeder remains inaccessible to cats. You should clean out any spilled seeds regularly since this attracts predators like cats. Additionally, trimming nearby bushes or trees helps eliminate hiding spots where cats might lurk before pouncing on unsuspecting birds.

Choosing a proper bird feeder design and taking good care of it is only part of the solution; you must also consider relocating your bird feeder away from areas frequented by cats. If possible, move the feeder closer to your house or any area with high human traffic since cats tend to avoid such places due to their fear of people.

By implementing these measures, you’ll significantly reduce the chances of cats attacking birds visiting your backyard feeders. Remember that every little effort counts when it comes to preserving wildlife habitats!

Relocating Your Bird Feeder

Imagine you are a bird, flitting about carefree in the forest canopy. You spy something glinting in the sun and fly down to investigate – only to be met with sharp claws and teeth! This is what it can feel like for birds when cats lurk around their feeders. If you’ve tried other methods to keep your feathered friends safe but haven’t had much luck, relocating your feeder might just do the trick.

When choosing where to place your bird feeder, there are a few key things to keep in mind. First of all, make sure it’s not too close to any potential hiding spots for cats (like bushes or tall grass). It should also be at least six feet off the ground, so that even if a cat does manage to jump up onto it, they won’t be able to reach any of the birds inside. One of the best locations is out in an open area without much cover nearby.

If you’re handy with tools and feeling creative, you could try building a DIY bird feeder pole. By using PVC pipes and some simple hardware from your local home improvement store, you can create a sturdy structure that will elevate your feeder above the ground while still being easy for you to refill and clean. Plus, since it doesn’t require digging into the ground or pouring concrete, you can easily move it around as needed.

Relocating your bird feeder may seem like a hassle at first, but trust us – it’s worth it to see those winged creatures enjoying their meals without fear of predators lurking nearby. With these tips on finding the perfect spot and possibly creating a new setup altogether with DIY solutions like poles – both you and your avian friends can relax knowing that no feline foes are watching them closely.

As we continue our quest towards keeping cats away from our beloved backyard birds’ feeding stations; one more solution comes readily available- scents! Using smells that repel cats can be a great solution to this problem. Read on for more information about how you can keep your bird feeder cat-free with simple and effective scent techniques.

Using Scents To Deter Cats

Cats are known for their keen sense of smell, and we can use this to our advantage when it comes to keeping them away from bird feeders. DIY scent mixtures can be an effective way to deter cats without harming them. Some popular scents that repel felines include citrus, lavender, peppermint, and eucalyptus.

To create a natural repellent with these scents, you can make a spray by mixing essential oils with water in a spray bottle. Alternatively, you could place cotton balls soaked in the mixture around the perimeter of your bird feeder or hang sachets containing dried herbs like lavender or mint nearby. The strong aroma should discourage any curious kitties from approaching.

It’s important to note that while scent deterrents may work on some cats, others may not be bothered at all. Additionally, if you have outdoor pets such as dogs or rabbits, they may also be affected by the same scents used to keep cats away. Be sure to test out any homemade repellents before using them extensively.

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In summary, using scent is one method for deterring cats from your bird feeder. DIY scent mixtures and natural repellents are both inexpensive and easy ways to try and keep unwanted visitors at bay. However, it’s important to remember that not all cats will respond in the same way and other animals could potentially be impacted as well.

As an alternative approach to keeping cats away from your bird feeder, installing physical barriers around the area can be another effective tactic.

Installing Physical Barriers

When it comes to physical barriers, hardware cloth is a great option for keeping cats away from your bird feeder. Fencing is another good solution, as the height and structure will deter cats from climbing and jumping. Netting is also a viable option, as it can be used to create an obstacle that cats cannot pass through. Ultimately, the best way to keep cats away from your bird feeder is to install some form of physical barrier.

Hardware Cloth

Looking for DIY solutions to keep cats away from your bird feeder? One of the most effective physical barriers you can install is hardware cloth. As a wildlife expert, I highly recommend this solution as it has been proven to be very successful in keeping predators at bay.

Hardware cloth is essentially a mesh wire that is made from galvanized steel and comes in different sizes. It’s easy to find at any hardware store and can be cut into any shape or size needed for installation around your bird feeder. The mesh design allows birds to access the feeder while preventing cats from getting close enough to make an attack.

In terms of effectiveness comparison, hardware cloth beats out many other physical barriers on the market. Unlike plastic netting or chicken wire which can easily be chewed through by determined predators, hardware cloth is durable and able to withstand harsh weather conditions. This makes it a long-lasting solution that will provide peace of mind knowing your feathered friends are protected.

DIY installation of hardware cloth requires some basic tools such as pliers, wire cutters, and a staple gun. Simply measure and cut the necessary amount of mesh and secure it tightly around the perimeter of your bird feeder using staples or zip ties. With proper installation, your cat problems should become a thing of the past!


Now that we’ve discussed the effectiveness of using hardware cloth as a physical barrier to keep cats away from your bird feeder, let’s move on to another popular option: DIY fencing. Fencing is an excellent way to protect your feathered friends and can be one of the most affordable options available.

DIY fencing requires some basic tools such as wooden stakes, wire mesh, and pliers. You can find these materials at any local hardware store or home improvement center. The first step in installing this type of barrier is to measure the area around your bird feeder and mark where you want the fence posts to go.

Next, drive wooden stakes into the ground every few feet along the marked perimeter. Then attach wire mesh to each stake using pliers or zip ties. Make sure that the mesh is tight enough so that cats cannot squeeze through any gaps. Finally, add a gate for easy access when filling up your bird feeder.

One advantage of DIY fencing is that it allows you to customize the size and shape of your barrier based on your specific needs. Additionally, it provides a more aesthetic appeal compared to other physical barriers like plastic netting or chicken wire. With proper installation and maintenance, your new fence will provide long-lasting protection against feline predators.

In conclusion, if you’re looking for an effective and affordable solution to keep cats away from your bird feeder, consider installing a DIY fence instead of utilizing expensive commercial products. Just remember to use high-quality materials and pay close attention during installation to ensure maximum protection for our feathered friends!

Planting Cat-Repelling Plants

As we know, cats are natural predators and can pose a threat to birds. If you’re worried about your feathered friends being preyed upon by neighborhood felines, then you need to take some precautions. In the previous section, we discussed installing physical barriers like nets and cages around bird feeders. However, there’s another way to keep cats away from your bird feeder – planting cat-repelling plants.

Gardening tips for keeping cats away include planting strong-smelling herbs such as lavender or rosemary near your bird feeder. Cats dislike these scents and will avoid them at all costs. Another plant that may deter cats is the Coleus Canina plant which produces an odor that repels not only cats but also dogs! The key is to make sure these plants surround your bird feeder so that any curious kitty approaching it will be met with an unpleasant scent.

In addition to using gardening tips, there are also natural repellents available in stores or online that contain citronella or peppermint oils. These essential oils have been found to be effective in deterring cats from coming near bird feeders. Simply spray the repellent around your area of concern frequently throughout the day.

While using ultrasonic devices is another option, they may not always work effectively and could cause discomfort for other animals nearby. It’s important to remember that prevention is better than cure when it comes to safeguarding our pets and wildlife alike. So next time you’re looking for ways on how to keep cats away from your bird feeder, try incorporating these gardening tips or using natural repellents instead of relying solely on high-tech solutions.

Using Ultrasonic Devices

Ultrasonic devices have gained popularity in recent years as a tool for deterring cats from bird feeders. These devices emit high-frequency sounds that are audible to cats but not humans, causing discomfort and discouraging the animals from lingering around the area.

Effectiveness evaluation of ultrasonic devices has been mixed. Some studies suggest that they can be effective at keeping cats away from bird feeders, while others show no significant impact on cat behavior. Additionally, some experts caution against relying solely on these devices as they may only work temporarily or fail altogether if the cat becomes accustomed to the noise.

While ultrasonic devices can be a useful addition to your arsenal of deterrents, it is important to consider alternative methods as well. For example, placing physical barriers such as wire mesh or chicken wire around your bird feeder can prevent cats from accessing it. Other options include motion-activated sprinklers or even simply moving the feeder to an area that is more difficult for cats to reach.

Incorporating multiple strategies will likely yield the best results when trying to keep cats away from your bird feeder. It is also worth noting that certain breeds of cats may be less affected by ultrasonic devices than others, so it may take some trial and error to find the most effective combination of deterrents for your specific situation.

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Transition: While using ultrasonic devices and other deterrents can help keep cats away from bird feeders, training your feline friend is another option to consider.

Training Your Cat To Stay Away From Bird Feeders

Many people believe that cats are impossible to train, but this is not entirely true. While it may be challenging to break a cat’s instinctual urge to hunt birds, it is possible through positive reinforcement techniques. The effectiveness of training will depend on various factors, including the age and personality of your cat.

One effective method for teaching your cat to stay away from bird feeders is using positive reinforcement techniques. This involves rewarding good behavior with treats or verbal praise. For instance, you can provide your cat with a favorite treat every time they ignore the bird feeder or play elsewhere in the garden.

Another way to keep your furry friend away from bird feeders is by creating an alternate attraction for them. You can set up a designated area with toys, scratching posts, and other items that cater to their playful instincts. When they learn that this spot provides more entertainment than chasing birds at the feeder, they are less likely to bother the birds.

Training effectiveness also depends on consistency and patience. It would help if you were consistent in reinforcing positive behaviors while avoiding negative ones like scolding or hitting your cat when they approach the bird feeder. With patience and perseverance, over time, your feline companion should understand that the bird feeder area is off-limits.

By applying these tips consistently and positively reinforcing good behavior, you can teach your cat how to avoid disturbing birds at a feeding station successfully. Remember always; use gentle methods when training pets as harsh punishments never work effectively!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use Bird Seed That Cats Don’t Like To Deter Them From My Bird Feeder?

Using bird seed that cats don’t like may not be the most effective method for deterring them from your bird feeder. To keep cats away, consider using cat repellent plants such as lavender or rosemary around the feeding area. Additionally, alternative bird feeder designs such as those with anti-squirrel mechanisms can also help prevent feline visitors. It is important to remember that while cats are natural predators of birds, they should not be harmed in any way. Instead, focus on creating a safe and appealing environment for both your feathered friends and curious felines alike. As a wildlife expert, I recommend taking proactive steps towards coexisting with all creatures great and small.

Is There A Certain Time Of Day When Cats Are More Likely To Visit Bird Feeders?

According to recent studies, cats are most active during dawn and dusk hours when they tend to hunt for prey. This means that if you have a bird feeder in your yard, it’s more likely that cats will be lurking around during these times of the day. As a wildlife expert, I recommend using natural bird feeders such as sunflower seeds or safflower seeds since they don’t attract cats like other types of birdseed do. Additionally, the best cat deterrents include motion-activated sprinklers or ultrasonic devices that emit high-pitched sounds not audible to humans but annoy felines enough to keep them away from the area. By implementing these strategies, you can ensure that your feathered friends stay safe while still enjoying the beauty of nature in your backyard.

Can I Use A Fake Owl Or Other Decoy To Scare Off Cats From My Bird Feeder?

Using a fake owl or other decoy to scare off cats from your bird feeder can be an effective method of bird feeder protection. However, it’s important to note that simply placing a statue in the vicinity may not always work. To increase effectiveness, consider incorporating motion sensors that activate the decoy when a cat approaches. As a wildlife expert and animal behavior specialist, I recommend using these methods in conjunction with other strategies such as providing ample food and shelter for birds away from ground level where cats are more likely to hunt. By taking a multifaceted approach, you can successfully keep cats at bay while still enjoying the beauty of feathered friends visiting your yard.

How Often Should I Clean My Bird Feeder To Prevent Attracting Cats?

Cleaning frequency is an essential factor in keeping your bird feeder safe from predators like cats. You should clean your bird feeder regularly to prevent the accumulation of seed debris, which can attract not only cats but also other unwanted visitors such as rodents and insects. In addition to cleaning, selecting the right type of seeds can also help keep cats at bay. Cats are attracted to birds that feed on small sunflower seeds, so it’s best to avoid using these types of seeds in your bird feeder. Instead, opt for larger seeds or suet cakes that are less appealing to feline hunters. By following these simple steps, you can ensure a safer feeding environment for your feathered friends while simultaneously deterring potential threats like cats.

Will A Bird Feeder With A Cage Or Other Protective Barrier Also Keep Squirrels Away?

When it comes to preventing squirrels from raiding your bird feeder, the effectiveness of barriers can vary. While some feeders with cages or other protective barriers may keep squirrels at bay, others may not be as effective. In fact, a study found that only 20% of squirrel-proof bird feeders were actually successful in deterring these persistent animals. If you’re looking for alternatives to traditional bird feeders due to concerns about cats in your yard, consider setting up plants and shrubs that provide natural food sources for birds. This not only creates a cat-friendly environment but also helps support local wildlife populations. As always, it’s important to remember that both cats and squirrels are simply following their instincts, so finding balance between all species is key.


In conclusion, keeping cats away from your bird feeder can be a challenging task. While using certain types of bird seed may deter them, it is not foolproof as some cats may still be attracted to the activity around the feeder. It’s important to note that cats are more likely to visit bird feeders during dawn and dusk hours when they’re most active.

One effective solution could be to use a fake owl or other decoy to scare off cats from your bird feeder. Additionally, regularly cleaning your bird feeder can help prevent attracting cats as well as other predators. If you’re concerned about squirrels raiding your bird feeder, consider investing in a cage or other protective barrier that will keep both squirrels and cats at bay.

While there may not be one universal answer for how best to keep cats away from your bird feeder, experimentation with different methods and consistent maintenance should prove successful. Remember: providing food for birds is an admirable act but taking steps to ensure their safety is equally important! So let’s take action and protect our feathered friends from those pesky felines once and for all – even if it means going wild with creative solutions!

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