Cats have a great many habits that bemuse their owners. One of the most common is growing transfixed by the sight of birds through a closed window. Cats often grow very excited in such circumstances, and chirp at the bird outside.
Imitating birds is the oldest trick in the predator’s playbook. This chirping is designed to lull birds into a false sense of security. Also, chirping is sometimes a demonstration of frustration. Your cat can see their prey, but a glass window is preventing access to them.
Science has never confirmed beyond doubt what a cat chattering to birds is intended to achieve. Educated theories abound, though, based on observation and sound theoretical research.
Why Do Cats Make Chirping Noises at Birds?
Cats hope to trick birds through imitation. Throughout the wild, predatory animals imitate their prey or impersonate inanimate objects to trick them. Cats are smart, and they know that they will never be visually mistaken for a bird. They will, however, hope that sounding like them will be enough.
Picture the scene. Your cat is in your backyard, and they see a bird. Hunting instincts will kick in, and your cat will look to capture and kill their prey. Birds know what a cat sounds like, and will automatically retreat if they hear one. By chirping, however, your cat will be able to set the bird at ease while they hunt. Cats always pounce and attack from behind. All a bird will hear is the chirp of another feathered friend. Before they realize their mistake, it’s already too late.
Of course, this does not apply to indoor cats. Many cats that spend their lives inside the home have never successfully hunted a bird. That doesn’t mean that they are not genetically disposed to want to, however. If your cat sees birds outside, they will be desperate to be among them. It takes a while to realize that the glass that separates them is not going anywhere.
My Cat Has Stopped Chirping and Started Chattering?
When cute and amusing chirping turns to guttural chattering, your cat is growing frustrated. Inverse goes into a little more detail on the difference between this sound and chirping. It will have sunk in that they will not be gaining access to this flying buffet.
Essentially, this sound is your cat expressing displeasure. Loosely translated, it means, “this isn’t fun anymore.” Alternatively, it could be interpreted as a feline swearword! If your cat is showing any signs of physical aggression alongside their chattering, remove their stimulation. No good will come of leaving your pet to become more and more aggravated. A treat should do the trick.
Is My Cat’s Chirping Just Play?
If your cat is aiming their chirping at a bird, then no. Cats do sometimes chirp through sheer excitement, but that excitement is the thrill of the hunt. Be grateful that a window separates your cat and those birds. If it didn’t, there would be only one thing on your pet’s mind.
Why Do Cats Hunt Birds?
We keep using the word instinct, but that’s all it comes down to. Cats are genetically predisposed to see birds as prey. They cannot control these predatory drives. The same also applies to mice, rats, bugs, and squirrels.
When cats proudly present a dead bird at our feet, they see it as a gift. As tough as it may be, you’ll need to react in kind. Wait until your cat is out of sight, and dispose of the bird in a secure trash can.
By keeping your cat indoors, you’ll keep birds safe from them. What you will be able to do is curb your cat’s interest. They will remain transfixed at the window, staring, chirping and chattering.
Do Cats Eat Birds?
Cats usually hunt for sport, but they may eat their kill. This is rare in domesticated cats, who are generally well-fed and enjoy an established routine. If you have adopted a stray cat, however, they may eat a bird. Habits can be hard to break, and a stray may have spent years hunting their sustenance.
If your cat does eat a bird, watch them very carefully in the aftermath. Many birds carry the risk of disease, which could affect your cat. Your cat’s throat or digestion may also grow irritated by trapped feathers. Vomiting and diarrhea are not uncommon when cats eat wild birds.
Can I Teach My Cat Not to Hunt Birds?
Even the sweetest, gentlest cat is a killing machine. Felines are hardwired to hunt for sport. No amount of training will convince cats not to pursue birds.
Arguably the best defense is keeping an indoor cat. Yes, this will lead to the chirping at the window. Yes, it may lead to your cat becoming frustrated. This is especially likely you adopt a former stray, who will be used to be outdoors. Ultimately, however, it’s the only foolproof way of keeping birds safe for your cat’s attention.
Indoor cats are also safe from retribution from angry neighbors. Cats famously lack boundaries and respect for trespassing laws. Your neighbors may not like your cat scaring or killing birds in their law. In some states, it’s legal to shoot cats with a BB gun or something equally unpleasant.
If you want to allow your cat to roam and protect wildlife, consider a cat fence. This will restrict how far your cat will be able to venture outside. This comes with challenges.
Firstly, many cat fences issue a mild electric shock when touched. Some cat owners, quite understandably, consider this inhumane. Also, you will have no control birds still flying into your cat’s territory. If your cat gives chase, they could be shocked by the fence.
Will a Belled Collar Prevent My Outdoor Cat from Hunting Birds?
Nothing will stop your cat from hunting birds. It’s hardwired into their natures. Attaching a belled collar may, however, prevent your cat from succeeding in their attempts. The bell will jangle every time your cat steps toward an unsuspecting bird. This will act as a warning to the bird, and give them time to fly away.
This is great if you wish to make your yard friendly to visiting birds. If you install a feeding table and a water fountain, you will want birds to visit. A predator cat will make them feel unwelcome at best, and kill them at worst. A bell is not always effective, though. Some cats learn how to move so slowly they do not set off the sound. Others may even mask the noise with chirps.
If a bell does prevent your cat from hunting, it could frustrate your feline. You may consider this to be a price that you are willing to pay. Just know that a frustrated cat can sometimes be a frustrated cat. If you are going to prevent your pet from hunting, have a Plan B.
Ensure that the house is filled with toys they can take out their instincts on. This will also prevent your cat’s hunting drive from dulling entirely. They may yet be essential if you need to deal with mice and other rodents.
Do Cats Imitate Any Other Animals to Hunt?
Cats do not tend to imitate other prey animals. When attempting to tempt a mouse of hiding, for example, a cat will not squeak. Their hunting behaviors are usually based around silence.
This is why chirping has been linked to frustration. Unlike a mouse, which can be stalked, birds remain agonizingly out of reach for a housecat. Cats may, however, chirp with excitement upon spotting a juicy bug worth pouncing upon.
This does not mean that cats will never imitate the behavior of another animal, though. As Mercola explains, felines often imitate the behaviors and routines of their owners if they’re indoor cats.
Likewise, cats that spend more time outside may start to act more like their feral brethren. It’s even possible that cats living with dogs will imitate some of their more excitable tendencies.
Cats are always willing to adapt. A young cat’s brain is like a sponge that absorbs all manner of information and behavior. If they feel that another animal’s action will benefit them, the cat will imitate it.
My Cats are Chirping Like Birds to Each Other
Some cats chirp to each other as a form of communication without a bird in sight. Mother cats, in particular, chirp to their kittens. That’s because chirping and chattering are not only used to hunt. It can also be a short, sharp noise to gain a cat’s attention. One cat may be warning the other of a potential hazard.
This is why maternal cats often make this sound. She may need to communicate, “listen please, this is important” to her kittens before imparting wisdom. Alternatively, the chirp may mean, “follow me” before leading a litter of kittens to food.
My Cats Chirps and Trills at Me
Cats use this noise to gain attention from each other. This means that a cat will also make the same sound to gain your focus. If your cat is making chirping sounds, check for nearby birds. This will always be the most likely reason. If there is no wildlife around, your cat probably wants to show you something important.
It is worth paying attention, as cats will not bother humans unless they deem it critical. Felines do not automatically turn to their owners for help. The exception is when they’re hungry, but cats have developed a unique, “meow” for this occasion.
A chirp may be saying, “there is a stranger in the yard” or something similar. This is likelier than, “my toy is stuck under the sofa and I can’t reach it.” If there is no explanation for your cat’s chirping and trilling, check walls and explanations. It could be due to a rodent infestation. Your cat could be frustrated by smelling and hearing prey, but being unable to access it.
Finally, a cat that chirps and trills during playtime or petting may be excited. Some cats make this noise involuntarily. If you hear it alongside purring, your cat is asking for more of the same.
Are There Medical Reasons for Chirping and Chattering?
Sometimes, the simplest explanation is the best one. This applies to cats chattering their teeth during the winter, too. If it’s cold outside and your cat is chattering, they may be struggling for heat. Take their temperature in this instance. If it has dropped below 100OF, your cat is too cold. Warm them up with a hot water bottle, and keep an eye on them.
Constant chattering could also be a sign of stress. This could be an understandable progression, caused by regular frustration at being denied access to birds. If you notice your cat started to grow particularly agitated, soothe and distract them with play.
A cat constantly chattering their teeth may be a sign of dental pain. Examine your cat’s teeth and gums. If they look particularly red or inflamed, they may be infected. This will need the attention of a vet. Salivating alongside chattering is also a bad sign, and necessitates a visit to the vet.
Cats watching birds at the window are like feline reality TV. If it stays this way, it’s nothing to worry about. Chirping is fine – it’s when that turns to a chattering that an owner may need to step in. If your cat grows increasingly irate at their inability to hunt, they may become aggressive.
Give your cat something else to focus their attention on. Keep a constant supply of new and interesting toys for your feline to hunt and destroy. This way, you can be assured that their frustration will not be turned on you. You’re happy, your cat is happy, and the wild birds are safe.