Why Do Cats Chirp or Bark at Birds?

Why do cats make funny noises when they see birds?

Have you ever seen your cat perched up on the windowsill, watching a bird outside, slowly twitching her tail back and forth, and making a chattering, chirping, or barking noise? Why do cats chirp at birds?

Ideas for Why Cats Make Noises While Watching Birds

No one knows for sure why cats make these noises at birds, but there are some pretty good ideas. These include:

  • It is anticipation of making the killing bite on prey. The jaw is moving as it would if the kitty had caught the bird.
  • It's pure excitement at seeing prey.
  • It is frustration at not being able to get to the prey.
  • It's designed to imitate bird noises, to disguise the kitty as she stalks the bird.
  • It is meant to let other members of the hunting group know there's prey in sight, and it's innate behavior, so it occurs even when a cat lives without other cats.

Regardless of why cats do this, it can be pretty cute. However, if your cat's jaw is chattering at times other than when she's watching birds, like when she's eating, or if you notice any other mouth-related signs of illness like drooling, dropping food, or difficulty eating, it might indicate a problem. Take your cat to the veterinarian right away if that's the case.

Ways to Make Bird Watching More Fun for Your Cat

If your cat loves to watch and chirp at birds outside, consider making it even more fun for her. Get a nice, comfortable scratching post or tree with a bed at window level and place it next to the window. Put a bird feeder 5-10 feet away from the window. Your cat will love having an up-close viewing portal for watching the birds. Also, if she gets really excited and needs to let off some steam, she'll have the scratching post available right there, potentially saving your windowsill some cat scratch marks.

If you see your cat getting excited about and chattering at the birds, you can also take the opportunity for some interactive play time by dangling a wand toy tantalizingly near her. She can let out her hunter instincts by chasing and pouncing on that, relieving any frustration she might be feeling about not being able to get to the birds.

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