Your cat may seem like a cuddly ball of fur, or even a hairless wonder that loves to spend time with you under the blankets, but when that same cuddle bug sees a bird outside the window something changes. Instantly, your kitty goes on the prowl. You’ll find them seated in the window, peering out at the unsuspecting bird, body shivering as they chirp.
Yes, we said chirp. It’s something most cat parents have witnessed but those unfamiliar with cats may not necessarily believe. Cats are supposed to meow, right? Not always. It’s actually quite common for your kitty to chirp when they see a bird. You should even encourage it. The big question is, why does your cat chirp? Let’s take a look at 5 common reasons for this behavior in cats so you can better understand your kitty pal and admire its vocalizations when a bird, or other small prey animals, are around.
Click below to jump ahead:
- Why Cats Chirp at Birds
- Is Chirping Something You Should Worry About?
- How to Encourage Your Cat’s Natural Chirping Instinct
The 5 Reasons Why Cats Chirp at Birds
1. Mimicking the Bird
While they may not look like it, cats are natural-born hunters. Yes, even your kitty. It’s in their genes. To make hunting easier, it’s believed that the chirping sound made by cats when they see a bird is a form of mimicking. This type of trickery is often used in the wild to entice the prey to move closer, thinking one of their own is nearby. Now, obviously, your housecat can’t get to the birds they see outside. That doesn’t mean their natural instincts aren’t going to kick in anyway. If big cats in the wild try to trick their prey, why shouldn’t your feisty feline? Allowing this to happen is a great way to let your cat enjoy itself and feel like they are on the hunt.
2. It’s All About Excitement
What cat parent doesn’t like to see their kitty excited about something? This is especially true if the tiny carnivore in your home prefers lounging around instead of being active. It’s possible that the chirping coming from your cat when they spot a bird outside the window is all about that excitement. Seeing a source of prey, wishing they could get to it, maybe even planning the attack in its mind, is all enough to get your kitty’s proverbial mouth-watering, or teeth chattering. The excitement your cat feels at the potential of snatching prey could be garnering an involuntary reaction that, without the prey in its mouth, results in a chirping sound.
3. A Frustrated Kitty
Yes, your indoor cat could be chirping at the birds outside the window out of frustration. But don’t let that worry you. You may be the most doting kitty, mom or dad, out there, but trust us, in the wild, no cat would score a victory on every hunt. The chirping you hear from your little hunter could be them expressing their frustration over not being able to leap from the window to go after the prey they’ve spotted. If this is the case, it’s completely normal and won’t hurt your cat’s psyche. They’ll still feel like they are the king or queen of the house after the bird takes off.
4. The Prey Sequence Has Been Activated
As the pet parent to a house cat, you may be unaware of the prey sequence your kitty, and big cats in the wild, experience when on the hunt. The first step in this sequence is watching their prey with anticipation. During this process, the chirping sound often comes into play. The next steps in the prey sequence include the chasing or stalking of the prey, then the pounce, and finally the killer bite. While your indoor cat may not get to take part in the entire sequence, it only makes sense that spotting a bird outside should at least get the ball rolling inside them.
5. Mimicking the Killer Bite
We just talked about the prey sequence above and how your house cat’s drive may be initiated, without the opportunity to follow through with it. It’s believed that the chirping your kitty makes when spotting prey animals like birds, isn’t always the first step of the prey sequence. Some experts and pet parents believe house cats may chirp as a way to mimic the action of performing the killer bite used by cats when they successfully take down their prey. This reason makes watching your cuddly pal move their mouth so quickly a bit unsettling. Don’t worry, though. It’s all involuntary, right?
Is Chirping Something You Should Worry About?
While you may not love the idea of your cat sitting in the window daydreaming about killing a bird outside, it’s actually normal behavior for them. It allows your cat to follow its instincts and act like a cat would out in the wild. You may feel the need to stop their behavior, close the blinds, or even redirect their attention, but you shouldn’t do it.
When you keep your cat from acting like, well, a cat, it can make them anxious and stress them out. This can leave them with no outlet for pent-up energy. You may notice them start to become aggressive or frustrated with you, other people in the house, and even other pets. It’s best to allow your cat to chirp and react when they see prey instead of trying to force them into acting in a way that isn’t natural. For a truly happy indoor cat, chirping at birds should be encouraged when your kitty has the chance.
How to Encourage Your Cat’s Natural Chirping Instinct
If you enjoy seeing your cat reacting to birds and other small animals outside, there are a few things you can encourage their prey drive and initiate the sequence at home.
- Provide a safe place to view the outdoors
- Play with your cat several times a day, especially before meals
- Use chaser and wand toys to help promote your cat’s hunting skills
- Use engaging food puzzles to help stimulate your cat’s mind at feeding times
By implementing these tips into your cat’s daily life they can feel more like the natural hunter they are. This is a great way of helping them burn energy and avoid the frustration that many cats may experience when they aren’t allowed to follow their instincts.
Cats chirping at birds outside is completely natural and should be encouraged. This is one of the easiest ways you can let your indoor kitty interact as they would naturally, without letting them outside where things can get dangerous. Instead of trying to stop your cat’s fun, sit back and enjoy the show. More often than not, you may get a kick out of your kitty showing off the true hunter hiding inside.
Featured Image Credit: Andrzej Puchta, Shutterstock