How to keep Cats away from bird feeders?

Bird Feeder

How to keep Cats away from bird feeders?

Cats are carnivorous domestic animals. They are a threat to birds, especially when these birds live outdoors. According to reports, cats kill about 2-4 billion birds in a year. Bird feeders attract more than birds. When the cats notice the feathers, they might think that your bird feeder is worth staking out.

When your aim was to feed the birds, not these domestic cats. If you notice domestic cats around your bird feeders you can do various things to keep them away. Let us see all the things you can do:

1. Decide the Feeder’s Placement

Funding a placement for the bird feeders is one of the most crucial parts. You obviously want to protect the birds from the cat. Keeping the bird feeders in an open area reduces the risk. It makes it difficult for the cat to stalk the birds without getting caught as there is no place for them to hide. 

When the birds have an idea and can see the cats, they protect themselves well. The threat is with the cats which are hidden. You can avoid this by placing the bird feeders away from the trees, this will reduce the chances of them jumping to the bird feeders.

Usually, cats are not successful with the jumping from trees tactic but they do definitely try. Make sure to make it unreachable. 

Also, know How to Choose the Right Pet Bird Food: Nutrition, Labels & More!

2. Use Citrus 

Cats strongly oppose the smell of citrus but a cat’s smelling sense is very minimal. So they probably won’t smell the citrus or if they do, they wouldn’t care or react much to it. Therefore you can implant citrus to keep the cats away.

You can put the peels of the citrus directly on the ground or you can use citrus oil on the outer sides of the bird feeder. You should avoid putting it near the bird food as it is harmful to them. You can sprinkle the citrus oil directly on the ground too.

You can also use vinegar as it is highly opposed too by cats. It is the most used way in households. But remember that vinegar will destroy the grass and other plants. So you should be careful when using vinegar on the ground. 

There are other ready-made deterrents. They are made up of citrus oil and some other things. They pretty much work the same as the homemade ones. They are also expensive. 

How to keep Cats away from bird feeders 1

3. Use pepper 

Cats are sensitive to a spicy chemical present in peppers. It is known as capsaicin. But it doesn’t harm the cat in any way. It’s very easy to use: prepare a pepper spray by adding water and diluting cayenne-based sauce.

Now spray it around the bird feeder. Spray extra in the areas that the cat tends to hide in. If you are not willing to make the spray, you can sprinkle the cayenne pepper flakes around the bird feeder. The smell repels cats. So they will go away when they sniff the ground around the bird feeder.

4. Install Motion-Detecting Sprinklers

There are some motion-detecting sprinklers that are very efficient for keeping the cats away from certain areas. A lot of cats hate water. Even if they don’t, the sudden sprinkling of water surprises them, which is enough to sway them away. The main disadvantage of motion-detecting sprinklers is that they are expensive.

They might also turn on when birds are around, which is not a pleasant experience for them too. The main advantage is that cats are not likely to return back to a place where they have been sprayed with water a couple of times. 

5. Lay Out Spikes

You would not want to lay out metal spikes but you can plant cactuses or rose bushes. Cats don’t like spikes, they don’t enjoy walking on them. If you can plant cactuses or other thorny plants, they are a very good option.

Spike’s ground doesn’t bother birds, they don’t need to walk to the bird feeder, and they can easily fly to the bird feeder. You can also use rose bushes and other small thorny plants. But some cats use thorny bushes to hide. Also, not all rose bushes are thorny.

6. Use Bird-proof Collars 

Bird-proof collars are emerging in the market. These collars come in a lot of different designs. One of them is a bell, which enables the birds to know if the cat is coming. Others are brightly colored so they can be seen from a distance. There is a doubt about its effectiveness but its design seems to be effective. 

7. Keep Your Cat Indoor

If you have a pet cat and it is chasing and stalking around the bird feeders. So it is advised that you keep them indoors. If they are not chasing around the bird feeders, they will chase birds somewhere else. So it’s better for you to keep them indoors. 

8. Methods you should avoid

Now let’s talk about the methods you should avoid as they are ineffective or harmful.

  • Mothballs: Some people suggest you use mothballs as cats are opposed to their smell. The major disadvantage is that it’s quite harmful to the cat as well as the other creatures in the garden. If cats and other animals are exposed to or consume it, they can suffer from a serious illness.
  • Petroleum jelly: it is also effective to sway cats. It prevents them from climbing up the feeder pole but If the petroleum jelly gets into the birds’ feathers or wings it can seriously hinder it. 
  • Fences: it is one of the safe options but is ineffective. Cats can easily climb and jump the fences. 


In the above article, we discussed how to keep cats away from bird feeders. We talked about seven proven ways to do so. I’ll quickly list the ways:

  1. Perfect the feeder’s placement 
  2. Use citrus 
  3. Use pepper 
  4. Install Motion-Detecting Sprinklers
  5. Layout spikes
  6. Use bird-proof collars
  7. Keep your cat indoors

We further discussed the methods you shouldn’t use namely: 

  1. Mothballs
  2. Petroleum jelly 
  3. Fences

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