Wild birds flock on areas with food sources. And if you’re feeding your cat outdoors, don’t be surprised if the birds will soon invade the poor kitty’s food bowl. Knowing how to keep birds from eating cat food is important because access to pet food is a problem for you, your cat, and the bird itself.
Birds are notorious carriers of various diseases. The biggest threat to your cat is parasitic worms, which can be difficult to treat later on. Aside from that, birds can bring Salmonella to your cat’s food, which is the leading culprit to food poisoning. This is the same reason why you should keep birds and other animals away from your pet’s food bowl. Please read here how to keep raccoons out of cat food
What happens if birds eat cat food?
Since birds are opportunistic eaters, they will consume anything that they consider as a food item. This includes cat food or any pet food for that matter. While eating a small amount of cat food is safe, large amounts can cause trouble to birds. Cat food contains ingredients that birds can’t digest. This can make some birds sick, which can even lead to their death.
Also, birds that got used to eating cat food will no longer consume food made specifically for them. This is a serious disruption to the birds’ natural diet. Your yard will also be flocked by rogue birds that are looking for cat food. This spells trouble for you in the neighborhood.
Aside from that, cat kibble can have large sizes per piece. For a small bird, this can lead to choking.
6 Tips to Keep Birds Away From Cat Food
If the birds keep on snacking on your cat’s outdoor food bowl, you have to do something to drive them away. The following tips will help a lot:
1. Install visual deterrents
The birds can’t feed on your cat’s food if they can’t get near it in the first place. Visual deterrents like shiny scare tapes, shiny decors, owl statues, and fake snakes are effective in keeping unwanted birds away. Make sure to move or rotate these as some birds are smart enough to detect a real threat from fake ones.
You can also wrap shiny tape all over your cat’s bowl. Hanging a few strips nearby the cat’s feeding station will also help ward off the fowls.
To complement this, I suggest that you install bird spikes on the spots where the birds tend to perch. This will prevent other birds from coming to your house and figuring out a way to get to the cat food like bread etc.
2. Play predator sounds
If you don’t want to ruin your yard’s look, you can play predator sounds instead. The shriek of a hawk is enough to drive a flock of birds away. You can also use the distress call of a bird to drive away specific species.
Other pet owners use ultrasonic repellents. However, the problem here is that even your cats can hear the annoying frequency. If you use this, your cat may end up not eating on its food bowl. Sometimes, the sound of a radio is enough to scare birds away. The sound of talking people on the radio can help repel birds, but the results aren’t always guaranteed.
3. Opt for an enclosed feeding station
If the birds in your area are invasive, you should put up an enclosed feeding station. These feeding stations have swinging doors that your cat can easily open. This way, your kitty can come in to eat while the birds remain outside.
You can make a DIY feeding station at home or buy a commercially designed model. You can even purchase a litter box enclosure and use it as a feeding station instead. Learn here how to dispose cat litter
4. Remove leftovers
Right after your cat finished eating, you should remove the leftovers. This will not give the birds a chance to scavenge what your cat has left behind. Make sure that you take the bowl as the scent of the food can still attract birds and other wild animals.
It’s not ideal to free-feed your cat if you’re dealing with birds. Unless you have an enclosed feeding station, you’d have to monitor your cat while it eats.
5. Give the birds their own food
Birds target your cat’s food because they are hungry. And what do you do with someone hungry? You feed it so it won’t steal anyone’s food. I suggest setting up a bird feeder on the opposite spot where your cat is eating.
Since birds have food of their own, they will leave your cat alone. However, this may take some time for the birds to learn that there’s an alternative food source. I suggest putting up multiple feeders that are easy to find.
6. Consider using a bird repellent gel
Lastly, you can consider using bird repellent gel. I listed this last because I don’t recommend using any chemical-based repellent. A bird repellent gel makes surfaces sticky, making it uncomfortable for birds. Still, the gel won’t trap or poison the bird.
However, make sure that you only apply a thin layer. Some may get into the bird’s feathers and make it hard for them to fly if you make it too thick.
Will birds attack my cat?
For the most part, small birds like sparrows, crows, pigeons, and robins will not dare attack cats. Instead, it’s the cat that will likely attack and hunt for these birds.
However, what you have to worry about are birds of prey. These are large birds that live to hunt and attack. Some of these are hawks, falcons, ospreys, eagles, and red kites. These birds can attack pets and even lift a small kitty in the air. Please read here why is my cat so small
If your area is notorious for birds of prey, it’s important to install deterrents. And if possible, just feed your cat indoors.
Do crows eat dry cat food?
Yes, it’s observed that dry pet food is very appealing to crows. This bird is very smart, so they can learn where your cat eats and what time the food is available. Some will team up and attack the cat so they can loot the food for their own.
Aside from dry cat food, crows will also target nuts, food scraps, and eggs. Make sure that you seal all of these away so the crows won’t flock your home.
Does aluminum foil scare birds?
Yes, aluminum foil is an excellent bird deterrent. Birds don’t like the foil’s texture, so they won’t perch on surfaces with this material.
Also, aluminum foil is shiny, which disorients birds. This is more effective when struck by light since the reflection will bother the bird’s eyes. In turn, the fowl will not go closer. You can use this material near your cat’s food bowl to stop the birds from eating its food.
If you don’t have scare tape handy, you can use aluminum foil all over your trees, plants, and patio to drive away birds.
Can baby birds eat cat food?
Baby birds usually target soft and wet food. While this will not poison the bird, the food is not nutritionally designed for fowls. Also, it’s not a good idea to let birds eat your cat’s leftovers. In no time, an entire flock will be invading your home and potentially attacking your cat.
If you want to feed the birds, you should set up a bird feeder with bird food. This will also keep them away from your cat, which is a win-win situation for you, the cat, and the birds.
Can my cat get sick from birds?
Yes, cats can acquire diseases from birds. The Avian Flu is transmissible from birds to warm-blooded creatures like cats. If not treated, this can lead to the cat’s death. Aside from that, birds are a host to a myriad of parasites.
From tapeworms, ringworms, whipworms, and so on, your cat is very vulnerable if it’s not well immunized. Also, your cat may attack and eat the birds with Salmonella. This will lead to food poisoning, which requires immediate veterinary care.
Knowing how to keep birds from eating cat food requires a few steps. Visual and audio deterrents are very effective. You can also come up with an enclosed feeding station so your cat can eat away from the pesky birds. But as much as possible, you should feed your cat indoors, especially if birds of prey frequent your area. This is for your cat’s safety and your peace of mind.
Marco Vasquez is a passionate animal lover and writer with extensive experience in the pet care industry. He has worked with various pets, including dogs, cats, birds, and fish, and deeply understand their unique needs and behaviors. Marco’s love for animals has driven him to become an expert in pet health, nutrition, and behavior, and he is always eager to share his knowledge and insights with others. As a member of the Petcosset team, Marco brings his expertise to help pet owners make informed decisions about the well-being of their little friends. He enjoys hiking and spending time outdoors with his pets in his free time.