Our cat often sits on the windowsill and (seemingly) chirps at the birds outside! He’s just started doing this and it’s so funny! Is this something all cats do, or is our cat just a super genius?
Chirping Cat in Candlelight Estates
Dear Chirping Cat,
I have no doubt that your cat is a super genius because, frankly, most cats are (in my not-so-humble opinion), but what you are witnessing is a very normal cat behavior that many cats do.
Blame his prey drive
Your docile housecat’s prey drive is activated when he sees a bird or sometimes even a bug outside. You might notice that, along with the chirping, your cat’s tail also twitches and his pupils dilate. This is classic “hunter” behavior and is wildly stimulating for your kitty. Consider it like interactive “Kitty TV.”
What’s the purpose of chirping?
Experts believe that cats chirp at their prey as a means to mimic it, entice it to come closer, or possibly even hypnotize it. Cats of all ages and breeds do this–even cats in the wild.
Some believe that the chirp is a cry of frustration from the cat that he or she can see their prey but can’t get to it, thanks to the window or other obstacles. If you find your kitty becoming frustrated at his inability to catch his “prey,” consider engaging him in some toy play in the house. Toys with feathers or toys that move like an insect will quickly catch your cat’s attention and give him the opportunity to “catch” his prey.
Cats are master communicators
The funny thing is that cats meow, chirp and trill as a means of communication–namely with their human friends. After living with humans for millennia, cats have learned to communicate with us through vocalizations. If you think about it, doesn’t your cat meow at you when it’s feeding time or when you come home? Cats know how to get what they want and through vocalizations, they can get their point across.
To sum up, what you’re seeing is your cat’s strong prey drive in action. Keeping a cat indoors is always the safest thing for him, so although he might look desperate to make a kill, keeping him in the house and letting him “kill” his cat toys instead is the best thing you can do. There are too many perils that can befall an outdoor cat and it’s not worth it to let him outside to try and appease his natural instincts.
Do you have a question for Tabby? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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