General Question

daniel89x's avatar

Why are cats so attracted to birds?

Asked by daniel89x (280points) February 9th, 2008

My indoor house cat goes crazy when he see’s birds. Is a genetic thing? He’s never lived outside before.

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9 Answers

Amurph's avatar

It’s because cats are attracted to the movement, or even the size of the birds. My cat is also an indoor cat and FREAKS out (in a fun way) whenever he sees a pigeon outside.

ketoneus's avatar

Despite millenia of domestication, cats are still predators. Cats are generally attracted to any smaller animal as potential prey. As such, birds are natural prey.

jrpowell's avatar

Cats also like Frontrow..

I also think movement is key. I have had many cats that have killed birds. They never eat them, they only catch them.

And watch the excellent follow-up.

christybird's avatar

Yeah, this is why I encourage pet owners to keep their cats inside if at all possible. Because even a well-fed cat will kill birds, they can’t help it. It’s instinct!

Cat bites are also really “dirty” (from a bacteria perspective) so even if a cat doesn’t kill a bird, if it bites it, the bite usually becomes infected and the bird dies anyway.

Poser's avatar

Because they’re delicious!

boffin's avatar

Cats like to eat…Like you when you see a good commercial or wander by the Food Network channel surfing…Our “Great Grey Hunter” which has all kinds of bird kills to her credit, from House Sparrows and Humming Birds to a Stellar (Blue) Jay…The movement thing is key, she (the cat) will sit for hours over a gopher hole waiting…

christybird's avatar

@boffin – It makes me really, really sad to hear you talking about all of the birds your cat has killed – hummingbirds and stellar jays? Geez. I wouldn’t say that those kills are “to her credit.”

I don’t blame cats for killing birds – they can’t help it. But maybe you should think a bit more about all the damage you cat is doing when you let her outside. House cats are not a natural part of North American ecosystems, and they kill millions of birds every year. The American Bird Conservancy has a campaign about keeping cats indoors for this reason:

I’m not trying to get preachy. I really like cats. I have had cats. But even though they sometimes “don’t like” to be inside I think they are better off, and certainly safer – they won’t get hit by cars or contract feline leukemia if you keep them in.

Spargett's avatar

Why do men like breast? Instinct. Just like the birds, breast are one of a man’s favorite prey.

Its just the firmware organisms ship with.

ParaParaYukiko's avatar

Cats are not like dogs in the way that their behavior has not significantly changed from their big-cat ancestors (they’ve mainly just gotten smaller, cuter, and more willing to tolerate people). As others have said, they still have a strong instinct to hunt, and birds are just part of their natural prey. They probably taste pretty good.

Also, as @Amurph said, cats are attracted to movement. Cat eyesight is pretty limited compared to ours; in exchange for their “night vision” they have sacrificed full-color vision (most cats are red-green colorblind) and the ability to detect fine detail. Thus, movement is one of the main methods of detecting prey. Obviously, birds move a lot and in interesting ways, which sparks the instinct to hunt.

It is probably also a fun challenge to catch a bird. All cats like to have fun!

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