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Why Do Cats Chatter at Birds?


Your kitty is looking out the window. She is slightly crouched, very tense, and her attention is completely focused on a bird, squirrel, or some other type of prey. Her jaw is slightly open, and it suddenly begins to vibrate rapidly as she emits a slight wavering cry. It sounds almost like the bird itself.

It is fascinating to watch your cat do this, but you wonder if something is wrong. Is she ill? Is she trying to communicate something?

Don't worry! This feline chattering behavior is completely normal, but there are several ideas as to what the cause might be. Below are the main thoughts that experts have on why cats chatter at birds.

Is Cat Chattering a Predator Thing?

The chattering behavior that some cats exhibit when they see a bird is believed by some to be a deeply-rooted instinct related to the manner in which large and small cats promptly kill their prey. The faster the prey is killed, the lower the chance that the cat itself will receive an injury during the process.

This "killing bite" or "fatal bite" occurs after the cat leaps upon its prey and holds it tight with its powerful front claws. The cat bites the back of the prey's neck and rapidly vibrates its jaw so that its teeth slide between the vertebrae and sever the spinal cord, assuring a swift end to any struggle.

Could the Chirping of Cats Be a Frustration Thing?

Some people believe that the special noises a cat makes when watching a bird are due to the frustration of not being able to get to the prey. Your cat may be venting her extreme irritation with the fact that she is unable to perform as a hunter when her prey is so very close.

Maybe Cat Chirping Is an Excitement Thing

It's possible that the chattering noises are strictly due to excitement. Your cat might feel such delight and eagerness at seeing a feathered friend nearby that she can't help but make some special vocalizations.

It Could Be a Predator Thing, After All

Scientists have observed cats mimicking the cries of monkeys in the wild. This has led them to wonder if, to fool the birds, housecats might also be mimicking their chirps and chatters. A bird wouldn't fly away just because another bird was nearby, after all. Making noises that are similar to those their prey makes might help cats get closer before they pounce.

Regardless of the exact reason that cats chirp and chatter when they see birds outside, it is cute to watch. Here's a video of an especially cute kitty chirping at a bird.

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