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This tiny change convinced my cats to get along

cat watching bird feeder

My foster cat Peyton excitedly watches two bluejays at my bird feeder.

This winter I installed a bird feeder just outside my window. While I knew my cats would like it, it’s changed their entire routines and helped them get along better as well. Before the feeder, my cats’ days were spent mostly napping or fighting over the most-comfortable pillow (to nap on, of course). Now they spend time close to the window, waiting for the entertainment to start. But instead of fighting over the best spot like they used to, they’ve started sniffing each other and even napping within a few inches of each other sometimes. (Get tips for setting up your own bird feeder for your cats.)

Birds come by several times a day and my cats come to attention — Kura chatters away from her shelf perch while my foster cat Peyton (who has cerebellar hypoplasia) wobbles with excitement on the bed. (Watch the video of them below.)

I installed the feeder and started filling it with suet about a month ago. It took a few weeks, but eventually birds started coming by regularly. At first they were extremely hesitant — I’m sure seeing two alert cats through the screen and window was a bit unnerving at first! But eventually they seemed to realize that Kura and Peyton couldn’t get out. (They are both indoor-only cats.) The feeder itself is attached to the top bars of my air conditioner cage, so its location is also safe from the many feral cats in my neighborhood.

My two cats are getting along better than ever.

A month ago I never would have caught Kura and Peyton sleeping so close. Now they do it all the time.

Overall, it’s a great arrangement: the wild birds get a safe place to snack, my cats get a fun distraction and I get to see the surprising variety of bluejays, cardinals, sparrows and other birds that live in NYC. The surprising part is how much it’s changed the relationship between my “kids.” I’ve had Peyton as a foster for almost a year now and Kura and Peyton would barely tolerate each other. Whenever one came too close, hissing and posturing would start. But since I installed the feeder, both have started sharing space more readily. They even sleep within a few inches of each other now — something Kura has never done with a foster cat in the last thirteen years. Who knew?

TELL US: Do you have a bird feeder where your cats can watch the birds? Do you do anything else to promote harmony among your pets?

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