Why Do Cats Chirp at Birds?

Anyone with a cat is likely familiar with that funny sound cats make when they spot a bird outside a window, or maybe when they’re chasing their favorite feather toy.

It has a lot to do with their hunting instincts, according to Dr. Erika Loftin, veterinarian and critical care specialist at DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital . Siege the CatCats usually chirp when they’re looking at birds or squirrels, but they may also do it when they’re excited about “hunting” toys or kibble, or even their humans, although this is much rarer, Loftin said.

Even the most indoor of domesticated cats still have natural hunting instincts, and these instincts are often the driving force behind many cat behaviors, both positive and negative. Chattering at birds is just one of those behaviors driven by your cats natural instincts.

If youve noticed your cat making a strange chirping noise as he stares out the window at flies, people, or other cats, no need to worry. Its called cat chattering, and its just his predatory instinct.

Sometimes, you might also notice physical changes in your cat as she chatters: Her eyes may widen, her pupils may dilate, and her ears may tilt forward.

When Do Cats Chatter?

Cat chattering (also called chirping or twittering) nearly always happens when a cat is titillated by a visual stimulus such as a bird or rodent moving about. These are her hunting instincts kicking in. Sometimes, you might also notice physical changes in your cat as she chatters: Her eyes may widen, her pupils may dilate, and her ears may tilt forward. She’s concentrating hard and her body shows it.