How to keep cats away from bird feeders

Written by jamie conrad
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How to keep cats away from bird feeders
Keeping cats from harming the birds at your bird feeder is easy to do. (black bird perched on feeder image by tomcat2170 from

Bird feeders add beauty and entertainment to your yard. Unfortunately, they also attract cats that wish to prey on the birds at the feeder. Preventing cats from stalking your birds is possible. By simply trying a few methods and using a handful of regular household items, you can eliminate the cat-and-bird feeder problem without eliminating or even harming the cats. It's the animal lover's way to enjoy both birds and cats around your home.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Wire or string
  • Empty plastic bottles or milk jugs
  • Water
  • Petroleum jelly
  • Cactus
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon whole cloves
  • 2 or 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 2 or 3 peppers (small skinny hot ones)
  • 2 or 3 drops of concentrated dishwashing liquid
  • Black pepper

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  1. 1

    Run a tight wire or string 5 inches above the tops of fences near bird feeders. This prevents cats from balancing on the fences and reaching your bird feeder.

  2. 2

    Cut the tops off empty plastic bottles or milk jugs and fill them with water. Arrange the bottles or jugs around the bird feeder. They produce a reflective light that deters cats.

  3. 3

    Apply petroleum jelly to the pole or stand that holds your bird feeder. This makes the pole slippery and difficult for cats to climb.

  4. 4

    Plant a cactus garden around your bird feeder. The prickly cacti are easy for birds to manoeuvre around, but are unappealing to cats.

  5. 5

    Add 2 cups white vinegar, 1 tablespoon whole cloves, 2 to 3 peeled and crushed garlic cloves, 2 to 3 hot peppers, 2 to 3 drops dishwashing liquid and black pepper to a spray bottle, and fill the rest of the bottle with water. Spray this repellent around your bird feeder to prevent cats from hanging around.

Tips and warnings

  • These methods can be used in combination with one another to achieve the maximum cat deterrent effect.
  • Never spray the cat repellent spray directly onto cats (or humans) as it may cause harm to skin, eye/nasal area and the respiratory system.

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