Will Cat Food Hurt Birds? [Is It Safe?]

If you have leftover cat food, you might not want to put it into your garbage can. Your cat won’t eat it, but it isn’t good to put organic waste in landfill sites, so what can you do with these scraps that is not too harmful or wasteful? You might be wondering, will cat food hurt birds?

Will Cat Food Hurt Birds?

Cat food is a reasonable food offering for some kinds of birds, although it is not a viable substitute for balanced and specially formulated bird food. It should not be fed to seed-eating birds that do not consume meat, and it isn’t great in the long term. On the other hand, high-quality cat food is not toxic and contains nutrients that won’t harm birds.

Is It Okay To Feed Dry Cat Food To Wild Birds?

So, let’s start with biscuits. Many cats will crunch up their biscuits, leaving many crumbs, which they then reject and refuse to eat. This causes a lot of wastage. If you don’t want to put these in your landfill bin (organic waste should be kept out of landfill sites as much as possible), you might be thinking of giving them to your birds.

According to BirdBarn, it is fine to feed dry cat food to birds. However, it does recommend making sure that the quality is reasonably good. Otherwise, the birds may fill up on empty carbohydrates and not eat enough of their normal food to be healthy.

Cat food, especially dried cat food, tends to be a rather fatty food, and this can be valuable to the birds in the winter months when they need more energy to stay warm. Fattening up for winter is essential, so don’t be afraid to fuel your birds with some cat biscuit scraps.

You should also provide normal birdseed, however, and don’t put out more cat biscuits than your birds can eat, or you may find that you also attract mice and rats to your home. You might also stop birds from foraging for their natural foods, which may make them unhealthy.

It is a good idea to break up or crush any whole cat biscuits. This will make it easier for the smaller birds to feed on them. A small bird that decides to tackle a whole cat biscuit might choke on it.

You can also soak cat biscuits before feeding them to birds to ensure that they are soft. But bear in mind that they will mold quickly once soaked, so if they aren’t eaten fast, you should remove them from the bird table. You should also be aware that they can turn hard again if the weather is hot.

Is It Okay To Feed Wet Cat Food To Wild Birds?

The RSPB says that tinned cat food is a reasonable substitute for earthworms in the summers when birds are much less likely to get at the worms because they have burrowed deep underground.

Wet cat food can provide a welcome moisture boost and is nutritious. It makes an excellent option if you want to treat omnivorous birds like blackbirds without having to head out into your garden with a shovel!

However, you should not put out too much wet cat food at a time. It is high in protein, and unlike cats, birds do not need a lot of protein. So while a bit is very good for them, a lot could cause kidney issues, and this should be avoided.

If you have a lot of omnivorous birds visiting your garden, you can afford to put a bit more out. It’s a good idea to see which birds visit your garden and study what sorts of things they eat. This will let you know how much to put out.

If the wet cat food is not getting eaten, stop putting it out, as it may cause dangerous mold on your bird feeder. It might also attract rats or mice to the table.

How Should I Feed Cat Food To Wild Birds?

If you want to see if your backyard birds will eat cat food, you might be wondering how to do this. First, it’s a good idea to have a separate feeding dish, so it’s easy to take it indoors and clean it when necessary.

You should not feed cat food to your birds anywhere near ground level.

It’s always a good idea to feed birds high up to be safer from predators, but remember that putting cat food outside could easily attract neighborhood cats, which will be interested in the scent.

They will then pose a serious threat to your birds. To avoid this, only put small quantities out at once, and don’t put it anywhere that cats can easily reach. For example, a long feeder pole might be an excellent way to offer cat food, as local cats are unlikely to be able to get to the top of this and attack the birds.

You should also avoid putting out large quantities because (as well as attracting cats) it might cause a lot of the heavier, more predatory birds (such as magpies) to visit your garden. 

While many bird lovers like all kinds of birds, you probably already know that these will drive off smaller birds.

Unless you only want the heavier species in your garden, this probably isn’t ideal, and it would be best to put cat food out in small amounts at a time, and not constantly. Also, this will allow small birds and seed feeders to have their turn at your food points.

If you notice that the cat food you put out is causing a problem with local cats coming by. It’s probably a good idea to stop providing it, even if the birds seem to enjoy it. Instead, put out wild birdseed, mealworms, peanuts, and other treats for them.

Can I Feed Cat Food To A Pet Bird?

Never feed cat food or biscuits to a pet bird. Although your pet bird probably won’t be harmed if it decides to steal some biscuits or wet food from your cat’s bowl. It is best not to allow this.

The cat food might, as we mentioned, provide too much protein, and it’s better to have a pet bird follow a veterinarian-approved diet. In addition, you should put cat food away before you let a pet bird out of its cage so it can’t get pieces of it.

You might want to occasionally offer your pet bird a few biscuit crumbs or a scrap of meat from your cat’s food. This should be fine, but it isn’t something you should be doing regularly, and you shouldn’t let your bird help itself to any cat food in the home.

It might choke on a biscuit, or the food may upset other aspects of its diet. So it’s best to avoid this if possible.

Will Birds Eat Cat Food?

Ground feeders such as Starlings, Grackles, Doves, Pigeons, etc will likely eat cat food that is placed on the ground. That said, don’t throw out too much, because they’ll likely prefer eating birdseed.

Final Word

Cat food should not hurt birds as long as it is fed in moderate quantities no. Dry and wet cat food can provide a valuable nutritional boost to your birds. Especially in the winter, because it contains plenty of fat and protein.

You should not feed large quantities of cat food to birds. However, it is best not to feed your pet bird cat food except in very small amounts. If you’re unsure of what to feed your pet, be sure to consult with an avian veterinarian. 

It’s best to keep your pet or backyard birds from eating your cat’s food!