An Aviary That Lets Birds In, But Keeps Pests Out


This bird cage is designed to let birds in, not keep them out! Photo: Alain Gagnon & Céline Cliche

Here is an interesting idea submitted by Alain Gagnon and Céline Cliche of Quebec City.

We had a problem in our yard, filled with flower beds and bird feeders of all kinds to please our feathered friends. However, an irresponsible neighbor lets her cat wander at will and it had picked up the habit of waiting for its lunch under the feeders, always well stocked with seeds and birds. That didn’t keep fat squirrels from emptying the feeders, when it wasn’t starlings coming by the dozens to squawk loudly and feed messily. 

Do note that the above is written in the past tense, because, after attempts of all kinds to get rid of these intruders, we seem to have found a solution. We’ve put in an outdoor aviary, not to keep birds inside, but to keep pests out. 

The grid that makes up the aviary walls allows small birds to come and go (and feed!) as they please, but it keeps out unwanted larger birds like starlings and pigeons as well as cats and squirrels!

Our “exclusionary aviary” has only been up for two months, but so far it has been 100% successful.

Sun and Safety for Kitty

This enclosed cat patio prevents the couple’s cat from attacking birds and also protects kitty from the numerous enemies a wandering cat can encounter. Photo: Alain Gagnon & Céline Cliche

Alain and Céline also sent a photo showing how they let their own cat bask in the sun while keeping it from harming wild birds by giving him access to an enclosed patio through an open window. Such a pen is sometimes called a “catio.”

The Catio: A Patio for Cats


Keep your pet safe and happy with a catio. Source:

Here’s an interesting idea for cat owners worried about their kitty eating all the birds in the neighborhood or risking being run over by a car or carried off by a predator every time it leaves the house: the catio, an enclosed cat patio. It’s the height of fashion in New York City and is now gaining popularity in Paris as well. Why not at your home?


Even a balcony can become a catio. Source:

And please, do not confuse “catio” with “cage.” The catio is a large enough enclosure to allow the cat to play, relax in the sun, climb and observe birds (without being able to kill them, however). I’m already assuming your kitty has access to the interior of your home much of the time, so he’s not cramped for space. Now, though, he can enjoy spending untold hours out in the open, yet sheltered from all the dangers that make the free-ranging cats’ lives so short*.

* Life expectancy of a cat allowed to wander: less than 5 years, life expectancy of a cat kept safely confined: up to 18 to 20 years. Source:

Ask your veterinarian for their opinion: you’ll discover they consider a catio is one of the best services you can give your cat.


A cat door leading to the house allows kitty to go in and out as he chooses. Source:

The catio must contain, of course, a shelter from the sun and rain, toys, a litter box (if pussy doesn’t have access to one in the house) and a regularly renewed bowl of water. The ultimate catio is one offering entrance to the home through a cat door, so that your feline can enter and leave as he or she pleases. And put out a pot of cat grass, just to make things purrfect!

With a catio, your cat will be both happy and safe. So what are you waiting for to build one?