Why does a cat chatter at birds?

When your cat sees a bird outside, you may notice it opening its mouth and making a weird, rapid series of meows. This is called chattering, and cats do it in response to any potential prey that they see. They will generally only do it when they are inside or somewhere else where they can see the prey but can't get at it. The theory is that they are imitating the normal attack that cats do when they catch prey, which involves biting them repeatedly and quickly. You usually will not see cats chatter if they are outside or somewhere they can actually get at the prey - then they are silent and will begin stalking it.

   

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