Patent for a combination sparrow-catcher / cat-feeder

From Futility Closet: Patent 4150505 for a Bird trap and cat feeder, issued on April 24, 1979
201108171411 Why spend money on cat food when there’s a more immediate solution? Leo Voelker’s 1979 invention simultaneously curbs the local sparrow population and keeps the local cats occupied.

The birds enter the housing at the top but can escape only through the mesh cage at the bottom, which serves as a kind of self-serve food dispenser for neighborhood cats.

“The cat feeder by its design is self-cleaning since the cat quickly learns to remove the sparrow from the cage.”

Patent for a combination sparrow-catcher / cat-feeder


  1. For added fun, install near the living room window so your kids can witness the cycle of life from the comfort of their own home.

  2. Starting immediately on the catbox/dog feeder concept. This baby’s going to worth millions!

  3. The bird feeder and bird bath are basically the same thing to the cat. Hours of watching fun. He also likes to play with the squirrels.

  4. The literature doesn’t mention anything about small animal torture, how will I know it will satisfy my needs? 

    1. For only an extra $10.97 you can upgrade to the Deluxe model, which individually wraps the target animals and palletizes them for easy storage!

  5. This actually – if it works, would be great for harvesting sparrows for culinary purposes – if you like to eat sparrows. I’m uh..not necessarily saying that I do.

    1. Here’s an article about culinary sparrows:

      Quote from the article:

      Lark, or Sparrow Pye.You must have five dozen at least; lay betwixt every one a Bit of Bacon as you do when you roast them, and a Leaf of Sage and a little Force-meat at the Bottom of your Crust; put on some Butter a top and lid it; when bak’d for one Hour, which will be sufficient, make a little thicken’d Gravy, put in the Juice of a Lemon; season with Pepper and Salt, so serve it hot and quick. (Charles Carter’s “City and Country Cook … “ 1736)

  6. You can find diy examples of this on the intertubes. The house sparrow is an invasive species that will evict and kill native species. They really are a bit of a PITA. It is quite possible to catch dozens a day in some places. It’s really not that bad or futile of an idea and some people actually use them. If I had a pet I could feed house sparrows, I would consider trapping them. I might freeze them first for parasites though. Its also legal and encouraged to kill them in the US.

  7. Great, just what we need, a way to make cats even lazier.  Why chase mice or catch sparrows on your own when there’s easy pickings to be had?

    1. Oh, the clattering and terrified squeaking make for some fine easy listenin’ on a warm August evening…

  8. @nillo13:disqus,  You seriously did not say PITA, did you?
    Of course you did.
    I just died of irony poisoning.

  9. We had a regular bird feeder when I was a kid, and it basically served the same purpose… which is why my cats are now indoor-only.

  10. It just needs a small keypad added to the bottom cage area so the bird can send a tweet to its friends asking for help.

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