At my current house, there is an active community of wild creatures in the backyard, including a variety of birds, chipmunks and squirrels, rabbits, a groundhog, and butterflies by day and lightning bugs by night.
My little 2yo tortie female DSH has two towers near windows, and two glass sliding doors to look out of and observe this community going about its business in all weather, all seasons, and all times of day.
A clear benefit of this is entertainment, something to see and do that isn't lying on the floor being bored. There's also an exercise element as she runs from one vantage point to the next to follow a rabbit across the yard, for example.
But a potential down side is the frustration of the solid glass barrier. I have seen her clearly attempting to get to a bird or a chipmunk by pawing at the edges, trying to climb onto the window border, and things like that. Her hunting instinct has kicked in, but is being thwarted.
So in the balance, is this situation good or bad for the cat's overall mental and emotional well-being? In other words, do the benefits outweigh the risks?
As a follow-up, if the conclusion is negative, what can I do about it? Note that closing curtains is not viable, as that would first of all be bad for my emotional well-being (making my house feel like a dark dungeon) but also, the cat can simply slide behind the curtain. This cat does have a handful of toys, and does play with them both independently and interactively with me.