Can you have a pet bird with cats in your home? If you do things right, then you certainly can.
Both kinds of pets bring different benefits to your life, so find out what steps you must take to balance having these two animals around each other.
YouTube Isn’t Reality
Whether you deliberately look them up or not, you see pet and animal videos from YouTube. Even if you never visit the site itself, you’ll see them in your social media feeds and in commercials.
Some of these show various pets living together safely. In fact, many of these videos are downright precious in how pet cats and birds interact.
Always remember that these are the exception to the rule.
Two Kinds, Not Two of a Kind
While cats and birds can both be pets, the similarities stop there. In terms of them living together in the same home, you need to remember that one is a predator and the other one is prey.
Keep Them Apart
The biggest thing about having a pet cat and a pet bird at the same time is preventing potential interactions between them. That all starts with whether or not you have indoor or outdoor birds.
Depending on how many birds you want, an outdoor aviary as part of your yard or garden can be a lovely addition. With the birds outside and your cats inside, interactions shouldn’t happen.
However, you wouldn’t get to enjoy the sights and sounds of birds indoors. Your outdoor birds might also still draw the attention of feral cats or neighboring pets allowed outdoors.
This is far more common as a choice, especially if you only want one or two birds. Keep them in a cage, but also make sure that the cage is in a room that your cat or cats aren’t allowed to enter.
What Are the Potential Dangers?
Cats have an evolutionary instinct to hunt. Even domesticated cats still feel this.
When they hunt small rodents, such as mice and rats, they can be a really beneficial part of your home. Then again, they also hunt small birds, such as canaries, parakeets, and budgerigars, which means you could wind up with seriously negative interactions between your pets.
The Dangers Cats Pose to Birds
Cats love to hunt and stalk prey before they swat at it or even pounce on it. The dangers cats present pet birds are numerous:
- Felines who still have claws can seriously injure birds.
- Even a declawed cat might infect a bird with bacteria from a bite.
- Cats might pull out the crucial feathers your pet bird needs for balance, flight, and warmth.
- Birds might suffer severe mental trauma following an attack.
- Some cats will actually eat smaller birds.
Birds Can Be Dangers to Cats
Even though most of the danger comes from cats, birds can do a bit of damage of their own. Larger birds might have beaks and claws strong enough to hurt anything they grab. A curious or shy cat that triggers a self-defense response in a frightened bird is at risk.
What Can Happen?
There are several potential consequences of bad interactions between cats and birds, and none of them are things you want to deal with in your home.
If you see bite marks in either cats or birds, then you need to take them to the vet. You have to make sure the bite marks aren’t serious injuries and will heal. You also have to make sure that infection hasn’t happened.
Some bird/cat altercations will result in one or both pets being killed in the incident. In other cases, one or more of the pets will have to be put down as a result of their injuries.
Someone Has to Go
Even if all your pets survive such an attack, you might not be inclined to keep them in the same home. Finding a new home for a killer cat or a maimed bird is not an easy thing to do.
What Can You Do?
There are four things you can do to keep the peace between your pet cats and birds.
1. Physical Separation
Keep your birds in a cage or aviary, and never under any circumstances let your cats have access to the interior of them.
2. Constant Vigilance
Watch your pets at all times. Get to know their personalities, and mind any social interactions between them. If you see a cat ready to pounce on a birdcage, firmly command her “No” and get her to move on.
3. Keep the Cats Out of the Bird Room
It’s best if your cats simply never have access to a room with a birdcage or aviary in it in the first place. Don’t let their curiosity be triggered.
4. Host a Meet and Greet
If you think your cat and bird pets have the right personalities to coexist, you might be able to let them get to know each other:
- Start Slow: Let them physically see one another from a safe distance. Keep your bird in its cage or carrier. Let the cat come a little closer if the bird is relaxed and also inquisitive. If your bird shows any stress, keep the cat at a distance to try later.
- Have a Squirt Bottle Handy: If your cat attempts to paw in between the birdcage bars or even jump onto the cage, squirt her. Alternatively, say “No” firmly or employ your chosen training method.
- Keep Things Short: Your first session shouldn’t last more than 10 minutes. Future sessions can go longer so long as both animals seem fine with what’s going on.
- Hold Out Hope: When you think both animals are ready, let the bird out of the cage but hold him. Be very ready to react fast if either one looks ready to jump the other
- Don’t Do This Alone: If two pets are better than one, then two people are better than one. Having a second human being in the interactions helps since one can protect the bird while the other would be responsible for blocking a pouncing cat.
Can you have a pet bird with cats? The answer is usually yes, provided you follow the steps and tips outlined in the previous paragraphs. Apply what you have learned in reading all of this so your home and family can benefit from having both birds and cats.