Raising Cats & Birds In The Same House [Guidance and Tips]

Cats and birds in the same house? It sounds like a tricky situation, doesn't it? Cats are known for their hunting instincts, and birds are often the objects of their attention. Is it really possible for these two very different creatures to share a living space? The answer might surprise you.

In this article, we'll explore the unique dynamics between cats and birds, the precautions you must take, and the essential steps to create a harmonious environment for both. Read on to discover how to make it work, and what to watch out for in your multi-pet household.

Living Harmoniously: Cats and Birds Under One Roof

Cats are naturally drawn to movement, and the fluttering of a bird in its cage can trigger those hunting instincts.

Birds, on the other hand, may become alarmed at the sight of a cat peering into their space. So, can cats and birds peacefully coexist in your home? The answer is yes, but it requires careful planning and awareness.

For small, unaccustomed birds like finches, safety may require physical separation. Keeping the cat out of the room where the bird's cage resides can prevent unnecessary stress or even severe health problems, such as heart failure, in more fragile birds.

But beyond simple separation, your birds will need a space that caters to their unique needs. Their room should be sunny but not too hot, providing visual stimulation from a window or a mirror.

These elements prevent boredom, which can lead to self-destructive behaviors such as feather plucking—a sign of distress akin to humans biting nails or twisting hair.

Regular interaction with you is essential too, along with food, water, and clean living quarters. Some birds even enjoy musical companionship, chirping along to your favorite tunes.

But above all, understanding your bird's specific care requirements is paramount. While this article offers some guidance, don't hesitate to seek specialized bird-care resources.

In the end, creating a harmonious living space for both cats and birds depends on your dedication to understanding and meeting the needs of both pets.


A Bird's Life with Cats

Let's explore some essential tips to keep both your cats and birds safe and happy.

Securing Your Bird's Environment

To be safe, there should be a lock on the door. A sliding bolt works well and it should be high enough that kids can’t reach it.

Protecting During Free Time

If your bird likes to come out of his or her cage for a walkabout or to sit on a perch while the cage is cleaned, have a lock on the inside of the door too so no one opens the door while the bird is vulnerable. Cats are very fast.

Understanding Cat Reactions

Although most people think a larger bird like a parrot or a macaw could protect himself, the fact is that cats react quickly.

Even a scratch can cause an infection in the bird and by the time it’s noticeable enough to the human that something is wrong, it’s often too late to save the bird’s life.

The Importance of Immediate Care

One bite can also leave puncture wounds that are life-threatening. Even if you can’t see the marks, if your cat has gotten that close to your bird, take the bird to the veterinarian immediately.

Even a simple scratch can cause a deadly infection in the bird. If your cat has been too close to the bird, don't delay in taking the bird to a veterinarian, even if you can't see any visible injuries.

Cats' Perspective

Keep in mind that once a cat catches a bird, he will be more than reluctant to let the bird go. In his mind, it’s his prey, not your pet, and he’s not going to give it up.

This can cause even more physical harm to the bird. The cat is not being evil, not hunting because he’s hungry and not jealous of the time you spend in the room with the bird. It’s just that cats don’t distinguish between the feathered toy you brought home for him to chase and a real bird.

cats & birds

Mindful Management

No amount of prevention or precaution will guarantee the safety of the bird. Mindful management is a must. Don’t just lock the door out of habit—have a routine and a mental checklist to follow. Running to grab the phone or to answer a child’s question can be a matter of life and death for your bird if the door is left open, even for a minute.

Cats and birds can co-exist but it’s up to you to make the rules for living and to enforce them, every time.

Final Thoughts: Creating a Harmonious Home

Living with cats and birds under the same roof is indeed possible. It's a journey filled with learning, understanding, and adaptation.

With consistent effort and attention to the unique needs of both animals, you can create a joyful home where cats and birds coexist peacefully.

Embrace the challenge, enjoy the rewards, and always prioritize the safety and well-being of your pets. Your feathered and furry friends are counting on you!


Related Reading:

Cats And Small Furries

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5 comments on “Raising Cats & Birds In The Same House [Guidance and Tips]

nunnc84 November 23, 2020
I have canaries in a large iron cage. My kitten attacks the cage. My older cat occasionally attacks the cage. The kitten will sit and chirp watching for hours. The poor birds. Finally, the kitten is toning down the attacks; where I don't see them. I think its because I chase her with the broom when I see her charging the cage. She sticks to the cat tree next to the bird cage. I know, I asked for this fight by asking the two to coexist. I did not get a hook bill because of the damage the beak can do to the cat. I preferred flight birds because I am a beginner for birds.
    Furballsmom November 26, 2020
    Other methods of distraction or moving the bird cage if possible, (chasing with a broom is definitely not recommended) would be effective, and better for the kitten.
splasha1 June 3, 2014
Long ago we had black cat & Blue & Gold McCaw who used to "play." Well lets say the cat always loved to attack the birds long tail as it hung down from the open T-Bar in the room. One day bird decided enough was enough and sunk his beak into cat's tail and that was the last time cat ever went near bird.
pinkdagger May 21, 2014
Don't forget that pasteurella bacteria in cats' saliva is toxic to birds, even in small amounts. Cats and birds should never be allowed direct interaction, even with supervision, including sharing food and water sources or grooming each other. The most affectionate of actions can quickly sour, since both cats and birds groom themselves by mouth. Ingestion of pasteurella kills birds VERY quickly and there is absolutely nothing cute about that. Owners need to be vigilant and err on the side of safety - your cat may want to "play" (and playing is hunting), but birds likely see it a different way.   Cats and other pets need to be taught indifference towards birds and other small animals, and only be allowed in the same room with full supervision - no distractions. The birds will always make noise and move quickly, and their flapping will always be a trigger for cats to get excited, and cats need to learn that it doesn't signal play time for them. If you want to introduce your cats to birds, make it a slow transition. Birds are panicky and thrive on routine, so meeting a cat is a pretty big deal and they can get pretty flustered. Especially anxious birds can faint or pass away under duress, so don't push either animal past their comfortable limit.   Also, I know quite a few finch and canary owners who have very hand-tamed and sweet natured, velcro-like passerines. :) Any pet can be a tame, sociable, human-oriented pet if given the right time, socialization, and effort.   This page written by someone who owns/ed fish, parrots, rabbits, rats, cats, and dogs is really useful for summarizing some key points on "zoo safety": http://www.rationalparrot.com/zoosafety.html
sabbyjake May 21, 2014
I have 2 cockatiels and 3 Grown cats, the cockatiels walk around the house and the cats pretty much just leave them alone...they sometimes share the same food & water 2gether.

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