Cats and birds are natural opposites. Some cats won’t care about birds at all. Other times, the cat’s instinct to pounce, capture, and “play” with the bird will emerge. Either way, if you have a cat and bird cohabitating, it is important to have the proper precautions in place to keep both animals safe and healthy.
Cats can kill or hurt a bird very easily. With its sharp claws, it can wound the bird and possibly even give it an infection. Cats also pull out important feathers needed for flight, balance, and warmth. They can cause serious mental trauma to a bird that has endured an attack or threat. Cats can even eat small birds. Even though a cat is more dangerous to a bird than a bird is to a cat, bigger birds can seriously hurt a cat. With their strong beaks and claws, they could grab and bite a cat.
Even with the risks, there are ways that you can keep both the cat and bird safe. First, secure the bird cage in a serious manner. Make sure that the cat cannot get inside or knock the bird cage over. Small cages are often placed on tables and are easily knocked over. Make sure the cage is heavy enough that the cat cannot push it around. Be sure to use cage locks or carabiners to make sure the cat cannot open the bird cage doors.
Next, keep them in separate rooms. If you keep the bird cage in a room that the cat is not allowed it, you can avoid the extra stress that a stalking cat can cause for a bird.
Lastly, try and introduce your bird to your cat. It is typically a very slow process, and it starts with allowing your caged bird and cat to see each other from a distance. Eventually, you can lessen the distance between the two after ensuring both are comfortable and not stressed. Some people who have cats that show no signs of going into predator mode will take their bird out of its cage and allow the two to see each other without bars in the way. If you feel comfortable trying this, it must be done with great caution and awareness in case your bird tries to jump out of your hands, or your cat tries to pounce on the bird.
Cats and birds can cohabitate, if the owner takes proper precautions to keep both animals safe and calm. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Dr. Olsen at Olsen Veterinary Clinic at 618-656-5868.