Cats are natural predators – and birds are their natural prey.
If you’ve ever watched Sylvester and Tweety, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
So if cats are the predator and birds are their prey, then by way of logical reasoning, cats will instinctually attack parrots.
It should follow then, that cats and parrots shouldn’t live together.
But is this always the case?
Or are there circumstances in which cats and parrots can peacefully coincide with one another?
The answer to this questions is yes. Parrots and cats can live together, however they shouldn’t be left alone as it is a cat’s natural instinct to attack a bird, and it’s unlikely that you will ever remove this instinct from them. There are some measures that you can take to ensure that your cat does not have access to your bird.
Today we will dig a little deeper into this subject, discussing the risks of keeping a cat and a parrot together, as well as discussing different ways that you can make it safe for both your cat and your parrot to live under the same roof.
So let’s not waste another minute:
The problem with Cats and Birds
As we have already established, cats are natural predators and birds are their natural prey.
This is an instinctual behavior that you cannot remove from your cat, despite how hard you may try.
After all, a Cheetah will always be a Cheetah.
For a cat, your bird will always be seen as a) a potential play toy, or b) food.
In the wild, it’s natural for cats to hunt, stalk, and surprise their prey which can include small mammals, reptiles, fish, and yes, birds.
In the wild, birds will instinctually flee at the sight of a cat.
And because they have a lot of space to do so, they usually get away.
Your parrot, however, does not have the same freedom.
Because they are in an enclosed space, they might not be able to escape the cat.
In turn, this sends them into fight or flight mode, and they will either fly frightfully around the room, or fight back.
Can my Cat hurt my Parrot?
If your cat were to get ahold of your parrot, then yes, it could definitely hurt it.
In fact, it doesn’t take much for a cat to hurt a bird.
The nails of a cat are extremely sharp, and can easily cause serious wounds or cause other damage like ripping out its feathers that it needs for warmth, flight, and balance.
In severe cases, your cat could also kill your parrot.
Can my Parrot hurt my Cat?
When people think about the cat and bird relationship, they most often see the cat as the predator and the bird as the prey.
But does a parrot stand a chance against a cat?
The answer to this really depends on the size of your parrot.
If your parrot is small, then it’s highly unlikely that they will stand a chance against a fully grown cat.
With that being said, a larger parrot could do some damage to a cat that is not expecting it.
As we all know, parrots have very strong beaks and claws.
While these are little match up for a large cat, they can cause some damage to a cat that isn’t suspecting an attack, or that isn’t expecting retaliation from the bird.
Most parrots won’t attack cats for the fun of it, but may attack out of fear or self-defense, even if the cat isn’t actually trying to cause harm.
In return, yes a cat can hurt a parrot, and yes a parrot can hurt a cat – do not ever expect your cat and bird to be the best of friends, because it simply is not going to happen.
The problem of Pasteurella Bacteria
Aside from the obvious problems facing the coexistence of cats and birds, there is yet another concern that arises within your cat’s mouth.
Cats carry a bacteria in their mouth called Pasteurella.
To cats, this bacteria is relatively harmless, but to birds it can cause severe illness or death.
The disease is passed on through bites, and can have different symptoms and side effects depending on the location of the bite.
Common side effects of the Pasteurella bacteria include, but are not limited to, stomach infections, liver infections, lung infections, eye infections, and nervous system infections.
These can also lead to other symptoms such as lack of appetite, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, nasal discharge, and seizures.
How can my Cat and Parrot Co-exist?
Just because cats and birds don’t generally get along, doesn’t mean they can’t co-exist.
As long as you are willing to take the proper safety precautions, you can keep a bird and a cat in the same household.
But what do these precautions look like?
Keeping your cat in a separate room
Your cat and your bird should never be kept in the same room together, even if your bird is in a cage.
Whether you bird is secured or not, cats like to stalk their prey.
And as a bird, parrots know what this stalking behavior means. And even though you know your bird is safe in their cage, your bird may not know that.
And with no way to escape, having your cat in the same room with them can cause intense and unnecessary stress for your parrot.
Securing the cage
On the off chance that your cat gets into your bird room, you want to make sure that the cage is secure.
Cage locks like this one on Amazon and/or carabiners should be used to ensure that your cat cannot unlock the door to the birdcage, and your cage should always be strong and secured so that it cannot be knocked onto the floor by a leaping cat.
Never let your cat into the cage or aviary
This may seem like common sense, but some people may think its okay to let their cat into the bird room if the bird is not present.
This isn’t the case. Cats often like to claim their territory, and if you allow them into the room once, they may start to make territorial claims.
As such, cats should never be allowed in your parrots room or aviary.
Introduce your bird and cat
The best way to get your cat and bird used to one another’s presence is by slowly introducing them to one another.
The more they see each other, the more immune they will be to each other’s presence.
Start by allowing your cat and caged bird to see each other at a distance.
Once they both seem comfortable and unstressed, you can gradually start to decrease the distance between them.
Keep in mind, however, that this must be done with great caution.
Anytime your cat and bird are within sight of each other, you MUST closely supervise them both.
Never leave your cat and bird unattended with each other.
Even if your cat has never attempted to attack your parrot, it is possible that they will revert to predatory mode the second you leave.
If you must go, make sure they are in separate rooms.
What should you do if your parrot is bitten by your cat?
Despite your best efforts, there is always the possibility that an accident could happen. If your cat bites or scratches your parrot, take them to the veterinarian for treatment immediately.
Even small scratches and bites that seem insignificant could cause infections and lead to life-threatening conditions.
Be safe, not sorry – get medical attention for your parrot immediately if they are bit by your cat.
In conclusion, Sylvester and Tweety should never be expected to be best friends.
Even if they co-exist with each other for years, instinct can take over a cat at any minute, causing them to attack.
While you can introduce and train your cat and parrot to live with one another, they should never be in the same room without your supervision.
Always make sure that your parrot has its own safe spot to go to when you are not around, or when they feel threatened or afraid.