If you have an outgoing cat, you have probably already been presented with a dead bird or mouse as a gift. Even if your cat doesn’t go outside, you must have watched the adventures of Tweety and Sylvester, and you know all about cats’ nature. It is true that they can hunt these smaller animals, especially if it’s a stray cat that has been taken in. You probably think that you have to abandon your dreams about having a parrot, or a canary, but it’s not entirely true. Yes, you will need to spend a lot of time helping your animals to adapt and learn to live together, but it indeed is possible.
Start right away
There’s no time to waste, especially if it’s not about a little kitten and a bird that has just hatched. They say that you can’t teach an old dog a new trick, and it’s partially true, also when it comes to cats. Even if your cat seems like a lazy couch potato, they may be lured by a tasty-looking, chirping bird. But all is not lost yet.
The best way to teach your cat to ignore the bird is by using a rewarding system. Whenever you see your cat creeping towards the cage, catch his attention with a little treat that he can obtain if he gives up sneaking up on the bird. Reward him when he simply watches the bird and goes away. Plus, make sure to keep him well-fed. Know everything by reading this guide on how to create a diet – pet owner’s information. Let your cat know that he doesn’t need to attack the bird to stay full and eat delicious snacks.
Buy the right cage and secure it
Make sure that the cage will endure even in the case of the cat’s attack, or put it in a secure room or an aviary that the cat can’t access. Thanks to it, you won’t have to worry about your animals even when you’re not home, and you will let your bird avoid unnecessary stress.
Make sure that the cage can’t be knocked over; the small ones are very light, and people tend to place them on tables or cupboards from where they can be easily thrown off. By doing so, the cat can hurt not only the bird but also himself. The cage should be heavy enough or secured in a different way so that it’s unmoveable.
Plus, use cage locks to be absolutely sure that the cat can’t open the cage.
Remember about discipline
Discipline is the only way that will allow you to keep both the bird and the cat under the same roof peacefully. Don’t let your cat go into the cage, even if the bird is not present. He needs to understand that it’s a place inaccessible to him. There won’t be much to do if the cat develops territorial claims.
If your cat doesn’t react to your words and distractions, you can use a spray bottle. Fill it with water and apply a light mist whenever the cat creeps towards the birdcage. You can use it even if he’s already on or next to the cage, as birds don’t mind water. Do it every time he approaches the bird, and only then, to avoid any confusion.
Try introducing the bird to the cat
This is the hardest part, and it also requires a lot of patience from your part. It starts with you allowing your animals only to see each other. If the birdcage is in a separate room, you may let the cat in, if you’re also present. When you see that both are more comfortable and less scared, you may try allowing them a little bit closer to each other. If your cat is not very aggressive and has no hunting instincts, you can try getting the bird out of the cage to let them see each other without any bars. But make sure to always be there in these moments to ensure everyone’s safety.
What are the dangers?
Cats can hurt birds even unintentionally with sharp claws, the bacteria from their mouth, or by knocking off the cage. Cats also tend to pull out the feathers that are much more than decorative for birds, as they provide them with warmth and help them to fly. If a bird is small, it can even get eaten.
On the other hand, if a bird is bigger, it’s a cat who can get hurt because of their curiosity. For example, large parrots have really long and sharp claws and beaks.
Let’s be friends
Well, it’s rare for cats and birds to truly be friends (it’s possible, though), but it’s very likely to help them coexist despite their instincts. Have some patience, and don’t neglect anyone. You don’t have to choose between them, but you need to put some effort if you want it to work.