2001-Sat Jul 22 01:02:27 EDT 2017
Vetstreet. All rights reserved. Powered by Brightspot.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
A. The lion may lie down with the lamb from time to time, but that’s not how the smart money bets on the interaction. Any time you put predators and prey in proximity, you should not be surprised to have one or both pets end up at the veterinarian’s. Or worse.
As a veterinarian who has patched up my share of pets, I prefer to come down on the side of safety. The only way to be absolutely sure that your cats won't hurt a bird is to not get one. On the other hand, I do know that lots of families have many kinds of pets. They don't do so successfully without being very, very careful to manage all interactions, though.
If you decide to get a bird, the safest way to keep your pets together is to keep them apart. That’s fairly easy to do with small pet birds such as finches and canaries, who typically don't care to be handled and who spend their lives inside their cages.
Parrots are not like that; they tend to be happiest when they live with people who interact with them and allow them ample time outside their cages to explore and play. Depending on the size and layout of your house, that may make it almost impossible to keep your cats and your parrot apart.
You still might be OK if your cats are fairly laid-back and not the busybody type. Some cats would rather nap than hunt, and if yours are like that, a squirt or two from a spray bottle may be more than enough to extinguish any interest your cats have in your new pet bird. Until patterns of behavior have settled in place, though, your bird is best kept caged. And even after you're fairly sure your cats will steer clear, you're better off keeping the parrot in his cage or in a room that is off-limits to your cats when you're not around to observe.
You’d think a parrot — at least the larger kinds, such as macaws — would be more than capable of fending for themselves, but even a minor bite or a scratch from a cat can lead to a deadly infection. If all your precautions fail to prevent a scrap, however, be sure to take your bird to your veterinarian immediately.
Even if the wounds seem minor, your bird could die from an infection without you noticing he's ill. In the wild, birds who appear to be sick are soon singled out by predators looking for lunch. By the time a bird is sick enough to let his guard down, he may be too sick to save. Give your bird a fighting chance. Your veterinarian will be able to assess the damage and get your bird on an antibiotic to fight infection.
More from Vetstreet:
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Bartonella is a type bacteria that can be transmitted to cats, dogs and humans from exposure to infected fleas and…
Want to give your pup yummy, low-calorie treats? We’ve got the skinny on which foods are OK to feed him.
Not sure about food puzzles? Our veterinarian reveals why the payoff for your pet is well worth any extra work.
With these simple dental care tips, you can help keep your canine’s adorable smile shiny and healthy for life.
The friendly and inquisitive LaPerm has an easy-care coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.