Protecting Polly from Pussy Cats

by James Maynard | October 21st, 2014 | Birds, Care
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aviary-10500_1280Protecting pet birds from domestic cats is a challenge that has been around since humans first started living with animals. Beginning in 1945, the animated characters Sylvester and Tweety Bird entertained audiences with tales of such feline/avian chases.

If possible, cats should be brought into a home with a bird when they are kittens. If the felines are brought into a home with a bird at a young age, they can learn not to hunt. But, sometimes adult cats need a new home, or birds are the newcomers. If this presents a danger to the bird, there are precautions which can be taken.

Bird cages can be hung from the ceiling, making it far more difficult for felines to reach the bird’s enclosure. If this technique is employed, it is imperative to attach the cage solidly to the ceiling, otherwise, the enclosure could fall to the ground, traumatizing the bird, and making it easier for the cat to reach the animal.

Of course, the use of large hangers is not always possible, especially in rental properties. Another option is to raise the cage as high as possible off the ground, on top of poles. Cats are excellent at jumping, so it is important to place the cage away from tables, counter tops, and other surfaces that the household feline can use as a launching pad to leap to the cage.

Cat gates can keep some felines out of a room where a bird resides, although they are also inconvenient for humans living in the house as well.

Cats will bat around at a cage, and fumble with the door latch using their paws, attempting to get to the feathered morsel inside. A lock on the door of the cage can help protect your feathered friend from a potential pussy cat perpetrator.

If it seems like a cat may, somehow, be reaching a cage that should be out of reach, a digital camera set up, aimed at the cage can reveal the methods employed by the feline. Then, a technique can be found to keep the hungry kitty away from the bird.

Some pet parents like to discourage this behavior in cats by avoiding toys with feathers on them, believing other toys will not encourage cats to hunt birds. Whether or not this works is in question, as hunting birds is deeply ingrained in feline behavior.

Cat and dog saliva can each contain bacteria that can be harmful or deadly to birds. If a cat does capture a bird in its mouth, it is vitally important to bring the feathered friend to a veterinarian. This can even be a problem if the bird licks the cat’s fur, preening it during friendly interactions.

Cats love to hunt birds in the wild, and that instinct is still intact in the minds of domestic felines. Protecting pet birds from household cats is one of the best things a pet parent can do their feathered friend.

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