Are you planning to add a feathery companion to your collection of pets but in a dilemma if you should put birds and other pets in one home?
Birds and other animals may get along with each other. But you should take several precautionary measures to protect your birds due to bird’s prey instinct and cats’ and dogs’ predatory nature.
In this article, we’ll share with you the dangers and positive impacts of mixing birds and other pets and discuss:
- If you should put birds and other pets in one place
- What to do if you have birds in other households
- And if supervising their interaction is enough.
So, without further ado, let’s get right into it!
Should You Mix Birds and Other Pets?
We don’t recommend putting your birds and other pets in one place, no matter how tamed your other pets are or how adorable they look together when playing, just like some videos on the internet.
But Why Do Birds and Other Pets Should Not Be Together?
Here are the reasons why you should not mix birds and other pets, specifically cats and dogs.
Cats and Dogs Predator Nature
Well, cats and dogs, for example, are natural predators, so they pose a great threat to your parrot. Even if they’re accustomed to birds’ presence, their predator instinct may come out anytime.
You may argue that your pets will never harm your bird because they grew up together, and your dogs and cats are docile. Additionally, your bird has a beak to defend itself and can fly and escape danger.
But it’s never safe for birds to be in the same area with other pets.
Cats are innately bird hunters. Even domesticated ones still hunt, not due to hunger but to fulfill their desire to hunt or just for fun. Dogs like retrievers, spaniels, and pointers are also bird hunters.
So, even if they don’t utilize this instinct, it may be just lurking below the surface.
If a friendly dog or cat is nipped on the nose by your bird, it might lash out. And before you know it, it’s already too late.
Your avian pet is always at a disadvantage in a battle between a dog or cat vs. a bird. Your birds may have beaks, but once the dog or cat strikes, it can be your bird’s dead end.
Your pet may occasionally cause injuries that aren’t even obvious. Broken bones or injuries may occur without leaving a visible mark, so there isn’t always blood, and the only sign of their suffering is their death.
This is another compelling argument for keeping big and little birds apart while unattended.
Here are some examples to help you weigh in if you should put birds and other pets in one place.
Cases to Consider Before Mixing Birds and Other Pets
1. A double yellow-headed Amazon vs. a family dog
A 30-year-old Amazon bird and the family dog had a good relationship. They played together regularly without any problem. And the avian pet was free to roam the floors and walk up to the dog’s food dish.
However, one day, the Amazon bird nipped the dog by the nose, and the dog instinctively grabbed the bird by the wing and ripped it off in front of the owner’s eyes.
In hopes of saving the pet bird, the owner rushed the bird to the vet. But unfortunately, it couldn’t survive and had to be euthanized.
2. Cockatiel vs. dog
Another incident reported by Dr. Clare Fahy was similar to the previous case. But a cockatiel was rushed to a vet’s office when a family dog had torn its wings off.
Surprisingly, the cockatiel survived but became wingless, and the chest cavity was sewn shut.
3. Yellow-naped Amazon vs. rescue dogs
Another veterinarian named Dr. Stephanie Lamb had a yellow-naped Amazon patient who lived peacefully in a home with four other birds and three rescue dogs.
The birds usually don’t interact with the dogs. But the owner lets them out one night to play in their cage.
When a phone rang, she left the birds for a few seconds, unaware that the dog had snuck into the room and forcefully grabbed the Amazon off its cage.
The bird sadly sustained a hole punctured in his stomach and died when he arrived at the vet’s office.
4. African grey parrot vs. a Chow Chow
A fluffy Chow Chow always had an interest in getting the African grey, according to Dr. Lamb’s report.
And it did grab the bird once through the cage and punctured the poor bird’s eye, thus causing blindness in that eye.
A year later, when the bird was walking around the floor, the Chow Chow grabbed it again and caused multiple puncture wounds to the bird’s face and sinus cavities. Additionally, it also suffered from a severe fracture on its beak.
The African Grey had to have a beak prosthesis and stayed in the hospital’s intensive care unit for five days because it needed oxygen support and medications.
He did survive, but it took him over two months to recover from the injuries.
5. Eclectus parrot vs. a dog
In this case, the Eclectus and dog have been playing together but have escalated several times. Thus, causing puncture wounds, internal bleeding, beak fractures, and painful nerve damage.
That’s why it’s not advisable to let birds and other pets play because avian creatures are easy targets for cats and dogs. And these predators can crush these tiny birds in just a single second.
Simple Scratches Can Harm Birds
Besides the hostile behavior of other pets, it’s worth noting that a simple scratch from a dog or cat can be fatal to your feathery companion.
Dog and cat bites, licks, and scratches can transmit Pasteurella multocida, which can cause infection in birds and can spread to humans.
Since even a lick from cats can have deadly consequences for birds, it’s best to put them away from your feathery companions.
But if your bird has already had direct contact with other pets, you must consult your vet to ensure your avian pet is safe.
But What If I Can Supervise My Birds and Other Pets?
It would be great if you could supervise your bird’s and other pet’s interaction. But avian pets require lots of time and attention from their owners to establish an effective bond between the two.
Having multiple pets will consequently divide your attention and have a negative effect on your bond or relationship with other pets.
Your efforts will be wasted if you can’t have a meaningful relationship with other pets.
What To Do When You Have Birds and Other Pets
Generally, we don’t recommend keeping birds and other pets together in one area.
But if you badly want to have multiple pets and want them to have fun interactions sometimes, here are some tips to ensure your birds and other pets can live peacefully.
Get a Sturdy Cage
The most important precaution you should take is to purchase a sturdy, durable bird cage with reliable locks that other pets can’t open.
It must be heavy and strong enough so the cat or dogs in your home can’t throw it over.
You must also ensure the cats’ and dogs’ paws can reach the cage and grab the bird.
The rule of thumb is the heavier, the better. But what kind of cage should you use for your bird?
We recommend using stainless steel, but it could be a little expensive. Wrought iron and powder-coated cages can also do the job.
Now the recommended size of the cage may vary depending on your bird’s size. But it’s best to get a cage with 1/2 inch bar spacing and not wider than that.
Otherwise, your cats and dogs may be able to get their paws through the bars and attack your tiny feathery companion.
The recommended location of your bird’s cage is at the corner or any area at your home where it can easily escape from potential threats.
It’d also help to put a barrier like branches, toys, or roosting boxes where birds can hide during attacks and distress.
Your breeding birds will also thank you if you can add a nesting box that will serve as a breeding ground and a layer of security for your birds.
Despite having a sturdy cage and placing it in a safe location, we still don’t recommend leaving your birds and other pets like cats, dogs, and other animals in one room without supervision.
Train Cats and Dogs
Adult cats and dogs are naturally curious. If the bird is the newbie in your home, you must supervise your other pets’ moving closely.
You can train your cats and dogs to get used to the presence of birds by holding the older birds and allowing your cat or dog to smell them.
If the cat starts reaching out and playing with the bird, learn to say “no” with a loud voice. And never allow your cats and dogs to lick your avian pet. That can cause infections and other complications.
Don’t let your other pets violently approach your bird.
Cats and dogs may be curious about birds at first, but in no time, they’ll eventually ignore these avian creatures.
However, it’s worth noting that although that technique works on dogs, some species were bred for hunting. And their hunting instinct always comes to the surface, especially when provoked.
Kittens and puppies are naturally unaggressive but may provoke other pets to attack them. For instance, a bird may peck a cat or dog, and the other party may counter-attack by grabbing or biting the bird.
A tiny scratch and lick from a bird can lead to serious health issues. So, we highly recommend keeping a distance between birds and other pets, even during training sessions.
Frequently Asked Questions About Birds and Other Pets
Can I keep the cat and bird together?
Cats and birds can coexist and even live harmoniously in a home when trained at a young age.
But you should take appropriate measures to ensure your feline can’t get too close physically to the bird at any point.
Cats’ innate desire to capture and play with a bird often puts your bird’s life at great risk.
Should I get a bird if I have a cat?
You can add a bird to your collection of pets despite having felines. But you must never allow your cats direct access to a pet bird.
Ensure your avian pet is in a sturdy and secure cage, and the cat can’t grab the bird through the bars.
What are the disadvantages of owning a pet bird?
The drawbacks of owning a pet bird are they’re self-serving, may throw tantrums, and can be extremely loud.
They can also be more unpredictable as they grow older and may demand more time and attention.
What bird can live with cats?
Birds can coexist with cats, but some bird species, finches and canaries, don’t like to be handled and are too fragile and easy to prey on for cats.
Even parrots and cockatiels can hardly escape when a cat or dog suddenly attacks.
Can I stop my cat from killing birds?
The best way to stop your cat’s hunting instinct is to keep it indoors or put it in an outdoor enclosure to ensure it can’t access your bird’s cage.
Additionally, research says that adding a bell to a cat’s collar can help it stop killing birds.
Final Takeaways About Birds and Other Pets
Birds and other pets like cats and dogs may learn to get along well with each other, especially if the birds are hand-raised and tamed. But it’s not enough to supervise their interaction.
You should always be vigilant if you have multiple pets in your home because cats and dogs can get provoked by birds. Additionally, birds require as much time and attention as other pets.
It’d also help if you could talk to multiple-pet households to get tips on managing time and attention when raising them.