This guide will help you to understand how to introduce a bird to your cat or dog in a safe way so that the two may become friends with each other over time.
Introducing a new pet animal to your current pets should always be done with care.
However, it’s particularly tricky when the new pet is an indoor bird and you already have a cat or a dog at home.
Getting attacked by your four-legged pets can prove fatal for your feathered friend.
Fortunately, keeping a bird safe from your cat or dog isn’t that hard if you properly introduce them to each other.
Once they are comfortable and consider each other family, your bird is far less likely to be attacked.
Getting The Right Cage
First and foremost, getting the right cage is important. Else, your bird won’t be safe from your other pets even when you keep it locked inside the cage.
Besides being strong enough to resist any attempts to break in, the cage should also be heavy.
Cats and dogs can easily flip over lightweight cages, which might injure the bird inside. Wrought iron, stainless steel, and powder-coated cages are the best for this purpose.
Now, the cage should be tall and large – potentially larger than a cage that would have sufficed if you didn’t have cats or dogs.
In case your cat or dog manages to squeeze its paws through the bars in an attempt to grab the bird, a large cage will allow the latter to stay out of reach.
In this regard, remember to buy a cage with spacing not wider than half an inch to block your cat’s attempts to reach into the cage in the first place.
How to Make a Bird Cage Cat/Dog Proof?
In addition to getting a large, sturdy, and heavy cage, you should also bird/dog-proof it to play safe.
Don’t use simple cage door locks that your canine and feline pets can easily open – go for something slightly more complex.
It would be even better if the cage had a backup lock, such as a knob to turn or a button to push.
You should consider adding some visual barriers inside the cage, such as roosting boxes, branches, and large toys.
In case your bird feels threatened by your cat or dog, it can go hide behind these barriers.
Besides, a roosting box can also give your bird a nice and warm place to sleep.
How to Keep Your Cat/Dog Away From The Bird Cage?
You’d certainly want to keep your cat/dog away from the bird cage until they have warmed up to each other.
While keeping your cat or dog locked out of the room with the bird cage might work, it’s not a feasible solution in every home.
Besides, your four-legged pets might somehow make their way to the cage if they get a chance.
Here are some methods that can help keep your dog or cat away from the cage.
- Install devices that emit high-frequency sounds that are inaudible to humans but can annoy or scare away cats and dogs. You may use motion-sensor-activated sound deterrents that activate only when your cat or dog is nearby.
- Citrus peels can act as scent-based deterrents, as both cats and dogs hate their smell. Placing the peels around the cage will help keep them away. Scent-based repellant sprays are also available commercially, but those should be used only in an outdoor aviary – not indoors.
- You could also simply place the cage on top of a perch too high for your cat or dog to reach. A round table that’s just large enough for the cage with little to no extra space should be perfect.
- Lastly, you may place cat-repelling plants like coleus canina near the cage to keep your cat away from it.
Cats and Birds
Can Cats Get Along With Birds?
Let’s be honest here – a cat’s instinct would be to pounce and capture a bird.
Even if the cat doesn’t do it with the intention to cause harm, playful attacks might still injure or kill the bird.
A cat might also pull out important feathers that your bird needs for flight and warmth.
That said, cats can get along with birds.
You’ll have to introduce them properly and train the cat, promoting friendly and calm behavior.
It will take some time, but eventually, they can become friends.
Especially if you get a parrot or any other social bird species, it might grow friendly and playful towards your cat too.
However, while making sure your cat doesn’t attack the bird, you should also stop the bird from provoking the cat in any way.
The bird might get attacked if it tries to play with the cat’s favorite toy or invades the feline’s personal space too much for its liking.
How to Introduce a Bird to a Cat?
The most important thing about introducing a bird to a cat is patience – you must give the cat enough time to get used to it. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you out.
Step 1: Keep them separated
Initially, you’ll have to keep the two pets completely separated. Lock the cat in a different room with enough food and its favorite toys.
Having a cat lurking around while trying to get acclimated to a new environment can cause your bird unnecessary stress.
Wild birds are always at risk of predation, which gives them an instinct for fear and wariness.
Step 2: Introduce them from a distance
Once the bird is acclimated to its environment, it’s time to introduce it to your cat.
Make sure to do it from a distance – hold the cat and stand as far from the cage as possible.
The cat and the bird should be able to see each other without feeling threatened or aggressive.
Talk to both pets and judge their reaction, closely observing for any signs of aggression in the cat.
Don’t take it any close to the birdcage if it’s even slightly aggressive.
Step 3: Get them closer
Assuming the cat doesn’t show any sign of aggression, you may gradually take it closer to the cage over the next few days.
Eventually, you should be able to take the cat right up to the cage.
As long as the cat still isn’t aggressive or doesn’t show too much interest, and your bird is fine with its presence, you may now get the bird out of the cage.
Get the bird to perch on your finger or sit on your chest as you introduce it to your cat from a close distance.
If your cat starts showing too much interest in the bird, put the latter back in the cage. Also, be ready to act fast if the bird jumps off.
How to Stop Your Cat From Attacking Your Bird?
Firstly, you should never leave a cat and a bird together unsupervised. Always be on the spot to stop them from attacking each other.
Even if your cat tries to attack the bird only in a playful way, tell it “NO” in a loud voice.
This will discourage such behavior by letting the cat know that it’s not acceptable.
Besides these, it’s all about taking precautions. Keep your bird secured in a proper cage and place it somewhere the cat can’t reach.
How to Get My Cat to Leave My Bird Alone?
Once again, verbally saying “NO” to the cat every time it shows too much interest in the bird can help.
You may also use the scent, and sound-based repellents discussed earlier to make the cat leave your bird alone.
Dogs and Birds
How to Introduce a Bird to a Dog?
Introducing a bird to a dog isn’t very different from introducing one to a cat.
Start by getting them to meet each other from a distance and gradually get them closer.
Keep in mind that dogs have a strong tendency to lick things – that’s something you need to prevent.
Bacteria present in a dog’s saliva can also be dangerous for your bird.
How to Desensitize a Dog to Birds?
The only way you can desensitize a dog to birds is by bringing it in contact with them.
Of course, you’ll have to start slow and only introduce them from a distance in the beginning.
Eventually, you can bring them in contact with each other for a few minutes several times a day.
Follow this routine for a couple of weeks, gradually increasing the time they spend together.
At some point, they’ll both get used to each other and will be able to socialize.
However, it may not be possible to desensitize a dog species bred for hunting due to its deeply rooted instincts.
How to Train a Dog to Leave a Bird Alone?
Just like cats, you can train a dog to leave your bird alone using loud verbal commands.
When the dog does anything it shouldn’t, make sure to show that it isn’t acceptable. Similarly, reinforce positive and calm behavior with rewards.
To Train or Not?
This is a dilemma that pet owners often face when keeping birds and cats/dogs in the same home.
Some would rather keep them separate all the time to play it safe, but others feel that it is better to get them to know each other.
If you ask me, however, I’d say it’s better to train your cat or dog to coexist with birds.
While separating them can keep the bird safe, you can’t always be in full control of the situation.
Accidents happen despite the strongest precautions, and at some point, your bird might find itself at the mercy of your other pets.
For instance, someone might forget to lock the cat or dog out of the room where the bird is kept, or the bird might break free and fly to it.
An untrained cat or dog is quite likely to attack and kill the bird.
Weighing the risks, it’s much safer to let your bird and your cat or dog know each other and train the latter than to try and keep them separated.
Kittens/Puppies and Birds
It’s good if you have a kitten or a puppy because they are easier to train than adult cats and dogs.
Not only are they much less aggressive, but they’re also more curious and playful.
Kittens and puppies growing up together with birds are also very unlikely to be aggressive toward them later on (unless provoked).
Pet owners need to watch out for one thing, though – pups and kittens might playfully pounce on a bird and injure it.
An older bird that can’t move away fast enough would be particularly at risk.
Larger birds are a little safer, but even they are still prone to infection from scratches, bites, and saliva.
As you can see, it all depends on how well you introduce the bird to your other pets. Remember to be careful and allow them to be together only under supervision.
If your bird gets scratched or bitten, especially by a cat, take it to a veterinarian for immediate medical attention.
Alongside training your cats and dogs, also train the bird not to provoke them.
With proper training, you can get even larger birds like peacocks can get along with dogs.
Thank you for reading, and I hope you’ll be able to get your pets to love each other’s company and become great friends.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Birds and Cats Get Along?
By nature, birds and cats don’t get along, but with patience and training, you can teach them to live together and even like each other.
The trick is to introduce them very slowly and then gradually keep getting them together in social situations while all the time keeping a close watch on your pet cat.
Make sure to put all the safety precautions that I discussed in the article before even beginning to attempt to bring your cat and bird together.
How do you introduce a bird to a dog?
As with cats, dogs and birds don’t get along too well in nature. However, dogs are not as interested in harming or eating your bird as cats.
Therefore, it is slightly easier to get the two to get along.
Start with putting a barrier of distance between them while letting them see and observe each other.
Gradually, and as both become comfortable in each other’s presence, reduce the distance and then let them get closer. Always make sure you are available to supervise them.
The most important thing to ensure is that the dog should not lick your bird – their saliva is dangerous and contains many bacteria harmful to them.
Is cat saliva toxic to birds?
While not all cats’ saliva is toxic to birds, cats can carry disease-causing organisms in their mouths that may make birds sick.
For example, feline calicivirus, which affects cats, is also known to cause systemic infections in birds.
In addition, some cats are carriers of toxoplasmosis gondii, a parasite that can cause long-term health effects in birds.
These organisms can be passed from cats to other animals through licking or grooming activities.
As such, you should try to keep pet birds away from unfamiliar cats if you want to protect them from potential infections.
Can dogs lick birds?
While dog saliva itself is not harmful to birds, dogs can pick up bacteria and germs from many places.
Dogs are very curious creatures, and one of the important ways they explore the world is through their tongues.
Due to this reason, dog tongues can go to many places, such as trash cans and other dirty spots, where they might get such disease-causing organisms from.
If you have a pet dog and a bird, it is best to train your dog never to lick your bird or get too close to it with its face.