It’s no news that birds and cats don’t go well together.
…the cat is hardwired to be a stealth predator, and the bird, a prey. But in the wild, birds can fly off as soon as they sight a cat or any form of danger.
Cats and birds don’t sync well, the same way with cats and dogs. But unlike cats and dogs, the rivalry is one-sided. Stray cats alone are single-handedly responsible for the death of over a billion unlucky birds.
Maybe you know this already. But you don’t want to kick Abby, your feline ninja to the curb because you love her the same way you love, Buddy the parakeet.
So I’ll spare you the gory details and get to the point.
In a bit, I’ll share with you some tested and proven ways to cat-proof your birdcage. But I still won’t make any assurances, except you follow the first tip strictly.
Keep A Social Distance
This doesn’t mean keeping a 6ft distance between your birdcage, or from your pet bird and cat. But it means you should never keep the birdcage in the same room as your cat. The only time your cat and bird should be in the same room is when you’re around to supervise their movements.
If you notice any aggressive behavior from your cat, caution her with a firm “NO” or a loud clap. If she remains adamant, shove her off gently, but strong enough to pass your point across.
Go Strong or Stay To Your Yourself
Is your bird’s cage strong enough to survive in a cat zone? Is it built like a fortress against the ever-ready paws of a cat?
This is the first thing you want to sort out before you even consider having a bird and cat living together. It makes sense to have a high-hanging cage, but that’s not always the best option, in my opinion – a determined cat would likely find a way up there to make life miserable for the birdie.
So what’s a better type of cage, then?
A ground cage. A heavy-duty stainless ground cage. I’m not drunk or trying to serve your pet bird to the cats. A birdcage with a heavy base or build can’t get knocked over by a cat, unlike a hanging or lightweight cage. Plus, this is a long-lasting option that can last for generations to come.
Also, ensure the cage is spacious so there’s enough room for the bird to flee, in case an “inquisitive” cat pays a visit. It also would give room for toys and birdhouses.
Secure With A Lock
Cats can be tricky and determined when they want something.
On a day when your cat’s predator instinct kicks in, a latch lock may not save the day. Heck, it may not even keep your bird from escaping its cage. Sometimes, a few hits is all it takes to get it opened. That’s a chance you don’t want to take when you have a cat around. Unless it’s a hawk or an American Bald Eagle.
For this reason, you should use a secure sliding lock or padlock for the cage. You can also invest in a solid door (without the bars) if you want to go all out.
A cat would try all it can to swipe at a bird if it can’t reach it. And, I mean, any part of the bird that it can reach. Because of this, the spacing of the bars in the cage should be small enough to keep off a cat’s paws.
Moreso, no part of the bird’s body should fit through the cage. A single swipe at even the tail feather of a bird can be life-threatening. If it’s not enough to kill it, it might render your bird flightless for life.
To prevent this from happening, the spacing of the bars should be at least ½ an inch or ¾ inches to keep out cats and dogs.
Also, you can save your pet bird the trauma of feeling assaulted every time by draping a cover over its cage. Be sure it’s thick enough to block out light, so it won’t see silhouettes. Also, it should be machine washable to encourage regular cleaning.
Create A Fortress In The Cage
Toys can help your bird’s mental health but also double as a guardian.
If a cat decides to do what it’s born to do, the bird would feel safer knowing it has hiding spots to run to.
A birdhouse would do a good job of hiding your pet bird and also beautifying its cage. You can throw in other toys too to keep him happy, stimulated, and safe. But don’t overdo it.
Not to forget:
You should position the cage behind a wall if possible. Actually, make room for this, so your bird doesn’t feel like it’s going to be stalked from behind by the cat at any time.
Danica, a bird enthusiast, and nature lover explains how to set up a cage in more detail if you want to learn more.
Rig The Cage
It’s not uncommon to have a cat that just won’t let a bird have peace of mind.
You might not want to hear it, but you may have to let him get the memo the hard way. And there are many ways you can do this without hurting your feline companion.
If you’re a nature lover, you’ll enjoy using cat repellent plants, like coleus colina to deter cats from the birdcage. Citrus-scenting fruits like orange and lemon peels, also work well.
Using a Scat Mat is the one idea, everyone may not support, but it’s not harmful and only sends a jolt of electric charge that annoys the cat.
You can also use a water sprinkler or sound alarm that’s motion-based. The alarm will only sound at frequencies cats and dogs only would hear so you or your neighbors won’t be disturbed.
The Real Deal
Sometimes, the best option is to not have a bird at all. But this is only when you adopt a large bird or species, that needs some out-of-cage time.
Yes, there are a few cases where a bird and cat have lived happily ever after. But the truth of the matter is about a bird and a cat living happily together, rarely happens.
A cat is hardwired to think of a bird as food or something to kill, like the mice in your home. And I bet you don’t complain about that. But the thing is, even a well-trained and tame cat might switch to its predatory default with the most unlikely trigger. And you don’t want to take that chance with Buddy, the parakeet, right?
That’s why it’s better off to stick to a small bird, like a canary or finch, that would be happy with staying in its cage.