Mixing Birds And Other Pets

Mixing Birds And Other Pets

 July 15th, 2010
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Photo by www. picturesofcats.org

Bird lovers tend to be animal lovers in general, so it makes sense that we would have other pets.  However, dogs and cats, as well as other animals, can pose a great threat to your parrot.
Many or my pets have grown up in the company of birds. In several cases, the birds were there first and the cats entered a household that was already geared towards birds.  This helped to set the stage for what was expected of my cats, but in no way alleviated any dangers.  A cat is a cat, and even those accustomed to birds will act on instinct sometimes.
I regret that I have woken up on two separate occasions to find “presents” from my cats beside me in bed. One was a mouse, the other a sparrow.  Both were quite dead. The same cat that brought me the sparrow would show no interest in the family birds, but after he gifted me that morning, I knew that those instincts were there. It was a strange situation. The cockatiels would land on top of him while he was sleeping and he would barely open an eye in response. The worst thing he would ever do to them was stand on their tails as they walking past. I knew, however, that the cat was a capable birder and kept on guard whenever they were together. (The cat was terrified of Linus, my umbrella cockatoo, who would chase him all over the house, often catching him.  There is a sparrow in heaven who is smiling at this fact.)

Photo by www.picturesofcats.org

Several years ago, Linus became ill with a highly contagious disease.  Because he and Theo, my goffins cockatoo, were housed in the same room, I sent her to live with a nearby friend for a couple of weeks. I was horrified when he sent me a picture of little Theo asleep cuddled up to his great dane. There are times when the two most unlikely animals can become the best of friends.  But it is risky.
Mammals, ourselves included, carry gram negative bacteria in our mouths. It can be deadly to a bird, who doesn’t carry that type of bacteria in its body.  Claws can also have this and other bacterias present. Should your bird be bitten or scratched by any mammal, an urgent trip to the vet is necessary, even if it appears minor. We should not let our birds have contact with other pet’s toys for this same reason.
Sometimes an injury inflicted by your pet may not even be visible. Injuries or broken bones my occur without leaving a mark of evidence. Blood is not always present. Linus squeezed several parakeets to death in a former home and the only evidence of trauma to the birds was that they were dead.  This is yet another good reason to keep large and small birds separated when not supervised.

Photo of bird dog by www.lolcats.com

Cats traditionally are bird hunters. With domestic cats, often it is not done out of hunger, but in the fulfillment of an instinctual need, or sometimes just for fun.  There are breeds of dogs (such as retrievers, spaniels, and pointers) that have been bred as birders and the instinct to hunt birds is very strong in them even if it is not utilized.  It is literally impossible for us to say we fully know our pets. While it might be true that certain behaviors are or are not likely in an individual animal, we do not share their instincts and cannot fully understand them. Always be careful, and very watchful should your pets share a common play area.

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4 Comments on “Mixing Birds And Other Pets”

Red Factor Canary  07/27/2010 1:26 pm

In my honest opinion I wouldn’t let any other pet socialize with any birds. From my own experience I had a nice little cat named Blondie that was always calm and you would never think he would resort to violence. One day he just went off and attacked. You never know what an animal is thinking.

Melissa  01/12/2014 10:09 pm

My sweet precious yorkie was found one day with my parakeet Lilith wrapped up snug as a bug in her mouth quite dead. We have yet to figure out how she got her, the cage was closed and locked. Then one or both of my yorkies killed my Senegal, no blood, no missing feathers, just dead. My lab and golden have never messed with the birds even though the lab is trained to retrieve ducks and it is a natural instinct for goldens. I especially do not trust my four pound terrier with any of our birds, he is hell bent to cause destruction!

Bunny Culbertson  01/13/2014 1:22 pm

I would love to add a pet for my Lady (cockatoo) but for all the right reasons I don’t. She is at liberty and spends very little time in her house. BUT we had a pooh trained rabbit, at liberty and they did very well together. The rabbit passed, don’t know why, but I am thinking of getting another one. They interfaced well, the rabbit stole her toys and Lady stole her greens.