Outdoors, kitties love to chase and catch birds. This can be a problem in your home, where your feline companions view your pet birdies as potential toys or snacks. Create peace between your furry and feathered friends with gentle training and physical separation between the two species.
Place your birds' cages in a room that your kitties can't access when you aren't around to supervise them. If this isn't possible, hang the birdcages from the ceiling, away from any furniture. Your feline companions won't be able to reach the birds, nor will they be able to climb to them. Remember to lock the cage doors so that the birdies don't get out of the cages.
Teach your kitties the "Leave it" command, typically used with pups. Say "Leave it" when your cats are trying to get to your birds (either in or out of their cages). Once they stop, quickly reward them with some yummy cat treats. Your kitties will soon learn that leaving the birds alone results in delicious treat rewards, something that will discourage them from bothering your feathered friends.
Squirt your kitties with water if they get too close to your birds and are attempting to harm or catch them. Kitties hate getting wet, but the water won't hurt them and it acts as a deterrent. You won't have to worry about it hurting your birds either, as they'll probably appreciate the shower.
Play with your feline companions daily for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, three to four times each day, recommends petMD. The exercise will tire out your kitties, reducing their interest in bothering your birdies. It will also keep them from becoming bored and looking at your birds as potentially fun toys to play with.
Teach your birds not to pester your kitties while you are supervising them. Some birds, especially larger parrots, can cause serious damage and pain with a well-placed bite. This type of aggression can then incite your kitties to retaliate with a potentially fatal swat or bite. Give your feathered friends some tasty treats of fruit and vegetables in the presence of the kitties to reward them for leaving the kitties alone.
Give your birds hiding spots within their cages, such as small cardboard boxes. They'll feel safe within these spaces and your kitties won't be as tempted to get to them if they can't see them.
- Provide toys for your kitties to play with during the day. Reward them with tasty treats when they play with the toys instead of pestering your birds. This way your kitties will know that toys, not birdies, are for playing with.
- Avoid using feathered toys to play with your kitty. These types of toys mimic the look, feel and movement of your birdies. Encouraging your furry buddy to chase such toys will only serve to entice him to chase your birdies too.
- Don't place your birds' cages on high shelves in the hope that your kitties can't get to them. Your furry felines are very agile and can likely find a way to access the birds.
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.