Cats and parakeets can get along just fine, but cats can also find your parakeet to be a tasty snack, so if you want to play it safe, you have to keep them apart. Keeping them separated is a simple matter of placing your bird out of harm's reach.
Give your parakeet a cage with some breathing room. On the off chance that your cat gets within striking distance of the cage, you don't want your bird to feel trapped or vulnerable. Make sure that the cage is big enough for him to move from one side to the other and be out of the way of a curious paw.
Place your parakeet's cage high up and out of your cat's reach. Remember, cats are excellent climbers who love to stalk prey, so putting the cage just a little out of reach may not be enough. Make sure, for example, that there isn't any nearby furniture that your cat could climb to put her in arm's reach of the cage.
Give your bird a nesting box or warming nest in his cage. This is a small, enclosed box that fits inside the bird cage, like a room within a room. If your bird feels stressed or threatened, he can retreat into his warming nest for some solitude.
Close the door to the bird cage room when you aren't in it. This is the easiest and most effective way of keeping the two apart.
Supervise visits between the bird and the cat. If your cat approaches your bird while he is in his cage, give the "no" command and spray her with a water bottle. If you are consistent, soon the command alone will be all it takes, and after that, your cat will leave the cage alone altogether. When the bird is out of his cage, slowly introduce him to the cat while you're holding him. Keep one hand free to bat the cat away, if need be, and get them within about a foot of each other. This general familiarity will satisfy your cat's curiosity, and over time she will care less and less about the bird.
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.