Living in Peace in a Multi-Pet Household


The expression could also be, “They fight like cats and dogs,” but dogs and cats mostly do get along, as today about United Nations isn’t called in to broker peace. Nonetheless, adding a unique species may be trickier than pulling a rabbit out of a hat. In any case, in nature, cats and gerbils or leopard gecko lizards won’t be best pals.

“Merging species can definitely work out, but accomplish that together with your eyes wide open,” warns veterinary behaviorist Dr. Elizabeth Feltes of The Behavior Clinic near Cleveland, Ohio.

“All animals of any species have their very own histories and their very own personalities,” adds Dr.  Valarie Tynes, veterinary behaviorist at SPCA Dallas, Texas.

It’s tricky partly because a cat is born with a prey drive and amplified a hundredfold if there’s a history of hunting rodents or birds. In these instances, adding a pet guinea pig or budgie won’t be the most effective plan to even try.

Keep critters from being stressed

The choice about who can live peacefully with whom may be nuanced. What’s more, today we learn about not only considering the physical well-
being of, say, a domestic rat or bearded dragon lizard living with a cat so the pet doesn’t turn into lunch, we also acknowledge the importance of psychological welfare or well-being.

“Imagine being stared in any respect day by an animal who would, given the slightest opportunity, eat you up,” Dr. Tynes says.

“Definitely being in a situation where the prey animal can see the cat — even when the cat is merely curious — may be the source of stress,” says Dr. Feltes, who can be a contributor to Decoding Your Cat (authored by members of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists). “Prey species hide their distress. By the point the pet parent is seeing actual signs, like a bird feather picking, the anxiety and stress has probably been happening for a while. And most definitely, stress can result in illness. I’m all about prevention.”

Keep small critters away from the predatory eyes of cats, in order that they don’t feel always stressed, Dr. Feltes says. A number of ways to do which are:

  1. House small mammals or reptiles in cages or aquariums with opaque or obstructed views, in order that they don’t have any clue a cat could also be staring.
  2. Keep the cage or aquarium out of the cat’s way, so he can’t possibly get close. Keep the critter in a room that’s off-limits to the cat or high up so the cat can’t jump up. Make certain there aren’t any other close pieces of furniture allowing the cat easier access.
  3. Keep doors closed. If kids are involved, stress the importance of the door all the time being shut.
  4. Put a bell on the cat’s collar so you usually know where the cat is in the home. If the cat is by the cage, remove the cat from the room.

How one can keep the peace

If you’ve gotten a multi-species household, Drs. Tynes and Feltes offer suggestions for various species living with cats.

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Birds: Small parrot species, like budgies or cockatiels, or ornamental birds, like finches and canaries, just aren’t  going to combine well with cats. Each Drs. Tynes and Feltes express concern concerning the small birds’ well-being, even when in a secure cage.

Very large parrots resembling African greys, Amazon parrot species or cockatoos are formidable, and their beaks can seriously injure a cat.

“If it’s a confident bird, which has a positive history with cats, I feel higher concerning the situation,” Dr. Tynes says.

Parrots are good, and there are even stories of some becoming “cat trainers,” resembling imitating the sound of a can opener in order that the cat comes running to the fridge to hunt tuna. This could be a parrot’s idea of entertainment. Dr. Feltes says that with patience (and maybe skilled guidance) you may positively habituate young parrots around a kitten, in order that they’re growing up with each other.

Rabbits: Stand-up, larger rabbits who assert themselves to a kitten can set the record straight from Day One. Nonetheless, timid rabbits who run for the hills when a cat is around can activate that feline prey drive, and suddenly a hunt is on. “When introducing a cat to a rabbit, accomplish that step by step as you’d introducing a cat to a different cat,” Dr. Tynes says. “Actually a cat with no previous experience hunting and a rabbit who has never been hunted are almost definitely to work out.”

Reptiles: Starting with the apparent, a big snake or monitor lizard might make a meal out of a cat, and this combo would never be an appropriate mix. What’s more complicated are other species who aren’t a threat to cats, resembling a green iguana or bearded dragon lizard.

“A full-grown iguana can definitely hurt a cat, but it surely doesn’t mean the lizard isn’t feeling threatened sharing living space with a cat,” Dr. Tynes says. “We expect of welfare and psychological stress with mammal species, but we don’t exactly know what lizards are feeling.”

Other small Mammals (guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, rats, chinchillas):

Many YouTube videos show various small mammal species getting along just superb with a cat, even grooming each other. Dr. Feltes simply wonders, “Why take that likelihood? With a each day view of the cat, the animals may not want to return out and eat and will feel unsafe.”

In all the above cases — at any time when there are any of those animals interacting with a cat, adult supervision is required — don’t leave it to likelihood.


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