I have two rescued feral kittens who are about 9 weeks old and are fully socialized. I’ve been debating whether I should adopt them myself, but the problem is that I already have chinchillas and guinea pigs. The chinchillas are caged; the guinea pigs run around in an enclosed (though not cat-proof) area. Getting rid of the rodents is not an option. The question is, can I keep the cats without endangering the rodents?
I’ve been getting conflicting advice about this. My vet says that he’s heard anecdotally that it can be done, but he does not recommend it. The local Humane Society staff says that given the age of the kittens, it’s completely safe and will continue to be safe, but the Humane Society book (The Complete Guide to Cat Care) says that under no circumstances should this be attempted.
A bit of backstory if it helps: I’ve tried introducing the animals, and the rodents don’t seem at all frightened, just curious or indifferent. The kittens, however, are simultaneously fascinated by and terrified of the rodents. I haven’t seen any hunting body language from them, though they will hiss or strike if the rodents get too pushy or sniffy.
Does anyone have any experience with this type of situation, or do any professionals want to weigh in? I’m really at a loss here. The kittens are as sweet as can be, but they will inevitiably turn into cats. Can you really teach cats not to hunt?