Parakeets and Cats: Coexisting?

Here’s the dealie-yo.
My girlfriend and I have two cats and two turtles. After we saw “How To Train Your Dragon”, we stopped at Petco next door and there was a conure named Gordie Howe that she fell in love with.

Is it possible for two cats and a conure to coexist happily? Please share stories and best practices as well. The sooner the responses, the sooner the kitty, turtle, and conure pix start flowing.


I knew a cat and a parrot who coexisted pretty peacefully. Eventually a dog killed the parrot.

Emmy and Towelfish like to make the “want” noise at birds when they’re outside. The Best Day Ever In Cat History was when two ducks were walking around on our tiny porch, a foot from the cats on the other side of the glass.

I’m confident that we can have cats and bird coexisting, but I’m interested in best practices, costs, and what kind of upkeep is needed. Should we keep the cats in another room while the bird is out?

We have a semi-feral rescued cat, who is a consummate predator with a lot of outside experience, and three small parrots (two cockatiels and a budgie).

We rigorously segregate our flock from the cat. The birds are outside their cages all day but in a dedicated bird room; sometimes they come out for a “break” from thier surroundings, but the cat is locked in the bedroom or out on the balcony (from which he has not yet attempted to jump, fingers crossed) when they are out, and we visually confirm containment before risking the birds.

It’s work, but so far we’ve made it work out successfully.

A conure is a little bigger and might be able to intimidate a housecat, but not a large or experienced cat; it won’t be like having a macaw, which would be an object of awe and dread for any housecat.

Besides, feline saliva contains bacteria that are extremely toxic to birds. Even minor claw wounds (the cat licks his or her paws) and/or direct contact can be very serious. You should strictly separate.

And now for the unsolicited advice: pet stores that sell live animals are the devil, especially for small animals like birds and rodents…not that puppies fare much better. Any system that treats living things as cash commodities inevitably has to deal with unsold or damaged “product” in ways that you don’t want to think about, and is driven by economic imperative to hold unit costs down to the bare minimum.

Parrot rescues are crowded with birds – some of them troubled, it’s true, but, thanks to human fickleness, many are perfectly fine companion animals. Contrary to what some people fear, a quality rescue will prefer to rehome their best bird, not dump a bad one on you, turning you against the rescue experience and leaving a good bird to languish in a cage anyway.

You want a bird, and there is a bird out there who desperately needs you. Google parrot or bird rescues in your area, and [del]kill two birds with one stone[/del] fill two needs with one phone.

They’ll coexist fine, until dinner time.

We nixed the idea of getting our Labrador retriever a pet guinea pig for similar reasons.

Don’t do this, its a bad idea to try and mix cats and parrots. A cats natural instinct is to hunt, kill and eat birds. As Sailboat posted cat saliva is very toxic to birds and any contact between them is usualy fatal to the bird unless it is rushed to a avian vet immediately and avian vets are not common or cheap. Your regular cat/dog vet won’t do, they don’t have the training or equiptment to handle birds and their injurys.

I have a lab chow mix who is perfect with other small and furry creatures. She has no intention of hurting them at all. They can climb on her, sniff her, etc and she will groom them. If she tires of their antics, she retreats to her crate.

I have had cats and parrots for 10 years. Large, crabby-ass birds do better, they do not make attractive motions. You need to be strict about rules like “No birds on the floor” and “kitties DO NOT look directly at birds”. This is as much hassle as it sounds.
It has worked for me because my conure would SHRIEK if the cats looked at him (they hated that) and my Zahzoo the Grey would hit them in the head with toys and almonds if they came within 10 feet.

I had a cat and a dog and a chinchilla. The dog could care less about the cat and the chinchilla. And while the cat never tried anything with the chinchilla, she often would just come into the room, while I was in their and just stare at the chinchilla very intently.

Of course I had the type of cat that didn’t know how to kill anything. She’d bring home live birds she caught. But while I would’ve left the dog and the chinchilla alone, I never trusted the cat. I guess it comes from seeing too many Looney Tunes… LOL

We took care of a parakeet for a while and kept it in its cage in a spare room, door closed at all times. To my certain knowledge our two housecats didn’t see the bird or go in the room, but there they were, every day, parked outside the closed door. They KNEW there was something in there. Smelled it, maybe? Heard it?

Best Day Ever in Cat History - that’s so cute!:smiley: - well, that day came for our two boys when the parakeet cage was being cleaned; bird flying around; door open; bird goes sailing out the door, down the stairwell, cats and hysterical humans all in hot pursuit! Good times! … Just for the heck of it, the last day I put the bird in cage downstairs safely out of reach of the cats, just to see what they would do if we ever decided to get a parakeet ourselves. I sat there watching closely for most of the afternoon and finally decided, uh, no. Birds and cats do not mix. Cats don’t get bored or used to the bird. Cats want to EAT the bird and will go to great lengths and expend remarkable energy to try to get the bird.

One more predatory cat story not bird related - we had an aquarium in my little girl’s room on an end table, full of tropical fish. They began disappearing. The cat had been in her room and never paid attention to the tank. One day the cat woke from his nap and took a stroll upstairs. Out of curiosity, I followed a few minutes later. Found the cat in daughter’s room, sitting there licking his wet paws. Case closed.

I believe we have some pictures of The Best Day Ever in Cat History, if it so pleases the court.

Also, the girlfriend is over her birdlust, at least, until we go back and she sees the bird being all social and playful and stuff.

It does, in fact, please the court. Respectfully submit your evidence.

Exhibit A. Exhibit A can be broken up into non-Facebook bite size morsels if it further pleases the court.

I’ve done it. Some cats aren’t in touch with their heritage and wouldn’t know what to do with a mouse, or a bird, if it ran across their nose. I once had a cat that had fierce hunting instincts, but was also smart enough to understand that this particular prey-snack-toy was paws off. Parrots are also pretty smart, and usually know better that to stumble into the lion’s den, as it were. But then, as Sailboat pointed out, all it takes is one scratch and you have 24 hours to get the bird on antibiotics to save its life. Know your cat, know your bird, and supervise them if there’s a chance they might be near each other.

Some cats are perfectly fine with birds. They have no particular interest in catching, eating, or playing with them. These cats can be trusted around birds with no supervision at all.

Some cats like to eat birds, and putting this cat in the same house as a bird is asking for trouble, plain and simple.

There’s only one way to tell the difference between the two: Put the cat in the room with the bird for a day or two, and if the bird’s still there at the end, you’ve got a safe cat. 'Course, you may run through a few birds before you find the right kitty…

Bumped for kitty pictures.