Can my Cat Live with a Bird? Let me Teach You How to do It

Translated by Nick R

Having more than one pet has become quite common in many homes; however, cats can be more difficult to deal with when bringing a winged companion home. Here you’ll learn the best method to help them coexist in harmony or at least be close to each other without attacking or scaring each other.

5 steps for birds and cats to live together 

1. Adopt the cat as a baby 

If you own a bird and you are planning to adopt a cat, you should adopt a small one. This way, the cat is more likely to get conditioned and learn that the bird is not someone to be hunted.

2. Try to approach gradually 

You may have high expectations about adopting a new pet but remember that it takes a lot of patience and perseverance for two different species to live together. Your two pets need to approach each other gradually, with your bird inside the cage and in a place where you can control the feline’s reaction.

Some things you should keep in mind at the time of introduction are:

  • Be aware of your cat’s reaction to the bird.
  • Look for your bird’s reaction, if it is agitated or flutters, the best is to try again from farther away.

This step must be repeated every day at the same time as part of the bird’s routine and shortening little by little the distance between bird and cat depending on their attitude when approaching.

Remember to keep calm when doing this step. Animals are capable of perceiving their owners’ emotions!

3. Allow your two pets to be in the same place 

This step may or may not be more advanced, depending on how your cat behaves around your bird’s cage, however, allowing the two to share certain spaces may be a good idea for them to get used to each other’s presence.

4. Always monitor them together 

Never rely on your cat’s good behavior in front of your bird, especially if you intend to leave them alone. You want to supervise them, and if not it is best to keep them in separate rooms.

5. Approach outside the cage 

The last step is the most delicate and the one you must be most careful with. First, make sure that your bird is comfortable in your hands and outside the cage. If this is the case, you can then take the bird in your hands and bring it closer to your cat for him to sniff it and get to know it up close.

If your cat gets a paw close to the bird, you must gently push it away and say a firm “No”, indicating what it is doing is wrong.

Things to consider about your cat 

Orange cat on a nest

Cats instinctively will always try to attack birds, especially small ones. So the first thing you need to know before training is that cats don’t attack your bird because of bad behavior, but because of instinct.

Hunting signs in cats 

You also need to know at what moment cats intend to attack or play with your bird to avoid accidents. The signs are:

  • Staring at the bird’s cage or following the bird’s movements with their eyes.
  • Dilated eyes.
  • An oscillating and constant movement of the tail.
  • Chattering or light meowing.

Evaluate your cat’s personality 

Some cats may prefer to sleep or do other activities over hunting or watching a bird, so checking your cat’s personality type and habits can help you know how suitable she may be for living with a bird. A good example is cats that are somewhat older and prefer to sleep most of the time over other activities.

Aspects of your bird to take into account 

Birds, on the other hand, are frequently prey to many other animals, not just cats, which is demonstrated by fearful patterns of behavior triggered by the survival instinct.

Signs of fear in birds 

  • Agitation
  • Constant singing or chirping are usually done out of habit to alert others to the presence of danger.
  • Fluttering in the cage
  • Seeking shelter somewhere in the cage.

Some species of birds are better at living with cats 

Cats may also be intimidated by the appearance of birds or simply don’t get attracted to them. Some of these

  • Noisy birds.
  • Large birds.
  • Large, hooked beaks.
  • Size of the legs.

That’s why the best species for this type of coexistence can be cockatoos or parrots.

Special care for exotic and hunting birds 

If you have prey birds such as eagles, hawks, or owls, you must be cautious in the way they get along, especially if your cat is small since this type of bird only attacks because of:

  • Feeling threatened.
  • To protect their territory, especially if they are nesting.
  • To look for food.

The best way to avoid confrontations between game birds and your cat is to teach him to ignore them, although your felines will instinctively not dare to attack or play with a bird twice their size.


Before training your bird and cat to live together, you must take certain precautions to avoid accidents and to give a good life to your two pets.

The cage 

One of the most important elements you must have at the moment of acquiring a bird. The cage must be wide enough to allow the bird to move freely and in case the cat tries to attack it, it must be able to move away from its claws.

Location of the cage 

The cage must be located in a high place and close to a wall or corner, this guarantees security for the birds and a better sense of location.

Secure the cage door 

Cats have very clever paws, which is a problem if they are able to get close enough to the cage to open the door, some ideas for securing the door of your bird’s cage are:

  • Tie the door with a piece of wire, ideally easy for you to open.
  • A simple item you can use is the plastic ties that come in bread bags, they are safe and easy to secure.


It is ideal to have elements in the cage that allow the bird to hide, such as crossed perches, houses or nests.

Notes on raising birds and cats 


One of the best stimuli your pets can have are treats, this is known as positive reinforcement and allows them to associate certain situations with a nice reward. This method can work to reduce a bird’s stress or fear of your cat by feeding them a favorite food such as bread when they are in your cat’s presence.

The same rewards can work with your cat to reward good behaviors. In the case of your cat, if you see that he is calm near the cage, with no intention of hunting or being aware of the bird, you can reward him with a good bite of his favorite snack.

Punishments for cats 

Punishments can be good in most cases if you know how to implement them without evoking fear or anger in your cat. One popular punishment is spraying water to indicate that what he is doing is not good, but use moderation because it can be counterproductive.

I recommend you to call on your cat’s attention with a firm “No” and point to another place so that he pays attention to it.

Punishments for birds 

Punishments also work in birds, so if you see your bird trying to peck your cat when approaching it, it will be good for you to call its attention with a “No” to indicate that what it is doing is not right.

Large birds can cause harm to cats

As I said at the beginning, some birds may be less conspicuous to cats and because of their size, especially the size of their beaks, they can hurt your cats. This is especially important if you are trying them to get along.


I know that the expectation of having two pets together can be high, but always be realistic. If you find that none of the steps I outlined are working, it is best to get used to each other’s nature and work out the ways in which you would like to live with them together.

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