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I have a single male 5 year old parakeet. He is very tame and friendly. I know he is unafraid of dogs, as I have had two wonder up to the cage and my bird has been very curious. In fact, I was more worried that he would bite their noses! The dogs acted more uninterested or a bit fearful of him. But dogs are dogs and not cats. haha.

I’ve had dogs all my life. My dog of 12 years passed away in 2017 and my mom (who we were still living with at the time) adopted a puppy about 3 months later. Now that we’re moved into our own place I miss that companionship of a larger animal. (My bird is great but he doesn’t like to be pet, nor can he keep my feet warm at night haha). We live in an apartment and even a small dog wouldn’t fit our lifestyle right now, but a cat would (an older, laid back cat).

My bird is housed in a cage that is about 24”x24”x30” give or take. His cage stands on a multipurpose kitchen roller cabinet thing (about 4 feet off the ground). We keep him in our living room. It fits the base of his cage perfectly with no room on any side for an animal to perch. The cage and stand stand with the back to a wall and one side to a bookshelf. There’s no place a cat could be near it, besides the floor. During the day, I roll him to the center of the room, closer to a window to see out of, the back still facing a wall, but sides exposed.

My husband and I are looking into adopting a cat 4-6 years old, mellow and laid back. (I absolutely fell head over heels with middle age/senior cats when I volunteered at our local humane society four years ago)

He is a student online and may work part time, but as of right now he is home all day. (I work full time, but I am home at night on the weekends; I also come home for an hour during the middle of the day) He will be able to keep an eye on everyone. If we are both out we would like to keep the cat in our bedroom with the door closed (potentially locked) with everything he/she needs while we’re gone (2-3 hours at a time max). And keep the bird in our living room.

The daily dynamic would work like this: give the cat ample play time for 30 minutes or so them put him/her in our room while our bird has some fly-about time for 30 minutes. Once the bird is back in the cat will be allowed in the common area of the house again. At night I’d like to keep the cat in our bedroom with the door closed until I can be 100% certain nothing may happened during the night. However, I’m prepared to keep the cat in our room at night for the rest of its life.

I AM NOT ASKING advice on having the bird out of the cage while the cat is in the same room. That is not my intention. I am planning to never have the bird out of its cage with a cat in the room.

I AM ASKING will an older cat be interested in a bird at all? I assume it will depend on the cat itself. Will just the presence of a cat be harmful to the bird? I’m not sure how he will act since he his fine with other larger creatures than himself (i.e. dogs). I am aware that both are natural “enemies” and have read plenty of horror stories, and for good reason. I want someone to level with me and their experiences with bringing home an older cat with a bird already in the household. We plan to keep the cat fed and preoccupied to the best of our ability so it won’t be interested. Or is this whole idea of a cat in the house a bad idea all together?

Thank you for your input!

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It is possible to do so but at the same time, the cat has the ability to climb and some cats are able to hold their grip to climb up a cage and therefore it is possible to get the bird, especially if your bird is a curious one.

Before you make your final decision, see if you can foster a bird before you adopt to make sure everything goes well.

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I want someone to level with me and their experiences with bringing home an older cat with a bird already in the household.

Two relevant experiences, neither of them good news.

  1. My oldest sister's late husband kept parakeets (plural) and a cockatoo. My oldest sister's son wanted to adopt a cat. The intention was that the cat would not be unattended in the room with the birds at any time, whether they were in their cages or out of them. My sister was at home all day, so this should be easy. The doorbell rang and my sister had lost track of the cat. The birds were in their cages. When she returned from dealing with the visitor, the cat was attempting to get into the cage with the parakeets. It didn't succeed but one of the parakeets died from the stress of the near miss.
  2. Another sister had a very elderly cat who pottered around very slowly and 'clearly' wasn't a threat. She bought her daughter a budgerigar, which was not allowed to free fly but was clever enough and small enough (it transpired) to squeeze through the bars of its cage. They came home one day to find the cage inexplicably empty. Some months later, while moving the furniture, they found a single white wing under the sofa.

The lessons I'd hope you'd take from this:

  1. The cat doesn't have to catch the parakeet to kill it, just be in a position to scare it.

  2. A cat's age does not necessarily affect its desire to kill birds, and may not affect its ability as well. The reaction of a cat to a bird is instinctive not learned. You might be able to train a kitten out of its instincts, but not an older cat. (Ironically, the cat that lived with the parakeets and cockatoo always gave the cockatoo a wide berth -- too large, especially when it spread its wings, and much too loud and scary to take on.

I'll also add that your proposals for confining the cat to a single room for long periods of time, including

I’m prepared to keep the cat in our room at night for the rest of its life.

not only mean that you're going to have a very stressed bird, but you're going to have a very stressed cat as well. I won't mince my words: this is cruel to both of them.

I'll add: I'm not saying that keeping a cat as an indoor-only cat is cruel, as long as they have plenty of stimulation and company and access to a sufficient amount of unvarying space (space which is the same at all times, so that they can determine their own routine). My own two cats are indoor only cats, but they have themselves for company when I'm out -- oh, yes, and they have learned to open every door in the house, which is another thing you might want to take into account.

is this whole idea of a cat in the house a bad idea all together?

With the arrangements you've described, absolutely.

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I have a positive story for you. A friend has 4 cats between the ages of 1 and 10(?) an African grey AND A 23 year old Rainbow Lorikeet- Birdie

Birdie's cage sits in a corner back and right near walls, left open to windows views. Different stand, but like yours the stand is the same dimensions as cage base.

I'm reasonably sure that, whether your cat has any interest in hunting/ catching birds will have a large impact on how well it will work. My mother has a tabby who will enthusiastically chase kibble (dry food) across the floor but that's the extent of his hunting. Josh would be the cat who tries to pat the bird.

I suggest you be prepared to do some reactive water gun training, Classical conditioning. If/when the cat tries to get the bird then spray it with water. Less is more. I personally wouldn't punish curiosity. Because accidents happen try to make a habit of checking the cage is locked.

In the case of Birdie she has also happy enough to bite the hand that feeds and anything else silly enough to enter her domain.

There are enough cute pictures on the internet of birds perched on cats so it obviously works for some people.

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    That is interesting. I am prepared for a bit of conditioning. I'm planning on using deterrents right away; such as citrus oils around the base of the cage and the stand. So I don't have to punish curiosity right off the bat. – Laura94 Mar 5 '18 at 17:21
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You are asking for trouble. Cats are fast if they want to and if she tries a single go at the bird, years from now (a 5 years old cat can live another 10 years), you will have a dead bird and a very proud cat.

Please don't do it.

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    Thanks for commenting, however, I feel you did not fully answer my question by taking all of my points into account. For example, I did explicitly say I will not have the bird out while the cat is in the same room (where the cat's speed may be a factor). You also didn't address any details such as the age and how that may translate to its personality of an older cat, how we won't even allow the cat the opportunity to harm the bird while we're out or at night, or about how we plan to keep it preoccupied during the day. Addressing these would improve this answer and help us. – Laura94 Mar 2 '18 at 22:29
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    Look it's such a monumentally bad idea that I won't even try to discuss details. Cats are born killers, and it takes one small slip and you have a very dead bird. Age, older cat, whatever. It only takes once for your bird to get killed. Pick one or the other, you can't have both. – Censored to protect the guilty Mar 3 '18 at 1:31

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