Parrots Living with Other Pets

Parrots are popular pets, but they aren’t the only ones. As you might expect, cats and dogs are loved everywhere and live in many thousands of homes. With so many different animals out there, it’s not unusual for families to have multiple pets from different species. Adding parrots to the mix, though, makes everything more complicated! If you’re a parrot parent looking to add a furry pet to your family, or you already have a cat or dog and are interested in a feathered friend, be aware that there are always risks with mixing birds and other family pets.

It’s Possible but Challenging

Sys-PeecoMixing parrots and other family pets is not for everyone. However, parrots, cats, and dogs can be taught to get along. The key word, though, is “taught”—birds and other animals do not naturally get along. Cats and dogs are larger than parrots and are natural predators to many birds. Their instinct may be to attempt to hunt your feathered friend. You have to train them to interact safely with your bird and otherwise leave it alone. This takes time and patience. Still, you’ll need to keep your pets mostly separate, especially when you’re not around, so your bird has a “safe space” and won’t get hurt accidentally.

Even after you train all of your pets to interact, you have to constantly supervise them. Cats or dogs might pounce on and accidentally injure or kill a bird when they try to play. Worse, cat scratches and saliva can transmit deadly infections to your feathered friend. Irritated parrots that don’t feel safe may become aggressive and lash out at your other pets, too. Simply supervising isn’t enough attention, either. Your birds still need significant time socializing and playing with you every day in a non-threatening environment, which might make your other pets feel neglected. You have to find a balance, offering all your pets loving attention while still keeping them safe.

Tips for Keeping Parrots and Other Pets Together

If you’re up to the challenge of keeping parrots with other pets, here are a few tips to keep all the animal members of your family safe:

  • Don’t keep small birds around other pets. Larger birds are less likely to be bullied or get hurt.
  • Don’t leave your different pets alone in the same room with your bird.
  • Keep your bird in a large, heavy cage that your other pets can’t tip over. Make sure the bars are close enough together that cats can’t reach through them.
  • Make sure your cage has lots of safe places where your parrot can hide to get away from other pets. Toys and nesting boxes work well for this.
  • Carefully train all your pets to get along—but don’t take training for granted. Always supervise your pets when they are together.
  • Treat all cat scratches seriously. Seek immediate vet care if your cat accidentally scratches your parrot.
  • Don’t let your cat lick or groom your bird. Bacteria in cat saliva can make your parrot very sick.
  • Try to avoid mixing parrots with dogs that have strong bird hunting instincts, like poodles, spaniels, and retrievers.
  • If you have ferrets, hamsters, gerbils, lizards, or other small animals, don’t add a parrot. Ferrets will attempt to attack your bird, and birds usually try to eat your smaller pets.

If you can’t safely add a bird to an already pet-filled home, that’s okay! You can spend time loving on the rescue birds we house here at Sy’s Piece of Heaven. We always need more volunteers and bird sponsors. Just call our sanctuary at (908) 475-8750 for more information.