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Tame A Cat-Attacking Bird

If your parrot attacks your cat, here are some tips to help

By Liz Wilson, CVT, CPBC

Parrot acting aggressively towards a cat Don't let a parrot come in close with a cat.

Birds are intensely territorial creatures, and this can lead them to aggressive actions that you rarely see in mammals. During the spring, you may notice an extraordinary territorial behavior called “mobbing” among the wild birds in your area. This is commonly seen in a variety of avian species. Small songbirds will mob together to launch frenzied attacks on predatory birds such as hawks, owls and people, too.

Don’t let a parrot come in close contact with a cat. Floors are dangerous places for wing-feather trimmed birds, whether or not you have a cat or dog. It is far too easy to step on small birds as they scurry about underfoot.

Look for ways to prevent your parrot from leaving his designated play area. Hang a perch from the ceiling so he won’t be as tempted to explore the floor. Install squirrel baffles or tie bright, scary bows around the legs of his cage.

If on the other hand, your parrot is flying to attack your feline, consider at least a partial wing feather trim to slow him down and dissuade his hostilities. Discuss this idea with your avian veterinarian or experienced groomer.

Jealousy might also be a component in this situation, since psittacines are prone to this. There are two alternatives to address this issue. The easiest approach is to pet your cat only when out of the parrot’s sight.

A more difficult, yet potentially effective, approach is to show your parrot that you consider your cat a valuable member of the household. You can do this by petting the cat in front of the parrot while talking to the parrot in a happy voice about how much you love your little parrot and your cat. Then make a point of doing the same thing in reverse, pet the parrot in front of the cat. This might help the parrot understand that he is not to be aggressive with the feline, but please don’t count on these suggestions being all you need to do.

If your parrot bites your long-suffering kitty, then it is only reasonable that your cat would defend herself. Unfortunately, cats carry a variety of highly toxic bacteria in their mouths, and if a tooth or claw should break your bird’s skin, then you have a life-threatening emergency on your hands and must get your parrot to an avian veterinarian immediately for antibiotics and treatment.


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Reader Comments
Great article, although I would NEVER buy a cat if I owned a bird or vice versa. Cats do kill birds, and I wouldn't risk it.
Grace (owner of a budgie (parakeet) ), International
Posted: 12/17/2013 5:43:00 AM
Guess I'm going to have to consider a partial clip for my Nanday, beacause his favorite thing in life is to 'flog' the cats now. If they stick a head within sight of him it's on and he's gonna win. Naughty lil parrot. Guess it's just a macaw type thing.
Kelly, Southern Pines, NC
Posted: 1/3/2010 2:47:01 PM
We had 3 cats before we had any birds. We have never had any problems. We keep an eye on the birds when they are out of their cages. Mostly the cats stay away.
karen, nj, NJ
Posted: 10/24/2009 2:11:55 PM
Good idea tying some scary bows around the legs of the cage to discourage the bird from leaving it--I believe I'll try it!
JK, KC, MO
Posted: 10/23/2009 7:18:01 PM
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