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Tuesday, March 17, 2009
The Changes You Make For The Birds!

By Linda Costello
Explore the diaries of daily life with large birds.

scarlet macaw renee
Photo courtesy of Linda Costello
Renee could be seriously hurt if she was bitten or scratched by a cat. Cat saliva can be toxic to parrots.

One of the things I miss reading in BIRD TALK are the personal parrot owner stories. Reading them gave me insight into how other people live with their birds. I think people get too caught up in worrying about misinformation being printed or the fact that the stories weren't written by professionals. I understand that, to a point. But it should be noted that these are indeed personal experiences. Obvious dangers could then be singled out and lessons could be learned by the readers.

I used to have two cats. They lived into their teens. When they passed on, I decided not to get more cats since I have the birds. I know a lot of people who have cats and birds living together in the same house with no problems, but the risk is just too high for me to take. That is my personal stance.

Even my macaws and cockatoos, like Renee or Cupid, are no match for a cat scratch or bite, which could cause a life-threatening infection if not treated by a veterinarian in time. I trusted my cats until the day I was dozing on the couch and was jolted out of my sleep by a crashing sound. It was one of my cats jumping and trying to get a bird inside its cage. Luckily, I was home to catch this happening. I learned the lesson that birds and cats can clash, in time to prevent a fatal catastrophe.

There is a video of a cockatoo preening a cat circulating on the Internet. I cringe every time I see it posted. Sure it looks cute, but both the bird and the cat are in danger.
Access to the Internet opens up a whole new world where you can read and learn about other people's experiences, both good and bad, with their animals.

I've read too many stories about parrots being attacked and eaten by the family cat, dog, ferret — even a monkey! I know it sounds gruesome, but people who have parrots have to be aware of the dangers of these animals not being supervised when together. Reading about other people's misfortune has sure made me think twice. I loved my cats. Getting rid of them was not an option. But I learned to take all the precautions necessary to keep them and the birds safe.

I enjoy being a part of several Internet avian message boards and e-mail lists where all the members share their personal experiences. It's a good place for parrot lovers to gather. has a great message board where all of us can come together and learn so much from each other.

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The Changes You Make For The Birds!

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Reader Comments
Linda --

Excellent article (as usual). I couldn't agree with you more...
Jan, Upper Greenwood Lake, NJ
Posted: 3/31/2009 5:03:12 PM
The changes you make for birds. They are are subtle and many. I removed all non-stick cookware. I don't even miss it at all. I turned our downstairs tv room into a bird room, with air cleaners and lights on timers. When I shop for anything at all, I am always on the lookout for something for the birds. The list goes on.
If you really enjoy something you do not mind the changes and sometimes you don't even realize you are changing. I am the proud owner of 5 macaws,3 african greys, 1 amazon, 2 cockatoos, cockatiel,senegal,lovebird,and 2 conures. And yes at times my house is very noisy..
Carol, Beaver Falls, PA
Posted: 3/23/2009 6:55:56 AM
Thanks Virginia for your comments. It can be nice to have friends who also have birds. Get togethers, including the birds can be fun under close supervision. But people should be sure that all birds have been to the vet and have a clean bill of health so as not to spread disease between them. Any new birds brought into either flock should be quarantined & cleared by a vet before being let into this group.
And Pat, I hope your friends will listen to you before their luck runs out & they are faced with huge vet bills or worse yet...dead birds! For me personally. it is just not worth taking the chance.
Linda, Toronto, OH
Posted: 3/19/2009 7:20:54 AM
You have wrote a wonderful article. I have tryed for many years telling people the dangers of cats and the salivia etc. also dogs. But the ones whom have the cats seem to think I am wrong "my cat wouldn't hurt a flea",my cat lays on the cage your cat puts salvia on the cage if the bird runs its beak up and down on the cage bars you could be in trouble.Oh no! not me.
This is a wonderful article and I will be sharing it with some of the families that have the cats.And many of the others whom have dogs and cats and pray they will listen.
Pat, Louisville, KY
Posted: 3/19/2009 5:38:46 AM
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