by Heike Ewing Ott
Is it safe to keep Quaker Parrots with other pets such as cats and dogs? What is it about cats that make them especially dangerous to birds? Are there any circumstances under which I can keep my bird and other pets out in the same room together? This short but informative article answers these questions.
Birds and cats are a dangerous combination for many reasons. One is, there is a chemical in cat saliva that is toxic to birds, which is why birds usually don’t survive even minor cat attacks. Because cats lick and groom themselves so much, this chemical is usually present on their claws and fur as well, meaning that even a tiny scratch from a claw can be a death sentence for a bird.
Additionally, cats’ instincts regarding birds are quite strong, and even a cat that normally doesn’t attack your bird might unthinkingly “nail” it with a claw in response to a quick movement, just as they will “attack” fingers, toes, yarn, or anything else that catches their interest by wiggling, flopping, bouncing, etc. I would not allow any physical contact or even close proximity between birds and cats.
Note from Shelly: Every year the Quaker Parrot Forum experiences several Quaker deaths caused by cats, dogs and sometimes other pets. After hearing these stories and seeing the pain of owners following the loss of their precious birds, I strongly believe that it is best to err on the side of extreme caution when it comes to allowing birds and other pets to interact with each other. Even larger parrots can be a grave danger to Quakers under certain circumstances.