Teaching your cat not to be a predator

Pet cats often kill rodents, birds, and other small animals. Some owners love this and see their cat as a natural pest remover, but other people are bothered by the killing.

Many pet owners are not happy to have injured animals brought into their house in the mouth of their feline or to step on a half eaten mouse that was left on the front steps, seemingly as a “present.”

Cats can also pose a huge problem if they live near endangered birds and other wildlife. That is why the American Bird Conservancy, National Audubon Society, and many other organizations recommend keeping pet cats inside. If your cat is not allowed outside, he will not have nearly as many opportunities to kill things. He will also be safe from cars, cruel people, and many diseases if he is kept indoors.

Cats can get along with other animals though. In my many years as a pet owner, I have had cats with guinea pigs, rabbits, ferrets, and birds. Some cats naturally enjoy the company of other species, while other cats need a while to get used to the idea. If you have pet birds or rodents that you worry about, there are a few things you can do to keep them safe from your pet cat(s).

First, keep the bird or rodent in the cage for a while. Let the cat smell his new friend through the safety of the bars. When you play with your bird or rodent, allow your cat to smell your hand after. The more your cat gets used to the smell of his new friend, the more likely he is to see her as a part of the family rather than as a potential food source.

Once your cat seems to be used to the smell, sight, and sounds of your other pet, you can try taking the pet out more, but keep a close eye on them both at first! If you’re willing to put in the time and effort, there is a good chance that you can get your cat and his new housemate to be good friends.

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