Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Nova Scotia
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Hello From Halifax
My name is Sarah, and I had budgies, cockatiels, and lovebirds with my previous partner. I absolutely fell in love with the amazing personalities and quirks of these curious and playful animals, and I have missed my birds every day since leaving.
It has been two years and I am in a loving and very happy relationship. My partner and I are photographers who work together on projects, and we have been fortunate in travelling the world together.
Unfortunately for me, my partner has two cats. Merlin, an 8 pound black cat, and Dougal, his whopping 38 pound tuxedo. Don't be fooled by Dougal's weight- he is BIG. When he stands on his hind legs, his nose is above the door handle. Luckily they are both indoor cats and have never killed any animals before, but that doesn't lead me to trust them any more than I'd trust an outdoor cat.
So, you can already guess why we haven't tried to bring any of my birds over from my ex's place… but this has left me feeling like part of my heart is missing and I feel incomplete without a feathered companion.
After doing HOURS of research, and more hours of coming up with a strategy to allow somehow for our cats to accept (not necessarily be happy with) a new parrot, we are feeling ready to give it a try. We live in a house, and we have room to try a few different arrangements, so I thought maybe I'd write about our plan here. I am going to work on clicker training to grow a bond with the bird before I attempt any kind of interaction or introduction between the two species.
Our plan is as follows, and we would love some input and advice from those of you who may have your own personal experience with this.
We spend most of our time in our living room, unfortunately so do the cats. But we spend the next most amount of our time in our bedroom where I already don't allow the cats to go when we are sleeping or I am at work. It is a small, safe, relatively empty room that would be a good place to train and work with the bird anyways, so I figure it is my best bet for a starting point.
We plan to try a gradual introduction between the species, but at a good safe distance.
We will start with Kyoto (our GCC who we hope to be bringing home in 3 weeks from a breeder) staying in our bedroom in his flight cage (32 by 22 by 46 + stand) tucked into the corner so that he will feel secure in his house. I plan to keep the cats out most of the time, but to allow them in under my supervision only once Kyoto has had some training and is used to his new place. I do not plan to let Kyoto out with the cats even under supervision until I am confident enough that he trusts me and will fly to me on command (if we are successful at doing so).
When the cats begin to (hopefully if all goes well) lose interest in little Kyoto, after quite a few successful supervised introduction out of the cage, and after Kyoto will confidently fly to me on command, I hope to start giving Kyoto some time to explore the living room of our house where we hope to eventually move his flight cage. During this time, while Kyoto is out we will keep the cats in the basement until Kyoto knows his way around this level of the house and continues to show me his trust and fly to me on command.
Eventually, I hope to allow the cats and Kyoto in the living room together under my supervision for a few minutes each day. Eventually I would like to move his flight cage in the living room so that he will be able to enjoy our company to the fullest potential.
This is the best case scenario of course. I have read and read and read on what to do to make this work, and I am willing to do what I have to do (if I could rehome the cats without breaking my partner's heart I would) to try to make this work… including rehoming Kyoto if he is truly too stressed and unable to be happy in this arrangement.
I understand that using a spray bottle with the cats is a useful tool to deter them from him as well, and will be working to train the cats with positive reinforcement when they choose other activities to do other than paying attention to the bird.
This is my plan. The possible outcomes to me are;
1) Kyoto doesn't feel 100% comfortable around the cats, or the cats are a little too interested for my liking, but no other interactions are consistent between the two species; therefore Kyoto's cage stays in our bedroom, with no cat access to it without my supervision, and with some time each day downstairs in the living room with us with the cats put in the basement while he is out.
2) Kyoto and the cats are under too much stress and I will not be able to own birds again.
3) Gradually the cats lose interest enough and Kyoto becomes trained well enough to live in his cage in the living room with daily supervised time out of the cage.
Any advice or tips are greatly appreciated. Rehoming the bird to me is an absolutely LAST option, and I want to do whatever I can to give him a good life.
Thank you so much in advance, I have my ears open and hope to hear back from some of you soon <3