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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-06-2015, 07:08 PM Thread Starter
 
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Hello From Halifax

Hi everyone,
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

Sarah
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-06-2015, 10:04 PM


 
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The only advice I would give is that people with cats can also have birds, however, NEVER trust them together, even supervised, even for a minute! Cats are predators and they like to kill things.

You mention that your cats are not oudoor cats....my cat was born in my apt, never lived outdoors, was never taught to kill by his mother. When there was a mouse problem in the house (he was about 4 years old) he not only was interested, he also successfully captured, killed and ATE the mice....quite a few times....despite having a full food bowl. And he is a very low key, laid back, lazy cat!

He is now sixteen yrs old and all he does is sleep all day. I didn't even think that he realized the birds were there and the other day I caught him trying to get a bird. They were in the cage, which has a plexiglass front, but he still made a halfhearted attempt. I have heard from others who had cats that grew up with birds in cages and when the bird flew out, the cat killed/injured the bird.

To successfully keep both species, I would stick to the parts of your plan that involve keeping each separate. one member even installed a screen door on a bedroom so that each can see each other, but be safe. My cat gets locked away when my birds are out. A bird with a large cage, lots of toys, and a maybe a partner, wont need to be out with you all the time, although a single bird is more needy.

It can work, but you need to be willing to restrict the freedoms of both species on occasion.

Stitch Pikachu Thor Loki

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-07-2015, 05:45 AM Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much for your advice. I appreciate it so much.

Do your cats at least do okay with a flight cage in your living room? Or am I better off keeping the flight cage in our bedroom where the cats are not allowed?
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-07-2015, 06:31 AM


 
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He's fine with the cage, but when i leave the house he stays in another part of the house...mostly to keep him out of trouble in making a mess in the house. So, he isn't really around the bird cage when no one is home, but he rarely bothers them. He did slam his paws onto the cage once, but the cage is very large and stable.

Stitch Pikachu Thor Loki

BlazeCinder Sunday

Storm Sky
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-07-2015, 02:28 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks again! We have come up with a solution.

I felt bad not being able to keep the bird in the busiest area of our house, so my husband came up with this solution… why not just change where the busiest area of the house is, and where we spend most of our time?!

We are going to turn our second bedroom into a bird friendly rec room. We are going to move everything out, build in a second door to ensure that the cats stay out, and have just a tv, a desk, a futon, and the bird cage + his training stand. He will have enough room to fly around when we are home, and his nice big flight cage with lots of toys and no cats to worry about when we are out. We will be able to spend more time with him this way without interrupting our lifestyle too much.

Thank you so much for your advice Anna. We appreciate it so much. I am so looking forward to being able to own birds again.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-08-2015, 11:40 AM
 
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We have a cat and birds. Firstly, I agree that I would never trust them together unsupervised. Our cat is an indoor only cat and doesn't have front claws. I do not worry about the cat and birds when the birds are secure in their cages. The cages are large so there is no worry about them tipping or being knocked over. I have caught the cat laying on top of the large cage looking out the window. I feel there is enough space for the birds to safely stay away from the cat and if she sticks a paw in, the cat would be in more danger than the birds due to lack of claws.
The cat is very interested in the birds when they fly around the house and has tried to jump for them. Hence, close supervision is a must. The majority of the time it is not an issue. I do feel that having the birds able to fly increases their safety and they spend most of their out of cage time on us or out of cat range.
The biggest problem we have is that our Quaker came to us saying "Here Kitty, Kitty" and the cat responds
Their is always a chance of injury or accident but I would not not have birds just because we have a cat. Not sure I would replace the cat as quickly as the birds if she passes on though.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-09-2015, 11:15 AM Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for also for sharing your advice everyone!

Kyoto should be coming home in just a few days to a week! So excited!!

Last edited by Kyoto; 03-17-2015 at 09:25 PM. Reason: update
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-21-2015, 08:32 PM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
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I got an update today!!



Kyoto and his/her siblings are doing well… eating fresh foods and drinking water on their own, however they don't seem to be keen on pellets yet (what a surprise lol) so the breeder is going to keep them just a bit longer (I am totally okay with that)

Hard to pick just one!!! So excited.



Sarah and Kyoto :
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