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Mouse
November 20th, 2005, 07:30 AM
MM, I was just wondering if anyone could tell me something to keep my cat from eating my bird.. Like, i know that if you put pepper on the floor where a cat has been haveing accidents it deters them, and i was wondering if there is a scent or anything to protect my bird. I know it's a long shot, but punishment isn't working, and i'm afraid i'll come home one day to a slightly fatter cat and a pile of feathers.
Thanks,
~miriam

enchancea
November 20th, 2005, 09:47 PM
I read once to keep cats off of furniture to clove oil on the base of the furniture but Im not sure how this works. I know when I want to keep cats out of my gardens I put ground chili pepper around.
Maybe you can find something here:
http://www.fanciers.com/cat-faqs/behavior.shtml

Ahautenites
November 20th, 2005, 11:08 PM
First, catproof the birdcage location. If keeping the bird in a separate room is out of the question, then make sure that the cage is up high and the the cage is large enough that the cat can't stick its paw in all the way to reach the bird. The bird needs to be able to retreat far enough away in the cage that the cat can't reach it. If not, the cage is not large enough, and you need to go get another cage ASAP.

Next, don't go putting any chemicals (even clove) near your bird's cage to deter a cat. The cat can deal with the funky scent and escape. The bird will not be so lucky, and their air sacs and lungs will take in greater exposure to the odors. (They can kill your bird. So, don't use them.)

Aluminum foil sheets spread on the floor are apparently something cats don't like. It's very strange, but true for many cats.

Keeping a squirt gun handy so that when your cat is nearby you can be out of sight and squirt the cat if it gets that predatory look. It will associate getting wet with looking at the bird. And if it's a cat that hates water, it will act as a deterent. If, on the other hand, your cat likes water, this is not a good deterent.

What I have found effective for my bird and cat relations is satisfying the cat's curiosity. With the bird in the cage, calmy take the cat in your arms (securely), and approach the cage. Make sure that neither you nor the cat are looming over the bird. The bird should be able to look down on what's happening, if you want to lessen the risk of the poor bird having a heart attack from fright. Pay attention to both animals carefully. If the bird is too frightened, back away. If the cat is too eager, make sure you have a very tight grip on its front paws and don't let its mouth get anywhere near the bird.

Note: Cat saliva is poisonous to birds. Even if you think puncture wounds a cat might cause are just minor, the bacteria in the mouth will most likely kill your bird.

Another note: Unless you are absolutely confident that your cat is not going to pounce on the bird, do NOT take the bird out of the cage with the cat running loose in the house. (But if you don't take that advice and the bird is out with the cat in the house, pay more attention to the cat's location and attitude than to the bird and be ready to pounce on the *cat* at all times.)

Anyway, back to satisfying the cat's curiosity. You should let the cat gaze on the bird from the safety of your arms at least once a day, for at least a week. This is going to sound barbaric, and animal rights activists will hate me for this, but animals understand this method best. If the cat gets that certain intensely focused look and you know it would be pouncing on the bird if you weren't holding it, rap the cat on the skull (not hard enough to bruise the poor cat... just hard enough to let it know you do mean to emphasize that that predator reaction in regard to this particular bird is bad) with your knuckles and say "No!" then put the cat down and shoo it away from the bird's cage. After a couple times, most cats take the hint. When they're just watching the bird complacently, it's a good idea to praise them profusely and talk calmly and softly. (This is actually reassuring for both the cat and the bird.) But don't menace the bird by doing this, either. If the bird is flapping like crazy in the cage, don't persist at that point. Back off and take up the lesson again later. Eventually, the bird will realize that this is all supervised and that the big scary cat won't hurt it as long as mommy/daddy is holding it still. (Make sure the cat isn't twitching its tail so much that it acts like a snake from the bird's perspective. Birds don't like snakelike things, even if the tail of the cat is the least likely cat bodypart to hurt the bird. The bird doesn't know that.)

Whenever you or anyone else is in the house, always be mindful of the bird and the cat. Be listening to make sure the bird doesn't need rescuing, and be suspicious of the cat at all times.

Another thing is to remember that cats get verrrrrrry jealous. If you're showing any kind of attention/affection to the bird and the cat knows about it (or even if you think the cat knows about it, even though the cat is in another room), be sure to give praise and affection to the cat, too, in equal measure, otherwise, the cat may harbor a grudge toward the bird.

If your cat is unusually persistent about terrorizing the cat, you'll need to keep the bird in a safe place whenever you're not home. The bathroom is a good place (as long as no one has been spraying air freshener in there or painting their nails or removing nailpolish, or using a drain clog remover or something equally noxious to clean the room). Bring the bird's cage in the bathroom, leave the light on, shut the door tight, and make sure the cat isn't locked in the bathroom with the bird. (Always do this part last, because cats are extremely sneaky and fast-moving.)

Painted_Crow
November 21st, 2005, 12:06 AM
I have found that cats don't like having their tail pulled or stroked backwards. But I did havethis one cat who loved it. That cat was demonic too.

As for the birds, squirt gun.

Silver Ivy
November 21st, 2005, 12:09 AM
the squirt gun with water ... is a really good idea!! We have a cat who hates the sight of water .... :)

We also have birds ... and there is no way that our cats are able to get to the birds, because their cages are completely cat proof. I would think that most cages that you get from the petshop would be ....

Anyway ... I hope that helps ...

Good luck with your cat :)

Mouse
November 21st, 2005, 12:22 AM
Thanks, I should have specifyed that i need it to be for when I'm not home..
The cage is fairly high up on a stand, and reasonably cat proof, but if the cage gets damaged and charles gets out, he can't fly very well and will be lunch. Water wont work, and i wont use it as a punishment becuase I'm teaching the cat to like baths/showers..
I've been locking charles in the bathroom to keep him safe while we are out, but i don't want to be doing this because it's not very nice for him in there.. nothing really to look at, no window, etc.. (i know, he's just a bird, but i like him to be comfortable and happy) I will try the foil thing.. and I hear you can get collars that let out a noise that only cats can hear if they jump above a meter, so i'll look into that too.
Thankyou all. :D

halfwaynowhere
November 21st, 2005, 12:33 AM
i agree with Nefer... you need not train the cat to stay away from the bird. you need to teach the cat that there is no reason to go after him... slow introduction is the best... one of my sister's cats used to sleep on top of her bird cage, she really protected that bird, for awhile my sister had been moving him into an outdoor cage during the day, and the cat tried to sneak outside every chance she got just to be with the bird...

Mouse
November 21st, 2005, 12:37 AM
It's a bit late for that kind of training.. It was all going so well, but for some reason now it isn't. :(

Driffinna
November 21st, 2005, 04:00 AM
I am not sure how you can help you, but cats hate the scent of anything citrus.

Ahautenites
November 21st, 2005, 07:38 AM
Unfortunately, no matter how much behavior modification training you try to give a cat, sometimes nothing works. Then, it's just a matter of keeping the cage completely inaccessible from a cat's point of view. Keep it up high, where the cat cannot climb, jump or be next to the cage in any way. I used to have to keep one of my bird's cages on a shelf that was taller than I am, and I had to run strips of packing tape (folded over to make it double-sided tape) all down the sides and front of the shelf unit and put sheets of foil on the ground all around it to discourage my cat.

Luckily, my cat did learn that "this is mommy's special bird" and that he can look all he wants as long as he doesn't touch or get on the cage or sit next to the cage. It took about a month of doing that.

These days, the cat sits in my lap and falls asleep while the bird is sitting on my shoulder preening himself. Every now and then, if the bird acts especially birdlike, my cat will take too much interest, so I will shove him off my lap, but for the most part, he's fine. He prefers to watch the wild birds outside the windows anyway. He's an indoor cat, but if he were an outdoor cat, I'm sure he'd be snacking on them. It's odd.... When he sees a wild bird outside, he makes a strange chittering noise and watches them keenly, wishing he could make a meal of them. He's never made that noise when around my bird.

Ahautenites
November 21st, 2005, 07:44 AM
While I do agree with Driffinna about cats not liking a citrus scent, I again caution you not to get any citrus sprays for the area around your bird, because the chemicals in the spray ( the ones that you don't even smell) will kill your bird.

I suppose it's possible to spray pure concentrated lemon juice (the kind you would sweeten and drink, not lemon oil) on cotton batting to place around the floor where the cage is located (not on the cage floor), that might be worth a shot. But if you do that, test it. Sit in the room for a good two hours with the bird and the lemon scent. If the bird sneezes, makes annoyed noises (annoyed, not annoying.... many bird sounds are annoying, but not all bird sounds mean the bird is upset), growls or acts lethargic, remove the smelly stuff ASAP and get your bird into a different room so it can recover. (And hopefully, it will recover, rather than passing out and dying.)

PaintedHorses
November 21st, 2005, 11:13 AM
How big is your bird? I didn't have to teach my cat anything....the birds took care of that for me. I have 3 amazon parrots, and once when the cat got a little too curious, one of them bit him on the nose. Ever since then, he's left them alone.

I agree with the squirt bottle too. Most cats hate water, and will learn to leave the bird alone if they get a squirt when they go near the cage.

Catiana
November 21st, 2005, 05:49 PM
I have found that cats don't like having their tail pulled or stroked backwards. But I did havethis one cat who loved it. That cat was demonic too.

As for the birds, squirt gun.

Nobie loved to be stroked backwards. I wouldn't suggest pulling a cat's tail for any reason, especially not discipline, it is painful for them, that's why they don't like it. I've never had any experience with cats and birds together, but the squirt gun is a great remedy for getting cats to stop undesirable behavior, actually I use a spray bottle, the mist covers more area then the fine stream of a squirt gun.

Aleannah
November 22nd, 2005, 02:36 PM
We have two cockatiels and four cats...the cats are afraid of the birds and give them plenty of space. It's quite amusing to watch, actually. But, to be safe rather than sorry, we NEVER leave them unattended.