General Question

poofandmook's avatar

Do you think it's cruel to have a pet in a cage, such as a bird or rodent, when you have cats as well?

Asked by poofandmook (17282points) July 28th, 2008
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16 Answers

demogear's avatar

I think having birds and rodents in a cage when having a cat around is a safety measure. I don’t find it cruel at all!

poofandmook's avatar

@demo: I meant having the caged pets at all… not just that they’re in a cage.

Harp's avatar

We have 2 gerbils and 2 cats. The cats sit and watch the gerbils for hours, and the gerbils are totally unconcerned about the cats’ presence, even when the cats are sitting on the screen top of the cage. When the cats jump on top of the cage, the erbils rarely even startle, even though they have plenty of places to burrow and hide. The gerbils will even sniff the cats nose to nose through the screen.

We’ve done this through a few generations of gerbils, all of whom have adapted just as well to the cats’ attention, and all of whom have lived well beyong the normal life expectancy of gerbils. Plus, it provides no end of entertainment to the cats. I don’t know if all rodents would be so nonchalant, though, and I don’t think I’d try it with a bird.

marinelife's avatar

Not if the animal shows signs of stress or fear.

Randy's avatar

Na, as long as they have plenty of space and all their needs taken care of then I don’t think they would mind a cage.

tinyfaery's avatar

We have 2 mice that we adopted from a classroom where my wife works. The mice couldn’t care less about the cats, and the cats love to watch them. I can’t really see having rodents run around my mice, especially since I do have cats.

Dog's avatar

We have two mice. One belongs to a daughter and the other I purchased when I was commissioned to paint mice as a model for illustrations.

Both are very content in cages- both have good room to run around and new arrangements of the cage weekly when the cages are cleaned. Both also have time running in those little balls. I do not think cages are cruel if the animal has room to run and explore and if the settings vary to allow them to explore.

While we do not have cats due to allergies with kids we do have a pointer dog that stares
at them and drools. The mice do not even notice.

Like Harp’s gerbals both mice have lived far longer than the pet shop promised and both are healthy and social.

syz's avatar

My cats and my birds compete for space on my lap (usually after my bird has walked on top of the cat to get to me).

poofandmook's avatar

Thanks for all your responses, but I was at work and really should’ve worded it better. I meant is it cruel to obtain an animal at all that lives in a cage, or should you just stick with only the cats. Is it cruel to bring them into an environment with a natural predator in the house.

Randy's avatar

That’s what they cage is for. Well, that and keeping them from disappearing.

tinyfaery's avatar

@poof Ok. I see what you were getting at. I might be wrong, but I’m fairly certain that pet mice, rats, hamsters, etc. are bred to live in cages. I don’t think there are herds of wild hamsters running around somewhere. If its wrong to keep mice in cages, then its wrong to have a dog walk on a leash, or have your cat snuggle up with you at night; I see no fundamental difference. But, after I post this, I’m sure someone will come up with an article proving me wrong.

poofandmook's avatar

@tinyfaery: Problem is, you get an overly playful kitty that’s smart and opens doors, and before you know it, you come home to an open cage and a bloodbath. Or worse, said caged animal is one of those new-fangled Houdini models and you come home to a closed, empty cage and a very full kitty.

tinyfaery's avatar

Its the responsibility of the pet owner (me in this case) to keep all of her/his animals safe. My mice (Minnie and Lucy) are kept in a place my cats cannot get to; its even a little hard for me to get to. Its been tried and tested, and their is no way my cats are going to get to those mice. Plus, I’m fairly adept at training my cats, and they all know what they can and cannot do.

Training is the key!

delirium's avatar

No, not really. My cat and my snake have a very special relationship. They both seem to find the other incredibly intriguing. They spend hours pawing/slithering at eachother on the glass, or hunting eachother. (I think Valentine, the snake, doesn’t realize that Maddy, the cat, extends beyond those cute fluffy yummy paws.)

They would never hurt each other, though. There’s no way for them to. And if Val gets tired of it, he can retreat to one of his hides and she’ll eventually get bored and go to sleep.

She has a similar relationship with the anoles.

nicobanks's avatar

Not as a rule. So long as both animals aren’t stressed out, and are otherwise being suitably taken care of, it’s not cruel.

Maybe keeping mice in a small cage on the floor with no “nests” to hide in would not be a good idea, but that’s easily avoidable…

Chellet's avatar

Not really. I have seen some pet owners with cats and birds at home. Some of them built secure bird aviaries outdoors – at their backyard mostly, where there’s a garden and all. The cats don’t seem to mind.

It really depends on how you also take care of your pets or how you train them. In my experience with my pets [I have 2 dogs and a couple of love birds], the pups are just curious of the birds and the cage when the birds are noisy. With cats, I’m not sure if they’ll be curious and will do something out of the ordinary. It’s best if you observe and see if there’s a regularity or pattern to certain behavior.

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