There are times when it amazes me just what will upset a companion parrot. The smallest thing can seem to set off the world’s biggest tantrum. The latest cause for tantrums in my house just happens to be my pet goldfish.
I got rid of my outdoor pond. I got sick of fighting the wild birds, who somehow managed to get past the wire grille I’d set up to protect the resident goldfish. I moved my goldfish indoors, into a temporary fish tank while I searched for a larger indoor tank to house them permanently. This temporary tank was located next to my elderly galah’s sleeping cage and that’s where my trouble began.
I purchased a beautiful indoor aquarium and moved my goldfish. My elderly galah did not appreciate the removal of his friends. When I brought him inside on the night of the goldfish move, he became very agitated and screamed the house down. He was staring at the empty temporary tank as he screamed, so it was reasonably obvious what was wrong. My consequent blood loss gave some indication as to whom he blamed for this atrocity.
Fortunately, this story has a happy ending. Cocky Boy was shown the new tank on the other side of the room. He saw that I had not killed his friends (or does he see them as a food supply???) He now insists on being held near them regularly and will stumble his way over there himself just to watch them. Fish watching can keep him occupied for hours. He’s not alone in this.
My Blue and Gold Macaw, Fid is absolutely fascinated by the fish. He flies over to the tank and tries to hover in front of it. I say “tries” because frankly, he sucks at hovering. It turns out that small ornaments (who are supposed to live on top of a nearby cabinet) are absolutely no match for macaw wing wind. The resulting crash made by shattering china, tends to result in a startled macaw needing to crash land in fright.
I have solved this issue by placing a small table near the tank (think “macaw landing platform”). Now Fid spends hours watching the fish and I don’t think that’s a “friend” thing. Fid definitely wants to eat them and he’s prepared to take chunks out of the aquarium cabinet in order to get to them from a different angle, as he can’t seem to get them through the glass. Visitors keep telling me I have “fingerprints” on my aquarium glass and they look at me really strangely when I say that they’re actually macaw tongue marks. What can I say? He has a thing for licking glass.
Not all of my birds are obsessed with goldfish. My Eclectus Pepi does not tolerate being placed near them. He is particularly afraid of the big black one. (That’s why I named the black goldfish “Jaws”.) Apparently goldfish eat Eclectus parrots and I should know that. How dare I put him on the macaw landing pad for a photo! Oops.
Pepi may be afraid of being eaten by a goldfish, but his fear does not stretch to cats. The cats in my house are bird trained (literally the birds did most of the training). Cats exist to have pellets and peas (or basically anything that rolls) thrown at them. The cat then spends hours batting the rolling item around the floor while Pepi makes accompanying sound effects. Apparently pea batting goes well with laser gun sound effects. However, squished peas do not mix well with human socks.
A lot of people know me as a “bird person” and with that I find they assume that this must mean that in the very least I live in a cat free zone. The reality is quite different. I live within an entire food chain and in general they get along pretty well. They are all closely supervised. I don’t leave the birds out unattended. I can’t. If I did: the lorikeets would be using the fish tank as a bath, at least one dog would be trying to steal the parrot pellets, a certain clumsy macaw might accidentally swing a tail into a cat’s face and start a fight… I can’t entirely trust them not to get into trouble. I discourage any physical contact at all as it only takes a split second for something to go wrong. That said, they’re aware and around each each other all of the time.
I can trust them to keep each other company and to keep an eye on each other. When my dog was sick, even if I hadn’t noticed, I would have known because the galahs wouldn’t stop calling him. When a butcherbird was trying to turn my lorikeets into dinner (they were in their outdoor aviary and appeared to be easy prey), the birds screamed for help and my cat beat me there, scaring off the predator. Meanwhile, when the dogs bark at a neighbour, the birds call them back and scream “SHUTUP!” Ok maybe that isn’t limited to the dogs – they call me back if I’m talking to the neighbour too.
My point is that they are more aware of each other than I had ever realised. If you’d asked me, I wouldn’t have thought goldfish would rate as noteworthy with parrots. Apparently I was wrong.
Do your birds have pets? How do they get along? Let us know in the comments field below.
Mel Vincent works as an animal rehabilitator out of Australia.
I don’t think you need to worry about the cat problem at all. We have had a caique for years, as well as cats. The cats are scared of her. Recently we got a macaw, obviously much bigger than Stella the caique, so the cats don’t mess with him at all!
How about those fish? How do they seem to handle (or not) the bird? I have a tank set up for a goldfish move next to a dove who likes to coo and laugh. Will this disturb my (growing) goldfish? Will it feel threatened in any way?
My cockatoo has a green cheek. He says “hi bird” to. I never taught him this, but I think he thinks that the green cheek is his pet bird and that he is a human. Lol. Too funny.
My Quaker parrot Davros, and Rainbow Lorikeet Louie, seem to have fallen in love. I have three cats also, and we all live in harmony. The birds are free-flying whenever I’m home, and Davros likes to share vanilla yoghurt with Stubby, the ginger ninja cat. It seems like we’re all each other’s pets, and it’s working so far. :-)
Loved this! Thank you :)
I just love your household and your sense of humour. Need a baby sitter?
My Congo African Gray, Dexter, loved my cat, Mesquite, and wanted to eat with her every day, sometimes holding a chunk of soft cat food in his claw and sharing it with her. He also walked around her and tried to preen her feet but she was not very happy with that and would gently bat him on the head to make him stop. When she was close to passing on Dexter asked ’’What’s wrong’’? I told him she was old and sick, he said ‘’Fix it’‘. I told him I couldn’t do anything for her it was her time. He was quiet for a bit then said ’’Awww’’. He missed her for quite awhile.
I have Sun Conures. I also have a Miniature American Eskimo. Since the birds sit in the front window and can see all “Trespassers” they alert me and the dog as to who is coming and going around the neighborhood. When my wife arrives home, the birds squawk and the dog just notices her arrival. If other visitors arrive, the dog will after hearing the birds with bark at the door. It is nice to see the dog wagging its tail at the top of the steps and the birds welcoming me home. However, the dog is very curious about the birds and will try to lick them or pick them up in his mouth when he finds them on the floor, usually after a long flight around the dining room/living room. When I pick up the birds from their cage or perches, the dog start to jump up and whine…very jealous is he….I have gotten bitten by the birds because of the dog exciting them. I never noticed if the birds and my fish ever reacted to each other as I have never found my birds visiting the tank. The tank has long since moved as empty. The birds did watch the guinea pigs we had a few years ago. The birds let me know when the deer or other animals come near the house and will even fly up higher when cats visit my yard. I was even frighten when a hawk hit my front window trying to capture a pretty bird (my Suns) just sitting there. The hawk since move away. Thanks Mike Smitson
Since Skittles has come into our home, he has apparently taken to the two resident dogs. Missy, our 6 year old Yorkie and Paco, another 6 year old Chorkie (Chihuahua/Yorkie cross). We recently moved into a larger home. Skittles will take time out from his busy schedule to pick up pellets and, occasionaly nuts, he looks right at me, and then drops them on the floor so the dogs can get them. Both dogs have taken to hanging out around Skittles’ cage, especially around snack/training time.
My budgie has a bunny. He steals hay and food but he also cuddles up to him. The bunny is less fond of the budgie, perhaps due to whisker pulling followed by nose nips when disagreements arise over who’s hay it really is.
My 13yrs. white cap pionus (Bob) is in love with my 20yrs. cat. Both were rescued when young. Bob the parrot sleeps with the cat during the day in the her bed. Bob the parrot sometimes gets into the cat’s chicken bits and drinks her water while the cat is eating.. I think the cat is too old to care. Even though Bob the parrot can fly Bob the parrot will walk behind the cat where ever the cat’s path takes her in the house. He sometimes sits high on a curtain rod or bed post to keep the cat in view. I have many photo of their relationship. I am not sure what will happen when my very old cat passes on. I could not bring another cat into the house since a “new” cat would not understand and probably view Bob the parrot as a meal.
My double yellow amazon, Touki, was deeply in love with my lab Meg. He would follow her around and stay with her while she slept. He was always grooming her. Meg a very gentle lab never showed any aggression towards him, but would sometimes get up and move away when the affectionate grooming became too much
They love to be around You !!!!!!!!!!!
My goffins thinks that I’m her pet, and not the other way around. She calls me when she wants to be picked up and when I’m misbehaving, she tells me to “knock it off”. She also has an obsession with licking glass. My cell phone is permanently smudged. What is it with parrots and glass?
HOW IS the CAT trained not to hurt pet birds?What precautiion is taken to see that cat dont hurt birds?it How that has been possible?The Aquarium seem a nice idea but how dog & cat can be trained not to harm them;
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