Observations from Angela Lennox, DVM:

Can Cats and Birds Be Friends?

The short answer is no! We have seen a number of videos lately showing cats interacting with birds, usually in a friendly way. In some pictures and videos the bird rides on the cat’s back and the two even groom each other.  It’s always possible prey and predator species can form a bond and exist peacefully together, but we tend to see what happens when contact is a bit more aggressive, even if unintentional. Cats naturally have bacteria in their mouths that they can spread to feet and claws when grooming.  These bacteria can be particularly dangerous if they enter the body through breaks in the bird’s skin, or through what even seems to be a tiny bite or scratch.

For this reason, we recommend birds and cats look, but don’t touch!  Be aware we know of several cases where cats reached through the bars of cages and grabbed birds inside!

If you suspect your bird has been exposed to a cat bite or scratch, call the clinic right away. Rapid wound care, including antibiotics, are extremely important to prevent a potentially fatal systemic infection that can develop in as little as 24-48 hours.