Cats are natural predators, which makes them unsuitable housemates for domesticated pets like hamsters and chinchillas. However, there have also been cases where cats and chinchillas co-exist peacefully and bond well with each other. Read on and let us find out if prey and predator can live under one roof peacefully.
First of all, what are chinchillas?
Chinchillas are social creatures and crepuscular rodents that originated from the mountainous regions of Northern Chile and the Andes Mountains. They are larger and more robust than ground squirrels. They live in colonies called herds and can be kept as pets.
These adorable rodents can be very friendly if well-acclimated to humans and they can be great pets for patient owners. However, they have a high-strung disposition which makes them unsuitable pets for small kids. They are low maintenance pets and once you set up a cage for them all they need is food, hay, and water, as well as some things to chew on. They also require a consistent temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Are chinchillas good with cats?
No, chinchillas are generally not good with cats that are considered predators. Chinchillas are rodents, which means they are prey and could end up as the cat’s next meal. However, with proper introduction and acclimation, it is possible that they can coexist with each other. It is rare that these animals will become good friends.
Will my cat kill my chinchilla?
It is highly possible that a cat can kill your chinchilla. Cats have a prey instinct and chinchillas are prey for them because the latter are rodents. If a cat wants to, it can seriously injure and kill a chinchilla. You should never leave these animals together unsupervised.
However, some cats do not show interest in chinchillas. Laidback cats with low prey drive may just ignore a chinchilla and are less likely to hunt and kill it.
Chinchillas and cats: Can they live together?
Yes, a chinchilla and cat can live together, but it takes a lot of patience and effort on the part of a cat owner. There are many things to consider, such as the animals’ respective personalities.
Chinchillas and cats are similar because they are both furry, domesticated, and crepuscular animals. However, they are also different because chinchillas are rodents and prey, while cats are carnivorous mammals and natural predators. These differences make it challenging for them to coexist together.
Chinchillas and cats can coexist harmoniously together in the same house under certain circumstances and considerations. For example, if your cat is mild-tempered or laid back and does not care much about hunting, there is a greater chance that she will just ignore the chinchilla.
However, if your cat is an active hunter or has a high prey drive, you should think twice before getting a chinchilla. Placing the latter in a cage would be useless as the cat can still terrorize it and reach through the cage bars. Cat breeds that have a high prey drive include the Bengal, Manx, Savannah, and Chartreux.
The relationship between a chinchilla and cat will also depend on each one’s personality and temperament. It will be easier to introduce them to each other if your cat is calm and the chinchilla is not aggressive. Some chinchillas tend to be dominant and can be hostile when provoked. However, they are less likely to become stressed and anxious if the cat is mild-mannered. They can cohabitate peacefully, but it is a rare occurrence that they will become best buddies.
What can you do to help your chinchilla and cat coexist together?
Here are things that you can do to increase the likelihood of a chinchilla and cat coexisting together peacefully:
1. Give them time to acclimate to each other.
Allow both animals to get used to the other’s scent. This will take time, and patience is essential. Leave your chinchilla in its cage and allow your cat to get used to her presence. You must supervise your cat and see to it that she does not come too near the cage.
2. Let your cat see you playing with the chinchilla.
If you do this, your cat will realize that the chinchilla belongs to you. This will give her the notion that it is important to you and she will be less likely to attack it.
3. Provide space between the animals.
After they are acclimated, the chinchilla and cat will become used to each other’s presence and smell. It is a good sign if you do not notice any aggression on either side. However, always remember that a cat’s hunting instinct could kick in at any time. Keep the chinchilla in her cage and place it in a separate room that your cat cannot access.
4. Always supervise playtime between your cat and the chinchilla.
Even if your two pets have been coexisting in your home for a whil, never let the two of them play together without your supervision and presence. Observe their playtime and see to it that the cat is not hurting the chinchilla. Cats are natural hunters and just a simple trigger could activate their hunting instinct.
Cats and chinchillas are not great companions and they will rarely bond well. The best scenario is that your cat will just ignore the chinchilla since this will reduce the latter’s stress level. Their relationship is also affected by their personalities so you need to observe and monitor each of them every step of the way.
What animals can live with chinchillas?
Chinchillas are related to guinea pigs and porcupines which makes them amenable living companions. Rabbits are also domesticated animals that may be harmless housemates for a chinchilla. However, it is not advisable for chinchillas to share a cage with other animals as they could contract illnesses and infections like Pasteurella, a bacteria that causes an upper respiratory infection in chinchillas.
Chinchilla and cats can coexist together although they should not be left alone together unsupervised. If properly acclimated and introduced, both animals can live peacefully together. It does depend on their respective personalities. However, they should be kept in separate rooms and playtime should always be supervised because a cat’s hunting instinct could kick in at any time.
Image: istockphoto.com / Icealien