Is it safe to have a macaw living alongside cats & rabbits?!

Sydney_Paris

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Feb 3, 2021
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:red: Hi, I’m new to the parrot forums. :red: I've been looking into getting a Greenwing macaw. I feel confident that I am financially stable and perfectly capable of caring for a baby bird. I've had conures and Galahs in the past, so not much of this is new to me. However, I'm not familiar with macaws. I'm still taking the time to research carefully before taking this into consideration. As of now, I have a couple of questions regarding the other animals in my household.
I currently have three cats and two rabbits, and their safety is my main concern. I want to know that before I bring a bird home, I can guarantee a healthy and happy bird, along with a harm-free environment for both the bird and the other animals. The only thing that seems to trouble me is how I can make it work. If I can't come up with a solution, I'll have to give up on getting a bird.
When it comes to rabbits, the sound a bird makes can and will frighten them. Rabbits could easily die of shock. Knowing this, I had them listen to music in an attempt of getting them used to loud noises, without the possibility of stressing them out. Since then, they’ve been accustomed to living in a noisy environment without any risks. But the sound a macaw makes can be exceptionally loud, which worries me. Another thing to be noted is that rabbit toys are somewhat like toys for birds. Materials that are safe to consume and chew on, and veggie-dye for coloring. A macaw will definitely want to have it, so I think it’s best that I have my rabbits an entire room to themselves. I would rather have my bird and my rabbits in the same room, but that wouldn’t be safe for either of them. (The rabbits are already free roamed, with boundaries of course. A bird would have no problem getting into their things.) Not to mention, timothy hay could seriously harm a bird if they were to get into it.
Onto the next, revolving my cats-- I was able to have my conures and my cats coexist with each other, and I never had any issues. To put it simply, the cats would be put up whenever the birds were out and about. When the birds were in their cage, I’d be around to supervise. Whenever I was away, the birds and cats would be in separate rooms. My cats would get curious, and sometimes come into contact with the cage, but there was no problem of the cats being able to scratch the bird or harm them in any way. As for macaws, they are much larger, especially the Greenwing, being only second to the Hyacinth macaw. The bar spacing for the cage will be a bit bigger than that of a conures, resulting in the cats being able to fit a small portion of their mouth and poke their paws through it. I wouldn’t want my bird getting harmed by the cats in any way, whether it be from the saliva or bacteria! The same rules will apply just like with the conures. The only time they will have contact is when the bird is inside it’s cage and supervised. I’ll be able to train the cats to stay away, but they won’t always listen. Another thing that I am afraid of is the bird harming the cats. Most of the time, the first instinct of a bird when they see a predator is to run away. But when provoked, they have no choice but to defend themselves. It also depends on the personality of the bird, it could try attacking the cats out of amusement or anxiety, etc. Is there anything I can do to prevent that?
I would like to hear other peoples experiences and opinions on the matter. I’d appreciate ANY advice you all are willing to give, thank you very much!
 
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wrench13

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Friend, you're gonna hear a lot of 'it'll be OK.........until it isn't'. Cats and parrots. Predator and prey. And yeah some parrots and cats do just fine. My last parrot, a beebee parrot got mouth mauled by my kid's little terrier. He was fine but it was literally a snap, split second thing. So, for me, dogs and parrots, yes depending on the parrot and dog. My dog , Tinker, is 14 yrs old and she sleeps and eats and poops basically. Cat and a parrot? For me , no. Never know where the darn things are. Rabbits, you got me there, bud.
 

noodles123

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Jul 11, 2018
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In my opinion, no, not safe.
You will hear people with cats say that nothing has happened to their parrot yet, but you will also find many who lost birds to cats and dogs...I'm not saying my beliefs are the only ones, but this is how I feel:

It's all okay, until it's not...and sometimes, that takes years. I know someone who lost a bird to their family pet after many years of both of them getting along great. I also read about a Macaw that killed a cat when it stuck its arm into the cage to mess with the bird **GRAPHIC WARNING**..cat bled to death and had a paw removed..

Parrots are more work than a human toddler (or even any other pet that I can think of, when treated properly--especially the large ones, but all of them) and they are extremely fragile (the larger ones are louder and prone to stomping around more often, and they also can inflict very serious injuries on people but also on animals). The saliva and fecal matter of a cat (as well as what is under their nails) is very deadly to birds-- even a tiny little harmless scratch made in play can kill a bird (not from blood loss, but from disease/infection). The noise can be super loud too, which could easily upset any animal sharing the space.
How will you have your parrot out for 4 hours+ a day (including interaction) and include him in your life with cats and rabbits who also want to be in on the action and were there first if they have to be watched so closely but you also need to cook, clean, work etc. Just something to consider.

You cannot really prevent any of it, aside from not merging homes with a parrot and cat....or maybe by watching constantly, but that isn't really how life works-- cats are super quiet and fast. You can socialize early etc, but even then, things change and it takes 1 mistake or spacey moment for things to go wrong. Parrots will often bite people who they are jealous of etc, and so you cannot be sure about the rabbits either. A green-wing can live such a long time--- imagine 80 years of kids, sick days, emergencies, work-days, hangovers etc and you still cannot ever miss a beat when it comes to securing the room and supervising. That would be very tough.

I'm not saying it's never been done, but I would never do it, because for every success story, there is often a tragedy.


Lot's of people won't agree with me here, but I believe what I said..very risky. Between my parrot and work, I am out of time. When my parents' dog comes to visit, it is even more challenging, because as sweet as they are together, that whole "catch what's in the air" instinct is in all of them and it could take a tiny play bite to make things very bad. Living with the 2 of them and working while providing both with the time they need would be very very hard as a single person....but then again, multiple people means multiple opportunities for someone to forget to shut a door etc.
 
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SailBoat

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Research will bare out that a Large Mac can live beyond 75+ years. The smart will look at rescuing an Adult and will allow the Mac to choose the Human! With the Parrot, it is all about a connection. With Humans is commonly all about what they want.
Adult Macaws have stabilized their personality and what you see is what you get.
Macaws are loud, okay they are very loud, equal to an unrestricted Boeing 707 jet engine.
You have far more research to complete, far beyond the dangers of cat and Mac.
 
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Scott

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RIP Gandalf and Big Bird, you are missed.
Welcome to the forums, kudos for having researched the issues and possessing great insight into the hazards of integrating three species! Your task is a very tall order of mitigating high risks vs safety and enjoying life in potentially chaotic home.

It is possible to safeguard a macaw and cats provided strict isolation procedures are followed. Need to keep them simple, reliable, and repeatable lest human error compromise their lives. I don't think anyone here will sanction allowing cats and birds to freely interact, even with supervision. As others have said, all's well until the split second it is not. You may have a lucky situation where they may coexist, but the price for erring is painful mourning. On one hand we know a macaw is better able than smaller parrots to defend against cats, but felines have potential element of surprise.

The larger threat to your rabbits may be noise. Macaws are indeed jet-engine loud and often have bouts of screaming to "call the flock." Doors, locks, and walls are of little help unless the rabbits are in heavily sound proofed area. Perhaps it is possible to condition them against sudden screams.

How large is your home? With enough space and ingenuity it may be possible to achieve your dream if you are able and willing to create three companion animal "habitats."
 

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