It might seem impossible, but cats and chickens can definitely be trained to live together. You can get your cats and chickens to get along in exactly the same way you introduce any new pet to your existing pets. You will need patience, be prepared to step in and train all pets involved thoroughly.
Believe it or not, but cats and chickens have some similarities. Both are very curious creatures for instance, but when it comes to a fight, the cat definitely has the upper hand or should I say paw. The route to successfully introducing your chickens to your cat starts with a quick peaceful meeting.
You will need to train both species to be calm around each other. Chickens are prey animals and cats predators so it’s only natural that your chickens might be fearful and your cat eager to chase. So how should you go about introducing the cat to your flock? Let’s find out!
How To Start
Start by introducing your flock to your cat as soon as you bring your new pets home. It is important to note that cats are curious creatures and the more you keep the cat away from the chickens, the more insistently it will try to get to them. Make sure the cat knows that chickens are a normal part of everyday life and not something it’s not allowed to see.
How To Introduce The Cat
It is best to do first-time introductions through the safety of a wire mesh fence. Cats are predators so you may notice your cat’s hunting instincts come into play. The cat might also act fearful if it’s never seen a chicken and thus might hiss and arch the back.
This is the point where you will need to jump in to distract the cat. Feed it its favourite snack, toss a favourite toy, give it a scratch to say everything’s okay or do anything else you can think of to distract the cat.
It is best to continue this kind of interaction for a few weeks. Always supervise to make sure the cat is behaving. Once the cat gets used to seeing the chickens and likewise, it might be time for a face-to-face introduction.
Monitor both chicken and cat for readiness before you try a face-to-face introduction. Once ready, you can start the interaction by gently holding the chicken on your lap near the cat and note the cat’s behaviour. It’s best to do this a few times before you let go of the chicken completely.
If the cat comes to investigate, let it sniff the chicken but discourage any predatory behaviour. If your cat remains unphased by the presence of the chicken, you can move on to the next step.
Finally, after your cat has been desensitised and monitored around the chickens, you can let them both out in the backyard for supervised periods. This is a very bad idea if your cat isn’t fully unphased by the chickens. The first time you let them out, make sure to distract both with food, toys or other curiosities to draw their attention away from each other.
Once you’re confident that your cat will leave the flock alone, you can switch to short unsupervised periods. If everything is going well with no squealing and other terrifying noises, then you are near the end of this battle! Do remember that cats remain predators so there might be a time when it finally turns on the chickens when you’re not watching.
Is There A Shortcut To This Method?
If you don’t have the time to do months of training, then you are in luck there is another way. The solution is simple… get your chickens a coop with a chicken run. Your chickens will still be able to free-range, but in the safety of their enclosed run while the cat roams outside purrrrfectly content.
Take Into Account Your Cat’s Personality
You know your animal best when it comes down to personality, so when training your cat to accept the chickens, you will know if it’s not worth your time. Some cats can learn to accept the flock, but there are also those who will never stop hunting them no matter what you do.
For your own sanity, keep in mind that the results of your training will differ from cat to cat. Some young cats will take longer to train than older cats or your little hunter might not get it at all. But don’t always blame the cat, some chickens are just as much at fault.
It’s Not Just The Cat!
Some families already have both a cat and dog and it might seem like a bad idea to add chickens to the mix, but it doesn’t have to be. Both cats and dogs can be trained to accept chickens, and if all else fails you still have the run to fall back on at least. You can even get yourself a chicken tractor if you want to move your chickens around the yard regularly!
If you have some canine pals in your family, make sure to read our article on dogs and chickens for more information on this subject.
Moral Of The Story
Just because you have a cat, doesn’t mean you can’t have chickens. With a bit of training, lots of patience or a chicken run, your cat and chickens should get along splendidly!