Being a pet owner comes with a lot of responsibility and having quirky little chinchillas as your companion doesn’t lessen it by any means. Chinchillas come with a lot of complexities. Everything about them is complex, their dietary needs, temperature needs, their routine, everything.
Complexity increases only if you have more than just one pet, especially if they are two different animals. One of the significant issues that make you weary is the compatibility of pets, even though, to some extent, it depends on the pet’s attributes.
Chinchillas vs. Cats
Cats and chinchillas are diametrically opposite creatures. So, living under the same roof can become quite difficult for them. Yes, it is a saying that opposites attract. But that might not be the case for chinchillas and cats, especially if your cat kills your chinchilla.
Based on their personality, cats are natural predators and tend to prey on smaller animals. They don’t get stressed easily, and nor are they shy. They are very outgoing and love to play with everything they can get their hands on. They have erratic behavior and are very impulsive and can be reckless. Apart from this, cats tend to retain their nature and hunt down rodents.
Chinchillas have a lively disposition and they like to explore. But it may take a while before one can win the chinchilla’s trust. They are shy and are usually reserved and timid. Also, they tend to like to spend most of their time in their cage, which can be a good thing if you have another pet at home. They can also get anxious and scared easily and they tend to lose their fur when they are anxious. And hide when they are scared.
Cats and chinchillas have opposite personalities and don’t mix well with each other. We should also not forget that chinchillas are rodents which makes them natural prey to cats which are natural predators. Things can go south if both are left together unsupervised.
Can Chinchillas and Cats Stay Together
Having both chinchillas as well as cats together in the same house is not always the best choice. When there are two different animals in the house, the pet owners need to be more careful and see if both animals can get along well. It is important to look at the basic natural tendencies of both animals before getting pets.
In the case of chinchillas and cats, pet owners need to know that cats and chinchillas don’t get along well with each other. One of the most basic and obvious reasons behind this is that cats are natural predators of rodents. Cats see chinchillas as their prey or toys to bat around. At the same time, chinchillas view cats as large, scary animals and often feel anxious around them.
Chinchillas are frightened of cats. some skunks and foxes also resemble cats in appearance which could activate a chinchilla’s instinct to flee. At the same time, seeing them fleeing activates the cat’s instinct to chase them. Cats and chinchillas cannot play together as, in very simple terms, it can lead to injury or death for the chinchilla.
Now the main question is if chinchillas and cats can’t stay together or not. The answer is no, it is not entirely impossible. Their amiable co-existence generally depends on the cat. Docile cats, that are older, hand-tamed, and well-fed are less likely to bother the chinchilla. Likewise, cats that grow up around small mammals are better at fighting their hunting instincts and adapt easily to having chinchillas around them.
Can Cats Attack Chinchillas
Yes. Cats can attack chinchillas. Don’t forget cats and chinchillas and cats are natural prey and predators, respectively. Therefore, if you have these two pets it is crucial to introduce them slowly or else you could risk your cat attacking your chinchilla.
Even the chinchillas are not good with cats. Having a cat in the same room can leave a chinchilla stressed and anxious. Due to the significant size difference between a cat and a chinchilla, the cat is likely to see the chinchilla as a toy and the cat batting the chinchilla around can result in injury.
Even if the cat doesn’t view the chinchilla as a toy, it will view it as prey. This way your chinchilla will end up injured in the best-case scenario. A single bite can prove fatal to a small rodent, not to say scratching and hooking with a cat’s claw.
The two animals cannot even play together. Cats wrestle, scratch, and bite at each other while playing. Even the weight of a full-grown cat alone can injure a chinchilla and inflict serious harm. In such times, the chinchilla doesn’t have any way of defending themselves from the cat or even playing similarly. Instead, it would just end up being physically harmed by the cat, and the cat would just walk away unscathed.
What Can You Do?
Although chinchillas and cats do not get along well with each other at first, there are ways of promoting peaceful co-existence. They can live under the same roof peacefully. However, it is advised to keep them apart and allow them to interact only under your supervision.
The best way to promote their co-existence is to introduce chinchillas and cats while they are still young. This way the two will grow up together. This way they can become more acclimated to each other’s presence and your cat will also become more tolerant of other creatures around it.
Do not leave your pets unattended. It can very easily escalate to your cat starting to startle and hunt your chinchilla. Also, keep your chinchilla’s cage entirely out of reach and the sight of the cat at all times.
It would be even better if you hold the chinchilla at all times and don’t let it approach or come in contact with the cat. Having sharp reflexes, cats might attack and even kill the chinchilla before you can even intervene.
When you bring home either the chinchilla or the cat for the first time, keep them separate. It’s better to give both animals time to settle in by themselves and become comfortable before you introduce them to each other. In the next few days, avoid even housing the cat or chinchilla together in the same room, it’d be best to keep the chinchilla in another room that will be closed off from the cat.
If your cat roams around the house, then keep a close eye on it to ensure it never enters the chinchilla’s room to avoid stressing out the chinchilla and making it more prone to reacting in fear. Allow the cat and chinchilla to smell each other through the cage bars or under the door from a distance. This way they can become acquainted with each other’s existence and learn each other’s scents.
This will teach the cat that a new animal is in the home and it will gradually warm up to its presence. After multiple smell tests, introduce the two to each other, just don’t forget to hold the chinchilla firmly while you do. If possible, have another person hold the cat to prevent it from making any sudden movements while keeping them both several feet apart from each other.
Check for signs of aggression and fear in the cat and chinchilla, respectively. In cats, aggression often results in a hissing, hunched posture, or batting with claws. While in chinchillas, fear may manifest as squeaking, scrambling to get away, and scratching. If you notice any of these signs in your pets, separate them and try again once both have calmed down again.
Pets are lovely, but having different species in your home can bring about some issues as some of them are incompatible. So is the case of cats and chinchillas. It can get stressful on the part of the owner as well. They have to ensure the safety of one of their pets from the other at all times.
Cats and chinchillas can live together in the same house, but this will take oversight on your part. In general, due to their divergent personalities, they don’t get along and are predators and prey in the wild. However, it depends on your cat a lot whether your chinchilla will be safe in your household or not.