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Pocket pets and cats.

Species: Cat
Breed: DSH
Age: 5-8 years
I have been considering adding a small pocket pet as a companion to my home. I would like to get a mouse, hamster or gerbil for entertainment for myself and my beloved cat. The small animal would be protected in a secure enclosure and would be visible to my cat and vice versa. My worry would be that the small animal might end up living in fear of the appearance of the cat. I would provided it with a hiding place. The other issue is how would my cat be effected. Would the presence of the small pet cause distress from frustration of being kept from reaching it. Would this be a harmful situation for either of them? If this is a workable situation which kind of small animal would be the best choice. In this case would a cage or terrarium be best (more healthy for the small animal)? Thanks Sincerely Cliff Sanford


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Thank you for an interesting question! I don't know that anyone could answer this with certainty but I'll give you my thoughts. :)

I think that provided that the animal has a place to hide, any of these animals will do just fine. I know many families that have pocket pets along with cats and it's rare that I hear of serious problems. I did once see a hamster with a broken leg because of a fight with the house cat. But, this hamster was allowed to roam free. As long as you make sure that the little one is always protected things should be ok.

Will your cat be stressed by the presence of a pocket pet? Most likely your cat will be just fine. I can't say that I have ever had a client come to see me because their cat was stressed and obsessing over the fact that a pocket pet is in the house.

In regards to cage vs terrarium, that really is a personal decision. I see far more cages than terrariums so as long as you can secure the enclosure to make it safe from prying paws, I'd probably go with a cage.

Hope that helps. Enjoy your new pet!

Dr. Marie.



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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.