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Do you agree with allowing animals to meet?

TheLottiediarys

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I’ve always been very much against letting animals of certain species meet.
Obviously it’s bad to let something like a snake meet a mouse as it’s the natural prey for many snakes.
And in terms of health certain animals can carry diseases that could be harmful if passed from species to species.

But having said that, where is the line for letting your pet dog meet your Hamster?
Or your Cat meet your Guinea Pig?

I’m horrified at the idea of an owner believing that their pet wouldn’t harm another pet because ‘they’re just not like that’ only to then have the tragedy of losing a loved pet to the natural instincts of another also loved pet, that must be heart breaking and traumatising to witness.

So that being said, is it ever right to allow species to mix in this way?

I believe we’ve come a long way from the days (not too long ago) where it was common practice for Pet shops to house Guinea pigs with Rabbits and people to house them together at home, to the newer ideas that Syrian Hamsters shouldn’t be housed together in Pet shops because it could lead to fighting and owners ignorantly buying pairs to live together, not realising it would end in death.

Sure, it’s sweet to see the images online of a Hamster sitting on a dogs nose, or a Guinea pig sniffing a cat, but are we doing our pets a disservice by allowing this to happen? Or is it okay?
I really don’t know at this point, like I’ve said I’ve always been against this idea, not because I think people who do it are ‘Bad Owners’ but from a place of care I am worried for the safety of those animals.

So imagine my surprise when my Disabled rabbit moved indoors and developed a keen interest in my cats.

Now my girl is a big rabbit, much bigger then your average Rabbit, not quite giant but giving my cats a run for their money in body size and weight.

She will hop right up to them given the chance and sniff them, undeterred by their predatory nature. Is this because she doesn’t realise they are predatory? Or is she comftable enough in her own strength that she doesn’t fear them?
Is it right to let her sniff them or should I be barring any contact at all?

Is it indicative of bad ownership to allow a prey animal meet a predator?
Or is it right to trust our .. well trust in our pets?
 

Claire W

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When my cats were kittens, I allowed them to meet the guinea pigs supervised (baring in mind the kittens were smaller than the guinea pigs at the time). The cats have therefore grown up around guinea pigs and they’re not bothered about the guinea pigs just like the guinea pigs aren’t bothered by the cats. I 99% trust my cats around the guinea pigs but there’s always that 1% that I don’t trust so I never leave the cats alone with the guinea pigs whilst they’re free ranging and I certainly would never put one of my gerbils near the cats!
 

TheLottiediarys

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When my cats were kittens, I allowed them to meet the guinea pigs supervised (baring in mind the kittens were smaller than the guinea pigs at the time). The cats have therefore grown up around guinea pigs and they’re not bothered about the guinea pigs just like the guinea pigs aren’t bothered by the cats. I 99% trust my cats around the guinea pigs but there’s always that 1% that I don’t trust so I never leave the cats alone with the guinea pigs whilst they’re free ranging and I certainly would never put one of my gerbils near the cats!
So you trust your cats based on the fact that they have grown up around Guinea Pigs where as they haven’t around the Gerbils so they may attack them? Or is it because Gerbils are much smaller and similar to their natural prey?

I have the same feeling with my Rabbit, I’m always around when she is roaming and I sit right next to her if she is near the cats, but I doubt they would attempt to attack her, she’s just too big, and they don’t react predatory. There is no stalking, belly to the ground, round eyes, hiding behind objects. But at the same time I know animals can be unpredictable so would also never leave them alone together.

Is it more to do with learned behaviour or size of the animals?
 

David Piggie Lover

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Good thread.
In nature generally animals don't mix. Food chain being main reason . . you do get the odd bond but it's rare.
Some of you may seen or heard about a Magpie called Mike lives in village and is fast becoming a very big star. 1million hits on you tube and papers tv.
He was found left for dead . couple took him in and he with the love of them and their DOG he's now a celebrity. Sits on yer head arm etc.
Now thats weird bird and dog and human.
Nothing to stop Mike from flying away and it's very strange to see him with comfort around humans.
Hope his trust in humans is not broken. let's be honest if humans don't get along how can one expect so call lower intelligent creatures to do so.
Course I love piggies and my mates think I'm nuts. x
 
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Claire W

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So you trust your cats based on the fact that they have grown up around Guinea Pigs where as they haven’t around the Gerbils so they may attack them? Or is it because Gerbils are much smaller and similar to their natural prey?

I have the same feeling with my Rabbit, I’m always around when she is roaming and I sit right next to her if she is near the cats, but I doubt they would attempt to attack her, she’s just too big, and they don’t react predatory. There is no stalking, belly to the ground, round eyes, hiding behind objects. But at the same time I know animals can be unpredictable so would also never leave them alone together.

Is it more to do with learned behaviour or size of the animals?
I trust the cats 99% of the time with the guinea pigs as like I say, the cats met the guinea pigs at a very young age and don’t take any notice of them even when they’re free ranging but like you, I never leave them unsupervised when they’re free ranging as you just never know when instinct may kick in.

As for the gerbils, I feel they are too small plus the cats are a lot more interested in them than they are the guinea pigs for example when the gerbils are out in their tank digging and playing, the cats will sit and stare at them and although their tank is 110% preditor proof (unless we were stupid enough to leave the lid open) I have found the cats sitting on top of the tank even though I’ve never found them sitting on top of the guinea pigs cage. It’s just too risky in my opinion to introduce the cats to the gerbils even supervised
 

TheLottiediarys

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I trust the cats 99% of the time with the guinea pigs as like I say, the cats met the guinea pigs at a very young age and don’t take any notice of them even when they’re free ranging but like you, I never leave them unsupervised when they’re free ranging as you just never know when instinct may kick in.

As for the gerbils, I feel they are too small plus the cats are a lot more interested in them than they are the guinea pigs for example when the gerbils are out in their tank digging and playing, the cats will sit and stare at them and although their tank is 110% preditor proof (unless we were stupid enough to leave the lid open) I have found the cats sitting on top of the tank even though I’ve never found them sitting on top of the guinea pigs cage. It’s just too risky in my opinion to introduce the cats to the gerbils even supervised
Yes I feel exactly the same, you can notice the difference in behaviour around one animal and another. The way your cats sit and watch the gerbils sets off alarm bells where as they act completely differently around your guinea pigs.

My cats are slightly different they do sit and watch me/ Gps when I have them at lap time, and often want to stare at them given the chance. And that tells me enough. They see the Gps as prey. Where as yours don’t. How interesting, I wonder why that is, is it learned? From watching you and having been kittens around the GPS, Would they act the same in nature if they had grown up with a family of Guinea Pigs? Nature vs nuture is a very interesting debate we don’t know a lot about really..

I wonder if this is to do with the fact that’s guinea pigs are bigger then the general small pet like mice, hamsters and gerbils. Which fit the usual prey for cats. But then again people’s cats do kill guinea pigs, so it’s a toss up between nature and nurture at that point too..

Does it worry you then when you see other people allowing their small pets to sit with or on cats and dogs? Knowing how your cats watch your gerbils? Or do you just have to have faith that the owner knows what they are doing like you and your cats/Guinea pig situation?

I find the whole ideal of a prey/predator meeting and not acting out those roles pretty interesting.


Good thread.
In nature generally animals don't mix. Food chain being main reason . . you do get the odd bond but it's rare.
Some of you may seen or heard about a Magpie called Mike lives in village and is fast becoming a very big star. 1million hits on you tube and papers tv.
He was found left for dead . couple took him in and he with the love of them and their DOG he's now a celebrity. Sits on yer head arm etc.
Now thats weird bird and dog and human.
Nothing to stop Mike from flying away and it's very strange to see him with comfort around humans.
Hope his trust in humans is not broken. let's be honest if humans don't get along how can one expect so call lower intelligent creatures to do so.
Course I love piggies and my mates think I'm nuts. x
Yes I find animals who create close bonds with animals of a different species very interesting too!
I guess in the same way we have close bonds with our pets and we can’t say ‘well it’s wrong for a human and a dog to become friends, they’re just animals, we don’t know they won’t hurt each other because of their instincts’ the same way we do about other animals, is that what makes us different from other animals?

Yet it’s documented through the world, horses who befriend Goats, Orcas saving Seels, Dolphins saving humans from Sharks.
Even our own cats which sit on our knees and some people have Rabbits living with Guinea Pigs,
None of us speak the same language and don’t have the same Predator/prey subgroups but we still live side by side safely...
How wonderful is the world 🌍
 

Claire W

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Yes I feel exactly the same, you can notice the difference in behaviour around one animal and another. The way your cats sit and watch the gerbils sets off alarm bells where as they act completely differently around your guinea pigs.

My cats are slightly different they do sit and watch me/ Gps when I have them at lap time, and often want to stare at them given the chance. And that tells me enough. They see the Gps as prey. Where as yours don’t. How interesting, I wonder why that is, is it learned? From watching you and having been kittens around the GPS, Would they act the same in nature if they had grown up with a family of Guinea Pigs? Nature vs nuture is a very interesting debate we don’t know a lot about really..

I wonder if this is to do with the fact that’s guinea pigs are bigger then the general small pet like mice, hamsters and gerbils. Which fit the usual prey for cats. But then again people’s cats do kill guinea pigs, so it’s a toss up between nature and nurture at that point too..

Does it worry you then when you see other people allowing their small pets to sit with or on cats and dogs? Knowing how your cats watch your gerbils? Or do you just have to have faith that the owner knows what they are doing like you and your cats/Guinea pig situation?

I find the whole ideal of a prey/predator meeting and not acting out those roles pretty interesting.




Yes I find animals who create close bonds with animals of a different species very interesting too!
I guess in the same way we have close bonds with our pets and we can’t say ‘well it’s wrong for a human and a dog to become friends, they’re just animals, we don’t know they won’t hurt each other because of their instincts’ the same way we do about other animals, is that what makes us different from other animals?

Yet it’s documented through the world, horses who befriend Goats, Orcas saving Seels, Dolphins saving humans from Sharks.
Even our own cats which sit on our knees and some people have Rabbits living with Guinea Pigs,
None of us speak the same language and don’t have the same Predator/prey subgroups but we still live side by side safely...
How wonderful is the world 🌍
To be honest I see a lot on Facebook where people have their hamsters, mice . Rats and gerbils sat with their cats and it send my heart in to mouth as it only takes one split second for a dog or a cat to snap and then their hamster, mouse, rat or gerbil is gone. It certainly isn’t that I would tempt fete at but I guess that’s just me?
 

Eriathwen

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I dont let my snakes meet any of the other animals for obvious reasons, the cat is never allowed in the animal room. I keep everyone striclty apart, mainly because I can as they live in their own room.

I will admit however when looking after my friends rabbit that I allowed my cat to sit next to his cage to keep him company as he seemed to love the attention, binkying all over the place (the cat was less impressed but curious all the same) I didnt ever leave them unsupervised.
The way I see it is that they're animals and they're unpredictable. I will interact with other species as it's my choice and I understand the consequences, if I decide to stroke a shark and lose my hand, its my own fault XD but my pets lives are not mine to risk, I dont own them in that respect, so it is not a gamble that is mine to take.
Thats not to say I judge others who do differently, to each their own. But it isnt something I would encourage as ive seen so many people lose their pets from an accident with and animal who they believed would never be capable of harm. Sometimes they don't even mean to cause harm at all, they're just bigger and stronger. There was a case of a Husky killing a baby just because she picked him up to carry him somewhere else like she would a puppy, only baby humans cant be carried like a puppy..neither can a guinea pig. A playful scratch from a cat can turn into a nasty infection, especially if not noticed etc.
 

TheLottiediarys

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I dont let my snakes meet any of the other animals for obvious reasons, the cat is never allowed in the animal room. I keep everyone striclty apart, mainly because I can as they live in their own room.

I will admit however when looking after my friends rabbit that I allowed my cat to sit next to his cage to keep him company as he seemed to love the attention, binkying all over the place (the cat was less impressed but curious all the same) I didnt ever leave them unsupervised.
The way I see it is that they're animals and they're unpredictable. I will interact with other species as it's my choice and I understand the consequences, if I decide to stroke a shark and lose my hand, its my own fault XD but my pets lives are not mine to risk, I dont own them in that respect, so it is not a gamble that is mine to take.
Thats not to say I judge others who do differently, to each their own. But it isnt something I would encourage as ive seen so many people lose their pets from an accident with and animal who they believed would never be capable of harm. Sometimes they don't even mean to cause harm at all, they're just bigger and stronger. There was a case of a Husky killing a baby just because she picked him up to carry him somewhere else like she would a puppy, only baby humans cant be carried like a puppy..neither can a guinea pig. A playful scratch from a cat can turn into a nasty infection, especially if not noticed etc.
I wasn’t sure how I make sure I came across as not bashing other people’s decions to let their pets meet! So thank you for summing it up so eloquently ☺
But I agree it makes me so nervous,
Sometimes it feels like one of those ‘Photo captures moment before tragedy’ situations.
But should we as caretakers of these animals allow them to be put into such potentionally dangerous situations?
Is that reckless of us as owners?
To allow situations like that to occur since as you say, we as humans choose to put ourselves in danger when we interact with a species that could harm us,
Where as our pets have no choice as we have literally put them in that situation?

I guess what I hope to gain from this thread as a whole is a discussion, which has raised some really good points,
But also to get people to think about the situations they allow their animals to be in, in some cases for something as a trivial as a photo,
And whether we are letting down our animals by doing this.

Yes, you may know your animal better then we do, but we also know how animals react as a whole, their instincts and what the danger’s to them are.
Is it logical to worry about whether this/that plant is safe to eat, only to then place them on a dogs nose for a photograph? Is that not as dangerous as giving them an unknown plant?

And how do we know that these situations don’t scare our animals? Being small prey animals that hide their illnesses so well, they freeze in situations and sometimes just don’t know that the situation could be dangerous like we can for them?

Maybe it’s just important to get people thinking more about the needs of their pets
 
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