|Originally posted by valanhb
I don't have any experience at all with birds, but I've been thinking about this for you Jenn. Does Socks have a real strong prey instinct? Sorry I don't remember, but has she been indoors all her life? How does she react to birds outside of the window?
Going on "kitty logic", I would think that if she attacks anything that moves, spent time fending for herself outside, or goes NUTS about birds or squirrels outside the window then getting a bird may not be a good thing. I would just really watch her behaviour concentrating on looking for her prey instincts and how she reacts to similar stimuli. Does she learn limits pretty well? Some kitties do and some don't, but if she listens well and has a pleasing nature (wants to please Mommy, doesn't like to be scolded) then teaching her that the bird is off limits wouldn't be as difficult as training one who is constantly pushing the boundaries.
If you do decide to get a bird, try to make the transition as smooth and cautiously as possible. Play some CDs of bird calls so Socks gets used to hearing it and isn't constantly looking for the source of the noise. Hang the empty cage where it will be so she gets used to something being there. These will also be a good way for you to judge what her reaction will be. If she's curious but leaves it alone (either the sound or the cage) after a couple minutes, she will probably be OK.
Thanks for those points.
Socks has been indoors all her life. She does look at birds out the window, but she doesn't try to "catch" them through the glass like I have seen some cats do. We looked after a friend's finches once, and she was curious for the first twenty minutes or so, but a catnip mouse proved more interesting. But we only had those birds for three days, so I don't know how she would act with a 'permanent' bird.
She was always fine when we had pet hamsters, and they lived on cages on the floor. The only time she showed interest in them was when they got little pieces of cheese to eat, and other than that she much prefered the rodents of the catnip variety.
Socks hardly ever goes downstairs, so I was thinking of putting the bird down there. I'm down there a lot. I don't think she would be able to hear the bird through the floor.
The suggestion about the bird calls on CD is really great. I'll be sure to get one of those, and see how she reacts.
Again, thank you all for your input. I don't know what I would ever do without you!