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My experiences with cats and turtles / tortoises

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
The majority of my life I've also taken care of turtles and tortoises. I just thought I'd throw this info out there to anyone thinking of getting one who also has a cat.

I had a small russian tortoise named Steve for a while, during which time, my girlfriend had two cats (brother and sister) aptly named Wednesday and Pugsley. The scary thing is that I thought of the name, and they ended up adhering to not only the personalities, but wednesday was very skinny and pugsley turned into a rather large pudgy cat...

They both at one point or another found their way into Steve's aquarium. Russian tortoises aren't water based, but its easier to keep them in an aquarium than something like a hamster cage.

Believe it or not, but apparently a tortoise (and I'd assume a typical turtle as well) can hold their own fairly well against a cat in the event of an attack.. One of them was lightly playing with him one day, and he got ahold of them pretty good. After that I believe the cats and Steve formed a mutual agreement to not bother each other.

Although one thing I found very funny... I have a lot of computer equipment in my apartment, so I keep the temperature pretty cold. Steve had a high watt heat lamp in his aquarium, and occasionally, I'd walk into the living room and both cats, as well as Steve would all be laid out in the aquarium basking in the heat lamp...
post #2 of 6
for MANY MANY reasons it is best to keep the reptiles and cats away from one another... FYI Aquariums ARE NOT good for torts
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
mine never had any complications with each other.

And in theory, captivity in itself isn't exactly good for torts. But, if you're going to keep one as a pet like I did, an aquarium is generally only bad for them because the owner knows nothing about them.

Sand, cedar chips, gravel, etc.. all of it bad. The only good thing for the bottom of any container for a turtle or tortoise is newspaper that you must change out regularly. Temperatures are very important, hence the reasons for my heat lamp, and the reason he was even in a spot that the cats could get to him was because they also need to get direct sunlight, which was only possible form the bay window in my apt. They use it kind of like we use calcium. Tortoises are herbs only, so as long as you've got fresh mixed veggies and a few fruits they're good on food. A form of shelter is necessary as well. A hand towel can actually work good because it gives them the ability to change it as they see fit, and you can always change it out or wash it periodically. And when hibernation time comes, keep the temperature the same, but move them somewhere away from the sunlight and change out the newspaper as little as possible to not disturb them.

With the exception of giving them free range of your apartment, and attempting to clean up their droppings whenever you might happen across them, thats about the best you can do for an indoor tortoise. If you have a fenced in yard, then yeah... thats kind of a no-brainer, but... I don't have that luxury..
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
although when I mention that mine got along together, thats merely based on interactions... you are right that its best they be separated, if nothing else than because of disease...

They usually don't make adults sick, but they do have salmonella that can be dangerous to smaller children and of course, other pets. You should still wash your hands after handling them though, regardless of age... lol
post #5 of 6
A lot of things wrong in what you listed as care....

Originally Posted by finchx6 View Post
But, if you're going to keep one as a pet like I did, an aquarium is generally only bad for them because the owner knows nothing about them.
Aquarium = NO AIRFLOW and clear sides. These animals can get sick and very stressed out from such an environment.

Your tortoise is getting NO UVB through a window. Glass filters almost all of it out, more than likely your bay window may even be special glass made to block UBV all together (supposedly more energy efficient?). All you are doing is adding a potentially deadly uncontrollable source of heat.
And this "They use it kind of like we use calcium."
No they don't. They use calcium just like we use calcium. And UVB to get vitamin D3 just like we use UVB to get D3.

...towels can easily snag on claws, ingested strings can lead to impaction.

And another particularity disturbing thing, heat lamp + cats. I can't remember if it was around the time I first joined or just before, but there was a story on here about a fire started from cats knocking over a normal lamp (does anyone else remember that?). The incandescent heat bulbs used for reptiles get much hotter then a normal house bulb.

To put it bluntly, if the care you mentioned is what you follow - it is severely lacking. For the sake of your tortoise's life you must do more research.

As for mixing pets... it's best not to. Even though an adult tortoise can defend itself -with shell and by biting, it's not worth stressing the animal out. Cats should never be allowed near young turtles and tortoise as they can kill them.
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Wow, its nice to be so insulted. And just to put your mind at ease, my tortoise was put in the care of a co-worker who has many tortoises and has the ability to let them live outside in his back yard.

Would it change your tone at all to know that my lamp was a UVB bulb and I also had a 5 inch tall black velvet cloth around the bottom of the aquarium? On the outside of course. I typically wouldn't have to add that, but seeing as how I'm getting attacked for everything else...

Putting it in the window was an attempt to get more natural sunlight to it, however as you pointed out, it really wasn't helpful at all.

And UV lighting helps them create calcium as well as D3. D3 is what lets their bodies use calcium. And at least I went that route as opposed to some tortoise owners trying to give supplements of D3 which can easily become toxic at the wrong levels.

And I hope for the sake of other members you aren't always this rude.
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