cat and pet reptile getting along

Are you a cat parent who wants to venture into the wonderful world of reptiles? Thankfully, that is completely possible! Cats and reptiles can easily coexist, and some have even been known to form positive relationships.

Whenever you add a new pet to your family, your number-one priority should be making sure both your old and new animals are safe and happy. So before you adopt a beautiful lizard or snake and rush home to introduce your cat to their new scaly sibling, there are a few key factors to consider!

Have a Cat? Want a Reptile? Think About These 5 Things First

1. What is your cat’s personality?

The personality of your cat will change how they interact with your new reptile. Cats that are more laid back and uninterested will be more likely to leave your reptile alone. If your cat has a more curious, playful demeanor and frequently plays with smaller animals or toys, it will be more likely to interact with the reptile. While interaction between the two isn’t always negative, it can be very dangerous — especially for smaller reptiles. 

While it is possible to keep both cats and reptiles regardless of their personalities, it will change the setup and interactions within your home. Knowing your cat’s personality beforehand can help you get things ready to bring home your new reptile. 

2. Do you have the right space in your home?

If your cat is highly interested in your reptile or they don’t get along, they may need to be housed in separate areas. Having a cat close by can stress your reptile, and cats can even knock over or damage their enclosure. Having your reptile’s enclosure out of reach of your cat will reduce the stress on your pet and ensure that your cat won’t do any damage to the enclosure.

Make sure before bringing your new reptile home that you have a place that is out of reach of your cat. If your pets really don’t get along, they may need to be kept in separate rooms with a door that fully closes. This will ensure both the cat and reptile are safe

3. What kind of reptile do you want?

The species of reptile you are considering will affect their interactions with your cat. Larger lizard species, like Bearded Dragons, are known to be docile and easygoing enough that they can form friendships with cats. Smaller lizards will not form the same relationships, and can even be killed and eaten by your cat.

If you are considering getting a pet snake, it is unlikely that your cat will ever be friends with them. Snakes view cats as large predators, and the fast movements of snakes make them a tempting prey item for cats. Your snake will likely always need to be kept separate from your cat. 

4. Do you have a safe, escape-proof enclosure?

Before you bring home a new reptile, you need to make sure that its cage is secure. If your reptile somehow escapes its enclosure, having a cat nearby can be a major danger. While your cat will likely be fine, your reptile could be hurt or even killed.

Ensure that your enclosure has latches and a lid with no gaps or spaces that a small animal can escape from. Snakes are especially adept escape artists, and even the smallest crevices can be a possible escape route. Cage clips and specialized latches can help keep your enclosure secure. 

5. Does your cat go outdoors?

If your cat frequently spends lots of time outdoors,  this can impact your pet reptile. Your cat may be used to catching lizards and snakes outside, making them more likely to view your new pet as a prey item. This may make your kitty more interested and aggressive toward your reptile.

While it’s unlikely, there’s also the risk that your cat may carry dead wild reptiles into your home that harbor a disease your pet reptile can catch. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Cats and Lizards

Do cats like lizards?

Yes, cats usually like lizards, but not always in the ways you would hope for! Cats are predators that frequently see small lizards as prey items. Because of this, you may see your cat displaying a lot of interest in your new lizard. Your cat may “like” your lizard — as an exciting toy!

Larger lizards, like Bearded Dragons, usually get along better with cats and some have even been known to form close friendships. One good way to build positive associations between your cat and your lizard is to be generous with your cat’s favorite treats! Reward your kitty with delicious treats whenever they are behaving calmly around your reptile, and your cat will soon realize that good things happen when your new lizard is around.

Why do cats chase lizards?

Cats like to chase lizards because they trigger predatory instincts. Your kitty may not see much difference between a fast-moving toy and your fast-moving lizard. Outdoor cats frequently hunt and kill small wild lizards, like anoles. Because of this powerful prey drive, you should always keep your small lizard and your cats separate.

Will my cat really eat my pet lizard?

Don’t be fooled into thinking that your normally lazy feline would never hurt your new pet. If your lizard is small enough and your cat does get a hold of it, there is always the chance that your kitty will literally eat your new pet. After all, even spoiled housecats are carnivores and hunters at heart!

Larger lizards are less likely to be eaten by your cat, although cat bites and scratches can still cause serious injury. Because of this, your lizard and cat should never be left alone together — no matter how chill they may seem!

 

Taking the proper precautions when introducing a new reptile into your home makes all the difference. If you research your options and prioritize the safety of your animals, you will set yourself up for success.  

Before bringing home a lizard or snake, make sure you have a secure enclosure and ample space to keep both pets separate if necessary. These precautions can make sure both animals remain not only safe but also stress-free in your home. You should also think about what personality your cat has, if they are an indoor or outdoor cat, and what kind of reptile you are wanting. The answer to these questions will significantly change the interactions between your pets. 

Once you’ve considered your options and made preparations, enjoy welcoming a new scaly friend into your home!