Primal Instincts: Cat vs. Pet Fish

Hi everyone,

Today’s guest post comes from our friend Libby from Cat Nap Chronicles.

Primal Instincts: Cat vs. Pet Fish

Predator Pet
Your beloved house cat is a predator at heart. That is right, the secret is out. The common house cat was bred down into the species we know today, they were predators that ruled the forests, mountains, and open land. The house cat may appear to be nothing like wild cats, but the instinct to hunt is still in their DNA. We simply give it the name play rather than hunt.


In the beginning
At the beginning the appearance of the cat pawing at a glass aquarium occupied by shiny fish, may appear cute and adorable, but over a period of time this curiosity will grow, and result in the cat’s desire to be touch the fish, or attempt to remove it from its watery home. It is wise to make sure the cat knows not to be near the aquarium. Basically, prevent the action before it has a chance to develop into something more.

No Fish for Dinner
When you see your cat staring at that shiny fish tracking from one side of the tank, then it is wise to make sure they cat is aware that it is not allowed to watch the fish. This will lead from watching to touching. Some cats are able to reach the tank without much trouble, and this creates a bigger problem due to the cat’s natural curiosity and determination.


Placement is key
When you see the cat develop that curiosity, you can make it more difficult for the cat to reach the tank, or the fish. This can be done through placing the tank on a higher level that is unreachable by the cat, even if the cat were to attempt to jump. Another option is to use a type of tank that does not reflect the fish, as well as using a background in the tank that allows the fish to properly blend, like camouflage.

Maintain proper care
During the moments that you are forced to relocate the fish tank, and fish, as well as preparing each to remain off the cat’s radar, you should make sure the fish is not completely removed from the environment that is your house. The fish likes the interaction just as the cat does, and each are unique with their own traits, however one is naturally a prey animal, and the other is a predator. You should allow the fish to remain in a good location that is suitable for both providing the fish with the interaction it desires, while being sure the cat is unable to succeed in fishing for its next meal.
Let us take a moment and consider where this common house cat dates back to. Their ancestry, which is directly linked to the wild cats were become so familiar with through documentaries, zoos, or simply the opportunities to work one on one with different species of big cat. Upon close examination, you see a great deal similar between your common house cat, and the big cats wandering the wild. Their natural curiosity, the way they stalk their prey, whether that be their toys or their next meal. You can also see their similarities in their eyes and a desire to find the high places and watch the activity from above.

The cat is a wonderful creature, and extremely smart, but also powerful. This goes for your common house cat as well. Their claws can be just as deadly when not trimmed or maintained, as well as their sharp teeth, but make sure to think twice before declawing. Granted we see them play and think nothing of it, but the moment they need to turn on that instinct, or see something that pulls their curiosity, we witness the inner wild cat come to view.

To properly prevent your cat from claiming the fish for itself, you must understand how the cat is capable of reaching the fish, and then work against them to keep the two from meeting. Some additional options aside from what was mentioned above, are to keep all shelves away from the aquarium, as well as placing a top over the aquarium with a strong latch to keep the cat from having the ability to lift or remove the top.

Author Bio: Libby is a self-proclaimed crazy cat lady. She enjoys reading a book with her kitty, King Henry, and writing for Cat Nap Chronicles.

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29 thoughts on “Primal Instincts: Cat vs. Pet Fish

  1. helentastic67 says:

    I have a better suggestion? Don’t have fish, don’t have housemates with fish! Seriously, crazy-cat ladies get a bad wrap but the housemates I’ve had with fish be crazy! No, I can’t use that bucket! No! That pump might be noisy but it’s got to be on!!! Do I needs go on? Just No!

  2. franhunne4u says:

    I am sorry, but the advice is a little fleshless … any specific examples would be welcome (not that I have fish, I have two cats and a few non-pet spiders).

  3. Sheila Moss says:

    I’ve had cats co-exist with other prey animal pets, such as birds, hamsters. As suggested, you just make sure they cannot come into contact with each other. If something bad happens, it is your fault not the cat’s who is only following its natural instincts.

  4. Amber Young says:

    I saw an aquarium from a cat product expo that was essentially cat-proof. Even if the cat knocks it over, it won’t leak or shatter. However, I can’t find it again for the life of me! I want one!

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