Can a Cat and Chinchilla Live Together Peacefully?

Ways to Determine Pet Compatibility

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If you have a cat and you are looking at getting a pet chinchilla, you might want to determine whether you want to disrupt the equilibrium in the house. Chinchillas are rodents and cats are natural predators of most rodents.

That said, that does not mean that your cat will revert to its wildcat state. As with pretty much any other pets (even of the same species), determining the compatibility of two pets depends on the particular personalities of the two pets. Two animals of any species, if raised together, may grow up or acclimate to living together.

if you think the two would be a good fit, you can always try to see if the two mesh on a trial basis. But, it is important to have a contingency plan if things do not pan out and your cohabitation experiment fails.

What Are Chinchillas?

Chinchillas originate from mountainous regions of northern Chile, where they live in large groups of up to 100 in a group. As social creatures, they crave company, but usually of their own species. Another issue that affects compatibility is that chinchillas are nocturnal creatures, so they need peace and quiet during daylight hours. 

Assessing Personalities

A cat and a chinchilla can coexist peacefully in the same household under certain circumstances. If you already have a cat, you must carefully consider the personality of the cat. Many people do have cats and chinchillas, but those owners will tell you that the relationship works best with mellow cats that do not care much about the chinchilla.

If your cat is more laid back or mellow, and it does not care much for hunting, then you have a much better chance of the cat ignoring the chinchilla. If the cat ignores the chinchilla then it will likely get used to the cat's presence and not be overly stressed.

On the contrary, if your cat is an active hunter, then adding a chinchilla to the mix may not work out well. Even when the chinchilla is in its cage, a determined cat could terrorize a chinchilla by reaching through the cage bars or staring down the chinchilla. A cat that likes to hunt is likely to consider your chinchilla fair prey.

Careful Observation

The first few days are very telling. You should closely supervise a cat around a chinchilla cage (or the cage of any rodent) for the first few days until you feel confident that the cat has no interest in the chinchilla. You want to feel secure knowing that that cat will not go after the chinchilla.

When the chinchilla has free time out of the cage, the cat should be put in another room or restrained. And, even with the mellowest of cats, never leave a chinchilla out of the cage unsupervised with a cat.

Of course, if you have the space and time, you can make a hunting cat and docile chinchilla live together by always keeping the chinchilla and cat separated. Obviously, this requires a lot more care and juggling of pets' needs.