Cat saliva can be toxic to bearded dragons, especially smaller and younger dragons. While cat saliva may not necessarily be life-threatening on its own, the bacteria can cause infections.
Letting the two animals interact is highly controversial in the reptile community.
Some owners claim to have no issues letting the two intermingle, while others claim that the interaction is lethal. Few go as far as to say it’s animal abuse.
Feeling undecided on this topic? Read on for more information on how cat saliva can hurt your dragon and the pros and cons of letting these two animals intermingle.
Why cat saliva can hurt your dragon?
As previously mentioned, cat saliva can be toxic to your bearded dragons by causing an infection that often becomes fatal. The likelihood of this happening depends on the severity of the situation.
Furthermore, if your cat bites your bearded dragon, this interaction alone could quickly cause a bacterial infection.
Cats carry high amounts of bacteria content in their saliva and could actually kill many small animals, especially reptiles like bearded dragons.
Bearded dragons don’t have the best immune systems and are prone to infections and parasites. Any cat saliva entering your dragon’s body is almost certain to be detrimental.
Important note: bearded dragons are also considered mildly venomous, and while they’re harmless to humans and bigger animals, their venom could potentially kill a small animal, including a kitten.
How to prevent cat saliva from hurting your bearded dragon?
First and foremost, the best way to avoid cat saliva from hurting your bearded dragon is to completely separate them.
Unfortunately, sometimes accidents happen. Therefore, if your cat were to get saliva on your dragon or your dragon were to ingest it, contact your vet right away.
Wash off any saliva that remains on your dragon, and keep an eye on their behavior as you and your vet decide what steps to take.
Reasons why they may still get along
Bearded dragons are laid back
Most bearded dragons aren’t rambunctious and difficult to manage. Therefore, you likely won’t have to worry too much about your dragon picking on your cat or trying to play with them.
They’ll likely prefer to hang out with you without running around and causing problems. This will result in your cat being less interested in the other pet in the room.
Young cats can be more open to the new interaction
If you introduce a kitten to a bearded dragon, they will be more likely to enjoy or tolerate your bearded dragon’s company.
This is a common strategy for most pet owners when introducing new pets to each other.
This is because your cat’s young brain can develop into getting along with an animal they may otherwise see as a predator or prey.
On the other hand, a baby kitten can be overly rambunctious and energetic, stressing your dragon out. During this time, it is essential to keep interactions brief.
Although introducing your cat to your dragon is great when your cat is young, their instinct to hunt can still kick in, and they could still harm your beardie.
If your cat happens to bite your dragon, there is a high likelihood that your bearded dragon could come into contact with or ingest your cat’s saliva.
Cats tend to also be laid back.
Cats tend to be laid-back creatures unless they’re young kittens. This can lead to the two pets being able to exist peacefully within the same room.
On the other hand, cats are also curious creatures. Your cat may want to approach and try and figure out what to do about your bearded dragon.
Fortunately, once they decide that your dragon isn’t going to affect their lives too much, they should lose interest.
They can often exist in the same room without feeling threatened
It’s best to keep the interactions between the two pets at a minimum.
Your dragon shouldn’t be completely free to roam your home as your cat does, nor should your cat be roaming the reptile enclosure. Your cat must also have a place to hide if they want to.
Having separate safe places for both pets can help keep them comfortable and have their own space to escape to and have the freedom to run around.
This is why it’s imperative for your dragon to have its own room.
Once they learn to accept one another and coexist, you won’t have to worry too much about containing one pet in a room.
Unfortunately, you will still need to keep an eye on them at all times so that your cat doesn’t come into physical contact with your cat.
Reasons why they may not get along
Some cats are too energetic
Playful cats can be too rough and get too excited. This can lead to horrible injuries for your bearded dragon and could potentially even kill them.
Remember, cats tend to play rough with both of their claws out. While your cat may not intend to hurt your dragon, they could cause some serious injuries.
If you still decide to take your dragon around your rambunctious cat, try and do so while your cat is in its most relaxed state.
Cats generally have times when they sleep excessively, and this would be the perfect time for a brief interaction.
Your beardie may become stressed out.
Another pet might stress out your bearded dragon. This is especially true if you have a rambunctious cat.
Your dragon may see your cat as a potential threat, leading to them always being on their guard and unable to relax.
A cat who tends to be very loud and energetic can be too stressful for your dragon. Too much stress can lead to health issues and sometimes death.
If you notice your dragon’s eating habits change, or their beards and body turn black, you may want to consider keeping your cat and dragon separated.
The stress can lead to illness.
High amounts of stress in your bearded dragon can lead to health problems and even eventual death.
Infections are more likely to happen. Their eating habits may change; they may chew on their tails or small limbs.
Dragons are also highly susceptible to parasites, and any open wounds caused by stress can raise the risk of your dragon getting parasites.
Your dragon may see your cat as a threat.
This could mean that your dragon sees your cat as competition if they’re very territorial.
This is also why it’s recommended that each has its own designated spaces. Your dragon may also see your cat as a threat because they view your cat as a predator.
Signs of passive behavior would be your dragon waving its arms in a circular motion or attempting to run away to hide.
Your cat may also chase your dragon and even bite them, therefore making your dragon stressed out and possibly ingesting the toxic saliva.
Your dragon may become aggressive and start bobbing its heads and puffing its beards. It’s recommended to keep the two separated if your dragon behaves this way. This aggression can also lead to stress and injuries.
If you find that your dragon is upset in any way, remove them from the situation and let them hide in their enclosure until they feel safe again.
This teaches them that they can trust you to remove them from danger and potentially accept being in the same room as your cat as long as you’re with them.
Why you should only let them interact sparingly?
For their safety, they need to be watched at all times
Your cat’s instincts could kick in, meaning that even if the two get along, your cat may one day attack your dragon for no apparent reason.
There’s also the chance your cat leaves your dragon alone because you’re always watching them. Mischievous cats may wait until you turn away to pounce on your dragon.
In addition, your bearded dragon could run off when you least expect it and put itself in danger.
It’s best to keep the interactions short and sweet
The idea here is to allow the two to coexist, not be best friends. This helps to minimize potential accidents. The short interactions can also maintain your dragon’s stress.
The short interactions will also lessen your cat’s curiosity and teach your dragon that they can be in the same room as your cat and still be safe.
Animals can often be unpredictable.
As previously mentioned, your cat may suddenly become aggressive for no apparent reason. They might enter a playable mood and potentially get too rough and injure your beardie.
Many pet owners have found their bearded dragons inside their cats’ mouths. While some dragons have survived the contact with the cat saliva, others have not been as lucky.
Bearded dragons can become easily stressed.
Prolonged exposure to your cat can cause stress in your bearded dragon if they don’t feel completely comfortable. Bearded dragons don’t handle stress well and could easily become very sick.
If your bearded dragon becomes too stressed during every interaction, it may never learn to coexist peacefully with your cat.
It’s important to recognize when your pet could be in a dangerous situation and what you can do to prevent it.
If you want your dragon and cat to get along, let them get used to one another without physically interacting.
The idea here is to get the two used to each other’s presence so that your dragon isn’t subjected to one room.
You’ll want to keep interactions short and sweet when introducing the two to each other to prevent high levels of stress for both animals.
This is, so the two learn to coexist but never physically interact. This way, there’s a low possibility of your cat’s saliva coming into contact with your dragon and making them ill.
Always keep an eye on your pets when they’re in the same room, and if you’re worried about your cat harming your dragon, invest in the proper equipment to cat-proof your dragon’s enclosure.
The best scenario is your dragon having its own room with a cat-proofed enclosure. Giving them the space can help them feel more comfortable and protected.