Can Chinchillas and Cats Live Together?

ginger cat

Many pet owners have been there. You already have a pet and now you want to introduce another animal to your household. How is that going to work?

In this post, we are going to cover cats and chinchillas. These may seem like common household pets that should get along. And sometimes, these creatures can coexist peacefully.

But, unfortunately, cats are natural predators and chinchillas are natural prey. So this relationship doesn’t always work perfectly.

Before you panic, read on. By the end of the post, we hope you learn more about how to help your cat and chinchilla coexist.

Chinchillas vs Cats

Before we go any further, let’s look at a few similarities and differences between cats and chinchillas.

Domestic cats and chinchillas don’t have many similarities. They are both:

Unfortunately, these similarities are not enough for these creatures to bond. Cats and chinchillas are ultimately very different animals. In the wild, these creatures wouldn’t coexist peacefully.

Now that we know the main similarities, let’s look at the differences between these creatures.

Although we are only listing three differences, these are very important differences:

  • Chinchillas are rodents and cats are felids.
  • Chinchillas are prey and cats are predators
  • They have different nutritional requirements

These differences make it challenging for cats and chinchillas to live together. But, keep reading for tips about how to help cats and chinchillas coexist.

Can Cats and Chinchillas Live Together?

Since chinchillas are prey and cats are predators, it seems unlikely that these creatures can live together.

But, with patience, it is possible to create an environment for these pets to coexist. Just know, these creatures will never be “friends.” And you always need to observe these pets when they are playing together.

So, how can cats and chinchillas live together?

Most importantly, the relationship depends on each creature’s individual personality. If you already own a cat and are considering introducing a chinchilla to your household, spend some time thinking about your cat’s personality.

If you have a calm cat, it will be easier to introduce a chinchilla to the household. But, if your cat is an aggressive hunter, it might be challenging to create a peaceful household for the pets.

As we discussed earlier, cats have a natural hunting instinct. And rodents (including chinchillas) are common prey for cats.

Also, chinchillas are easily stressed. If they live in a stressful environment (like living with a predator) they can become anxious. Anxiety can cause chinchillas to stop eating and drinking. This could lead to more serious and fatal health problems for your chinchilla.

But if you are determined to own a cat and a chinchilla, there are a few tricks to help these creatures coexist peacefully.

What Can You Do?

If you want to own a cat and a chinchilla, there are ways to help these creatures coexist peacefully.

Remember, you should never let your chinchilla out of its cage with an unsupervised cat. This could create a bad situation. Your cat could start hunting or terrorizing the chinchilla. Or, your chinchilla might hide and become difficult to track down.

 So, if you are going to introduce these creatures, follow these steps:

  1. Give the creatures time to acclimate to each other. Leave your chinchilla in its cage, and let your cat have plenty of time to get used to the smell. You should always supervise your cat, even while the chinchilla is in its cage. Your cat can still terrorize the chinchilla by staying too close to the cage or hissing at the chinchilla.
  2. Have supervised play time. Play with your chinchilla in the presence of your cat. This will show your cat that the chinchilla is yours. Hopefully, this shows your cat that the chinchilla is important to you (so they will be less likely to attack the chinchilla).
  3. Give them space. Ultimately, your chinchilla needs space from the cat. After they are acclimated, it is possible that these creatures can coexist. But cats are still predators and their hunting instinct can kick in at any time. So, your chinchilla might feel too stressed in the presence of the cat. Try keeping the chinchilla cage in a room that your cat can’t access.
  4. ALWAYS watch your cat. This point can’t be stressed enough. Even if your cat and chinchilla start coexisting peacefully, never let your cat and chinchilla play together unsupervised. Cats are hunters and their instincts can kick in at any time. You should always observe their play time to make sure your cat is not hurting your chinchilla.

Unfortunately, cats and chinchillas are not great companions. These creatures are naturally not meant to bond. So, don’t expect your pet cat and chinchilla to get along like best friends.

Ultimately, you should hope for these creatures to coexist peacefully. Really, the best case scenario is for your cat to ignore your chinchilla. This will reduce your chinchilla’s stress level and create an environment where these creatures can live together.

And remember, your pets’ personalities affect their relationships. It is hard to predict how every cat and every chinchilla will coexist. But once you know their personalities, you will have a better understanding of how much time these creatures could spend together.

Final Thoughts

So, cats and chinchillas can coexist. But sadly, these creatures won’t become friends.

Cats are predators and chinchillas are prey. It is difficult (if not impossible) to overcome these natural instincts.

Remember, if you want a cat and a chinchilla to live together, you need to strongly supervise your cat. Never let your chinchilla out of its cage with an unsupervised cat.

It is best to separate these creatures as much as possible. That way, your chinchilla won’t be anxious about living with a predator.

Do you own both a cat and a chinchilla? How did you create an environment for these creatures to coexist? Share your story in the comments below!

11 thoughts on “Can Chinchillas and Cats Live Together?”

    • If the door is fully closed and your cat can’t get to your chinchilla then it should be OK. Not an ideal situation though.

  1. My chinchilla gets a little irritated by my new kitty, but she knows not to push her too far cause she knows if she paws at the cage too much my chin will bite her toes LOL. Today I caught my cat sleeping right next to my chins cage as she slept as well❤️

  2. I want to share my very new experience on this matter.
    So, I have a chinchilla named Samara, she will be 5 years old in june, I adopted her in november 2016.
    This year in april, I adopetd a cat, he was born on february 7, so he will be 4 months old next month.
    I named him Keanu (guess why haha)
    So, my idea was like he´s a baby he would adapt easily to my Samara. And they would be company for each other, so my Samara won’t be alone when I’m at work and in class (I live alone, with my pets now).
    That was my idea, when I adopted him.
    I bring him home and I thought like it was too soon to got them together, so I didn’t do much earlier, except let them be, she on her cage and he running around.
    She is very peaceful and he is very active (because he is still a baby, right?)
    Sammi is on her cage mostly, but she have 2 to 3 hours out at night, by that time I got Keanu in the bathroom because is the only place in my department with a door, a slider one(my department is not big, actually is small – but I have space – and I have no doors between kitchen and living room, my dorm is upstairs and no doors either) but eventually he learned how to open.
    I decided, now is time to do something.
    So, when is time to Sammi go out I get Keanu at my lap with a harness to hold him. It’s been 3 days since I started it.
    It is difficult, he have the instinct, it shows, sometimes he even start shivering. But he is mostly relaxed when Samara run freely.
    Yesterday Samara got up to the couch where Iwas with Keanu at my lap. They both got very relaxed, Keanu fell asleep.
    After a long while, Sammi smelled his tail and started barking, and ran to her cage.
    Today will be day 4 with this kind of “training”.
    I’m pretty happy because they are starting to get use to each other.
    I have a friend that for at least 10 years had a cat, a parrot and a bunny on her house, and they even got asleep together.
    I have hope.
    sorry for my English,Spanish is my mother language, I’m trying my best.
    Greetings from Ururguay.

    • Hello Vanessa,

      Thank you for your post, I think since your cat is a kitten you can definitely get them used to each other, if it was the other way around it may be more of a challenge. Just take one day at a time as you are, it sounds like things are going well so far.

      Let me know how you get on. And don’t worry about your English it is fine : )



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