If you’re an animal lover, the chances are that you’ll have more than one pet. For example, although it’s common to ask whether someone is a ‘cat person’ or a ‘dog person’, many pet owners keep both under their roof – and will have spent an anxious few weeks trying to get the two to befriend each other! Fish are popular pets because they’re comparatively low maintenance. There’s no need to walk or train a fish; you just need to feed them and clean the tank every so often. Aquariums can also brighten up a room considerably, and these factors mean that keeping fish is appealing to those who can never have enough pets. However, cats and fish don’t mix well. If you’re wondering how to keep your feline away from their watery siblings, read on.
The simplest answer is to train your cats not to get too close to your fish tank, but this may only be effective when they’re kittens. In much the same way that you would teach a new kitten not to scratch valuable furniture or jump up onto the table to steal your food, you can also discipline them when they show a little too much interest in your fish. If your kitty’s already grown up, there are still some steps that you can take. Try keeping a water pistol nearby and giving your adult cat a squirt in the face. They’ll hate it, and whilst it may seem mean, it’s for their own good – cats can quite easily drown by falling into larger tanks.
Abandon Open-Top Aquariums
Many fish owners are fans of open-top aquariums, both for the look and the ease of use – for obvious reasons, it’s simpler to feed your fish if you don’t have to open the tank’s top. However, this also means you cat will enjoy easier access to those colorful, tasty-looking fish, presenting you with a problem. If you don’t think that you can rely on training to keep kitty away from their intended dinner, consider buying a covered tank. You can also improvise by making your own top from wood or some other material which is heavy enough to prevent access.
Take Away Access
Your aquarium is probably off the ground, up on a ledge or table. How would your cat reach the tank to inspect it? Chances are that they’d have to jump or climb to it via a few flat surfaces. A very easy and low-maintenance way to discourage them from approaching it is to cover these surfaces with cat-repellent material. For example, many cats hate walking on aluminum foil, and virtually all of them will steer clear of sticky tape. You should be able to improvise a solution, but it will take some trial and error.
Paul Sykes is a cat owner who’s currently reviewing Swallow Aquatics’ range of fish tank ornaments. He lives in Brighton, UK.