Is Cat Saliva Toxic to Birds? (4 Prevention Methods Exposed)

Yes, cat saliva is toxic to birds. Cats carry a type of bacteria in their saliva called Pasteurella multocida, which is harmless to cats but can be deadly to birds.

Even if a cat does not bite a bird, the bacteria in its saliva can still enter the bird’s bloodstream through a scratch or a small puncture wound. Once the bacteria enters the bird’s bloodstream, it can cause a serious infection that can lead to death.

When birds and cats are both in the same area, things can be more challenging.

Our article can make you feel better with an in-depth explanation of cat saliva and the risk to birds. We have shared the possible dangers and how to keep birds safe from them.

keep your cat from harming pet birds

What is Cat Saliva?

Cat saliva is a liquid that is produced in the mouths of cats. It is a form of saliva that contains different enzymes and proteins.

Usually, a cat produces about 1.5 ml of saliva per day. The primary purpose of saliva is to moisten food in the mouth and initiate the digestive process.

Saliva also has several other functions, including:

  • Keeping the mouth clean and healthy
  • Protection of the teeth against decay
  • Helping to control the level of acid in the mouth
  • Protecting the gums from infection
  • Aiding in the speech process

Is cat saliva toxic to chickens?

Yes, cat saliva can be toxic to chickens. Cat saliva also contains enzymes that can break down chicken tissue. This means that even if a chicken is not infected with bacteria, it can still die from the trauma of being bitten by a cat.

Is Human Saliva Toxic to Birds?

Yes, human saliva can be toxic to birds. Birds have a different immune system than humans, and they are more susceptible to the bacteria that live in our saliva. Even a small amount of saliva can make a bird sick, and in some cases, it can even be fatal.

Is Human Saliva Toxic to Birds

Bacteria in human saliva that can cause infections in birds:

BacteriaInfections caused
Streptococcus mutansRespiratory infections, eye infections, digestive infections
Staphylococcus aureusRespiratory infections, eye infections, digestive infections, bacterial shock
Escherichia coliRespiratory infections, eye infections, digestive infections
SalmonellaRespiratory infections, eye infections, digestive infections

How Dangerous Is Cat Spit?

Cats are notorious for their hunting instincts. They will chase and kill any small animal they can find, including birds.

There are two ways cats can kill birds: catching them with their paws or spitting at them. The little paws have been known to kill birds. The question is whether they do it out of hunger or just for fun.

They are predators by nature, and they often hunt small animals such as birds. We can see them stalking their prey and then chasing and attacking them.

Again, there are many reasons why cats might want to hunt a bird. But the most common one is that they want to eat it. Birds often have meat on them. So, it’s not hard for a cat to find enough meat in one bird to feed itself.

How Dangerous Is Cat Spit

The sharp incisors help cats easily puncture a bird’s skin. Their saliva is loaded with bacteria, including the deadly Toxoplasma Gondii.

When a cat licks a bird, the bacteria in its saliva can quickly invade the bird’s bloodstream and organs, causing septicemia (blood infection), meningitis (membranes inflammation), or even death.

Besides bacteria in saliva, cats also secrete a glycoprotein called Fel D 1 from their skin and fur. Fel D 1 is a significant allergen causing severe asthma attacks in allergic people.

Likewise, birds also are allergic to Fel d 1. Exposure to the protein can cause them to develop respiratory problems, eye irritation, and other health issues.

Signs of Toxicity in Pet Birds

If you think your cat has come into contact with a bird, it is important to look for signs of toxicity, such as:

  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swollen eyes
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness
  • Seizures
  • Death

Pasteurella multocida is a bacteria found in the saliva of cats that can be deadly to birds. If a cat bites or scratches a bird, the bacteria can enter the bird’s bloodstream and cause a serious infection. 

Learn More: Is incense bad for birds or not?

Prevention Strategies for Protecting Birds & Wild Birds from Cat Saliva Toxicosis

You can follow these below steps to keep your birds safe from cat saliva:

1. Use a Water Bottle:

Take a water bottle and fill it with fresh drinking water. Then, please place it in front of the cat’s mouth before it starts grooming. It will ensure the cat does not lick its face and spit out saliva on the favorite pet bird.

2. Cover the Birdcage:

Cats are curious about their surroundings. So, you should arrange a secure cage or aviary where the cat cannot get inside.

It will give you relief even if you are out of the home. Besides, you can place the cage on a stand tightly or with a sturdy table or ensure the cell is heavy enough.

So, the cat won’t be able to push it. We also suggest you use cage locks or carabiners for additional safety.

3. Use Separate Rooms:

You can keep the pet bird and cat in separate places or rooms. It will prevent the cat from stalking the bird. Also, it will relieve the bird from getting unnecessary stress.

4. Do Not Allow Cats Near Birdcages:

It is better to give the bird its own space. So, you may stop the cat from spending time near the cage. It will clear the thought of the paw about the bird’s area as its territory.

Here are some tips to help keep your cat from harming pet birds:

  • Keep your cat indoors. This is the best way to prevent your cat from coming into contact with chickens.
  • If you have an outdoor cat, make sure it is spayed or neutered. This will help reduce its hunting instinct.
  • Provide your cat with plenty of toys and activities to keep it entertained. This will help reduce its boredom and the urge to hunt.
  • If you see your cat chasing or catching birds or chickens, intervene immediately.
  • Keep your cat’s nails trimmed short. This will help to prevent them from scratching or biting your bird.

What we should do to keep birds safe from human saliva:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before and after handling your bird.
  • Avoid kissing your bird.
  • Do not share food or drinks with your bird.
  • Do not let your bird lick your face.
  • Supervise your bird closely when it is around other people.


Can a bird survive being in a cat’s mouth?

No, a bird is unlikely to survive being in a cat’s mouth for long.

Can birds eat saliva?

No, birds cannot eat saliva. Their digestive systems are not designed to break down the proteins and enzymes found in saliva. If a bird ingests saliva, it is likely to vomit or have diarrhea.

Is dog saliva safe for birds?

No, dog saliva is not safe for birds. It contains bacteria that can be deadly to birds, just like cat saliva.

Final Verdict

Cats and birds can remain together if bird owners introduce them well. But sometimes, it appears too hard to put both together.

If you think your cat has come into contact with a bird, it is important to take the bird to a veterinarian or wildlife rehabilitation center immediately.

Even if the bird appears to be fine, it is important to get it checked out as soon as possible. With prompt treatment, many birds that have been bitten by cats can make a full recovery.

Even humans can get infections from dogs and cats. To know more about avoiding infections read the article from Harvard.

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