Living in Harmony… or Hell? The Truth About Raising Cats & Fish Under One Roof

cat on table

Do you own one (or more) of the 86 million cats in America? That means that about 1 in 3 families in the US owns at least one cat.

There are also around 7.2 million American families that own a fish tank. That’s more like 1 in 50 families who own fish.

But here’s where it gets interesting. Do you live in a home with both cats and fish?

If you do, there are some important things to consider to keep you and your furry and marine friends safe. Read on to learn how to keep the peace when raising fish and cats together.

Cats and Fish: What’s the Problem?

We’ve all seen the cartoons (or YouTube videos) of cats taking a dunk in a fishbowl.

While it makes us chuckle, there’s a certain amount of truth to the cliche. Cats are natural-born hunters, and fish is one of their favorite prey.

From your cat’s perspective, watching all those pretty fish swim around their aquarium is like staring at a buffet line. Most cats hate water, but the temptation of that swimming smorgasbord might make them take a leap anyway.

It’s certainly possible to keep cats and fish together in one home, but you need to take steps to protect them both. Here’s how to do it.

Keeping Fish and Cats Together: Helpful Hints

For starters, the right marine aquarium set up is vital. Here’s how to keep both fish and cats safe.

Secure Your Fish

Location is key–you want to choose a place where it’s not so easy for your cat to jump and peer inside. Think of a high mantle or shelf or the top of a tall cabinet.

What if you don’t have a suitably high, isolated location for your fish tank? The next best strategy is to ensure the top of your aquarium is covered to keep those curious paws out.

Secure your fish tank with a hood or lid from your local pet shop. If they don’t have one that fits your specific tank, consider a doily or a snap-on lid. Make sure it’s a tight and secure fit, as a clever cat will try to remove it!

Deter Your Cat

Once your tank is suitably secure, the next step to take is to deter your cat from taking too much interest in it.

Is there a particular surface your cat doesn’t like, such as aluminum foil or sticky paper? Place it around the base and lid of the aquarium to keep those curious paws away.

Another idea? Sprinkle a few drops of essential oil near (but not inside) the fishbowl.

Cats detest the scent of wintergreen, citronella, and eucalyptus. This is a safe, natural way to keep your cats away from your fish–and make your house smell nice in the meantime.

Final Thoughts on Cats and Fish

So, what’s the takeaway? 

While keeping cats and fish together may not be quite as dramatic as it is in the cartoons, there are still important things to consider.

Before you blend your family with feline and marine pets, be sure to review the points listed above. That way, everyone involved will stay healthy, happy, and safe.

Did you find this article helpful? Check out our other cat and pet posts for more great information.