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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I have pigeons and cats in my apartment. One cat is mine. The pigeons are feral ones I find and treat when they're sick (the most I have had at one time was three, and currently I have one but I de-stringed a pigeon today at home before immediately releasing as well). Any additional cats are street cats: I de-sex and release adults, and raise/find homes for kittens. Any stray cats are in quarantine in a bedroom separate from my cat for her safety until it's clear that they are in good health. My cat is mostly indoors but we walk twice daily on a leash for a couple of hours a day. Therefore, she is exposed to the outdoor world and any sicknesses etc. She is regularly flea/parasite-treated and up to date with her vaccinations. The most animals I've ever had is six: three cats (including mine) alongside three pigeons.

My question is about my neighbours. They have an indoor-only cat who visits us often (daily) to get out of the house and play with my cat. My issue is that my neighbours have all sorts of ideas about my pigeon and cat temporary residents passing illnesses to their cat. Neither is a rational fear, but their vet is giving them bad advice (in my opinion). It is starting to really annoy me that they don't ask me about it and that they think I would expose my much-loved cat to risk.

I won't focus here on cat-to-cat diseases because it's a pigeon forum. In my understanding, the biggest risk to their cat is my cat, Beth. She is the same species and has outdoor exposure. I don't think they always flea-treat their cat and that's the number one thing to do to protect him from anything but whatever, I've already told them that.

I have told them that pigeons, cats and humans do not share many illnesses and passing them is not common. I've been sick from street kittens before so I know it's possible, but it's rare. And with pigeons, it's passed through food and water bowls, poo, and presumably some type of direct contact or a flea/bug jumping from the pigeon to the cat. Given that the pigeons are always caged when their cat visits (and most of the time in general) this makes the possibility hthat their cat would catch something basically non-existent. Do you agree? Does anyone have any good links to share on pigeon/cat pathologies etc? I've read quite a bit on this over the past two years and everything I've read has led me to understand that wild pigeons co-habitating with cats is not a health risk to the cats.

I suspect that their vet is just of the paranoid "protect your indoor cat from everything" variety. I would challenge the vet to tell them what diseases are specifically of concern, and how those would be spread from the pigeon to the cat. This is a regular vet of course, not an exotic one. So you can guarantee they know nothing about pigeons and have the general (wrong) cultural understanding that they're filthy disease-carriers.

For what it's worth, all my pigeons see vets, are parasite-sprayed, and have any antibiotics and treatments they need. And in fairness, my neighbours are OK with their cat visiting when my longer time birds are with me but ask about a "quarantine" with a new bird. They're in a cage and out of reach of their cat, so I'm not sure what kind of airborne contagion they're imagining. Anyway, it's entirely their business to do whatever they want - rational or emotional - to protect their cat. But I'm really getting a bit fed up, particularly as they think they're being logical but there's no actual risk as far as I can tell.
 

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Cats can catch strains of chlamydia and tuberculosis that effect birds. They’re airborne and birds can be asymptomatic carriers. TB shouldn’t be a problem if the cat has a functioning immune system, but it’s technically possible. It isn’t something I would even consider unless the bird has been diagnosed. It’s extremely uncommon, Ive handled hundreds of wild birds and I have never gotten sick from them, nor have they ever spread anything to other animals in my care.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
bootface, thank you for this. I'm not surprised to hear there's some risk, it's just that it seems so low. At least they/their vet aren't inventing something.

I had an argument with a man online this week who knew nothing about pigeons but insisted that they're filthy disease carriers. When challenged, he quoted a short paper from 1979 haha. If you Google "what diseases can I catch from dogs" or any animal, you get terror stories but of course it comes down to how prevalent these things are.

For now I will take some deep breaths and let them have whatever ideas they like. They have previously had a diagnosis from the same vet which sounded like a hell of a reach to me and I don't agree with some of the things they do/don't do with him, but he's their cat and of course it's up to them how they handle him. Ultimately, their cat is not my cat's favourite at all so I don't lose much by him not visiting. It's mostly that I feel bad for him because he LOVES coming over.
 

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felines/pigeons

bootface, thank you for this. I'm not surprised to hear there's some risk, it's just that it seems so low. At least they/their vet aren't inventing something.

I had an argument with a man online this week who knew nothing about pigeons but insisted that they're filthy disease carriers. When challenged, he quoted a short paper from 1979 haha. If you Google "what diseases can I catch from dogs" or any animal, you get terror stories but of course it comes down to how prevalent these things are.

For now I will take some deep breaths and let them have whatever ideas they like. They have previously had a diagnosis from the same vet which sounded like a hell of a reach to me and I don't agree with some of the things they do/don't do with him, but he's their cat and of course it's up to them how they handle him. Ultimately, their cat is not my cat's favourite at all so I don't lose much by him not visiting. It's mostly that I feel bad for him because he LOVES coming over.
dear heckie,-lots of info here,first lets address your neighbor,..the laws in most municipalities favor the other guy.-you have a cat -they have a cat-the score-is equal-[1 to 1],--pigeons inside-and out,.there goes the ball game-grand slam-for them..i love birds/pigeons-so anyone who does [faces scrutiny] from others who disagree with your motives/plans..as far as communicable diseases-worry more about your lungs--you must have a-large heppa filter for indoors--when you clean the filter-after- a few days you will see what I am talking about..i co habitat with pigeons that I have raised for 15 years..cats and pigeons can share the same general antibiotcs.--respond when possible,--sincerely james waller:cool:
 

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I despise cat lovers. Cats are the true menace. They are the number one transmitter of rabies to humans in the US. Not dogs, not raccoons or squirrels. They harbor all sorts of bacteria and are a weapons of mass destruction in terms of wildlife. An invasive species that hunts for fun. I want to say more but I won’t just to tell cat lovers, KEEP YOUR STINKING ANIMAL INDOORS!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Dear LovePeanuts, go to hell. What an awful diatribe. Keep your comments to yourself if this is something you feel compelled to vomit into people's threads. And if you're a man, I hope to god the women in your life know this about you because cat loathing has a strong connection to misogyny, in my experience.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks jameswaller. I'm not worried about trouble from authorities of any kind, only wondering about whether there is anything rational to their reaction to the pigeons. There is (a tiny bit) bit most of it is the ingrained dislike we have for them as a society.
 

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I agree with you that the cat shouldn't approach pigeons and then there will be no worries about diseases that it can catch. If we talk about diseases, I've heard that fleas and parasites can cause a lot of harm to the cat's health, so it's necessary to do prevention from parasites once every six months. But it's best to consult with your vet on this topic. I learned that diatomaceous earth is used to slowly kill parasites in the digestive tract. Besides, I used to give an ampoule for internal and external parasites to my cat every two months before I made her a strictly indoors cat. Now I give her the same ampoule, but every 3-4 months, to prevent contamination. If you want to use this remedy, you should apply diatomaceous earth on cats for flea control to the feline skin. So, if this is your first time doing this, be sure to talk to your vet.
 
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