A bearded dragon and cat, is this a relationship that can work or a disaster waiting to happen?
There are many cute photos showing a bearded dragon and cat enjoying each other’s company. For some there appears to be a bond that grows between these unlikely friends. When you see your bearded dragon cuddling up with your cat, both at peace, it is hard to imagine anything else between them.
Cats have been known to rub up against their reptile buddy and that is it, the unusual bond seems to be formed. From there the bearded dragon and cat will lay around together, go outside together and watch the world go by out the window.
While some cats may seem quite docile and gentle, enjoying a bond with a reptile, there are many that will not. A bearded dragon and cat cannot always be trusted together and if things turn for the worst, it will be the bearded dragon that is the likely victim.
Cats are natural hunters. Of course, in our home environment they don’t need to hunt, and they are unlikely to be hungry. Although there are vast differences in personalities, many enjoy the chase of just about anything that moves.
For all the cute photos of the bond that appears to be there between bearded dragon and cat there are also those of devastation. The damage a cat can do in a short time to a reptile, particularly a bearded dragon, is immense.
Cat bites are dangerous to reptiles. There is a lot of bacteria in cat bites and they need to be treated.
Outside of the damage a cat can do to a bearded dragon, a cat attack can also change our opinions and attitudes to both the animals. This is unlikely to be in the cat’s favor.
Seeing a victim of a mauling can be quite distressing. This in turn can change what we think of each animal going forward. Would the cat still be a welcome member of the family? Would you think differently of it? Is that a fair situation to put the cat in?
There are numerous ways accidents can happen with cats and reptiles. Even if you do not let your bearded dragon and cat roam around together, the warm environments we give to reptiles can be incredibly attractive to a cat. Cats like to sit or lay on top of these warm enclosures and not all of them are made to take the weight of a cat. Especially not the glass tank mesh lids.
There are cases of bearded dragons being attacked by cats getting into enclosures, often from lids not being put on properly or doors not quite shut.
There is also the hazard of the other way around albeit much less likely. It may not be the cat that is the issue, but the bearded dragon which could attack if it felt threatened. A bearded dragon bite is more likely to be from defense than anything else. Kittens are more vulnerable than adult cats who are able to recognize danger quicker and have much faster reactions to escape.
Bearded dragons teeth can easily cut into flesh and draw blood. Any bites to your cat should get the attention of your vet.
3 Steps if Your Bearded Dragon is Bitten by a Cat
Here are 3 steps to take immediately if your bearded dragon is bitten by a cat:
- Call your vet and discuss. Even if injuries appear superficial, treatment may still be required for shock and cleaning the wounds to prevent abscesses.
- Clean the wounds with antiseptic.
- Keep your bearded dragon warm and hydrated while recovering, likely will be in shock.
Whether your bearded dragon and cat will have a bond is down to the personalities of both. Some cats will be very curious, some will show natural instincts to hunt, others will show no interest at all and some will seem to enjoy snuggling.
It is safest to assume a bearded dragon and cat cannot be left together. Even if they appear to be harmonious together there is no guarantee the behaviors will not change without warning. It is best not to leave them alone together. Prevention is always better than cure.
Certainly, for those who have baby, juvenile or the smaller species such as the dwarf bearded dragon, any relationships with cats are unlikely and not worth the risk.
Bearded dragon cuddles are best with you!
More on bonds in Do bearded dragons feel?