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Can Cats and Lizards Be Friends?

The Truth Explained!

By: Nigel Robert

Last Updated:

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Most animal lovers love getting interesting pets to add to their household, and lizards have become increasingly popular. However, to some out there, there is one thing, or creature, stopping them from getting these cute reptilian companions—their cats. Most cat owners think twice about getting smaller and easily prey upon animals as pets. A small to medium-sized insectivore housed in the same environment as a usually bigger, curious carnivore couldn’t be described as the safest scenario to the common brain. However, others would disagree.

Even with their differences, would you believe it is possible to house these two creatures in the same house together? It’s not as hopeless as most people think, and, in a weird twist, lizards and cats have been shown to form unlikely friendships with one another. If you’re looking into getting a lizard but are worried about how it’ll possibly survive living with your feline friend, read this article to get some tips and tricks on how to house these two vastly different pets together as roommates!

3 Things To Consider Before Bringing Home A Lizard When You Have Cats

Before getting into whether cats and lizards can be friends or not, it’s important to think about what you should consider before bringing a new pet lizard, into your already feline-inhabited home. Here are some important considerations and questions to ask yourself before introducing a lizard into your feline-inhabited home.

1. Would Your New Lizard Be Safe Around Your Cat(s)?

In other words, do you have a plan in your head of how you can effectively protect your lizard from your cat(s)? Your lizard is essentially powerless against your cat(s), so you have to be the one to protect it in any dangerous scenarios. Always be prepared for the worst and supervise all of your pets accordingly.

Overall, make sure you’re researching the best ways to keep both your lizard and cat(s) happy. If you aren’t sure you can keep a lizard safe from your other pets, then don’t take the risk of getting one. The last thing you want to do is intentionally risk the lizard’s health by ineffectively keeping it from danger.

2. Do You Have A Safe Place To Keep Your New Lizard?

In line with keeping your lizard safe from your cat(s), you have to map out a good place for your lizard’s tank. Do you have enough space for a lizard and a decent-sized tank? If you don’t have a separate room to keep your lizard in where you know it will be safe and out of your cat’s way, what place will you put it? These are important questions that you have to answer before considering getting a lizard.

3. Would You Be Able To Cat Proof Your Lizards Cage?

All cat owners know that cats are extremely curious creatures, which tends to get them in trouble. Your potential new lizard’s feline roommate may intentionally decide to knock your lizard’s tank on the floor to get to it out of curiosity. Therefore, you have to be prepared to cat-proof your lizard’s cage.

Make sure you research the best ways to do this to prevent your cat from being able to get into your lizard’s tank easily.

Can cats live with lizards?

Simply speaking, yes, cats can live with lizards. However, precautions have to be put into place to keep both parties safe from harm. For instance, you should keep smaller lizards in extremely secure tanks or cages to keep them safe from their feline roommates.

Because of their small size, smaller lizards are more prone to be seen as acceptable prey to cats, causing cats to try to play with, bite, and even eat them. As a cat owner, it’s common knowledge that most kitties love knocking things to the ground, and they will not waste the chance to try to knock a small lizard’s tank or cage to the floor to get to it. Because of this, it’s recommended that you either keep your cat and lizard in separate rooms so your cat can’t get to its tank or have a very secure tank lid that won’t come undone even if the tank gets knocked over.

Cat and a lizard's unsual friendship


Can Cats and Lizards Be Friends?

The answer to this question is going to depend on the cat and lizard in question. In some instances, cats and lizards can become incredibly close friends. However, this isn’t always the case.

In most cases, most cats tend to form good friendships with medium to large-sized reptiles, such as bearded dragons. This is because it’s harder for cats to see an animal that’s about the same size as them as prey.

When it comes to smaller lizards, you will occasionally see cats forming relationships with them. However, it’s easier for cats to either unintentionally or intentionally hurt them; therefore, keeping them separate is recommended.

It’s your decision whether or not to allow your cat to get close to their reptilian roommates. No matter the size of the reptile or how close you may think they are, problems and injuries can still occur, so proper socialization and supervision are required.

Are lizards harmful to cats?

In general, lizards typically aren’t harmful to cats. This is because they’re typically smaller and less likely to be able to do anything physically harmful to them.

However, if ingested, lizards can be extremely harmful to felines.

Some lizards are known to contain toxins and bacteria that can cause severe digestive issues in any unfortunate cats that happen to eat them. In general, there are two different medical issues, one bacterial and one parasitic, which can occur in cats that have ingested lizards. These medical issues are Liver Fluke and Salmonella.

Liver Fluke

A particular parasitic fluke, by the name of Platynosomum fastosum, is sometimes known to inhabit lizards’ bodies. These parasites aren’t harmful to the lizards whose insides they call home. However, suppose your cat were to eat a lizard containing this parasite. In that case, it will travel to that cat’s liver, bile ducts, and gall bladder, where it can mature and cause serious digestive damage, such as fatal liver inflammation and a toxic buildup of bile.

Symptoms of liver fluke in cats include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Yellow skin and eyes
  • Swollen/ tender abdomen

Unfortunately, these symptoms may not show up straight away and may take months to appear. However, if you do notice any of these symptoms in your cat, you should immediately take them for a trip to the vet to ensure they get treatment as soon as possible.


Lizards can also have bacteria, such as Salmonella, which can also cause sickness and discomfort for your feline friend. Salmonella isn’t as dangerous as liver flukes for cats and typically doesn’t result in death. However, cats who do become sick from salmonella experience symptoms such as:

  • Lethargy
  • bloody diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Tiredness
  • Vomiting
  • Decreased appetite
  • Excessive salivations

Not all cats will display symptoms even if they’re affected by Salmonella. However, if any of these symptoms are present, get your cat to the nearest vet to assess how serious the problem is, and antibiotics will be administered if needed.

To prevent either of these illnesses from occurring and prevent your cat from eating your new lizard friend in general, it will be important for you to supervise them if they’re out together responsibly. If they’re alone, keep your lizard securely in its tank to prevent any potential issues.

5 Common Mistakes People Make When Introducing Their Cat To Lizards

Most pet owners forget that introducing a new member into the family, such as a new lizard friend, is a new change for your current feline companion(s). Naturally, introductions are going to be required! Unfortunately, however, many mistakes are made during the introduction phase that can make or break this crucial moment. Here are some extremely common ones.

1.    Making assumptions Prior to The First Meeting

The common mistake pet owners make is assuming that there’s a one-shoe-fits-all, step-by-step process of how the first meeting between their feline and reptilian pet will be. However, there is no specific way introductions will go, and it’s going to be crucial for you to stay open-minded in case of the worst-case scenario happens.

Not all animals are the same, and some simply won’t warm up to others as quickly as you would like. Therefore, the introduction phase could be a quick and simple process or a long and difficult one.

It’s also going to be important not to assume that just because your cat is a certain breed or that you get a certain breed of lizard that that’s going to make it easier for them to get along. Once again, this will depend on your specific cat and lizard.

However, one thing that is going to be important is to acknowledge and take into account your current pet, aka your cat(s), individual personality as it can better prepare you for what to expect when you introduce a lizard into the equation. For example, if it’s common for your cat to prey and chase after smaller animals, you should expect the same if you bring your new lizard into the same room as them.

2.    Not Giving Them Their Own Individual Space

Another mistake pet owners make when introducing their cat to their new lizard roommate is introducing them in a room that their cat identifies as their domain.

If you watch your cat and how they interact in your home, it will become apparent that they have special areas within your home that they particularly like to play or relax in. Unfortunately, your cat most likely thinks of these areas as their territory, and it isn’t wise to bring or try to introduce a foreign individual into this space. Instead, let the introductions occur in a neutral space to ensure that territorial behavior doesn’t ensue.

The concept of personal space and territories will also be important when deciding where you’ll be setting up your lizard’s cage or tank. For example, please don’t put them in an area your cat eats or plays in often. This could cause your cat discomfort and lead to more instances of your cat potentially trying to knock your lizard’s enclosure down.

3. Ignoring Stressful Behaviour

Even the nicest, most docile cat can act completely differently when a new individual of a different species is brought into their life. To prevent any mishaps, you need to analyze both your cat(s) and lizard’s reactions to each other to look out for any signs of stress or aggression.

Common signs of stress or aggression in cats include:

  • Long stares
  • Growls
  • Hissing
  • Stiff posture and muscles
  • Raised hair

If you’ve never owned a lizard before, it’s important to know that their most common signs of stress or aggression include:

  • Slow-wave of the tail as their approached
  • Hissing
  • Completely dropping their tail (This is caused under extremely stressful conditions)

Picking up on this stressful behavior early on can be the quickest way to prevent future catastrophes.

4. Failure to Reintroduce Them Multiple Times

Some think that after introducing their pets to one another one time, they don’t have to introduce them anymore; however, this isn’t the case. In reality, it will be important for you to let your cat and lizard meet multiple times to ensure they get comfortable being around each other every day. If their first meeting went well, you’re going to want to reintroduce them in different rooms, scenarios, and for longer durations of time. If the first meeting didn’t go well, however, don’t make these changes to their prior meeting, so you don’t overwhelm or irritate them more in any way.

5. Failure to Properly Supervise The First Meeting

The last common mistake made during the first introductions is a failure to properly supervise both the cat and lizard during their first introductions. Even if things are going extremely well at first, things could quickly change at the drop of a hat, and you’re going to need to make sure you’re present just in case your pets need to be separated.

As you let your pets get acquainted with each other multiple times and see that they do well together, only then can you take the chance of starting to leave them alone and stepping back a little. However, even then, you need to stay vigilant from afar to stop anything bad from potentially occurring.


Contrary to popular belief, pets considered to be on opposite sides of the spectrum, such as cats and lizards, can live in safe, happy environments together.

They can even form close relationships if they are introduced and acclimated to each other correctly! However, these relationships won’t form out of the blue and don’t happen with every cat/ lizard duo.

Nevertheless, pet owners can use proper introduction, care, and supervision to work up to these animals at least being able to coexist together in the same house safely.

It’s safe to say that, with the right tools and information, cat owners no longer have to stop themselves from pursuing smaller reptilian pets as an addition to their family.

So if you’re a current feline owner thinking about getting a reptilian pet, consider this article and have no worries about adding your new adorable buddy to your family!


Last Updated:

By: Nigel Robert
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