Dear Tabby,

My kids would like to get an aquarium for fish. The problem is, we have multiple cats. How can we keep fish safe from cats in our home?

Fearful for Fish in Forest West

Dear Fearful for Fish,

Believe it or not, despite the fact cats love all things fish, it IS possible to have both fish and cats all safely under the same roof. Before you embark on your fish-owner journey, though, there are a few things to consider and a few precautions to put into place.

Consider type of fish

Before you head to the pet store to buy some fish, consider what type of fish you have the time, money and energy for. Different types of fish have different requirements, so you’ll want to do some research and determine what type of tank (saltwater or fresh) and what kind of fish you have the resources to properly care for.

Make sure aquarium has lid

Super important: Make sure that whatever type of fish tank you end up with has a lid to keep kitty from accessing the fish. The old-school, open-top goldfish bowl probably won’t work, so plan to invest in a bigger tank with a secure lid.

Consider placement of tank

For a number of reasons you probably wouldn’t want to place your fish tank on, say, the coffee table in the living room. You’ll want to put it somewhere out of kitty’s favorite places. You’ll also want to put the tank somewhere a bit more difficult for the cats to reach -- without convenient furniture or counters nearby that will help them to get close to the tank. Also make sure the fish tank is sturdy and your cats wouldn't be able to knock it over.

Tuck fish tank in for night

You might want to also consider covering your fish tank with a towel at night, to keep a nosy, nocturnal kitty from messing with the tank while you’re asleep.

Set up tank for fish success

Give your fish lots of places to hide within the tank. Plants (fake or real--consult your local pet store for appropriate live plants to include in a fish tank), rocks and other aquarium decor can offer your fish places to hide from sight when the cats get curious.

Please remember that when cats show interest in fish, they’re only doing what comes naturally to them. Never discipline your cat for showing interest in the fish tank. Instead, take extra precautions to keep the fish safe from your cats and make sure you’re giving your cats lots of love and play time to keep them occupied and happy.

Do you have a question for Tabby? Email her at deartabby

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