Hedgehogs are adorable creatures that require specific care, and they’re not quite as cuddly as your average pet.
However, if you happen upon a hedgehog in your garden you might be curious to know: Are hedgehogs good with cats?
In this article, I will explore important information about hedgehogs, from whether hedgehogs are good with cats to whether cats are scared of hedgehogs.
Keep reading to find out more.
Generally speaking, it’s impossible to know for sure how certain animal personalities will mesh. As every animal is different, it can be hard to predict how your cat or hedgehog is going to react when you introduce them and allow them to interact with one another.
That being said, there are some things to know about a hedgehog’s characteristics and temperament that can help you figure out whether they’ll get along with your specific cat. You will also need to weigh these characteristics up against your own cat’s temperament and go from there.
Hedgehogs are docile and nocturnal, meaning that they spend most of the daylight hours asleep, and emerge at night to forage. They also take a while to warm up to social interactions, and it takes a lot of time and effort to get a hedgehog to tolerate being held.
This means you’ll have to be patient and very gentle as your hedgehog gets used to living with you.
Hedgehogs aren’t considered to be aggressive, but they do have some defense mechanisms that might come into play when they feel threatened. When hedgehogs feel threatened, they roll themselves into a tight ball and can easily injure if a person or a dog or cat attempts to approach them or uncurl them.
Other defensive behaviours include twitching and jumping in such a way that their quills can poke a potential predator.
Additionally, many hedgehogs have a self-anointing habit whereby they contort and smear their own frothy saliva all over their bodies. This behavior may cause saliva to accumulate on the spines, making the hedgehog less palatable to predators.
Are hedgehogs good with cats?
Hedgehogs can get along with other pets, but it’s worth noting that this is highly dependent on the personalities of both animals in question.
A hedgehog can coexist with your cats and dogs for that matter, but won’t typically make friends with them. It’s important that you monitor any interaction between your pet hedgehog and another animal to ensure that both parties are safe.
Whether your hedgehog is good with your cat will boil down to the temperament of both animals.
Are cats afraid of hedgehogs?
This depends on the cat! While one cat might be cautious of the hedgehog, another might be curious to interact with them. As I mentioned above, when hedgehogs feel anxious or threatened, their spikes stand up in all directions.
This not only could injure your cat, but it could also evoke a negative reaction if your cat is caught by one of your hedgehog’s spikes.
When it comes to you working out whether they can get along, it is wise to enforce boundaries.
A cat, or dog, or another animal who can learn to respect a hedgehog’s space, especially when they’re feeling defensive, is much more likely to get along with these creatures.
It’s also best to keep your hedgehog away from other small exotic pets, for the safety of both animals.
Can hedgehogs live with cats?
Again, this is a subjective question and will depend on the individual animals you have. The key when it comes to introducing your hedgehog to other pets is to have patience!
Make sure that your hedgehog is comfortable with you first before attempting to introduce them to your cat.
This way, you’ll be able to securely hold your hedgehog in your arms during their introduction, which should offer both them and you a sense of security.
Begin with small interactions when your cat is nice and calm. Cats will generally be quite curious about the hedgehog and may try to approach them. As a hedgehog takes a long time to warm up to other animals and people, it’s best to ease them into this interaction slowly and monitor how they react.
Bear in mind that hedgehogs are solitary by nature, and may not be open to forming a friendship with another pet, though they may still be able to tolerate them.
As a result, you will want to set boundaries. Make sure that your cat understands ‘NO’ if they get too close to your hedgehog.
Dangers of having a hedgehog
While exotic pets are becoming more popular, there are some dangers that are associated with hedgehogs that you should be aware of before committing to having one.
For instance, some hedgehogs carry the highly contagious foot-and-mouth disease, a foreign animal disease of serious concern to the livestock industry. In addition, they can also transmit salmonella bacteria as well as viral and fungal diseases.
Hedgehogs have sharp spines all over their backs which can puncture the skin. Although a hedgehog’s spines rarely cause serious injury to handlers, as a result of these puncture wounds, they can cause infections.
You should always make sure that you do your research and recognise the level of care that it takes to look after a hedgehog.
Hedgehogs are not simple animals to keep. They require specific care and are very docile beings. However, when threatened, hedgehogs can exhibit defensive behaviors.
Hedgehogs can get along with cats. However, it’s difficult to predict how different animals are going to interact with each other as every animal is different.
The safety of your animals should be your priority. Always make sure that you do your research and are well-prepped to handle an interaction between your pets before you willingly introduce a hedgehog to your cat.