How to Cat Proof Your Fish Tank – Guides and More

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One of the most common questions owners of both cats and fish tanks ask is how to cat-proof their tank. Cats are curious creatures and love to explore, which can often lead to them getting into places they’re not supposed to be – like your fish tank!

Comical as they may sound, questions such as “How do I keep my cat from eating my fish?” or “How can I stop my cat from drinking out of my aquarium?” are quite common. Luckily, you can do a few things to cat-proof your fish tank and keep your feline friend from becoming a snack for your fish!

Why Do Cats Attack Fish Tanks?

Before we get into how to cat-proof your fish tank, it’s important to understand why cats are attracted to fish tanks in the first place. Cats are natural predators, and their hunting instincts often kick in when they see fish swimming around in a tank. In their minds, those fish are just swimming, waiting to be eaten!

In addition, cats are attracted to the movement of fish in a tank. The constant back-and-forth movement is something that catches their eye and holds their attention. And, let’s face it, cats are curious creatures. If they see something moving around that they can’t quite figure out, they will want to investigate further!

Finally, many cats are attracted to the appearance of the tank itself. Between the swaying aquarium plants, the bright colors of your pet fish, and the tantalizing, snacky appeal of fish food, it’s only natural for cats to get curious about your fish bowl. Aquariums should be a no-cat zone because a curious cat can wreak lots of havoc on your beloved fish. So, how do you cat-proof a fish tank?

How to Cat Proof Your Fish Tank

You can do a few things to make your fish tank less attractive to your cat and prevent them from getting into the water.

Cover Your Fish Tank

One of the best ways to cat-proof your fish tank is to cover it with an aquarium hood or lid. This will not only deter your cat from getting into the tank, but it will also help keep them from knocking over the tank and spilling all of the water (and fish!) onto the floor.

If you have an aquarium stand, you can also put a piece of glass or acrylic on top of the stand to create a second barrier. Just be sure that the lid or piece of glass is securely in place so that your cat can’t push it off and get into the tank. The last thing you want is for your cat to fall into the tank and drown!

Small fish tank with cover

It is important to note that you should never use a screen cover to cat-proof your fish tank. Screen covers are not strong enough to hold back a determined cat, and they can easily be pushed off (or shredded) by your feline friend. Also, if you use a hatch for feeding, you should take extra precautions to make sure it does not budge when a persistent cat paws at it. Keep your aquarium lid secure as can be!

Use Cat Deterrents

Apart from a covered fish tank, there are a few commercial products on the market that are designed to deter cats from going near fish tanks. These products usually emit a loud noise or spray a mist of water when they detect movement, which will startle your cat and discourage them from coming back.

If commercial cat repellent sprays prove too expensive an investment, you can also make your cat a deterrent by filling a small spray bottle with water and adding a few drops of lemon juice. When you see your cat near the fish tank, give them a quick spray with the lemon water. The citrus scent will deter them from returning, and the water mist will startle them enough to make them think twice about trying to get into the tank again.

Beyond that, you can also try using double-sided sticky tape or aluminum foil around the edges of the fish tank. The sticky surface will deter your cat from walking on it, and the aluminum foil will make a loud noise if they try to walk on it. This will help to keep your cat away from the fish tank, even if they’re curious about what’s inside.

Consider Getting a Cat Fountain

PETLIBRO Cat Water Fountain

If your cat is attracted to the water in your fish tank, one of the best things you can do is get them their own water fountain. Cat water fountains are designed to provide your cat with a steady stream of clean water, satisfying their thirst and keeping them away from your fish tank.

There are a variety of cat fountains on the market, so you can choose one that best suits your needs. Some cat fountains are designed to be placed on the floor, while others can be mounted on the wall. Even some fountains are designed to look like fish tanks, which may be a good option if your cat is particularly attracted to water.

Whatever type of fountain you choose, be sure to clean it regularly to prevent the build-up of bacteria. Most cat fountains come with a filter that needs to be replaced every few months, so follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Make Sure Your Cat Gets Enough Stimulation

In many cases, cats will try to get into fish tanks because they’re bored. If your cat is left alone for long periods of time, they may start to look for ways to entertain themselves, and your fish tank can be a tempting target. After all, it’s full of water, and fish usually swim around inside.

To keep your cat from getting bored, make sure they have plenty of toys to play with and a scratching post to scratch. You should also try to spend some time playing with your cat every day. If you can give them the attention they need, they’ll be less likely to look for ways to entertain themselves.

In addition, you can also try DIY enrichment toys to keep your cat occupied. For example, you can try filling a balloon with water and then tying it to the edge of the fish tank. Your cat will enjoy trying to swat at the balloon, and they’ll be less likely to try to catch the fish. Creativity is key in keeping your cat occupied, so be sure to use your imagination.

Monitor Your Cat’s Behavior

Even if you take all of the necessary precautions, there’s always a chance that your cat will find a way to get into the fish tank. If you notice that your cat is “cat loafing” more than usual near the fish tank, be sure to keep a close eye on them. Some kitten breeds such as British Shorthair are particularly curious, so it’s important to be vigilant.

Prevent your cat from getting into the fish tank in the first place by monitoring their behavior and keeping them away from the tank when you’re not around. If you have to leave your cat alone for a long period of time, be sure to put them in a room where they can’t get to the fish habitat.

Cat sitting near an aquarium

You should also keep an eye on your fish tank and make sure that there are no cracks or holes that your cat could fit through. Inspect your fish aquariums regularly and be sure to repair any damage as soon as possible. Being more observant will go a long way in protecting your fish from distress caused by a curious cat.

The Takeaway

Catproofing your fish tank is an important part of being a responsible pet owner. You can keep your cat safe and your fish tank in good condition by taking some simple precautions. Be sure to monitor your cat’s behavior and take action if they start to show an interest in your display of swimming fish. With a little effort, you can ensure that your cat and your fish live happily together.

We hope you found this article helpful. If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment below. And be sure to check out our other articles for more tips on keeping your fish safe and healthy. Thanks for reading, and please feel free to share this article with your friends and family!

Wanda is a second-generation aquarist from the sunny tropics of Malaysia. She has been helping her father with his freshwater tanks since she was a toddler, and has fallen in love with the hobby ever since. A perpetual nomad, Wanda does her best to integrate fish-keeping with her lifestyle, and has taken care of fish in three different continents. She loves how it provides a nice break from the hustle and bustle of life.

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