How to Keep Your Fish Tank Safe From Cats

Aquariums are an excellent addition to any home in that it provides a means to alleviate stress through the calming, peaceful sound of the running water, soft lighting, and gentle movements of your fish. But if you also own a cat, you may feel keeping a tank is more trouble than it’s worth without a few precautions in place.

Luckily, if you can anticipate a few of these issues, you can keep them from becoming anything major, and have your cats and fish living in peaceful harmony. Since cats view fish as prey due to their darting movements, you simply need to protect your tanks from the cat drama that could ensue.

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Benefits of Keeping Animals

Despite the work and cost of keeping animals, there is a huge payoff in the companionship and responsibility they bring to a household. Many have the ability to recognize kindness and compassion and give it back tenfold- which is an important lesson to growing children, as well as many adults.

Although fish may not be cute and cuddly like a cat or dog, or various other mammals you may make a pet, they do provide some fun antics and may have noticeable personalities. Finding a way to allow your pets to co-inhabitant is important for your own peace of mind. But this isn’t too difficult concerning the age-old cat versus fish if you know what to take care of in advance.

Location of the Tank

Your tank location can either be inviting or discouraging, to your natural-born climbers. Depending on the size of your tank, you can easily place them in recesses, such as bookcases, or built-in shelving. Or, if too large or heavy, you can place them on stands that don’t provide a ledge for your cat to hop up upon.

Cats love to climb and jump, and they will get up on anything they have space to get on. A recessed area, tall area, or crowded area will discourage cats from getting up on or around the tank. You can always place them in a closed room as well, but that isn’t much fun when you want to watch your fish swim and enjoy the ambiance they create.

Cat Hair Issues

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No matter how fastidious you are about your cat grooming and cleaning, cat hair will get into places you didn’t expect, including your fish tank. A good lid is certainly a must, but a good filtration system will take care of any hair that makes it way into your tank. Look over a good guide to canister filters to find the best for your size and type of tank. Plus, be sure to brush your cat regularly to help keep shedding hair at a minimum.

The Power of a Lid

If you have a fish bowl or tank, and a cat, you need a lid. A little is the number one way to prevent issues and is also a great way to secure your lighting and filtration system. It protects not only against dirt and dust but also will keep your cat from dipping its paws. At the worst, it may end up serving as a lookout perch depending on where your tank is located.

If you have a bowl type tank, location is obviously very important, but you can still cover it with a knit doily, a bit of wire mesh, or even some chicken wire. Attach with a ribbon or something decorative that is easy to remove for feeding.

The Running Filter Issue

Cats love running water and will prefer to drink it over a bowl of water any day. Your tank filtration system and the gentle sound of falling water will probably be inviting to your cat, and you may find it hanging out around the tank due to that. If it can get on top and try to drink it will as well, which is why a good lid is so important.

You can also provide running water for your cat as well with a drinking fountain system, or pass that allows water to pass through a filter to help keep it fresh. You can also purchase an aftermarket lid that is fully encompassing, as well as place a fine mesh over any areas left exposed.


There is no reason why your fish and cats can’t live in harmony with a little foresight and extra precaution to ensure no catastrophe occurs due to jumping cats, ill balanced tanks, and open water. Consider the placement of your tank to discourage jumping cats, invest in a sturdy lid, and be sure your cat has its own fresh source of water so it is not drawn by your tank filtration system. All these simple steps can ensure you have a good experience.

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