How to Keep Cats and Lizards Safe in the Same Household

Felines and lizards are some of the most adorable pets! However, a lot of people find the idea of having these two pets within the same household intimidating. They can end up fighting, resulting in chaos instead of harmony. 

Fortunately, cats and lizards can safely coexist. It may not happen overnight, but with the right approach, you can help these two pets build a cordial relationship. Read on and learn from some of the tips we’ll share! 

cat and bearded dragon

Tips and Tricks for Cats and Lizards to Get Along 

Do not get too excited over the thought of having a cat and a lizard live in the same house. 

It is possible that they co-exist, but the question is, how? 

If you are clueless about what to do, below are some of the things that can help. 

Choose the Right Breeds 

The most important thing is to choose the right breeds for both cats and lizards. Not all of them will be friendly. You should avoid those with aggressive behaviors. For instance, some can be territorial and will turn hostile when they see another pet. Your household will be in constant chaos if you do not pick the right type of pet. 

When selecting cat breeds, go for those that are most affectionate. They will not only be friendly to humans but even to animals. Some of the friendliest cats are Maine Coon, Sphynx, Persian, Burmese, Scottish fold, Ragdoll, Bombay, and Siamese.   

Meanwhile, it is equally important that you choose a well-behaved lizard. Bearded dragons and leopard geckos are some of the best choices. They might look scary, but if you know how to take care of such species, you will realize that they are gentle. Hence, they will make good choices if you want them to be friends with cats. 

bearded dragon

Give Them Their Respective Spaces 

While the goal is for the two pets to coexist, it does not mean that you will leave them in the same room. They will most likely fight. Even if there are times that they will play, you should not let them live in the same space, especially if it is small. That said, they should have their respective spaces, which will prevent them from being territorial. 

Between the two, if there is one that can roam freely in your home, it would be the cat. It does not need a cage. Most will be free to move around. Despite that, it is good to give them a litter box,  cardboard boxes, and cat beds, among others. These will provide safe spaces, making sure that the cat will become more comfortable. 

Meanwhile, lizards will need an enclosure. They need a controlled environment, which is crucial for their healthy development. It is not a good idea to leave them free in your home, especially when there are cats and when they are left unsupervised. The enclosure should have accessories that will control temperature and lighting, among other external factors that will contribute to the comfort and health of the lizard. 

When preparing an enclosure for lizards, see to it that it will resemble their natural habitat. Plants and small rocks are amongst the best features that should be present in their tank. They will not only make the enclosure look good, but they can also provide hiding spaces.   

Watch Their Body Language 

Knowledge is power for anyone who is planning to bring a cat and a lizard into the same household. The more you know, the easier it is to ensure peaceful coexistence. Hence, you must be familiar with the body language of the two pets. When you are familiar with it, you can easily identify stress signals. Thus, you will know when to pull one away from the other, so they won’t end up fighting. 

Because cats are bigger, they are often the first ones that require attention. Their size and sharp claws can instantly attack lizards. Not to mention, they are known for eating lizards, especially the small ones. Translating feline body language is a skill that you will need to learn. 

Some signs that a cat is happy or relaxed include soft eyes, slow blinking, an upright tail, and rolling on their back. When you notice these during the meeting with your lizard, it is usually a good sign. More importantly, you should know if your cat is not behaving in a friendly manner. Signs of anxiety include wide eyes, flat ears, and staying too close to the ground. If they exhibit these behaviors, take the lizard away and let the cat relax. 

Nonetheless, lizards are equally harmful. Even if they are smaller than cats, their bites are powerful, and can even be potentially toxic. Watch out for any sign that it is about to attack or that it is uncomfortable with its interaction with a cat. 

Hyperactivity, hissing, head-hiding, and panting are some of the most common signs of stress in pet lizards. When they exhibit such behaviors during the time that they are around cats, take it as a hint that they want to be away. Do not force the interaction. Let them play some other time when they are already more comfortable with the presence of each other. 

Teach Social Skills 

cats playing together

Between the two pets, it will be easier to teach social skills to cats than to lizards. The more social the pets are, the more comfortable they will be, even when there are other pets or humans around. This will lessen their tendency to be aggressive or territorial. Plus, it will also make them more playful. 

Petting your cat is one of the most effective ways of teaching social skills. Touch them often, and this will help them become more familiar with their environment. It will make them friendlier. During the first few days, they might resist, but once they get used to it, they can be more comfortable in the presence of others without being hostile. 

You can also talk to them with a calm voice. Act as if you are talking to a baby. The calmer you are, the calmer the cat will be. It is also good to mimic the sounds of other animals. A hissing noise is one of the most common sounds that lizards make, so you can let cats listen to such sounds. 

Use Pictures or Videos 

At first, it might sound stupid, but this is another effective strategy for allowing a safe coexistence between cats and lizards. 

Before letting them see each other personally, try a bit of role-playing. Get in a room with the cat. Then show your cat a photo or a video of a lizard. Start with a still shot then show a moving image. See how the cat will react. If it is non-violent, then take this as a good indication that they will get along. 

Show the picture of a cat to a lizard. Next, show a video. Like with the cat, this will be an opportunity to assess the likely behavior of the lizard once there is already a personal interaction between the two. 

Try Smell Training 

Cats are known for having a great sense of smell. While humans have up to five million odor sensors in the nose, cats have over 200 million! They are sensitive to anything that they can smell. Use this as a way to introduce a lizard into the household. 

You do not need to hold the lizard and put it next to the cat. It can end up in hostility. Instead, what you can do is take a cloth and rub it on the lizard. This will transfer the scent of the reptile on the fabric. Try leaving the cloth for a while in the enclosure. 

You can also use plants or other decorative items in the lizard’s tank. Next, put it next to your cat’s bed. This will train the cat’s nose to the smell of the lizard, which can be effective in their introduction. 

Do the same thing to the lizard. Use a toy, cloth, or any other item where the scent of a cat is. Through scent swapping, you can introduce the smell of each pet to one another. Nonetheless, it may not be as effective on the lizard since its sense of smell is not that strong. 

Do Not Force It 

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, do not force the cat and the lizard to coexist. If you have tried everything and none seemed to have worked, do not assume that you can just leave them and expect them to live in harmony. Putting them free in the same room without first letting them get used to each other may end up in chaos. 


Cats and lizards can coexist safely in the same household. While it might not be an instant click on their first meeting, by doing the things mentioned below, you can help the two pets build a cordial relationship. 

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