Parrots are a Companion Choice, not a Pet Choice. A watercolor splash of a macaw's face and beautiful eye. He looks forward to being a companion and friend, not a pet.

Parrots are a Companion Choice, not a Pet Choice

Parrots are a Companion Choice, not a Pet Choice

I chose the word lifestyle over a decade ago to describe the truth of parrots. Bringing an independent, flying, intelligent, free-thinking, problem-solving creature into your human domain is a lifestyle idea, not a pet idea.

Their lifespan, intelligence, and ability to create a strong emotional connection offer a chance at meaningful friendship. A relationship as deep as one forged with a young child. These feathered children communicate inside context. Unlike children, they will not grow up or want to leave the house. They can learn as much as you will teach. They are self-aware and motivated by that awareness. Parrots are companions requiring a full menu of emotional investments. Treat a companion parrot as a pet and you will witness a slow degradation of their mental and physical health.

Companion parrots bring their own expectations. They make themselves loud and clear when we are failing. If our lifestyle is not living up to the requirements necessary to meet their emotional and physical needs, we will find ourselves with problems not easily understood or unraveled. There is no looking to a parrot to cooperate with a bad idea or choice. Parrots aren’t built to tolerate things that are unfamiliar, threatening (by definition that is unfamiliar), or shocking.

Parrots can save the world if we let them. Living well with a flourishing parrot literally creates a successful you as a human being. You’ll have no choice but to improve bad habits, bad choices, and remove things and people that are not adding success to your home. Building a successful parrot lifestyle will make you a happier person.

For example, I give you, me! I am not a morning person. I built up a lifestyle to support that preference. Imagine being grouchy getting up early to get on your boat to go fishing early in the morning in the Gulf of Mexico. Yes, I was getting up grouchy! I created a successful curmudgeon lifestyle.

We brought Felix, our African gray influencer, home. He slept at night in the bedroom in his covered roost cage. Early in the morning, before I uncovered his roost, Felix greeted his day with a clear voice. “Good MORNING, Felix!” then throw an air kiss out into the room, all squeaky and sincere. Felix painstakingly taught me how to get up early. Then he taught me how to get up early happy. Felix rebuilt my successful curmudgeon lifestyle into a shiny parrot lifestyle. Felix wakes me early every morning, just in case I slip back into the curmudgeon. Sometimes Felix wakes me when it’s still dark, asking to discuss deep thoughts. He worries about things. Felix and I have a closer relationship because of early mornings.

Parrots are a Companion Choice, not a Pet Choice. We didn't choose Felix, he chose us, and changed everything about our life for the better. He is an influencer.


Trust your companion’s input. Parrots are hypersensitive. They pick up on our stress, anger, fear, and anxiety. We do not domesticate parrots. They will not assimilate into the human dynamic because they fly. The ability to fly supports their elevated sense of self. And rightly so. A companion parrot requires the same building blocks as a healthy human relationship. These things don’t happen overnight. You will have good days and some bad days. But, inside love, we celebrate all days as growth within our relationships.

Kathy LaFollett is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to


  • I never heard anyone say this serious truth before, but we should be aware of it: “Treat a companion parrot as a pet [instead of a companion] and you will witness a slow degradation of their mental and physical health.”—a tragic happening.

    susan robinson on

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