|It is my pleasure to present our Newsletter which will have articles on pet health and maintenance. Informative articles on pedigree cats and dogs and on bird species will also be featured. For your entertainment, we will have humorous pet stories and jokes from our customers. Previews of new unique, functional and decorative products will be enjoyed by subscribers before inclusion on our web site. We will present news regarding legislation in various states when available.
I encourage you to send informative, interesting and/or humorous tidbits about your pets to share with others.
This is an initial sample only, to be expanded upon in future editions for our subscribers. To subscribe, just click on Newsletter Subscription in the Index box on the left. The introductory Subscription will be only $6 per year for four issues, payable by VISA, Master Card, money order or cashiers check.
I hope you will find this Newsletter both informative and entertaining.
Eleanor Kaplan, President
YOUR BIRD'S HEALTH
De-Stress Your Bird
|Before you learn how to relieve your bird of stress, you should first know:
Stress signs: Screaming, biting, plucking and chewing feathers, biting and other neurotic behaviors are stress disorders common to captive caged birds. Molting, hormonal factors, redecorating the room, moving the cage and/or adding a new pet can also stress your bird. More visible symptoms of stress are hyper-alertness or hyper-exicitability, fluffing and reduced appetite. Stress affects Budgies, Cockatiels, Parrotlets, Finches and Canaries more frequently than other caged birds.
De-stressing: Birds' feet withstand a lot of stress because they're on their feet so much. They can get gout and sores and become lame from inadequate standing areas, and so should have different types of perches in various materials, sizes and shapes. Wood, concrete, rope and natural branches are good.
You have choices: Manufacturers are paying attention to producing twists and coils and perches with toys attached. Now there's a plug-in heated perch to help reduce stress in ill and molting birds and birds who live in colder climates. Coil and "boing" type perches provide exercise, and coiled rope perches that swing can reduce stress with in-cage exercise.
Prevent boredom and reduce stress with toys: The best toys have many colors and let the bird tear into. Soft wood is easily chewed up and toys to trim the beak are good. Important: Have toys requiring your bird to forage for a treat or make them take time to think about how to get the pieces out. Smart toys keep them busy and appeal to their intelligence. Hold off self-mutilation with preening toys of cotton rope and fibers.
When you're away: Keep the TV or radio on or provide media especially for birds, such as videos. Recordings of jungle-type sounds and other birds can soothe captive parrots. Distraction, entertainment and companionship are great stress reducers.
Birds do not see well in dim light: They're less active. Full-spectrum lighting is important for your bird's health because Vitamin D can be synthesized in the feathers and it aids birds' vision. Cover the cage if you keep lights or the TV on past your bird's bedtime. Some birds don't want their cages completely covered, so get to know your bird well.
A Colorful Talker
|The Alexandrine is named after Alexander The Great, who first brought them to Europe. They have personality and sometimes a little attitude. What you give is what you get. Pet this easy-going parakeet (but don't cuddle it), and it will enjoy it. If you don't raise it with petting, it may not enjoy the physical attention. Patiently rain it to talk when it's young and it most likely will. Teach it a few tricks, and sit back and watch the performance.
With frequent hand-feeding and good socializing, it can be gentle, loving and playful. Most Alexandrines accept other species of birds or animals. They like to be where the action is, so place the cage where the family usually gathers - in the family room or living room. Many respond well to vocal music and vocalize and keep the rhythm.
Because the Alexandrine can be from approximately 21-24" long, they need a large cage with perches and toys at multiple levels, plus leather toys and hard nuts. Have destructible and indestructible toys: hardwood and softwood toys, plus vegetable-tanned leather and brightly colored acrylic toys. A play gym out of the cage provides both exercise and a different environment and helps prevent cage-based aggression.
They are chewers. Ceramic or stainless steel food and water dishes are best as they chew plastic to shreds. Feed the Alexandrine an 85-90% pelleted diet supplemented with dark green leafy vegetables, red peppers, carrots, berries, kiwi and melons is good and it won't need additional supplements, cuttlebone or mineral blocks. Almonds and hazelnuts provide essential fats; sunflower an safflower seeds provide too much fat. Never feed any bird chocolate or avocado which can be toxic or any junk food.
Cat Speak (according to experts):
|The Tail: When your cat's tail bushes up and it gets that wild look in the eyes, he/she will most likely run around the house like a lunatic.
The Body: When rubbing against your leg, it means your cat loves you and usually wants petting.
The Arched Back: Get out of the way - especially when your cat growls, or gives strong eye-to-eye contact - because he/she wants to be left alone.
Petting: Some experts say cats remember kittenhood and see humans as their mothers. Petting may remind your cat of its mother's tongue grooming the fur.
The Sulk: When cats withdraw, they often look like they're sulking. The smart cat who looks away doesn't want to risk a hostile situation.
Ears Back: It can mean either: (1) If her posture is firm and steady, she's thinking and getting ready for her next move; or (2) If her body is low to the ground, she did something mischievous and feels guilty. Time for you to check your house. Pricked-Up Ears: Usually means your cat's interested in what's going on around her. A raised head means dominance, while lowered it means submissiveness and tucked in mean boredom.
Scratching: Scratching your furniture or stereo speakers may mean your cat just wants "Look at me" attention, which could be your cat's attention-getting message. Save your furniture with a scratching post. You may want a second post in another location for when your cat feels the scratching urge.
The Upturned Tummy: This is the epitome of trust. Can't ask for much more than that.
The Tail Quiver: Many people believe this is the ultimate love gesture and that they save this for their favorite person.
Lying Low: If lying flat or crawling low to the ground, your cat is being sneaky and getting ready to attack.
It's Veterinarian Time If Your Cat: Refuses to eat, hides by herself, stops grooming, sneezes repeatedly, scratches constantly, has difficulty urinating and/or has trouble breathing.
YOUR CAT HEALTH
Multimedia Stress Relief
|Many Cat lovers don't want to use pills, medications or quick-fixes and prefer natural remedies. Cat owners are turning to audio-video equipment to help relieve their cats' stress, anxiety, boredom and frustration. All that's required is a CD or DVD player which many people today own.
Many indoor cats get bored or anxious if prevented from hunting and roaming. Signs your cat may be stressed include sudden urine marking, lost appetite or obsessing with food, a reduced play drive, hiding, vertical scratching, suddenly refusing to use the litter box or other change in behavior.
Since William Cosgrove said "Music hath charms to soothe the savage beat", a few composers recently created music designed to sooth and relax pets. Some animal experts have endorsed some of them. Most of these CDs are also pleasant and soothing to humans, so you can also enjoy them.
DVDs featuring scampering mice, fluttering birds and goldfish swimming across the TV screen can help fulfill your cat's frustrated hunting instincts. Some cats aren't very interested, and others become extremely curious and enjoy swatting the screen. These products can help relieve your cat's boredom while you're away or provide fun for you to enjoy together. And they're great gifts for your pet-owning friends.
Do consult your veterinarian first so he/she can rule out any medical cause of anxiety or other changes in your cat's behavior. Text Box: DON'T FORGET: Submit your humorous and interesting stories about your pets and photos for us to select for other readers to enjoy.
MY FEATURE STORY
Remembering Sir Greystoke of Silver Edge
|This is not a sad story. It is one of remembering how funny and affectionate Greystoke was.
He was either abandoned or had run away and wandered into my friend's building. The doorman gave him to her and she called me, asking me to come over. When I saw him, it was love at first sight. His fur was a light smoke grey, turning into a grayish taupe. Even the insides of his ears, his underbelly and his whiskers were all grey. And he had beautiful large sea green eyes. He was a very long Norwegian Forest Cat with a long fluffy tail divided down the middle, with the sides fanning out like an ostrich's plume. His tail was so long that when I'd gently lie it across his back, it would touch his neck. He was about 9 months old when I got him. Little did I know the fun I was in for with this character.
The first thing to do was to give him a name (which he did answer to). I wanted something unique with the word "gray" and thought of Tarzan's ancestral home: Greystoke. So, my handsome friend's new name was Greystoke. Since it's such an elegant name, I decided that he should be Sir Greystoke. And I thought that since he's Sir Greystoke, he's an aristocrat and therefore needs a manor and an estate. While I was thinking up his name, he was sitting on the living room floor. The sun was streaming in and it gave a silver sheen to the outline of his body. Ergo, his official name was "Sir Greystoke of Silver Edge".
I'm convinced he thought he was part human: He loved super chunky peanut butter, roasted peanuts, bread, ice cream, apples, peaches, apricots, grapes (no skin on any fruit), cooked, fried or raw potatoes (with or without the skin), ice cream (of course), dates and figs.
As I walked he wound wind in and out between my feet. It's a wonder I never crashed to the floor or injured him. Everyone who saw him fell in love with him - even people who didn't like cats.
I live in an apartment building, and when I'd take trash out to the compactor he'd occasionally fly out the door and race up the entire length of the hallway. There where times we'd meow to each other, but the problem there was he'd never tell me what we were talking about.
I'd sit on the sofa watching TV, with my legs up on a chair. He'd come into my lap and stretch out on his right side. Often, he'd lift his paw to pat my face. He had an odd thing when it came to petting his ears: Just as I'd finish petting his right ear, he'd turn his head for me to pet his left, then turn for his right ear, and so on.
He was only 9 years old when he went to his rest this past Spring.
The Limp Feline
|Ann Baker bred White Persians in the 1960's, and she noticed that a litter of kittens had a wonderful personality and went limp like a rag doll when they were held and petted. One of the randomly bred kittens was a female black shorthair who looked something like a Burmese, another was a male with mitting and points like a Birman and a third cat had the bi-color pattern.
Baker didn't want anyone to show or register her cats without her control. But some people left her in 1967 and took their cats to mainstream registries so they could make their own choices about breeding. They kept the name Ragdoll and bred only pointed cats in three patterns. They founded the Ragdoll Fanciers' Club International to promote and standardize the breed.
In retaliation, Baker set up the International Ragdoll Cat Association, requiring all her breeders to register with her only. The "Ragdoll" name was later patented and to be used only with cats of her breeding and registry.
As she got older, her many of her followers questioned her directions and started a new group of cats: the Ragamuffins - shown in the entire color and pattern range, not only pointed. But all Ragdolls are pointed with darker coloring on their faces, ears, tails and legs in seal, blue, lilac and chocolate, and the new red and cream. Recently, the lynx, or tabby and "tortie" points which combine two colors have become recognized.
Colorpoints have darker faces, ears, legs and tails, contrasting highly with a cream or almost white body . Mitted Ragdolls also have points, but the front paws are white and the back paws are booted halfway up the leg. The chin and chest are white with a white strip down the stomach, and it's OK for a white blaze to be on the nose.
Bicolor Ragdolls have an inverted "V" of white in the dark points of the face. The four legs, chest, ruff and stomach are white. The van pattern has the cat white except for the tail, ears and upper part of the facial mast. The Cat Fanciers Association permits only the Bicolor pattern to compete.
Ragdolls weigh up to 20 lbs. Their placid personality, and relaxed, loving and playing nature make them good with children and with other cats, dogs, birds and rabbits. They're good for homes and apartments.
YOUR DOG'S HEALTH
|Professional Pet Sitters: Your pet's home is best, and it's cheaper. Licensed pros often take care of mail and plants. Call the National Association for Professional Pet Sitters Referral Network (800) 296-PETS.
First-Aid Kits: Buy one specially designed for cats, dogs, birds and horses. Must-haves: bandages, antiseptics, eye and skin washes, antibiotic ointment, cotton swabs, plastic forceps to remove splinters and ticks and scissors.
Bedding: Wash your pet's bedding once a week in warm to hot water. Clean the shine off rubber and plastic toys with disinfectant and rinse thoroughly in hot water.
Cut Plastic Rings: Cut the plastic rings from six-pack sodas, beers, water and anything else into tiny pieces before recycling or discarding. Connected rings can choke birds and small animals.
Clean Teeth: If your don't won't let you use a toothbrush, try rubbing special get toothpaste gels onto their gums with your finger at least 3 times a week. Have your veterinarian scale their teeth to remove stubborn tartar.
Socializing: Enroll your puppy in a socialization school starting when it's 8 weeks old. The sooner it's exposed to people, vacuum cleaners, cats and cars, the better the chance of its growing up to be well adjusted and adaptable to change.
The Weigh-In: Weigh your dog weekly to check for obesity or rapid weight loss, as they may be due to a medical condition. A 2-lb. loss in a dog or a cat is equal to 10-20 lbs. in a human.
The Weekly Exam: Open his mouth to see if there are bleeding gums or chipped teeth or doggie breath. Check his ears and eyes for discharge or infection. Massage its paws and torso to see if there are any cuts or lumps. Two benefits: You'll catch a medical condition early, and your pet gets used to being handled.
Night Safety: Use glow-in-the dark collars and/or leashes to heighten visibility to oncoming drivers.
Sidestep Hot Pavements: Walk early in the morning or evening when the sun is less hot to protect your dog's sensitive footpads.
Communicating With Animals
|Many pet owners say that their pets could sense when they were upset or ill. Animal communicators train themselves to open their minds in order to receive information from and about animals. This can be extremely helpful in understanding behavior problems and health issues. It can sometimes, although the process is extremely difficult, locate lost pets.
Communicating telepathically with animals is not generally accepted as there is no scientific study that proves animal communication is a reality. However, believers say that communicators get information from the animals that they wouldn't otherwise know.
People retain animal communicators when their pets demonstrate behavior problems, or are ill or lost. Some people who are away for extended periods want to check in to see how their pets are doing and what they have to say. Since the communication received is from the pet's perspective, communicators are reputed to get to the root of problems. The communicator does not interpret the animal's message, but tells it to you. The message may mean nothing to the communicator, but you will understand it.
Some animal communicators receive words, feelings and even pain, and receive messages from the animals in different ways. Some time ago, I learned of Ginny Debbink of New Jersey receives words, emotions and images which she translates into words. While communications sessions are usually in person, Debbink preferred doing it over the phone so the animal wouldn't distract her. The pet owner would give her a question and wait quietly while Debbink telepathed the question and got the answer.
Whether or not you get the "proof", retaining an animal communicator could be beneficial for you in getting to know your pet better.
Neither animal communications nor other alternative modalities are to be construed as replacing proper veterinary care, nutrition or exercise.
For more information on the services of animal communicators, click on Links for communicators in various states.
GERMAN SHORTHAIRED POINTER
Westminster's 2004 Winner
|This year's Westminster Show winner, and currently the 22nd most popular breed, is a web-footed dog that loves to hunt. Highly patterned, this strong dog can point virtually all game Ð whether on the ground, in the water or from the sky. It's a frisky dog with a sense of humor and makes a great family pet.
The breed came about from an international mixing of Spanish pointers, English foxhounds and several German tracking hounds. It is very active and enthusiastically rushes to point and retrieve for his hunter owner.
While not high maintenance, it sheds all year and should be brushed every day. It has a mind of its own, so the owner must be very assertive if he wants a dog with good behavior. Do enroll your pup in obedience training and socialization so it knows that you're the boss and your rules. Reinforce the rules and test your dog periodically to be sure it knows what is expected.
Since it's a large dog and very strong, it's best to introduce it to the family not before the children are several years old. This breed makes a wonderful family pet and also make good watch dogs.
They have extremely strong jaws, so be sure to have a large variety of durable toys and chews for them. You don't want your shoes É or anything else É mangled by your dog. This intelligent breed likes to explore and use its head, so enclose treats in a chew toy and the dog will think and work at getting the treats.
Grooming is best done with a good brush and a rubber curry comb. Add heavy duty nail clipper for those strong, thick nails when it's an adult. You'll need a sturdy collar and leash. Some dogs train better with a head halter when taught to walk without pulling.
Actively participate in toys and games with your dog to keep it happy.
The Little Aristocrat
|This small lap dog dates back to 300 BC in the Mediterranean, or even earlier. Evidence indicates pre-1500 BC, before the Phoenicians settled on Malta, from where the breed gets its name. They were apparently considered valuable as they are depicted on ancient artifacts in Egypt and Greece.
Brought to traders' homelands, the Maltese came to the Turkish Empire, courts of Chinese royalty and later in European art. Emperor Claudius of Rome owned one. Their popularity began when one was gifted to Elizabeth I. So popular, people thought they had medical powers and used them to help relieve aching joints, thus getting the nickname of "The Comforter."
1888 saw the first Maltese registered in the AKC's studbook. Its popularity zoomed upward in the 1970s. Averaging 4-6 lbs. and 8-10" tall, it can be carried in large purses and totes for convenience and to show off . Double topknots and bows are both ornamental and practical, as they keep the hair out of the dog's eyes.
Maltese are even-tempered, affectionate and enjoy being with their owners. This beautiful and elegant breed can have a pure white coat that grows to the floor. They like people, usually greet guests and are ideal for most homes They're gentle with older children, but not the very young who haven't yet learned how to treat a small dog. Since it's best to not leave this companion alone a lot as it might start destroying your home, it's not a good breed for the frequent traveler who leaves the pet alone.
Be consistent: When you say "No", mean it. They're approval seekers, so it's important to reward them. Keep the dog on a leash in the street as it may get scared and lost or attacked by large dogs - even in its own yard. Use a lightweight collar as heavy ones mat the hair which pulls the sensitive skin and creates tangles.
Daily brushing from an early age is necessary, and often professional grooming is sought. A pin brush, fine-toothed comb, nail clipper, coat conditioner and high-quality whitening shampoo will keep your dog beautiful. Slicker brushes are too harsh as they pull the skin. Comb thoroughly before bathing but do not over-bathe as over-washed hair loses its oils, turns yellow, gets brittle and breaks. After bathing, use a heavy towel to absorb most of the water, gently comb and then blow dry on low heat. Never use a dryer's maximum heat.
You'll enjoy your Maltese for 15 years or more.
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