Always Be Prepared

The Boys Looking for Trouble

Bean and Puck have been super busy lately. Not sure if they are sensing a change in the weather or what, but there is lots of running, climbing, pouncing, and wrestling. Bean has become obsessed with watching hockey. We worry he is going to take down the TV one of these days!

Go Bruins!

The other pets are doing well. Cali had her spring Cytopoint injection last week, and is feeling so much better! The Dragon is eating everything in sight!

“Pretty Birdie”

Hector is doing great. She’s been very vocal lately and often whistles back and forth with me in the afternoon. Sometimes it is distracting trying to get work done, but I wouldn’t change a thing!

Clipping Hector’s nails shouldn’t be that big of a deal. She’s really good about being held in a towel. I don’t have to trim her nails all that often as she does wear them down on her different perch surfaces, but it has been time to cut them for a couple of weeks. I’ve been putting it off because I need help. I can towel her, but I need a second person to actually clip her nails. We had some time this weekend, so I convinced the husband to help me.

Everything was going well. We got the first foot done in no time. Hector was calm, even making her cute little psss, psss, psss sound, like she is whispering a secret. We got to the second foot and Hector was curling it up tight, so we had to separate out her toes. Second to last nail accidentally got cut too short, ugh. It wasn’t too bad, so we clipped the last nail, and I got some cornstarch.

It seemed like the bleeding was stopping, so I kept holding her and talking to her, I started rubbing her head. Well, silly me, she had a bunch of new pin feathers coming in, and I guess I rubbed one the wrong way, now her head was bleeding!

Thankfully, I’ve read that the best way to stop a pin feather from bleeding is simply to pull it out, and this was a super tiny feather on her head. I was able to grab it with tweezers and pull it out and the bleeding stopped immediately. One problem solved!

Of course during all that, her short nail started bleeding again. Every time I thought I had it stopped, Hector would decide she was done being held, she’d try to get away, and the nail would start bleeding again.

My husband went to look for a Styptic pencil, but we couldn’t find it anywhere so he headed to the drugstore. I’m busy trying to keep poor Hector calm. I brought her outside because she loves to hear the outdoor birds, and that worked for a few minutes. As long as she was still, the nail was fine, but as soon as she struggled it started bleeding again.

Drugstore number one didn’t seem to know what a Styptic pencil was! Off to store number two!

I had the idea of making a cornstarch paste with some water and kind of encasing her nail in the paste. It seemed to be working. By the time Dave headed towards the second store, the bleeding had been stopped for awhile and I was feeling better about not having to rush to the emergency vet. I didn’t want to take a chance on putting her back in her cage and messing with her toe until the Styptic pencil was in sight. I continued to hold her, offered her some water, took her outside again as a distraction. 

She seemed to be doing well, so I finally put a towel in the kitchen sink and let her stand on her foot. Success! No more bleeding. I offered some of her favorite snacks while she was hanging out in the sink, but she wasn’t interested in any of them.

Hector was NOT happy about being in the sink. After a few minutes, I didn’t want to stress her out anymore, so I put her back on her cage. She was pissed at me, and made some of her nasty loud coach-whistle sounds, but she seemed OK. I checked on her constantly over the course of the afternoon, and by dinner time she seemed totally over it. She was holding up that one foot at first, I’m sure that nail was a little sore, so she got lots of extra nuts and even two banana chunks to distract her. Today she is acting totally normally, other than not wanting me to pick her up, I can’t say I blame her.

Although I can trim Hector’s nails at home, next time I’ll leave it to her vet. Birds are so delicate, and we were very lucky yesterday.  I’m thankful that I’m not a panicky kind of person so I was able to stay calm and take care of her, but next time I’m going to trust in the professionals so if anything does happen, she is already in the right place to get help. It’s also a good idea to take her to the vet for regular check ups, so I can just do both at once.

We also have a brand new Styptic pencil in the medicine cabinet that will hopefully be handy and easy to find nice time we need it!

Hector bowing her head to show me she doesn’t want to be picked up!

Climbing Fun!

I know how to have a fun weekend! Yes, pandemic is putting a damper on things, but I found a new pet project to brighten up my weekend!

Hector D. Byrd wrapped up after a bath

 

Hector has been very entertaining lately. A couple of weeks ago she started coughing. I was really worried! Every time she coughed, I would get up and go check on her, but she seemed fine, breathing was good, no discharge, eyes looked good, eating, drinking, pooping normally, I was stumped! The next day she coughed and I ran to check on her and she started laughing.  I realized she was coughing for attention! It’s developed into a new routine around here: Hector coughs, I ask if she is OK, “oh poor poor birdy! Is my baby bird OK?” She coughs again, maybe a couple of coughs in a row. “Poor Hector! what a terrible cough! Maybe you need a treat?” She laughs, I bring her a treat. This is what it is like to be owned by a parrot.

As I’m writing today, Wena the dragon is hanging out on the back of my chair. Bean is very concerned that she is going to eat me, or maybe he just wants to play with her, but here’s the look I’m getting.

 

The gliders are settling in really well.  I’m still not sure they like me, but they don’t bite me, so it’s all good. I’ve been reading that a lot of glider owners use mosquito net bed tents to let their gliders run and play. While I think this sounds like an awesome idea, I also know how incredibly messy my boys are, and they believe the entire world is their bathroom. I wasn’t excited about the idea of cleaning up a tent, as well as not wanting to buy or store the tent.

Eenie, Meenie, Miney, and Mo have been hanging out with me in my glass shower stall. It’s a double stall, like bathtub size, and it works out really well.  The boys can run around, and when it is over, I can just clean the shower. The problem is, other than the corner shelf unit, there isn’t much for them to climb on in the shower. This weekend, I had the best idea!

This pile of PVC was a homemade parrot stand I made for Hector years ago. She never liked it, so it has been up in the attic. Rebuilt, I was thinking I could convert it into a climber for the gliders!

I took the original structure and made sure it fit in the shower, and it did! Next I took a bunch of the fleece pieces I had for the gliders and hung them from the stand to give them more climbing options. I wasn’t sure if I would need to wrap the PVC in fleece or add something to make it easier for them to climb.

As soon as I let them out in the shower, two of them climbed right up the PVC pipe! They had no problems with it at all, especially Miney, the tiniest of the 4 by far. He is also the craziest! Every night Miney is the one running like a maniac in the wheel. Climbing this structure was definitely right up his alley. It took him maybe 2 seconds to figure out how to get from the structure I built up onto the shower head. At one point, he was running up one side of the fleece and down the other, over and over again.

Mo found himself a comfy spot on the 2nd layer and mostly hung out there.

Meenie enjoyed climbing, and went all the way to the top, but was a bit more cautious than crazy Miney. He explored carefully and checked out all the different parts.

My Eenie is my big boy. He’s chunky. He’s the one I most often find at the food bowl when he’s awake. He never left my body while they were out this time. His friends would come over and pester him, but he just hung out with me.

He sat in my lap, he hung out on my shoulder, he did some climbing, but only on me. At one point he tried to climb across my face, ouch! Thankfully the scratch is small. Not looking forward to trimming nails again, but it might be almost time.

Eventually, Miney really got into crazy mode, and just started running and leaping. He made his way to the shower head, then made the leap to the top of the shower doors. From there he was looking around and I knew I was in trouble. I put away the other three boys, and watched Miney leap about 8ft from the top of the shower doors to the towel rack. Scooped him up from there, and they all went back to their cage.

I’m sure over the next few weeks I’ll be adding/changing toys to the climbing structure, but I’m so excited to have it! Now I don’t feel the need for a messy tent, and the boys have a great new play area. I just have to figure out how to keep Miney from the gap at the top of the shower!

Next project I’m working on is creating a BioActive terrarium for the Dragon! I’m learning all about substrates, clean up insects, and safe plants. I’ll update soon.

 

 

 

 

 

Bird Mister Review

Ok, so this product really isn’t for birds. It’s for human hairspray, but it is by far the best sprayer I’ve used for my African Grey.

Hector doesn’t like baths. I’ve tried the kitchen sink, the bathtub, shower perches, floor of the shower, spray with different bottles, etc. I had an old spray bottle that she came with that sprayed a light mist that she would tolerate.

I mist her pretty regularly, and then give her good soaking baths in the kitchen sink every couple of weeks. It isn’t her favorite, but she tolerates it, and as bird owners know, they are necessary to help keep her healthy.

Recently I saw an Amazon ad that caught my attention for a fine mist sprayer. It’s for hairspray, not birds, but it’s just an empty sprayer so it can really be used for any liquid you chose. I fill it with some warm-ish, water, not too hot, not too cold, and it sprays a lovely fine mist.  The more you use it, the less you have to pump the sprayer as it builds up pressure and just sprays. Hector showed her delight by flapping her wings, spreading them, stretching, and preening.

This little wonder sprayer:  is amazing. Hector actually seems to enjoy the sprays from it. For $8, definitely worth a try if you have a bird that doesn’t love baths.

The Holidays are Inching Closer

Who buys holiday gifts for their pets? Do you buy gifts for all your pets? I have to be honest, I haven’t found a whole lot that excites Wena, my bearded dragon, so unless she needs something for her tank, she usually just gets some extra Horn Worms, her favorite treat, for the holidays.

The cats and the dog always get something, and Hector the bird, LOVES presents! She gets so excited. She even unwraps her own presents. It’s definitely part of the fun for her.

I found a new-to-me website called A Bird Toy, that had some unique toys. I like that they sell parts, and you can create your own toys, and reuse/refill them. Don’t tell Hector, but she is about to get their “hulk bolt” for Christmas. It is a stainless steel bolt that attaches to the side of her cage, and I can refill it with wood blocks, beads, leather pieces, cardboard squares, etc. Hector is often afraid of new things, so I like the idea of the solid base that I can refill with different parts. I’m hoping she might be less nervous about the refills once she gets used to it. I’ll post a review after I’ve had a chance to use it with Hector.

The cats got a giant (taller than me!) cat tree for Christmas last year that they love. This year, they don’t really need anything big, so I’ll probably pick up some plastic springs, furry mice, and maybe a new cardboard scratcher. What are you getting your cats?

 

I haven’t really decided what Cali will get for Christmas yet. She has so many toys already! She isn’t a destructive chewer, so her toys last forever. Maybe it’s time for a new sweater. Cali loves her clothes! She was so excited to dress up for Halloween! We actually had trouble getting her dress off of her at the end of the night.

I’m hoping to find time to put together a Pet Wish List before the holidays. What kinds of things would like to see on it? What kind of pets are your shopping for?

Review: Bird Street Bistro Parrot Food

Got a bird? If you do, you know they aren’t easy pets. They require a lot of attention, cleaning, play time, more cleaning, and feeding. I’ve owned birds off and on for as long as I can remember. I posted about my history with birds in the “Before Hector D. Byrd” post if you want to read more.

Every bird I’ve owned has taught me something. With Maverick, my amazon, I started to learn a lot about feeding parrots. I also came to the conclusion that I wasn’t happy with any commercially made parrot foods. I feed commercial parrot pellets, but mostly as a supplement. My birds have always had homemade food. It took Hector some time to get used to my food, but now she devours it. She anxiously waits by her bowl for her breakfast every morning. If breakfast doesn’t come fast enough, she whistles and bangs her bowl.

A Jar Of My Homemade Food

My feeding routine for Hector is that she always has a fresh bowl of pellets in her cage. I’m currently feeding her Zupreem Fruit Blend. Not only does she eat these pellets, and not just throw them, but she also likes to sort them. They pellets are different shapes and colors. Sometimes I’ll check her bowl and find there are only orange pellets left. Other times, she sorts out a different color. Food and entertainment, all in one bowl!

Just recently, I discovered Bird Street Bistro, and it seems to be the first food that can replace my homemade mix. I’m so excited! No more special shopping trip to get all the ingredients, and no more setting aside a couple of hours each month to mix up a batch.

Bird Street Bistro mixes are all natural, no added fillers or preservatives. They have about half a dozen different recipes to add variety to your birds diet. Prices are reasonable. When I first checked out their page, I was thinking their mixes were a bit pricey, but when I started to price out my own grocery list when I buy products to make my own recipe, I realized how reasonable their prices are.

I started with the Parrot Food Sample Pack. Knowing Hector isn’t a big fan of beans, I asked if I could swap out the Cajun Bean Feast flavor, and received their AppleBerry flavor instead. Different formulas need to cook for different amounts of time, but it seems that all can be done in about 20 minutes, and some take much less time.

Knowing that Hector LOVES cinnamon, CinnaSpice Delight was the first flavor I tried. Making this food could not have been any easier. I simply added water and some of the dry mix to a pot, brought it to a bowl, covered it, and let it simmer for 15 minutes. The whole house smelled so good while it was cooking! `The ingredients are wonderful, rice, millet, split peas, barley, couscous, currants, carrots, oats, barley, apples, etc. I love the different grains included in this mix.

After cooking, I let it cool to room temperature, then watched Hector devour it. Since Hector is already eating a similar, homemade version of this food, she had no trouble converting to it all all. I had some of my homemade food available, so I could mix the two foods if needed, but Hector was happy with the new food right away.

For birds that are converting from a different diet, they may need a little encouragement to eat a food like this. It took me MONTHS to get Hector to eat my homemade mash when I first started out with it. Patience is key with parrots. Don’t give up, be persistent, eventually they will give it a try.  Don’t stress over wasted food. I always used to remind myself that the cost of vet bills for bad diet in the future would be WAY more than the cost of the food Hector was wasting. There are tips on the back of the bags to help get you started.

The next flavor I tried was the Southern Feast. My favorite part of this one is that it cooks in 3 minutes! Just add the mix to boiling water, stir for 30 seconds and remove from the heat and let sit. Hector also approves of this flavor. This one has couscous, wheat, millet, oats, carrots, peppers, quinoa, almonds parsley, cayenne pepper, basil, cumin, and kelp.

Mixing up one batch of Bird Street Bistro according to their directions gives me about a mason jar full of food, plus another meal. It works out well for me to make it, feed Hector, then store the mason jar of food in the fridge and I have fresh food for 4-5 days.

Instead of Hector having to eat the same batch of food for a month plus, now I can switch up flavors for her every time I make a batch, so she is getting a new flavor every few days. Bird Street Bistro comes in resealable bags, so I can make a batch, then I just put the rest of the dry mix into the freezer for storage. It’s so convenient! I also like that I have less stuff in my freezer since I don’t have a month’s worth of mason jars, I just have a bag of Bird Street Bistro, and the fresh mix in the fridge.

I will be trying the other flavors soon, and I expect that I will definitely be ordering more. With a product like this on the market, I see no reason to go through the time and hassle of making my own food.

The only negative I have about this product, is the veggie content. I feel that my homemade blends contain more veggies than Bird Street Bistro blends that I have tried so far, but it is hard to tell by looking. My homemade blends had bigger pieces of veggies for sure, but I’m wondering if Hector will actually eat more veggies with the new blend because she can’t pick them out. I’ve always supplemented Hector with fresh veggies on top of her homemade mix, so I will continue to do that while using Bird Street Bistro. I also need to check out their Viva La Veggies flavor and the Hearty Veggies. I have Viva La Veggies, but haven’t made it yet. I’ll also check out the Hearty Veggies next time I need to place an order. Based on the pictures on their website, it looks like both of these flavors have more veggies than the flavors I’ve made so far.

Another thought I had on the veggies was to add another product I use which is a chop from a company called Texas Natural Freeze Dried Products. They make a variety of freeze dried foods for parrots and humans. I like to keep some of their Freeze Dried Chop on hand for a quick breakfast for Hector if I forget to make or defrost her normal food. Their chop is a great product that contains a ton of veggies: kale, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, sweet peppers, yellow squash, red cabbage, apples, and strawberries. I can easily add a bit of this freeze dried mix to the Bird Street Bistro if I want to add some extra veggies to the mix.

I’m really excited about Bird Street Bistro foods. In the long run, it will save me time and money. I’m impressed with the high quality ingredients and the ease of use. I like the convenience of making up a batch that lasts a few days. I like the variety of grains in the product which not only help balance the birds diet, but also give it different shapes and textures to pick out of the food. Something I know Hector enjoys.

I know a lot of people think of birds and think they eat seeds. In the research I’ve done, I’ve grown to believe that seeds are not a healthy diet for captive birds. They are too high in fat and can cause liver disease and other problems later in life. Hector doesn’t eat seeds. She does get sunflower seeds as a very rare treat, but never as part of her regular diet. Mostly for treats she gets almonds(in the shell), cucumber slices, sometimes a whole grain, unsalted cracker with a little bit of almond butter, carrots, peppers, etc.

 

 

My Parrot Food

I tweak this every time I make it, depending on what I have around, and what’s in season. For example, in the Fall, I tend to use more squash, apples, etc. in summer I may add some berries and fresh carrots.

This recipe makes about a month and a half  of food for Hector. I make the one big batch, then freeze in 16 ounce mason jars. One jar gives me about 4-5 days of food, so I just defrost a new jar as needed.

Here’s the basic recipe. Feel free to substitute and change it up to meet your needs.

1 cup of fresh fruit – apples are my go-to, but sometimes it is berries, melon, etc.

1 box of whole grain veggie pasta – I try to buy different shapes for variety

1 can of beans – Hector isn’t a huge fan of beans, so I usually mash these pretty well and mix them in. I change the type of beans, red beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, etc.

1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds, raw and unsalted

1 lb of organic greens – this can be kale, collard greens, mustard greens, etc. sometimes I replace the greens with chopped broccoli

1 lb of frozen organic mixed veggies, usually a standard peas, corn, carrots kind of thing

2 fresh sweet potatoes – sweet potatoes are Hector’s favorite! I leave skin on, but scrub them clean and cut into small pieces

1 cup of other veggies – depends what is in season, cauliflower, squash, I try to add a variety of colors

3 cups of grains – I usually use Farro and/or Quinoa, but Kamut, whole grain oats, etc can all be used to change it up.

1 heaping teaspoon on Tumeric

1 tablespoon of organic cinnamon

I start with a about 1.5 times the amount of water required to cook the grains I’m using, bring it to a boil and cook the grains. They should be a little more watery than usual. I add the sweet potato chunks when the grains are about half cooked. If the mix seems, dry, just add more water. Once that mix has softened up, I add the pasta and mix it in. I don’t really cook the pasta. It softens up enough in the mix and adds a little consistency.

Next I add the fruit, spices, mashed beans, greens, veggies, and mix well. Last, I fold in the pumpkin seeds.

I let the mix cool a bit, then divide it up into Mason jars, not quite filling them to leave room for expansion when they freeze.

When I finish a jar of food, I take a new one out of the freezer and leave it on the counter to defrost for a couple of hours then put it into the fridge. Next morning I just scoop it out and feed. Sometimes as a treat, I’ll add a little scrambled egg to her regular mix, or other fresh fruits and veggies.

Experimenting is key. What does your bird like? What consistency do they prefer? Do they like minced food or big chunks? Is there a veggie that they always pick out and don’t eat?

This is Hector’s main food, but not her only food. She also always has free-choice pellets, and she gets more fresh veggies when I’m making dinner, nothing fancy, just bites of whatever things are appropriate for her like cucumbers, carrots, peppers, etc.

 

June already?

Everything seems so crazy in the world right now. While I’m certainly concerned about all that is going on, I’m also happy to focus on the good for a few moments, so let’s talk pets!

The Dragon

The Dragon is cranky. It’s Spring shedding time and although much of her as already shed, she’s still got a lot of shedding to do, her head especially, and that seems to drive her crazy. I did discover some new greens that she is REALLY excited about. It used to be that the only green she really ate consistently was Arugula. I’ve tried so many different types of greens and she wouldn’t touch them. When I grocery shopped a few days ago, the store was totally out of Arugula. I thought I would try something different and I bought some pea shoots and broccoli sprouts. She is devouring them! This morning she ate a big bowl of them, and I just brought her another handful of the pea sprouts and she is gobbling them all up. I may have to bring her another helping.

I’m happy to find greens that she will eat so well!

Cali is doing fine, but she’s itchy. Spring is not the best season for her, and I’ve had to spot treat her skin, and also give her extra baths. I made need to bring her to the vet for an extra allergy shot, but so far she is hanging in there with the baths and spot treatments as well as her regular Apoquel.

I did clip her recently, and the short haircut also seems to help with the allergies. I can give her a really good scrub when I bathe her, and it is easier to get the topical sprays on her skin.

Hector is getting so brave! She’s still walking all around the house, and chewing and cardboard that crosses her path. The last few days, she has also been attempting short flights! I did clip Hector’s wings not long after we got her. I had taken her to the vet for a check up, and the vet suggested I clip her as she adjusted to her new home. I haven’t clipped her wings since. I’d prefer not to clip her, but if she starts flying and crashing I may have to clip her again so that she doesn’t hurt herself.

Hector has started a new little routine. After dinner and clean up, the family usually heads into the living room to watch a movie. Hector follows us to the living room now. I sit on the floor, play fetch with Cali, and Hector struts around checking everything out. Occasionally she will push a cat toy around or nibble on a dog toy. When she’s had enough, she makes this awful whistle/scream sound and we know it is time to give her a ride back to her cage.

Logan

Last but not least are all the kitties. All are doing well. Puck and Bean have been venturing outside on leashes a little bit. I’m starting to think it isn’t a good idea as Puck has been sitting at the door meowing like he is asking to go out. I don’t want outdoor cats, or even indoor/outdoor cats. I know everyone has different feelings on it, but it just isn’t my thing. The only time I’ve had an outdoor cat was when I had a barn in Texas and I had a barn cat. I used to worry every time I went out that I wouldn’t find him. I know I wouldn’t sleep if I had an outdoor cat and it didn’t come home one night.

Since I’ve given up on trying to get the cats to use new kitty litter, I’ve gotten a couple of mats to try and help contain the spread of the litter at least. I’ll post a review of the new mats tomorrow.

I’m also giving Primal cat food a try. I’ll get a review of that posted soon as well.

Stay well everyone!

 

It’s Been Too Long

Happy Spring!

The last few weeks have been crazy. Thanks to Covid-19, there isn’t much of anything on my schedule. I’m certainly not going anywhere, but somehow I’m keeping pretty busy. I started a garden, and I’ve been keeping a personal journal of all that is going on, so maybe that is why I haven’t been inspired to write here, but I’m back!

I can’t wait to see what kinds of new creatures I meet as the local wildlife discovers my new garden. I put an outdoor camera on the garden so if there are any visitors I can catch them in the act!

The other night we found a small, lovely poop in my son’s bedroom as we were all heading to bed. This wasn’t the first time. We had been blaming Cali the dog, but we had started keeping her downstairs to keep that from happening and it still happened.  Must be a cat?!? Yikes. I really freak out about the cats not using their litter box. So of course, I couldn’t sleep. Midnight, 1AM, 2AM, I’m up, stressed, why is this happening?

About 3AM, I had a revelation! It was all my fault! I had been messing with the cat litter boxes trying to find a solution to our tracking problems. I rushed downstairs and cleaned the litter boxes and returned them to our regular clumping litter. That was a couple of nights ago, and the problem has definitely cleared up. I was really enjoying the paper pellet litter and the pine litter, but I guess the cats didn’t like it as much as I did. Time to figure out a new plan. I’m not sure I will be able to find a litter that doesn’t track around the house and isn’t pelleted, but I’ll be on the look out. Does anyone have a cat litter that they really like?

The bearded dragon is doing well. I’ve managed to keep her well fed with greens and bugs even though my shopping is limited these days. She’s fat, happy, and having a nice spring shed.

Hector’s “Don’t mess with me” look

Hector is Hector, what can I say? She’s still taking over the house, strutting around with her beak in the air, chasing cats, and destroying any cardboard that she can find. She is definitely enjoying all the out of cage time with me being home so much. She actually mumbles at me when I close her cage during the day if I have to lock her up. I bought her some lovely freeze-dried chop from Texas Freeze Dried Naturals. She didn’t eat it very well last time I tried it, but this time I’m using it to stretch the fresh chop I make. I’m adding a bit of the freeze dried to her fresh food every day so that I can use less fresh, and she is actually eating all of it. Old birds CAN learn new tricks!

I bought a handheld steam cleaner a couple of weeks ago. I had heard they were useful for cleaning bird cages, but hadn’t bothered in the past. I saw one on sale for about $30 on Amazon and thought it was worth a try. It was great! If anyone is interested, I bought a Bissell Steam Shot. It comes with brushes for scrubbing, and it is simple to use. I rolled her cage out on the back porch and went to work one sunny day. It isn’t a miracle cleaner. I still had to do some scraping, but it definitely got the cage cleaner than it has been in a very long time. I’m also finding the steamer handy for cleaning showers and bathtubs, bonus!

 

Sleepy beast that needs a haircut!

Cali has been super annoying lately. I’m not sure if it is because we are home, if the weather is nicer, if her allergies are bugging her, if she is bored? She barks at every little noise. I’m trying a couple of different things with her and it seems to be helping. First of all, I’m trying mandatory walks every single day that the weather permits. I’m also keeping treats around the house and working on basic training again. She knows some tricks and I’m trying to teach her more. She seems to be doing a little better. I’m not sure if it is the discipline of the training or the exercise, but whatever it is, I’ll take it! I need to put a haircut for her on my schedule.

Puck’s urinary issues seem to have cleared up, but I’m still wary. I’ve got him on the prescription diet, but it is super expensive with three cats in the house. There isn’t really a good way to feed him alone, so all the cats are getting it. I’m switching between the prescription food and a couple of non-prescription urinary health foods. I found a Purina dry food that I realized is making one of the cats throw up! I won’t be buying that one anymore. Bean also throws up,  hairballs are the issue. I’ve been using a paste I bought which seems to help, but he still has occasional problems.

I’ve been researching cat diets, and I feel like my best bet is going to be putting all the cats on a raw food diet. I thought about making it myself, but with everything in various stages of being open or not lately, I didn’t want to have to try to track down healthy, fresh raw meats. I’m also worried about making sure they get all the right nutrients.

My research led me to Primal brand raw foods. They seem to be well respected and easily available. I like the idea of a commercial food because I’m worried my homemade food won’t be nutritionally complete. My local pet store sells both freeze dried and frozen versions of Primal raw food, so I’ve ordered a couple of different types to try. Hopefully I can pick it up today or tomorrow. Puck seems to be allergic to any type of fish or seafood, so I’ll be trying turkey and pork varieties. I’m hoping the cats like it, and maybe it will help keep Puck stable and help with Bean’s hair balls. Primal is expensive, but now that I have to use prescription food, it is actually cheaper than that, so worth a try. I’ve been feeding the cats a bit of canned food twice per day, plus free choice dry, so my thought it to sub in one meal a day of raw food and see how it goes. Of course, I’ll update here!

Bean is getting so big! I’ll have to see if I can get an approximate weight on him. He is just about 9 months old now. I’m 99% sure he is now our largest pet! Cali weighs about 11lbs, and I’m pretty sure Bean is heavier than that now.

Let me know what you and your pets are up to. Stay well.

Busy Bird

Hector and I have a new routine lately. After I’ve fed everyone and opened Hector’s cage, I settle in at my desk. Hector used to be content to hang out on her cage, chew up some cardboard, and eat her breakfast. The last few days, after she finishes her breakfast, Hector comes to visit me.

She struts across the floor, squaking at the dog and cats and she makes her way. Yesterday morning, I happened to have a pet puzzle on the floor near me. I had been planning to put some treats in it for the cats, but Hector had her own ideas.

She showed me how she could easily open the little doors, so I put a couple of almonds in it and let her get to work. It didn’t take her any time at all to open the doors with the handles. She quickly pulled the cones off the puzzle and got the treats underneath. The only one she had any trouble with was the little sliding doors with the dog bones on them. I had to take it away from her at that point, because she was trying to chew the plastic and I didn’t want her to ruin the puzzle.

I told her to “Go Home” and she strutted by Bean and went back to her cage.

Teaching her to “go home” has been really handy. She actually does it most of the time, which for Hector is pretty good! Like a stubborn toddler, Hector listens when Hector wants to listen. She knows she gets a treat when she goes back to her cage, so she does it most of the time.

This morning when she walked over to visit me, I scooped her up and gave her a bath. A lot of birds like bath time, but Hector does not. She tolerated the bath, but got very quiet and refused to come out of her cage for a while after. Sorry bird, you needed that bath! I’ll be curious to see if she walks over to me again tomorrow morning, or if she decides to stay at her cage so she doesn’t have to have another bath.

Boredom

Sleepy Bean

With many all over the world home more now, what are you doing to combat boredom for yourself, and your pets? Our dog is definitely getting walked more often. She’s also enjoying more time on her own in the yard when the weather is nice. Yesterday she went out and sprawled out on the deck in the sunshine.

Cali got a hair cut and bath a couple of days ago. She’s looking better, but I still need to even up her face a little bit and get those stray hairs away from her eyes. I hate when she has hair over her eyes.

The dragon is getting more out of cage time. Sometimes she sits on my shoulder while I’m working. It hasn’t been warm enough to take her outside for some sunshine yet, but hopefully soon.  Unfortunately, floor time is tough for her with three cats in the house. I did bring her upstairs with me when I folded laundry yesterday. I was able to let her run around a bit in the closed laundry room, cat-free! Well, not quite cat-free, I kept seeing paws appear under the door.

Hector D. Byrd is having a great time! I open her cage when I get up in the morning, and it is only closed for short periods of time when I have to go upstairs  or outside. Yesterday while I was on my computer she climbed down to the floor and started running around (she doesn’t fly) and laughing. The second I would turn to look at her, she would freeze and look at me.

Hector Plays Yahtzee

A couple of nights ago, Hector joined us for family game night. She likes to be part of things.  Another thing she likes to take part in is family dinner. We have been having family dinners pretty much every night since we are all home together now. Our dinner table is just a couple of feet from Hector’s cage, and she loves when we have dinner at the table. Since birds are social creatures, they love to eat with their flock. Hector will usually go eat something when we have food. She always has pellets in her cage, and depending on what we are eating for dinner, I will save her some veggies, or potatoes or very occasionally a baked french fry. Last night while we were eating, Hector was chirping and whistling and hanging out. My son left dinner a little early for an online meeting, and after he left Hector got down from her cage and walked over to me. I picked her up, put her on the back of my son’s chair, and she hung out with us and ate a fry. She was so happy! Our daughter was less happy. She is not a fan of birds!

The Baby Bean

The cats have been bringing their toys all over the house, Bean loves to chase anything that makes noise, ping pong balls, bell balls, and especially a toy mouse that makes a weird electronic chirping noise. That last one wakes up the entire house when he decides to play with it in the middle of the night! We have been trying to teach Bean to play Fetch, Puck plays, but Bean just grabs the toy and takes off with it. He can’t seem to figure out the bringing it back part.

I’m trying to come up with new ways for the cats, and especially Bean, the kitten, to amuse themselves. I’ve seen some interesting cat feeders lately where the cat has to do something to get the food out of the feeder. I found a brand called Catit that has some really interesting looking feeders. I’m hoping they will send me a unit or two to review. I’ll keep you posted.

Speaking of the cats, Puck seems to be doing well.  He is acting normally and not spending extra time in the litter box. I’m feeding them canned food formulated for urinary health twice per day, and they also have dry food that is for urinary health now. I’m glad the little guy seems to be getting some relief. He is such a sweet kitty!

Little Pucky Boo Boo

Is there any cat owner that doesn’t hate the litter box? With three cats and four litter boxes, it has been a battle lately. The Breeze box I have upstairs is OK. I made the mistake of buying some Amazon pads instead of the Breeze brand ones, and they don’t contain the smell nearly as well. I will use them up to not waste them, but I have to change them twice as often as the Breeze ones. I’ll be happy when I run out!

My other three litter boxes are just regular boxes with clumping litter. I don’t know what is going on with them lately, but there is so much cat litter on the floor! The cats are tracking it everywhere. I’m thinking of switching to pine litter to see if the bigger chunks spread around less. Either that or I need to find a new kind of box. Something has to change because I’m finding myself vacuuming almost every day to deal with all the litter.

Stay safe everyone. Enjoy the extra time with your pets, and let me know what you are doing to keep them and yourselves entertained.