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Peach Faced Love Birds
by Ms. CiCi

My Peach Faced lovebirds are pint-sized bundles of joy. They have the full personality of parrots while being easy to house because of their size. My birds are little clowns, playing for hours at a time. They love to hang from toys, spin them around, and dance on your shoulder. I have had to watch my buttons! They love to pull them off my clothes! Such loving little birds: they love to snuggle and preen.
Many people believe lovebirds must be kept in pairs. This is simply not true. A single lovebird makes a better pet because it bonds to you rather than to another lovebird. While it is easy to keep a pair of lovebirds tame, if you plan on spending lots of time with your bird you can keep it alone. However, if you work long hours and don't think you'll have a lot of time for your love bird, I recommend you get him/her a companion. This will keep your lovebirds happy and prevent boredom. It is important to realize that while lovebirds are a small parrot, they have the intelligence and abilities of some of the largest parrots.

They never stop amazing me with their ability to escape their own cages. I have to put copper wire on the cage doors to keep them in, and sometimes they figure out how to untwist the wire and open the door!

Lovebirds will sometimes try to become the little bosses of the household. I recommend using the same type of gentle dominance training that is used for larger parrots.

Are you looking for a bird that you can teach to talk? Lovebirds can learn to mimic sounds and speech on occasion. However, I don't recommend that you buy any species of bird only because of the expectation that it will speak; even the famous African Greys sometimes don't learn to speak. So, if that is your only reason for buying a bird, I’d seriously urge you to reconsider as the bird could end up abandoned because of your own disappointment. In my opinion, love birds and parrots both make great pets even if they never utter a word. We have both in our home. The lovebirds chatter away all day, never making a sound that anyone can understand, except as being simply ‘noisy chatter.’ However, our Double Yellow Head parrot makes up for it; his vocabulary is very long, extensive and he is constantly talking.

If you decide to breed love birds just remember they are prolific breeders. You may soon, as we did, find our home over run with lovebirds! And, as a word of caution, “do not” put bark chips in the nest of the baby birds. Though the odor is pleasant to humans and is good for older birds it is too strong for baby lovebirds. I must admit I learned the hard way and had casualties on my hands! Paper is the best thing to put in the nest along with some alfalfa. Do not get powdered alfalfa, rather dried alfalfa blades. If you decide to use paper, do cut the paper (newspaper is best) in long strips and put it beside the nest. Mama will take it into the nest. And, remember if mama snaps at you she is only protecting her nest!

My favorite lovebird is Lucky, so named as it was our first clutch and she was the only one, of six, that survived when I put the bark chips in the nest.

We do not have an aviary breeder, rather, our lovebirds are paired off in separate cages. The best way to tame babies quickly is to remove the babies from the next when they are about two weeks old and hand feed them. This way, the birds get the best of both worlds: the immunity conferred from their parents and the tameness that comes from being handled by humans.

Our lovebirds are abundance weaned so that they are happy, well-adjusted birds. We feed them pellets, a good seed mix, alfalfa, wheat grass, quinoa, sprouted beans, and other veggies and fruits. And, oh yes! Lovebirds love to not only eat grapes, but to toss them around also. In short, lovebirds love playing. They keep us entertained for hours. If you decide to get a lovebird for a pet, you will have made an excellent choice! ~Ms. CiCi~

About the Author
Ms. CiCi has a gift of teaching, is an accomplished author and world traveler who enjoys sharing her life's experiences with others, making their life, their world a bit easier. Her writings expose her wealth of "secret information" so derived from her travels as well as drawing from her own personal wealth of wisdom. Ms. CiCi builds websites to help share her vast knowledge and great experiences.

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Is it Possible to Force a Cat to Eat a Specific Food?

Dr. Eric Barchas, DVM
A comment that was posted recently to the article entitled Is Tuna Safe for Cats? caught my eye.

Andy A posted a comment on July 6th, 2008 at 2:10 pm
My cat has been diagnosed with struvite crystals and my vet wants me to feed her Hills c/d diet. She absolutely hates it no matter how long I try to wait her out or how I try to hide it in her regular food. She loves Figaro Albacore Tuna Cat Food by Bumble Bee. According to the label It has vitamins and minerals along with 1.0g Omega-3 fatty acids and Taurine added. If I continue to feed her the Cat Food Tuna, will it worsen her condition? I think her not eating anything while I try and wait her out may dehydrate her possibly leading to concentrated urine which does not help her flush out her bladder. Am I wrong in this line of thinking?

Struvite crystals are common in cats. They, along with abnormal urine pH, are associated with a disease called feline urologic syndrome, or FUS (pedantic types prefer the name feline lower urinary tract disease, or FLUTD). In females, FUS/FLUTD leads to chronic bladder pain and discomfort. FUS/FLUTD is more serious in male cats, because it may lead to a life-threatening situation in which they are unable to urinate.

FUS/FLUTD appears to be hereditary in nature. It is generally treated by modifying the cat’s diet to promote a change in urine chemistry. Hill’s c/d is the most frequently prescribed diet for FUS/FLUTD. Most cats are willing to eat it. However, as Andy points out, there are exceptions.

I do not recommend fighting battles of will with cats when it comes to food. (Actually, I find that battles of will with cats are losing propositions in general.) Trying to coerce your cat to eat one type of food can have dangerous consequences if she refuses to consume it. I have heard of cats who refused to eat for weeks on end when they took offense to the food on offer.

Starvation is the last thing that your cat needs. And yes, refusal to eat can lead to dehydration and increased urinary problems. If she won’t eat the prescription diet, your best bet is to offer something that she finds more palatable.

Several companies make foods that are comparable to c/d. Your cat may be willing to eat one of these. Talk to your vet about these alternatives.

If your cat refuses to eat all of the available prescription diets, you still have options. As I mentioned in the tuna post, cats cannot survive on tuna alone. Tuna flavored cat food, however, is generally nutritionally replete. It might make her urinary issues worse. Or it might not. There is only one way to find out: test her urine while she is on the food. If no crystals are present and the urine’s pH is in the proper range, then you won’t have much to worry about.

If crystals and pH problems occur when your cat is on her preferred food, you may be able to resolve the situation with dietary supplements. D,L-methionine is a natural amino acid that can be administered each day. It lowers urine pH, and reduces the risk of struvite crystals.

No matter what food you offer, your cat should have her urine tested regularly to make sure that the crystals and pH are under control. This is the key to dealing with FUS/FLUTD

How to Put an End to Pet Odor.
by Patrick Howell

We've all smelled it. It's without a doubt one of the most noticeable and fowl odors in existence-pet urine. When I worked in the flooring installation business, I saw literally hundreds of people's homes that were damaged due to having pets. The most common problem we witnessed was the accumulation of odors trapped in our customer's carpet and pad due to years of having pets indoors. Over time, having pets roam free in your house can result in many unnoticed accidents that slowly accumulate into an unpleasant odor.
Battling this odor for most of us usually consists of a spot treatment clean up of the accident (when we do notice it) and an attempt to mask the ongoing odor by using some sort of air freshener. But we're quick to notice that once the candle's burn out or the air freshner fades away, the original problem still persists, and the odor is still there. So how do we put an end to unpleasant pet odors effectively?

The fist step in controlling and eliminating pet odor is identifying the source. Is the odor concentrated to one room? Is it spread out throughout the house? Which animal do you think is responsible? Once the source is identified, you have to try to put a stop to or try to limit future incidents. This might mean putting your pet in a crate or kennel when you're unable to supervise them. Even putting your pet in a room with a hard floor surface such as tile, vinyl, or laminate flooring, where it is easy to spot and clean up an accident if it does occur is a suggestion. Once you're able to put a stop to future occurrences, you're already half way to your goal of ending pet odor for good.

The second step is to treat and cleanup the previously affected surfaces. Depending on how severe the previous damage was, this could be as serious as a whole house carpet replacement or hiring a professional carpet cleaning surface to steam your entire house. Whatever your case, the end result is pretty much the same. A little detective work and elbow grease can take care of most pet accidents. One thing that I highly recommend for anyone thinking about putting down new carpet is investing in an odor ban type carpet pad that is lined with a layer of plastic to keep any pet accidents or misc. spills from penetrating deep down into the pad and resulting in trapped odor.

The third and last step is to invest in a good odor controlling device that can offset the unnoticed accidents that WILL occur from keeping a pet. As you already know, air fresheners and scented candles are a quick, easy, and cheap solution to masking all types of odors, but the effects are only temporary. A more practical and more effective solution that I highly recommend is investing in some sort of simple air purification that actually ELIMINATES odors. Do a Google search for negative ion generators. If you're interested in a method that will not only eliminate odors permanently, but make the air you breathe healthier by neutralizing bacteria, viruses, and allergens as well, ion generators are the way to go.

A much cheaper solution that utilizes the same technology as negative ion generators that I highly recommend is a product called MultiFresh. It's an all-natural deodorizer that is composed of a negatively charged volcanic mineral that is super effective in absorbing and eliminating odors of all types. The good news is it only costs a fraction of what ion generators do.

About the Author
Patrick Howell is currently a graduate student at Murray State University in Kentucky and an M.B.A. canidate. Patrick has an extensive background in the physical sciences, specifically Biology and Chemistry. He is currently involved in small business startup consulting and real estate investing.

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