Pet Question: Does Size Matter?

Turtles Crawl on Runway, Delay Flights at JFK
By DAVID B. CARUSO, Associated Press -

NEW YORK – A runway at John F. Kennedy International Airport was shut down briefly Wednesday morning after at least 78 turtles emerged from a nearby bay and crawled onto the tarmac.

Grounds crews eventually rounded up the wayward reptiles and deposited them back in the brackish water farther from airport property, but not before the incident disrupted JFK's flight schedule and contributed to delays that reached nearly 1 1/2 hours.

"Apparently, this is something the tower has experienced before," said Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Jim Peters. "I guess it's the season for spawning."

The invasion began unfolding, slowly, at around 8:30 a.m., when an American Eagle flight crew reported seeing three turtles while taxiing out for departure. Before long, a chorus of pilots was radioing the tower to report turtles either on the end of a runway that juts out into the water, or approaching on the grass.

The FAA halted flights for about 12 minutes shortly before 9 a.m. while some of the turtles were cleared away, then quit using the runway entirely after getting new reports of "massive numbers" of turtles on the tarmac, Peters said.

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey spokesman John Kelly said airport crews gathered up the turtles in about 35 minutes.

He identified the turtles as Diamondback terrapins, a species common to Jamaica Bay, which surrounds the airport. The turtles appeared to be about 8 inches long and weigh 2 to 3 pounds each.

Jets hit turtles a few times each year at JFK, usually in the final days of June or earliest days in July, according to the FAA's wildlife strike database. There have been no recent reports of the strikes causing any damage to an airplane.

In Scorn (and Praise) of Cats
By Nicholas Wade - The New York Times

Cat-lovers, to arms, or at least to pen! A litany of unwarranted aspersions on our feline companions is to be found in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, an otherwise objective publication.

Cats “are more attached to places than people” is the first calumny.

“Cats do not perform directed tasks,” is the second.

It gets worse. “Their actual utility is debatable, even as mousers.”

These deplorable judgments are part of the authors’ thesis that cats took a different route to domestication than did other domestic animals.

All the other species, in the authors’ view, were bred by people for their desired qualities. Cats, being without utility, were not. Instead, they domesticated themselves and chose their own mates without human interference.

It all came about, the researchers concede, because of wild cats’ powers of observation. They had the wits to notice that the first human settlements were full of uncleared garbage strewn about by their slovenly inhabitants and so were overrun with rats, mice and sparrows.

The cats decided to move into this inviting new ecological niche, even though the price of admission was to develop a disdainful tolerance of people.

And after 10,000 years of helping people keep down pests, their reward is to have their utility questioned in a new paper in the National Academy of Sciences’ journal. The researchers, led by Stephen J. O’Brien of the National Cancer Institute, an expert on cat genetics among other things, even call them “profiteers,” although admittedly this sobriquet is preceded by two positive epithets.

Profiteers, indeed. Every writer can recall being mercifully delivered from writer’s block by a cat padding across the keyboard to show how very easy it is to punch up letters on a screen. A cat I know is a very fine mouser. He catches mice in the yard, brings them into the house through his cat door and there lets them go, because he is too kind (or perhaps too well fed) to kill them. No house could be better stocked with live mice.

It may perhaps be true that cats “do not perform directed tasks.” But often children don’t either, so that’s no reason for withholding one’s hospitality. As for the utility of cats, I’m sure many readers of this newspaper could at the click of a mouse think of 3 things, or maybe 2 or 1, that a cat is pretty useful for.

Robo-Kitty: Sega Toys Unveils the Dream Cat Venus

Sega Toys, makers of the Dream Dog DX, recently took the wraps off its latest robotic pet called the Dream Cat Venus. The realistic cat responds to tactile and audio stimuli thanks to help from researchers at Tohoku University's Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer in Japan.

In addition to movement in response to its owner, the robo-kitty will also utter purrs when comforted and sounds of displeasure when neglected. The sometimes creepy, sometimes cute robotic cat will cost 10,500 yen ($110) and can be seen in action here.

Natural Ways To Develop Desired Behavior In Your Pet Dog

Dogs possess a unique attribute that allows them to differentiate between various scents. Being intelligent, they can be conditioned through training to behave or act in a desired manner. This two attributes have enabled them to serve mankind in various rescue operations and security checks.
Since pets are more or less like a part of the family, it is important to train them properly so that you do not have to cut a sorry figure in a social event for its wild behavior.

It is not necessary to shell out huge money by utilizing the services of a competent trainer. You can try some age old tested household tricks and take some time of your busy schedule to train your pet on your own.

Given here are some quick ways to teach your pet some good manners:
Firstly, prepare a list of unwanted behavior which your pet usually tends to portray.

To curb undesirable actions, change the tone of your voice and sternly check the animals by using a stick. Do not just start spanking them. Just a gentle tap with high pitch voice would do the trick.

While most of the animal pets would mend their ways at this initial stage itself, however there are some of those stubborn ones who would continue in the same manner.

In such a scenario, you can take a spray bottle and fill it up with water. Since most animals dislike water, the same should be sprayed upon them at that very moment when they are caught in a wrongful act. Reward them once they have got fair idea of what is expected of them.

Both these techniques should be used repeated at least 4 times a day to condition the behavior of your pet animal. Punishment and reward are two tactics that should be adopted to enable your pets to differentiate between desirable behavior and unwelcomed action.

You need to be very patient when it comes to pets. It may take days or weeks before your pet is transformed from an unruly animal to a well mannered adorable pet. These two simple tricks are widely used by pet owners all across the globe.

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Useful Pet Tips


(These tips were sent in by the public.


2. If you have a puppy that pees on your carpet. After soaking up most of the mess with paper towel, sprinkle a generous amount of bicarbontae of soda (baking soda) over the area and leave it to absorb both the traces of urine and the odor.


5. Do not leave your dog in the car unattended on hot days. Even with the windows open, temperatures in cars WILL reach deadly levels. It only takes 5 minutes! If you see a dog locked in a very hot car do something to try and help it before it's too late.


6. Do not make your dog walk on extremely hot or cold asphalt, cement, etc... the pads of their paws are not made out of steel. If it is too hot for you to walk barefoot, then chances are that it is too hot for your dog, also.


13. Dog urination burns your lawn? Try giving them some tomato juice every day (either in a bowl or on their food) and it should solve the problem.

Dogs Ponder: Does Size Matter?
Baltimore Sun

A chihuahua named Maggie, that's the itty bitty one on the right, and an Irish wolfhound named Merlin, the mega-dog to the left, took part in a dog show in the northern German city of Hamburg on June 28. It looks as if Merlin might consider Maggie a dog treat. Merlin's nose is the size of Maggie's whole head. ROLAND MAGUNIA/AFP/Getty Images.

Maintaining the Health Of Your Pond

For those of you intending to have a koi or water pond in your garden, there are some vital steps for you to continue enjoying a sensational pond. You will need an assortment of pond products such as the pond bio filters.

Generally, pond bio filters will help to maintain the ecosystem of the pond. It is also one of the most important pond products you can have.It serves to keep the water and pump clean and provide a healthy environment for the fishes to live in.

Below are some simple tips and advice for those of you planning to have a koi/garden/water pond who will also need to purchase pond bio filters as well. First of all, before you can get the actual pond bio filter, you will need to know your pond size. This is to say you will need to know how big your pond is and how many gallons of water it contains because different pumps have different capacity. Other than the size of your pond you will also need to know your fish load. This is because different pumps are made to handle different fish loads.

It is also important that you have a rough estimate of your available funds to get the pond bio filters. This is due to the fact that they can cost between hundreds to thousands of dollars. Although it can be costly, a quality filter goes a long way in giving you total satisfaction in pond maintenance.

When all that is done, you will need to do the actual purchase. There are many options where you can purchase pond bio filters. The local pet store, the gardening section of your supermarket, stores that specialize in pond equipments and even the Internet. My best advice for you is to shop around before you buy it. Sometimes, sites such as Ebay can give you surprisingly good deals where sellers get rid of never before used items because either they never got around to use it or they received them as gifts etc.

Pond bio filters and other pond products will work together to give you a sensational pond. You can get a quality yet affordable filter with the right knowledge.

Discover more pond ideas at

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Is It Possible To Mix An African Grey Parrot
With A Kitten/Cat?

Im thinking about getting a kitten and I already own a parrot, will this cause a conflict? or will the kitten and parrot adapt to each other? any info would help. . .

7 Responses to “Is It Possible To Mix An African Grey Parrot With A Kitten/cat?”
Tanja V says:

the parrot and kitten may adopt to each other, but the kitten may want to play with the bird and maybe injur it, so my best advise would be to get a 2 yr old cat, since its more placid and probly wont be tempted to do anything to the parrot and get used to eachother and get along.
also if you want a kitten you can get two so they will be distracted from the bird, or place the cage on the cieling with a hook so the cat cant reach but you somehow can.
parrots are very social so i belive that the parrot wont do any thing to the cat/kitten. i am glad helping you out and this is my answer to your question.

Lady Claire - Hates Bigotry says:

Sorry but when I read the question heading I thought you were trying to breed a parrot and a cat!

cleocat says:

Wow I don’t know but I would be careful at first in-case the parrot get jealous and attacks the kitten, just avoid leaving them alone together. Also when the cat gets older make sure it doesn’t have the opportunity to eat the parrot……catty nature I’m afraid, mine manage to bring down a massive pigeon little s0d.

Mia says:

Hmm well it’s probably better to start them off young as that way they can learn to adjust.. on the other hand kittens are really really playful. Maybe you could try to teach the kitten not to attack or bother the parrot using positive/negative reinforcement, like if he/she goes near the cage clap your hands (or other) to warn them away & when they are behaving well make a big fuss of them.
can you not just try to keep them in seperate rooms? Either way if it was me I think I’d just be careful

Googlypa says:

if it’s a junior bird then probably not. If it’s an adult then it’ll probably be smart enough to run rings around the kitten no matter how hard the poor cat tries.

shpongle says:

it is possible to mix a parrot and a kitten but i find it easier to remove the fur and the feathers first as they can clog up the blades on your mixer.

MADDY says:

I once looked after an African Grey Parrot for a friend of mine. I had two cats, one of which was a really nasty almost feral tom. They were both terrified of the parrot. They both started off by stalking him, then he attacked. I did not see either of them for two weeks until the parrot went home. I would suggest you are going to have more trouble with a kitten not being ripped to pieces by the parrot rather than the obvious thought that the kitten might grow up to attack the parrot. I think you might have to keep them apart and watch out for the safety of the kitten.

He's Man's Best Friend, but Not
His Cheapest Friend

As a fairly recent owner of a dog, my wife and I have suddenly taken an interest in how much this pooch is costing us. Sure we love him to death, but pets can be expensive, and all indications are that those costs are just going to go higher in the future. So if you're thinking of taking the plunge, learn from our experience.

Several months ago, we bought a Labrador retriever we called Titus from a private breeder in Williamstown for $700. We decided that the cost of a guaranteed, healthy, well-bred puppy was worth the money since we had heard too many stories of owners who had bought poorly bred dogs at cheaper prices only to be saddled with thousands of dollars in medical bills later on. Bad hips, allergies, disposition and other maladies caused by in-breeding abound in dogs today, we discovered.

Now, that's not to say you can't find a perfectly healthy pet at your local humane society. Quite the contrary: One of the benefits of adoption is you receive a clean bill of health with your adopted pet or, if not, you will know ahead of time what problems your pet has. But whether you pay $25 or $1,000 for your pet, that is only the down payment for an investment that over the life of the animal will cost you many times more.

Food alone will cost you between $300 and $500 yearly. When I was a kid, our dogs got table scraps. No more. Titus' diet is as strict as our own, and this stuff is expensive. We shop at the cheapest outlet we can find for Purina Dog Chow. A bewildering array of more expensive gourmet brands is available, but it costs a great deal more, and I'm not convinced it is that much better. I estimate it will still cost us closer to $500 for the year.

Next, add in regular maintenance visits to the veterinarian (checkups, inoculations, boosters, worming, heartworms, tick and flea treatments, etc.) without any emergencies equals another $500 to $1,000 a year. Given the advancements in veterinary care, such as high-end geriatric screening and advanced vaccines and blood work, the cost of medical care steadily has increased. Fortunately, we've had only one emergency this year (Titus had an allergic reaction to some road kill he gobbled down before we could stop him), so add another $125 on top of that. However, a single veterinary problem can routinely cost an owner $2,000 or more.

Given our chocolate Lab already weighs in at more than 50 pounds and his front paws reach to my wife's shoulders, obedience training seemed a good idea, especially in today's litigious society. You may think it's cute that your dog nipped your neighbor's hand in a friendly greeting, but you may change your mind when his lawyer contacts you. So far we've been to two six-week puppy obedience classes and are starting an intermediate course next week for a total of $330.

"Many owners don't spend any money on training their puppies, and then show up a year or two later at my door," said Erica Nance, owner of Dogs of Hudson, a training, retail and playgroup emporium for pets in Hudson, N.Y. "By then, it will cost them much more to unlearn bad habits than it would to have taken a course at the beginning."

There is a wide range of obedience courses starting at the typical community college for $60 for a six-week basic course to the high end of $185 for seven-week courses like those offered by Dogs of Hudson. Aside from these rather large expenses, there are a host of other outlays ranging from equipment (bowls, leashes, collars, crates, fencing), grooming, boarding and, of course, treats and toys. All in all, depending upon the dog, its health, size and where you live, expect an annual expense of $500 to $1,500 a year without medical emergencies. If you expect your pet to live an average of 14 years, we're talking $7,000 to $21,000 over its lifetime.

Is it any wonder that the recession, high foreclosure rate and double-digit unemployment rate have had an impact on our pets and their owners? Whether we're talking about cats, dogs or even horses, the rate of abandonment has jumped nationwide as unemployed owners can no longer afford the cost of care required in America today.

"Up until this year, the Berkshires were relatively untouched," said John Perreault, executive director of the Berkshire Humane Society in Pittsfield. "But that has changed in the last six months. Our pet abandonment rate is up 10 (percent) to 12 percent, and our food donations over 500 percent."

Perreault says his agency is getting calls from desperate owners, some without shelter themselves, who can no longer afford to pay for veterinarian visits, medicine, food or even shelter for their animals "and we can't afford to treat all these animals either," he lamented.

Even though BHS has reduced fees for adoptions, the adoption rate is down because fewer people can afford to take on an extra pet. The society has now opened 18 food banks in the county and can barely keep pace with demand.

"A few months ago we had a cat food drive," he said. "We ended up with 600 bags of cat food, and it's almost gone."

A similar situation confronts all the animal shelters, societies and organizations in our region whether in Massachusetts, New York or Connecticut. So before you embark on the journey of pet ownership, I urge you to focus not just on the joys and love that a pet most assuredly will provide you and your family. Focus on the dollars and cents cost and whether or not you can afford it. That way you can be certain that your new pet won't end up in the pound and become someone else's problem.

Bill Schmick is a registered investment adviser and portfolio manager with Berkshire Money Management in Pittsfield. His forecasts and opinions are purely his own and do not necessarily represent the views of Berkshire Money Management. None of his commentary is or should be considered investment advice. Anyone seeking individualized investment advice should contact Berkshire Money Management directly. Direct your inquiries to Schmick at 888-232-6072 (toll free) or e-mail him at You can also visit for more of his insights.

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Rescue Remedy For Dogs and Cats
By Cynthia K Thomas

Hissing, snarling, lashing out with claws barbed and sharp as razor wire, the orange-striped feral cat lets Amanda know clearly just how much she cannot stand confinement in a cage. Calmly, showing no fear, Amanda slips the miniature tiger a piece of fish well marinated in Rescue Remedy for dogs and cats. Sniffing it suspiciously and eyeing Amanda as she decides, the cat finally lunges at and devours the tuna.

Patiently waiting, assessing Rescue Remedy's effects, Amanda watches the cat relax...but not enough. Our veteran animal-rescue worker wisely offers a second well-marinated too-tempting tuna treat. A few minutes after attacking the second piece of fish, the wild beast visibly relaxes. Amanda thinks she even detects a faint purr. Wearing heavy gloves and protective clothing, Amanda deftly reaches into the cat-trap, her own unique design, firmly but gently grabs her new animal friend, and moves her now officially rescued cat to a comfortable carrier for transport to shelter.

"I'm sure there's some way to do all this without the Rescue Remedy," Amanda looks uncertain, "But I really cannot imagine what it would be. And I know I would not attempt it."

Although Welsh farmers experimented with and embraced Dr. Bach's Rescue Remedy before the second World War, the five-flower mix did not really catch-on until the late sixties and early seventies. Bach and his early followers are widely quoted insisting, "The Remedies work for man and beast alike." Despite pioneering Bach Practitioners' advocacy, however, Rescue Remedy for pets did not gain widespread acceptance among veterinary health professionals until eco-awareness and back-to-Nature initiatives drove them to it. Now, most vets and animal rescue workers cannot imagine working without it.

In animal shelters, Rescue Remedy for dogs and cats aids their rehabilitation. Left alone either in the wild or roaming the city, both cats and dogs will revert to their feral states. Dogs, hunting and surviving according to their instincts, typically respond quickly and well to rehabilitation-especially with the help of daily Rescue Remedy, which helps them trust their human therapists. According to animal experts, cats are not so thoroughly domesticated as dogs, so that their trust of humans grows at about a glacier's pace, and their feral behaviors wane slowly. Still, with patient, loving care and steady administration of it, even the most reluctant wild cats eventually will respond to therapy.

Amanda, a devoted volunteer at the local animal shelter, ardently advocates this for dogs and cats. She uses the five-flower miracle mix with her own dogs and cats, raving about how well it relaxes them for car trips and visits to the vet. In everyday use, regular doses of Rescue Remedy in the cats' and dogs' drinking water keep all the canines playing nicely with one another, loyally following their alpha-dog's example. "It especially helps control the epic struggle between the cats and dogs," Amanda smiles. "Yes, they still tease and torment one another, but they do not take it so seriously. In fact," Amanda laughs and shakes her head, "I think Rescue Remedy helps dogs acquiesce in the inescapable fact cats rule. The cats will not have it any other way."

Cynthia K. Thomas is an aromatherapy enthusiast. For more great tips on Rescue Remedy for Dogs and Cats please visit

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