Pet Care Articles

Welcome to our Award Winning Pet Care Library. Featuring more than 500 pages of essential need-to-knows, in-depth investigations and species/breed databases. Select a topic from the menu or browse this week’s featured articles.

Cat Food Uncovered

The label and the advertising shows us images of plump chicken, juicy steak and fresh caught fish. What is inside the can are the parts of the animal we do not want to eat (and parts we don’t even want to think about). One pet food company advertised its food as better than its competitors’ products because it used poultry meat as their main ingredient while the competitors used feathers.

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Tips and Traps for Feeding Faddy Cats

Cats are naturally careful eaters as their digestive system is not good at breaking down toxins. Because cats are so sensitive to poisons, their senses of taste and smell must prevent them from eating food which could be harmful to them. An excellent sense of smell warns them of stale or contaminated food and if their sense of smell fails, so does their appetite. Unfortunately, the same mechanism which helps cats avoid harmful foods can turn it into a faddy eater.

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Cat Food Around the World

Have you ever wandered round a supermarket or store abroad and found yourself in the cat food aisle wondering what foreign felines eat? I invariably check out the cat foods – or lack of cat foods – available abroad. I soon noticed how closely the flavors mirrored the cultural diet of the country I was visiting.

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Cat Keeping in the US and UK Compared

Britain has an estimated 7 million pet cats, less than 10% being pedigrees. The United States has around 60 million pet cats, 40% being pedigrees. Around a quarter of British households own cats compared to nearly a third of American households. Many American cat lovers prefer to call themselves ‘caregivers’ rather than owners.

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Cat Massage – A Hands-On Experience

One week in spring, during a routine massage session, I discovered a small hard lump on Sappho’s belly close to a nipple. Since Sappho got a weekly massage (and a general belly rub daily if she could persuade me), I knew that the lump was had developed since her previous massage. Using my fingertips, I could feel that the lump was a hard nodule beneath the skin and was not associated with a flea-bite.

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Breeding Yellow-Bellied Tits

The Yellow Bellied Tit (Parus venustulus) comes from China. It measures 4" long. They look very much like a Coal Tit (Parus ater). The cock has a glossy black head and throat whereas the hen is light gray with moustache stripes instead of a black bib.

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General Pet Bird Husbandry and Care

Pet birds may be caged or allowed to remain on perches while the owner is home to supervise their activity. Birds should be confined to cages while their owners are away to avoid accidental injury and other misfortune. Unsupervised pet birds allowed "the run of the house" often get into trouble.

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Wing Trimming Caged Birds

To be safe, all caged birds should have their wing feathers trimmed. The decision to deny a caged bird free, unrestricted flight (as in the wild) is subconsciously made by each bird owner at the time the bird is made a captive pet in the home. Wing trimming merely makes this confinement safer for the bird.

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Beak and Claw Trimming for Caged Birds

Caged birds live in a very "geometric" world, in contrast to their wild counterparts. Most of the surfaces they perch on (perches, cage bars, etc.) are very smooth and regular. Consequently, the claws and beaks of pet birds tend to overgrow, and the surfaces of their beaks also tend to become rough and irregular.

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Bathing Caged Birds

Many exotic pet birds originally lived in tropical climates where rainfall is a daily, or otherwise frequent, occurrence. Rainwater provides drinking water and an opportunity for bathing, Birds typically take advantage of this moisture by "showering" during a rainstorm or bathing in puddles formed by the falling rainwater. This keeps their feathers .healthy, and restores and maintains a brilliant sheen to the plumage.

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General Hygiene Tips for Caged Birds

Good hygiene is an important part of husbandry for caged birds because most are confined to a relatively small living space. Consequently, droppings often accumulate on cage parts and perches, and tend to contaminate food and water cups, resulting in bacterial proliferation and mold growth.

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Diet Supplementation for Caged Birds

Birds, like people, ‘are what they eat’. Therefore, to be healthy, they must consume all of the necessary nutrients (protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and water) in the proper proportions. Unfortunately, the exact nutritional requirements for all of the various caged birds have not been determined.

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Recognizing Diseases in Caged Birds

Most disease in caged birds is directly or indirectly related to malnutrition and stress. Malnutrition most often stems from what the bird eats, rather than how much it eats. Most caged birds are offered enough food, but they do not receive enough of the proper foods and in the proper proportions. Stress results from any condition that compromises a bird’s state of well-being. Examples include poor husbandry, inadequate diet, rapid temperature changes, and trauma.

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Bacterial Contamination of Bird Food

The subject of bacterial contamination of food and water for caged birds is rather controversial. Many apparently healthy caged birds harbor potentially harmful bacteria within their intestinal tracts. These organisms can create illness during periods of stress (short or long-standing) for your bird.

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Feeding Caged Birds

The exact nutritional requirements of caged birds are unknown, in spite of claims to the contrary by some product manufacturers, retailers and breeders. Far too much emphasis has been placed on seed and nut diets for caged birds. They represent a relatively nonperishable convenience for bird owners but are a deficient diet for pet birds, especially the larger hookbills.

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Feather Plucking and Picking in Caged Birds

One of the most frustrating conditions of caged birds is feather picking and feather disorders rank as some of the most difficult and challenging conditions to diagnose and treat. However, feather problems are usually detected early because they are easily noticed. Many bird owners find the act of feather plucking very disconcerting, but to stop the behavior the important thing is to understand what motivates the bird to do this.

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FAQ: Keeping Cage Birds Happy & Healthy

Pet birds require the same level of care as any other pet, if not more. Here are some frequently asked questions to consider before purchasing a caged bird.

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FAQ: Keeping Zebra Finches Happy & Healthy

The Zebra Finch is a small grass finch from Australia, where they can be found throughout the country. Here are some frequently asked questions to help you keep your zebra finches in the best of health.

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Indoor or Outdoor Cats?

This argument has been raging for years: should cats live indoors or be allowed outdoors? There are many reasons why people allow there cats to go outside: the cats get more exercise, they do not scratch as much inside, cats like to hunt, cats do better, cats hate being inside. But there are many valid reasons for cats to live indoor exclusively and never step foot outside. Talk to five people and you may get five different answers as to the best life for cats. Let’s look at each – starting with outdoor cats.

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