Jump to content
Invision Community


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by davidtrump

  1. Ensure your cats enjoy the holidays by thinking about them in advance and from their perspectives. Let's take a look at some safety tips. Instead of purring, many cats would say “bah humbug” about the holiday season. More than anything else, cats disdain unpredictable change. Cats don’t have calendars or explanations for what the holiday season means. And if they did, I suggest most cats would become like bears and hibernate throughout all the holiday commotion. “We have to go back to who cats are and what their origins are,” says Dr. Elizabeth Colleran, a feline specialist and co-chair of the American Association of Feline Practitioners’ Cat Friendly Practices program. “When there’s an unexplained and unexpected change within their territory, it may be a potential threat. And if that change is perceived as a threat, cats will likely take one of two choices: either hide and assess what’s happening, or chase off the intruder.” Then there are the cats who seem to enjoy it all. Feline-specialist veterinarian Dr. Drew Weigner, incoming president of the nonprofit Winn Feline Foundation, adds, “Some cats do welcome every guest into your home — they’re social and love all the visitors.” Whether your cat isn’t a fan of strangers or welcomes them with open paws, it’s better to be safe than sorry during the holidays with these rules of thumb, er claws. 1. Keep kitty away from the front door With doors constantly opening and closing, what you never want is for an indoor-only cat to bolt out an open door. “Don’t expect your guests to think about how important it is to not let the cats sneak out,” Dr. Colleran adds. 2. Create a soothing safe room If you’re expecting a lot of company for a large gathering of family and/or friends, sequester the cats into a safe room. (This is true even for social cats until all your company has arrived, when the front door is no longer opening and closing.) Most cats will be more content in a safe room until the party ends. It might help to turn on soothing music or music specifically made to calm cats (there is such a thing). “It’s also a good idea to plug in a Feliway Classic pheromone diffuser to diminish anxiety,” says Dr. Colleran, who is in Chico, California. “Absolutely, even behind a closed door the cats’ routine is now interrupted, and they can smell and hear all those intruders — so the assumption is that they are still stressed.” 3. Let hiding cats lie To feel safe, some cats prefer to hide when there’s company. Dr. Weigner notes that everyone, it seems, wants to say hi to a family dog, but people aren’t always as determined to find the cats hiding under a bed. “Never force the cats to meet your company,” he says. Or worse, allow cat-loving Aunt Matilda, who thinks of herself as a “cat whisperer,” to crawl under the bed to “soothe” the fearful cats. Aunt Matilda will only further terrify them. Also, if there are young children visiting, make sure there’s adult supervision. And never force the cats to interact with children if they’re not inclined to do so. 4. Leave it up to the cat Always allow the cats to be in control and to decide to greet guests when and if they’re ready. That’s why cats gravitate to the one person in the room ignoring them (often because he or she is allergic or doesn’t like cats). If the cat runs from Uncle Joe taking over the second bedroom for Christmas, it’s not personal. “Unfamiliarity can be perceived as threatening, even if Uncle Joe doesn’t mean to be a threat,” Dr. Colleran says. Uncle Joe may also reek of unfamiliar cigar smoke or something else — who knows about Uncle Joe — and that will only confound the fear. (Note: Asking Uncle Joe to refrain from smoking isn’t unreasonable.) 5. Separate furry visitors A trend today is traveling with your pet(s). Even for those few cats who may prefer to hit the road with their people, it may not be fair to expect to stay in a home with resident cats. But all friends and relatives aren’t fair. It’s certain that your cats wouldn’t invite the feline intruder. Definitely, visiting cats should be sequestered in the guest room — and the door scrupulously kept shut. “Even when the visitors go home, the Feliway that’s already plugged in should stay plugged in because the cats who live in the home will know who’s been in that room, even after thorough cleaning. And Feliway may calm their frazzled nerves. If visitors are of the canine persuasion, says Dr. Weigner, who is in Atlanta, Georgia, “Make sure the dog is always on leash, and it may be necessary to use flea protection for your cats since dogs might bring unexpected guests with them.” 6. Watch your cat’s behavior Make sure your cat is eating and using the litter box when house-guests visit. If not, or if you feel your cat’s quality of life is being impacted by fear, contact your veterinarian. There are nutraceutical supplements and pharmaceuticals that can help lower anxiety. Thumbnail: Photography ©Mark Rogers Photography.
  2. One of the benefits of working at home as a freelance writer is spending more time with my cats — but countless times, they have messed up my typing and even accidentally shut off my computer by rubbing their faces and butting their heads on my hands. So, what gives? Why do cats rub against you? This universal cat behavior is a compliment, experts say, because your kitty is communicating with you and marking you as his kin. “Cats define their worlds through scent,” says Marilyn Krieger, a certified cat behavior consultant in California, who is also known as The Cat Coach. “It’s one way they identify their families, their friends and also their enemies. When a cat is rubbing up against you, what they’re doing is exchanging your scent. It’s reinforcing that you are part of [their] group. It’s very sweet.” Why do cats rub against you? Long-lasting messages from scent mingling. Cats have scent glands that secrete pheromones in several parts of their bodies, including their cheeks, tails, foreheads, paw pads and anal areas. When they rub something or someone, they deposit this scent and it sticks, says Amy Shojai, a certified animal behavior consultant in Texas. “Scent communication not only signals something when the cat goes through the motions, but the smelly message lingers for long-term communication, too,” Shojai says. “For other types of communication, the cat and the other party must be present to see the friendly tail greeting, for example, or to hear the purr and hiss,” says Shojai, the author of more than 30 pet-care books, including ComPETability: Solving Behavior Problems in Your Multi-Cat Household. “Vocal communication can only last as long as one breath at a time,” she says. “But scent continues to communicate, even when kitty has left the building.” Cat rubbing can also be a matter of claiming territory, but it goes beyond that, Shojai says. Territorial marking is more directed toward objects and spaces, and typically involves clawing and cheek rubbing. Why do cats rub against you? To mark members of their tribe. In colonies of feral cats, the felines mark each other as members of their tribe by rubbing and bunting their heads among themselves. This is a form of communication and acceptance, Krieger says. When cats transfer this behavior to humans, they are mingling their scents with ours, and also claiming acceptance. If a cat doesn’t like you, she probably will not rub against you, Krieger says. When cats rub you, they are saying, “You’re part of the group, I’m part of you, we’re all part of the same group,” she says. Do cats target different spots to rub on purpose? Cats don’t really target certain human body parts with different messages; they usually just go for whichever area is accessible, Krieger says. However, if a cat rubs your face, it feels more intimate and might be something a kitty only does if he particularly likes you. One of the most distinctive cat rubs is headbutting, which is when cats bump their heads on you with oomph. This, Shojai says, signals “I am your friend.” “Not only does the head rubbing/bunting behavior leave pheromone signals that identify friendly encounters, it also places the cat’s face and eyes in vulnerable positions,” she says. “So, it’s not only expressing friendliness, but also trust. Typically, it’s the most confident cat that offers the head-bunting behavior, too.” Cats also like to walk closely past us, rubbing their whole bodies against our legs. They often finish this by wrapping their tails around our legs. “This, again, is a friendly greeting between cats, and by extension, the humans they love and trust,” Shojai says. Want your cat to rub against you? Reinforce the behavior! As long as your cats aren’t knocking things out of your hands, you probably enjoy it when they rub up against you. Pet your cats when they rub against you to reinforce and reward the behavior, Krieger recommends. “When cats come up to you… and they haven’t seen you all day and they rub you on the legs — if you automatically pet them, you reinforce that behavior and you put your scent back onto the cat,” she says. “They enjoy the affection and they like that.” Tell us: Does your cat rub against you? Where does your cat rub against you? Thumbnail: Photography ©Fonrimso | iStock / Getty Images Plus. This piece was originally published on January 25, 2018.
  3. Peterson University, Peterson’s state-of-the-art training facility in San Leandro, is the destination of choice for students all over North America who desire the latest certified training from Caterpillar and other top manufacturers! Peterson University is a Caterpillar-recognized Regional Dealer Learning Center—our training materials, staff, operations, and administration were thoroughly audited by Caterpillar and authorized to provide the same training that Cat provides in its Peoria, IL headquarters. When you choose Peterson University for training, you’ll receive the exact same instruction that Cat provides its own personnel! We’re proud to be an authorized training center or partner with the following manufacturers and organizations: Caterpillar International Trucks Sullair Air Compressors Cat ISO Switchgear AVO Training Institute Eaton Drivetrain FranklinCovey SpeechSkills ZF Marine Products California Air Resources Board National Technology Transfer NPK Construction Tools Meritor Hendrickson Bendix UC Berkeley Haas School of Business
  4. “Well, I’m pleased to report that, to my shock, Toby actually pooped in the box the day I started following your plan for him and he hasn’t made a mistake since. I feel like this was so easy, that it’s almost unbelievable. I didn’t have to add or even move the litter boxes just as you said I wouldn’t. So what is your secret? My neighbor is going to call you now too. Evidently, I’m not crazy anymore for hiring a cat behaviorist! I will schedule our last call in a couple weeks. Thanks again and I hope your Costa Rica trip study was fabulous. Thank you for helping the cats of the world and their cat people too”. Best Regards, Toby & Chloe Cat – Steve S. California Our Clinic Testimonials Save Feline Lives. “Since the consultation with you on 8/24, we have made some great strides! Not one accident outside the box in over a week! All the kitties are using (advice removed) and I have not had to use any (advice removed)…this is huge! I have also been working on changing them all over to the (advice removed) you recommended, and that is proving to be their least favorite change. I will make it gradual so that I don’t stress them out. I have also put (advice removed) out for them, and (advice removed) different areas of the house. I double checked with the vet on Butter’s urine culture and it was clean so we aren’t putting her back on the prescription diet. She has finished the antibiotics and she is acting like she feels better, too. Charlie has also refrained from his inappropriate behavior. I have put a small, washable mat at the back door and he has not “marked” it. So, it looks like we may be another success story for you…YEA! Thanks again for the great advise and I’ll give you another update in a week or so”. Vivienne B. and Charlie, Clara, Fred, Dora, Butter, The Amazing Dottie M, and Liberty Page. Vivienne B. New York, New York
  5. Cats are wonderful creatures and loving pets. But sometimes you may find yourself ripping your hair out because your pet cat has attacked your lounge or done its business in the kitchen instead of its litter box. These are common behavioural problems of cats and in fact all animals. You can solve these issues by training your cat to do the right things all its takes is a little patience and persistence. Cat training can be a fun and exciting way to interact with your pet and teach it the right things to do. In the end once your cat is fully trained he or she will be a well behaved star. Why Does My Cat Do This? This is the question all cat owners ask themselves on a daily or hourly basis. Cat training is the perfect way to stop you from asking this most common question. We at Hollywood Paws offer cat training programs which will help cat owners exceptionally by turning your cats into well trained and behaved pets and stars. Here are 4 simple steps on how to achieve the best from cat training! Cats tend to be overactive creatures which when bored cause destruction. You firstly need to set up a play and fun time for your cat to ensure it that he or she is loved. Daily play session and even relaxing massages can help relax your pet cat. All cats need attention and one of the most common problems which are caused by not enough attention is the cat stops using its litter box. Eliminate this problem just by setting up daily playtime sessions. One of the most proven cat training techniques is REWARDS! By helping your cat succeed in daily minor tasks will help your cat realise that what he or she is doing is right therefore it will be rewarded with a snack or toy. If your cat loves clawing into your lounge or pillows they are probably doing so because they frustrated and bored. Cat owners can follow this simple step in cat training by finding something which your cat is scared of or doesn’t like. Place this object onto the lounge where the cat love to claw and he or she won’t even think about clawing your lounge again. If your cat decides not to do his business in his litter box then don’t yell at him or throw him outside. Just offer him a little more attention and play time and he will be going straight to his litter box and doing his thing. Your Cat the Social Animal Socialization is an important part of cat training. This technique of cat training can improvise the follow attributes which will benefit your pet cat immensely; Coordination and Balance Coordination and balance are to vital parts of cat training. To implement this cat training technique, owners can let their cats interact with other animals, let the play outdoors and find toys or cat stands which they can climb up and down. Learn how to fight and attack their prey. Eg; insects, other cats. Cat’s natural instincts are to fight or attack their prey. But if they are cooped up indoors they will not use their natural intuition which may lead to them fighting their owners or guests. By taking your cat outdoors they will be able to practice their natural ability. This form of cat training is highly important for your cats self esteem. Acceptance from humans and other animals If you ever have guests enter your home or outdoors make sure that they pay some sort of attention to your pet cat. This will help the cat by you training them to welcome visitors and not attacking them. Learning how to interact with humans and other animals If your cat doesn’t like the sight of strangers or other animals this form of cat training can be helpful and result in your cat being well trained. Teach your cat that it is ok to play with other animals and seek affection off strangers; you can do this by putting them in contact with friendly dogs, humans and outdoor life. Stop them from bitting their owners or other animals around the home If your cat loves to bite and attack then this behaviour is normally caused by boredom. Cats have a lot of aggression and if they do not release it they become feisty. You can stop them from doing so by having play sessions. Play sessions are vital for cats because this is how they release their aggression. Use some fun toys and a little soothing massage and your cat will love the attention and give you cuddles instead of bites. Learn how to be comfortable and welcomed around strangers. Cats can be very territorial of their homes and if someone unusual enters their territory they become feisty and aggressive because hey think they are being attacked or replaced. To solve this issue introduce you cat to guests and make them feel comfortable by including them in your activities with your guests. By cat training your pet using socializing techniques such as play session and interaction with toys you will be helping your cat to release his or her aggression as cats are known for their aggressive behaviour. Talking to your cat constantly will give him or her great idea of who you are. Using you voice in a deep tone will notify the cat that you are unhappy with their behaviour. Over long periods of time they will recognize this and refrain from what they are doing. Cat training should not be like boot camp it should be a fun and exciting interact process which will help turn your cat into a well behaved pet that is loved by all the family, friends and other animals. Cat Training at Hollywood Paws Does your cat come when you call? When you tell her to stop scratching the sofa, does she listen? Does your tabby heed your demands that he stop doing his business in the hallway instead of the litter box? Stop laughing! Despite what you might have heard, cats can be trained. HollywoodPaws’ resident cat trainer, Karen Thomas, is living proof – and she’s ready to teach you the basics of feline-friendly instruction. With the right system of rewards and commands, your kitty will go from standoffish to standing at attention. What’s more, our advanced instruction can turn some exceptional cats into screen pets! You might even qualify to become a studio animal trainer. Want to Make Your Pet a Star? Ever thought of seeing your cat in a cat or dog movie? Cat training is essential if you want your cat to be an actor. Contact HollywoodPaws for more informtion.
  6. We are dedicated admirers of the German Shepherd, located on the West Coast of the US, in a semi rural setting, perfect for raising this magnificent breed of dog. We have owned and loved German Shepherd Dogs for the last 30 years. Our first introduction to this breed was through a 3/4 GSD mix we called Timber. She was so awesome in her temperament, size, obedience and loyalty that we knew there would be no other breed for us than the GSD. Although Timber was spayed at an early age and never bred, our family of GSD's has grown. Since our first positive experience with this breed, our goal has been to produce the ultimate GSD, with temperament & health at the top of the list. We pride ourselves in having awesome size, temperament and health in all of our dogs. We breed for an oversized dog, with a straight back. Some of our females through the years have weighed up to and over 100 pounds! With an average being 80-90 pounds. Our males have topped that weight, and generally reach at least 100 lbs, but generally go over that. Although we pride ourselves with this large size, we never compromise the integrity of the structure and health of the dog. Their health and temperament are equally impressive. We produce a nice "pet" GSD, as the size of our dogs disqualifies them from the smaller conformation show dogs. We have been breeding GSD's for 25+ years. Our dogs are very versatile in their abilities. The majority of our pups have gone into pet homes where they live out long, wonderful lives being the ultimate family companion. Even though our GSD's are primarily pets, they have the capability to do just about anything that is asked of them. For instance, we have had quite a few of our pups go as search & rescue dogs, therapy dogs, & service utility dogs for the handicapped or physically impaired. Coupled with the eagerness to please & the easy going temperament that we strive for, as well as the large size that comes from our lines, they make the perfect dog for whatever the need be. My daughter, my husband & myself have comprised "Salhaus German Shepherds" for the past 25 + years. But we have a new addition to Salhaus & to our family. Our daughter was recently married to a wonderful young man. So now he & our daughter are "combining forces" to continue helping us produce the outstanding dogs we've become known for, all these years. See my beautiful kids below & also a picture of the "senior members" of Salhaus (my husband & myself.)
  7. Our adoption process is designed to help you and the right dog find each other. Our goal is to place each dog into a permanent, safe, and loving home. To adopt a German Shepherd Dog from us, you must: 1. Live in Northern California. 2. Complete an Adoption Questionnaire, either online, or by mail. If you do not own your home, you must also have your landlord complete the Landlord Permission Agreement. 3. Be interviewed by an adoption counselor. 4. Allow a home visit by an adoption counselor. 5. Be approved for adoption. 6. Choose, and be chosen by, the right dog. 7. With our approval, sign our Adoption Agreement, and pay the associated fee. After we receive your online Adoption Questionnaire, we will call you to begin the adoption process. We encourage potential adopters to come to one or more Adoption Days, because that is the best way to meet several German Shepherds and to find your new companion. If you attend an Adoption Day and choose a dog, you may be able to adopt the same day, if all adoption requirements are met. If you cannot come to any Adoption Day, we can still assist you, this may take longer because the people who will help you are volunteers who usually have jobs, and scheduling meetings with dogs can be complex because our dogs live in many homes and kennels. Important Note About Dog Descriptions Please remember that the descriptions of dogs (of Dogs Available) have been written by GSRNC volunteers and are usually based only upon our observation of the dog since the time it was rescued. While we try to provide dog descriptions that are fair and accurate, the nature of our work involves contact with dogs whose background and history are unknown to us. GSRNC cannot warrant or guarantee any dog's future behavior. For example, if we say that a rescue dog gets along with children, cats, or other dogs, this statement is usually based upon the fact that one of our volunteers has observed the dog interacting with his or her own children or pets. While this information may be helpful, we cannot be certain of how a dog will do with the children or pets in your home. If you are considering adopting, we encourage you to come to one of our Adoption Days and meet our rescue dogs. Ultimately, only you can decide whether one of our dogs is right for you. Explanation of the Dog Levels 1 – "Fireplace dog" Couch potato, super easy, low energy and no issues. This level of dog would do well in any home regardless of owner experience. (We rarely come across this level of dog.) 2 – “Easy Large Breed Companion Dog” Low to moderate energy, needs some exercise but it is not a daily requirement. This dog will do well in most homes. The dog gets along with most other dogs, gets along with most other people and have been successfully been around children. The dog has no real behavioral issues that need to be managed or dealt with on a daily basis. This dog is an easy family dog. 3 –“Standard Large Breed Dog” Moderate energy, needs daily exercise of some sort to thrive and stay happy. This dog will do well in many types of homes, but some situations will not work for this dog. This dog may not get along with some types of dogs. This dog may be reactive to some other dogs while on leash. It may have too much energy to be around small children while unattended, and may have some behavioral issues that will require formal training or daily monitoring for the dog to successfully live happily in a family. These issues are normally minor such as fence climbing, prey drive, minor separation anxiety, nervousness in crowds, or other minor behavioral traits. A Potential Adopter for a level 3 dog must have prior, recent large breed dog experience and be able to demonstrate the ability to successfully deal with the level 3 dog that they wish to adopt. 4 – “Experienced Ownership Required” Moderate, high or very high energy/drive. Needs an experienced owner familiar with working breed behavior to provide direct leadership and proper management. Level 4 dogs typically have a challenging behavior, but are good dogs. These dogs might be dog-reactive with most other dogs or dog-aggressive, may have to be an only animal in the home, maybe have moderate separation anxiety. The dog normally needs daily physical and mental stimulation, etc. This level of dog is not an average pet. (We try to limit the number of level 4 dogs in our program.) A Potential Adopter for a level 4 dog must be able to demonstrate the experience and ability to safely manage and care for a level 4 dog. 5 – “Competitive or Working Dog” This is a dog that has an intense focus to ‘work’. It could be a dog that provides Search and Rescue services, could be a competitive Flyball or Agility dog, or has other working abilities. These dogs can be strong, pushy, dominant, and/or have extreme energy/drive. They need a professional handler or an owner who has the experience to provide a demonstrated commitment to the dog’s ‘working ability’. A Potential Adopter for a level 5 dog must be able to demonstrate the experience and ability to safely manage and care for a level 5 dog.
  8. You can learn a lot about your cat's health from his poop. Whether you’ve just adopted your first kitten or you’ve shared your home with cats for years, watch for a few key signs when you scoop out the litter box. Cat Poop: What’s Normal? Most cats will poop at least once a day. If they’re healthy, their poop should: Be deep brown in color Feel not too hard or too soft or mushy Not smell too foul, though some odor is normal Diarrhea Diarrhea is not uncommon for cats, and there are many reasons why your cat might have it. Sometimes, it comes and goes quickly. Other times, it can last for days, weeks, or months, or come back on a regular basis. Diarrhea that lasts for 24 to 48 hours probably won’t cause a problem, but if it lasts longer, your cat can get dehydrated, which can be dangerous. Some common causes of cat diarrhea include: Changes to their diet or food allergies or intolerances Inflammatory bowel disease Colitis Hyperthyroidism Worms (intestinal parasites) Pancreatic disease Cancer If your cat has diarrhea that lasts more than a day or two, see your veterinarian to figure out the cause. Call your vet right away if the diarrhea is black or bloody, or if it happens along with fever, vomiting, sluggishness, or a loss of appetite. The treatment your cat will need depends on what’s causing his diarrhea. Some will need prescription medications, such as metronidazole or prednisolone, to control inflammation. Your vet may recommend a special diet if she thinks a food allergy or intolerance, IBD, or colitis is the problem. To prevent diarrhea, don’t give your cat dairy products like milk or yogurt -- many cats can’t digest them properly. Also, if you switch the brand or type of food you give him, be sure to introduce it over several days by mixing it with smaller and smaller amounts of the old food until he’s eating only the new stuff. Constipation When a cat is constipated, he’ll strain a lot when he tries to poop or won’t be able to produce anything for the litter box. You don’t need to worry if it only happens sometimes. But if it’s more common for your pet, you should contact your vet. Cats can get constipated for a number of reasons, including: Over-grooming, which leads to extra hair in the digestive tract Kidney problems Feline megacolon -- when the colon gets very large and its muscles no longer squeeze, making hard, dry stool build up inside Something blocking their colon, such as string or bones Diets that don’t have enough fiber Problems inside the colon, such as tumors or narrow places Spine problems or pain To ease your cat’s constipation, your vet may suggest that you give him more fiber, such as by adding canned pumpkin to his regular food. Or she might tell you to change to food that’s easier for your pet to digest. It also helps to make sure he gets more exercise and drinks more water so that waste will move through his system more readily.
  9. Q: Will diabetes shorten my cat’s lifespan? A: It sure can, because it can be associated with infections, with peripheral nerve disorders, and other problems. If it’s poorly controlled you can get into some pretty severe emergency situations. But I can tell you that we see lots of diabetic cats that are older that are managed for many years and they can get into their late teens. It requires a lifelong, daily commitment, but it’s something that can be done. Q: What does it cost to care for a diabetic cat? A: Most clients probably spend about $20-$30 a month on insulin, syringes, and other supplies. It’s not terribly expensive once it’s being managed. Q: What are the newest treatments for feline diabetes? A: There are newer insulins that are being evaluated. Some of the insulin analogs that are available for treating human diabetics are being looked at in diabetic cats and they have some promise. These provide more blood sugar control, often with fewer side effects. People are constantly trying to find new and better ways to care for diabetic cats.
  10. Q: If caught early enough, can my cat be cured of diabetes? A: It’s usually not cured. Some cats, when you start treating their diabetes and you get their blood sugar under control and get them on a reasonable diet and get them in a better body condition, their diabetes actually goes into remission or partial remission. There are cats that stay that way for many months. Some might even stay that way for years. It can happen. But for the most part diabetes is a disease that we control and don’t really cure. Q: Can I prevent my cat from getting diabetes with diet and not letting her get too fat? A: Nobody can tell you that you can prevent your cat from getting diabetes with diet because those studies haven’t been done. There are some commonly held beliefs, based on a handful of clinical studies, that support the use of low-carbohydrate diets in helping diabetic cats control their blood sugar better. And we do know that obesity is a risk factor. But there also are some breeds of cats that get diabetes more than others do, so that suggests there may be a genetic component involved as well. Q: Will it be better for my cat if I cook for her instead of buying her food? A: It’s hard to make a decent, balanced diet for a cat if you’re cooking it. You have to make sure they get all the amino acids that they need, and their needs are different from dogs and people and other omnivores. You have to know what you’re doing. Q: Should I only feed her dry food or just wet food or both? A: That’s the raging argument right now. It’s fairly controversial. If you think about what a cat’s natural diet would be, they’re carnivores. So the diet they would eat, if they were running around outside eating the animals that they prey upon, would be a very high-protein, very low-carbohydrate diet. So the argument is, that is what they have evolved to eat and that is healthier for them. So why do we have dry food for cats? Because it’s more convenient for people. Some people just don’t like dealing with canned food. And there are a gazillion cats that eat dry food and don’t get diabetes. We see 20-year-old cats that eat dry food.
  11. An alarming number of cats are developing diabetes mellitus, which is the inability to produce enough insulin to balance blood sugar, or glucose, levels .Left untreated, it can lead to weight loss, loss of appetite, vomiting ,dehydration, severe depression, problems with motor function, coma, and even death. To find out why so many cats are being diagnosed with diabetes, and what owners can do, WebMD talked to Thomas Graves, a former feline practitioner who is associate professor and section head of small animal medicine at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. Graves’ research focus is on diabetes and geriatric medicine. Q: How common is feline diabetes? A: The true incidence isn’t known, but it’s estimated at 0.5% to 2% of the feline population. But it’s also probably under diagnosed. Q: What are the signs of diabetes in cats? A: The main symptoms are increased thirst and increased urination. And while we do see it in cats with appropriate body weight, it’s more common in obese cats. Some cats with diabetes have a ravenous appetite because their bodies cannot use the fuel supplied in their diet. Q: What’s the treatment for a cat with feline diabetes? A: Diet is certainly a component. It’s felt that a low-carbohydrate diet is probably best for cats with diabetes. Treatment is insulin therapy. There are some oral medications, but they have more side effects and are mainly used when insulin can’t be used for some reason. There are blood and urine tests, physical examinations, and behavioral signals, which are used to establish insulin therapy. This is done in conjunction with your veterinarian. We don’t recommend owners adjust insulin therapy on their own because it can be sort of complicated in cats. Most patients come in every three or four months. It’s a good thing to make sure nothing else is going on. Q: Will I have to test my cat’s blood every day and give her shots ? A: Usually the blood tests are done during the regular visits with your veterinarian, although people can do them if they’d like. But the owners will have to give their cat shots. People are often afraid of that whole thing. But once you teach an owner how to do it properly, it’s something people find quite easy. Many people even find it a bit empowering, that they can do something like that to help their pet.
  12. Rabbits make wonderful indoor pets. They are adorable and brimming with personality. But before you swoop into the shelter and pick out a cutie, there are a few things you should know to ensure a rabbit is right for you and your family. Finances: Owning a pet rabbit comes with added financial responsibility. Be prepared to spend money up front on the adoption fee ($60+), as well as housing/food/bunny proofing supplies. In addition, be sure you’ll be able to afford ongoing costs for a bunny on food, litter, and vet bills (including spay/neuter fees if the bunny didn’t get the surgery while at the shelter/rescue). To give you an idea of costs, check out our article How Much Does a Pet Rabbit Cost?. Bunny Housing: Rabbits are social animals. The location of a rabbit’s housing area within your home (which can take the form of a puppy pen, bunny condo, large cage, or just an area with the food, litter boxes, and cardboard castles if the bunny is free reign) is an extremely important consideration. You’ll have to make sure the rabbit has a place to relax by himself but is not completely secluded from the family. Rabbits need social interaction, plenty of exercise, and a lot of enrichment activities. Take a look at our Housing article to learn more. Bunny Proofing: If the bunny will have free reign in the house/apartment/room, you will absolutely need to bunny proof the area. Even if you keep the bunny in a cage, condo, or puppy pen, you still will need to safeguard your home when you let the rabbit out for supervised exercise. Rabbits are very curious and persistent creatures. They will find a way to get into your computer cables, wires, molding, couch piping, slightly frayed rug, etc. They will eat your most important documents. Check out our Bunny Proofing article for tips on protecting your bunny and your things. Enrichment: Rabbits will get into trouble if they’re bored. They’ll make their own fun chewing your possessions if you don’t provide alternate forms of entertainment. A great diversion for rabbits is a cardboard castle filled with empty toilet paper rolls, old phone books, and other paper products you find around the house. Litter Box Training: Most rabbit rescues will start the process of litter training the bunnies they take in. So a rescue bunny should have the basics down, but sometimes rabbits forget their good habits once they move into their new home. This is natural because the drastic change in environment can be very stressful. Litter training can be frustrating at times, but the key is persistence and consistent reinforcement of good habits. Read our article about litter training to learn more. Nutrition: It’s important to have a good understanding of a rabbit’s nutritional needs throughout his/her life. Proper nutrition (and in the correct amounts) is vital for a rabbit’s well-being. The staple of a rabbit’s diet is fiber. Rabbits must have access to unlimited grass hays at all times. It is very important to ensure that hay allergies will not pose a problem for anyone in the household. For a more detailed explanation of rabbit nutrition, see our article, What to Feed Your Pet Rabbit and Hay for Rabbits: Essential for Good Health. Another great link is the House Rabbit Society’s article about diet, which discusses the appropriate amounts as well as types of food to give your rabbit from youth to old age. Bonding with a Bunny: Rabbits can be quite affectionate animals, but personalities definitely vary from individual to individual. Most rabbits don’t particularly like being held/picked up, and some bunnies are more aloof than others. See our article, Building a Relationship with Your Pet Rabbit, for more information about taking steps to bond with a bunny.Talk with a volunteer at a local rabbit rescue to learn more about which rabbit (or pair of rabbits) has a personality that would be a good fit for you and your family. Traveling: Rabbits get very stressed out when traveling or when placed in unfamiliar environments, so it’s best to have a good pet sitter on hand to watch the bunny if you go on vacation. If you’re a big jet-setter, with the need or desire to move to various places around the world, rabbit ownership probably isn’t right for you. Very few airlines allow rabbits to fly in-cabin within the United States and abroad. Oftentimes rabbits are subjected to multi-month-long quarantine periods upon arrival into other countries, and in many places, pet rabbits are not permitted in at all. Children and Rabbits: Rabbits live 10+ years. Adopting a rabbit is a long-term commitment. Rabbits are NOT low-maintenance pets. So adopting a bunny should be a family decision. When kids turn 18 and go to college or look for work, it’s important that the rabbit still has a safe, loving home. Read our article, Children and Pet Rabbits, for more information. Bottom line: Do your research before adding a bunny to your family! While it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of getting a pet rabbit, it’s important to first assess whether or not you can truly provide a good forever home to a bunny. If you’ve done your research and feel confident you can properly care for a bunny, please adopt a rabbit from a rescue or shelter instead of purchasing one from a breeder or pet store. Shelters are overflowing with homeless bunnies of all shapes and sizes. You can get ready for your new pet by reading, Preparing for Your First House Rabbit, which includes a list of initial bunny supplies.
  13. Just like people, bunnies enjoy a good meal. A nice mix of hay, vegetables, pellets, as well as fresh water will make your rabbit healthy and happy. Read on for more information about what to feed your pet rabbit. Hay Fresh hay should make up the bulk of your rabbit’s diet and needs to be readily available at all times. Adult rabbits can eat timothy, grass, and oat hays, while younger rabbits should be fed alfalfa. Alfalfa should not be given to adult rabbits because of the higher protein and sugar content. Hay is important for rabbits because it provides the essential fiber needed for good digestive health and it helps wear down a rabbit’s teeth (which continuously grow) for good dental health. Placing hay at one end of a litter box will also encourage the use of the litter box, as rabbits tend to eat hay and poop at the same time. When choosing hay, make sure it looks and smells fresh. Do not choose a hay that looks brown or moldy or no longer smells like fresh cut grass. Store hay in a dry place in a container that allows air flow to keep it from getting moldy. Buying hay in bulk from a local farmer tends to be much more economical than buying bags from a pet store. Vegetables A varied assortment of vegetables should be a part of your rabbit’s daily diet. When choosing vegetables look for something fresh and free of pesticides. Always wash your vegetables thoroughly before feeding them to your rabbit. Feed new vegetables in small quantities until you can judge if your rabbit reacts well to them. Do not feed rabbits the leaves from houseplants as many are poisonous to rabbits. For a full list of poisonous plants, visit the Sacramento House Rabbit Society’s page on the subject. Your rabbit may enjoy some of the following vegetables: Basil Bok choy Broccoli leaves (stems or tops can make rabbits gassy) Carrot tops (carrots are high in calcium and should be given sparingly) Celery Cilantro Clover Collard greens Dandelion leaves Dill Kale (sparingly) Lettuce – romaine or dark leaf (no iceburg lettuce and no cabbage) Mint Mustard greens Parsley Water cress Water Fresh water must always be available to your rabbit. If you have a cage, a hanging water bottle is a fine option. Rabbits will also drink from a water bowl. On a hot day you can drop an ice cube or two in your rabbits water dish. If your rabbit does not seem to be drinking enough water you can leave the vegetables fairly wet when you present them. Pellets These should be purchased so that they are fresh, as bunnies will turn their noses up at stale pellets. Look for pellets that are high in fiber and low in protein. You will need to limit your rabbit’s pellet intake as he/she ages. Pellets that are high in protein can lead to obesity and other health issues in rabbits. Do not give pellets that have “treats” mixed in (dried corn, etc.). These additives are never healthy for rabbits and can cause digestive problems. Treats Everybody loves a treat now and then, but to ensure your rabbits health they should be given only occasionally. Do not feed your rabbit items high in carbohydrates like breads, crackers, pasta, pretzels, cookies, chips, or cereal. Although branded for rabbits, many commercially-sold bunny treats are high in fat and sugar, such as yogurt chips, and should not be given. Never give chocolate as it is toxic to rabbits. Fruit is the best option for a treat, but again you should give it only in small amounts because of the sugar content. We try to purchase organic fruits that we know are free of pesticides. Like vegetables, be sure that they are thoroughly washed. Some fruits that rabbits enjoy include: Strawberries Raspberries Bananas Pineapple Apples (no seeds)
  14. The first and most important rule of handling your rabbit correctly is to never pick him/her up by the ears, the scruff, legs or tail. It is painful and can cause serious damage. You wouldn’t want to be lifted by your ears, would you? The second rule to remember is that rabbits are fragile. They are quick indeed, but have weak skeletal systems. Thirdly, rabbits do not always enjoy being picked up. Some of them will tolerate it, but many will struggle when you try to lift them. Therefore, picking them up can be a delicate business. Sometimes it is necessary to pick up your rabbit, however, such as for nail clipping or vet checks. So here are some useful tips. Approach your rabbit slowly and get down to his/her level. It will help put your bun at ease. Petting the rabbit will also have a calming effect. When you feel confident your rabbit is ready to be picked up, scoop him/her up by placing a hand under the torso and pull your bunny close to your body. Support the rabbit’s hindquarters. Your bunny needs to feel secure in your arms. If your rabbit struggles when being picked up, hold him/her firmly, but be ready to put him/her down. Your rabbit may think the better alternative to being held is to leap from your arms, but this can cause serious injury. When putting your rabbit down, slowly squat down while holding your bunny close, and let him/her down gently. Your rabbit may respond with a thump or may kick up his/her hind legs at you while scampering away. It’s nothing personal, he/she just disapproves of being picked up.
  15. At My House Rabbit, we advocate that pet rabbits live inside your home as opposed to outside in a hutch. Not only will you ensure your bunny is protected from severe weather and predators, your bunny will become more of a member of your family when living inside with you because there tends to be more social interaction that way. There are many options for housing your rabbit indoors, including puppy pens, bunny condos, rabbit cages or simply a bunny proofed room. We’ll discuss each option below. Free Reign in a Bunny Proofed Room We prefer to let our pet rabbits have free reign in a bunny proofed room. We chose to keep them in the room we use as an office. Puppy Pens A great option to consider is setting up a puppy pen (or X-pen) in the corner of a room for your rabbit. A puppy pen can be purchased at many pet supply stores or Amazon. Puppy pens are large enough hold all of the essentials for a rabbit and give them room to roam. They are also easy to move when needed. If you are concerned about your flooring or carpet, you can place a plastic chair mat, piece of linoleum, or an old rug at the bottom of the pen. (Make sure your rabbit doesn’t ingest these materials however, because this can cause blockage. Keeping the edges out of reach helps limit this behavior.) Puppy pens generally do not have tops to them, so make sure you purchase one that is high enough that your rabbit cannot jump over (36 inches or higher). Puppy pens are useful if you intend to eventually give your rabbit free reign in a bunny proofed room. Limiting your rabbit’s space in the beginning will allow him/her to grow accustomed to the location of the food and litter box(es). By gradually increasing the space, your rabbit will not feel overwhelmed by a large area. This helps prevent accidents and lower stress. Bunny Condos If you’re handy, the sky’s the limit when it comes to building bunny condos. You can use wood, metal, re-purposed furniture, and other materials to build a bunny condo. (See our blog post, Modern Bunny Hutch, for an example of a bunny house made from re-purposed IKEA furniture.) One thing to note is that you should never build a rabbit enclosure with chicken wire because rabbits can chew the wire and hurt themselves. Also, if you decide to build with metal, the slats should be fairly close together so your rabbit cannot get his/her head through. Otherwise, your rabbit may get injured or strangled. An easy way to build a bunny condo is with wire storage cubes. Wire storage cubes, available at Target, Walmart, Sam’s Club, and Amazon, can be customized into many different arrangements. Although it can be slightly time-consuming, building a bunny condo out of storage cubes can be a fairly inexpensive option. (For step-by-step instructions on how to build a bunny condo with storage cubes, see the House Rabbit Network website.) Rabbit Cages Of all the housing options, rabbit cages provide the least amount of space for your bunny, so if possible, we recommend trying a pen or bunny condo setup first. However, if you do opt to house your bunny in a large cage, you must ensure the rabbit gets plenty of time of time outside the cage- at least a few hours daily. The options for cages are varied but require a few basics for the well being of your rabbit. Cages must be large enough to accommodate your bunny. The bigger the better! There needs to be room for your rabbit to move about and lie down, as well as space for food, water, litter box and toys. Never use glass aquariums as they are seldom large enough and do not have enough air circulation. It is also best to have a cage with a front door so your rabbit can come and go on his/her own. Some people prefer rabbit cages with wire bottoms because a litter pan can be placed underneath. This is generally fine, but you need to include a tile or a piece of wood or cardboard for the bunny to stand/lie on. Standing on the wire floor alone can cause damage and discomfort to your rabbit’s paws. There are many different housing possibilities to consider for your rabbit. Rabbits need a place where they feel safe as well as room to exercise and explore. The best option will depend on your living arrangements. But remember, rabbits are very social creatures, so choose a location in your home that won’t leave your bunny feeling lonely and abandoned.
  16. Many people may be misguided in thinking that rabbits are low-maintenance pets. The truth is that pet rabbits live 10 years or longer, and they require a considerable amount of care, time, and money. Here is a basic rundown of how much a pet rabbit can cost. Initial Costs Adoption fee: $70 Puppy pen: $70 Litter box: $5 – $10 Hay feeder: $50 – $100 Food dishes: $5 – $10 Nail clippers & small flashlight: $25 Cord protectors: $35 Chair mats: $70 TOTAL INITIAL: $330 – $390 Ongoing Supplies (Keep in mind that rabbits live 10+ years.) Litter: $18/month Hay: $20/month (can be cheaper, >$5/month, if you buy from a local farmer by the bale) Greens/vegetables: $40/month Pellets: $5/month Pet-safe cleaning supplies: $2/month TOTAL ONGOING: $85/month (or $70/month if you get your hay direct from a farmer) Incidental Costs The above estimates give you an idea of costs for owning a rabbit. But they should serve as a minimum baseline. There are other costs that will arise along the way. Vet bills Rabbits require regular visits to a rabbit-savvy veterinarian especially as they get older. Young rabbits will need spay/neuter surgery. And sometimes, despite proper care, rabbits get sick. Vet bills can cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Are you willing and able to cover those costs as the need arises? Bunny supply replacement Some of the initial supplies listed above will need to be replaced at some point during your rabbit’s life, just from simple wear and tear. Furniture/other possession repair and replacement Rabbits have a knack for destruction. Even if you have bunny proofed your home, sometimes they can get into an off-limits area and wreak havoc. You may forget to stow away your remote controls, electronic devices, books, shoes, etc. and your bunny will have gleefully gnawed them in the meantime. The costs of repair or replacement can be high! Store-bought toys and tunnels While rabbits are fairly content with old phone books, boxes, and toilet paper rolls, you may want to splurge on “fancier” store-bought toys, such as hidey houses, tunnels, and more. If you’re the type person who likes to spoil your pet, factor these costs into the equation as well. You may think that you could be thriftier and spend less on your rabbit than the estimates suggest. With careful planning, bargain shopping, DIY skills, and time, this is certainly possible. However, you should always ensure that you have enough money to cover those incidental costs, especially vet bills, which are non-negotiable and essential to your rabbit’s well-being.
  17. Thinking about getting a pet rabbit for a child? A house rabbit may seem like the perfect pet for kids, but this is not always the case. Many children are too young to handle a rabbit appropriately. Bunnies may look cute and cuddly, but they do not behave in ways typified in children’s stories or cartoons. Many rabbits do not enjoy being held and will kick and claw when picked up. Your child may end up with some painful scratches. Your rabbit may end up far worse. Rabbits are delicate creatures and struggling to get out of the grasp of a child (or adult) can leave them with broken bones or other injuries. Rabbits are timid creatures. Loud noises or children running around can scare them. Your child may be disappointed that Bunny does not want to come and play when called. Bunny will be more inclined to come play with your child if he/she is sitting quietly on the floor. Rabbits sometimes want to be left alone to eat or nap, and children need to be reminded of that. Adopting a rabbit is a very big commitment. Rabbits have a life span of over ten years. If you adopt a baby bunny for your ten-year-old, be prepared to care for the rabbit when your child has gone off to college. Many shelters have older rabbits that would love a caring forever home. Children may lose interest in a rabbit when the novelty has worn off or find it burdensome to care for a rabbit. Rabbits are easily litter box trained, but their litter needs to be changed regularly. They require fresh food and water daily. They also require regular grooming and nail clipping. Rabbits are social animals that require a lot of individual attention. They need daily exercise and playtime, and when they are not in a pen or cage, you will have to ensure that your home is bunny proofed. All of these factors need to be taken into consideration when determining if a rabbit is right for your family. So while children and rabbits can certainly interact well together, a pet rabbit for a child is not a good idea. A rabbit’s primary caregiver should always be an adult.
  18. A friend of mine recently came to visit, and she was surprised when my two bunnies hopped over to greet us as we entered their room. She said she didn’t know rabbits even liked being petted. Her remarks made me realize that a lot of people are unaware that bunnies can have quite affectionate personalities – and that a strong bond between rabbit and owner can be established. In truth, rabbits are very expressive. When they’re happy and full of energy, they’ll zip around the room in little bunny blurs, every so often interjecting a few binkies into the circuit. When they’re hungry, they’ll beg for food or get cranky and start chewing the molding and furniture. When they want attention, they’ll dig on your back or your leg until you stop what you’re doing and pet them. And if they think you’re in the way, they’ll let you know by nudging you forcefully with their nose (and they’ll follow up with a little nip if you ignore them). Understanding rabbits’ unique language is helpful when building a bond with your pet rabbit for the long term. But if you’ve recently adopted your bunny, you may not even know how to start the bonding process. Rabbits are most comfortable on the ground. So your rabbit may not appreciate being picked up and held. If you insist on scooping up little Bunnikins all the time, you may find she starts running away from you and hiding every time you come near. If this is the case, try simply sitting quietly on the floor. Let her approach you on her own terms. When she does, you can gently pet her. My rabbits like being stroked on their forehead and cheeks. They put their head on the ground and close their eyes in contentment. They also love getting a good back scratch around the shoulders. That said, they tend not to like being touched on the ears, neck, feet, stomach or tail. Usually, my bunnies are most receptive to petting when they’re relaxing after a meal. So if your rabbit doesn’t appear interested in affection, wait until just after feeding time. Rabbits are very curious animals, so your bun may just be distracted by all the potential mischief to be had. Bunnies have very distinct personalities. With time and patience, you will learn what makes your bunny happy. And in return, your bunny will come to trust and appreciate you.
  19. Picture a food pyramid for rabbits. What do you see at the base? If you chose bunny pellets, you wouldn’t be alone. Walking down the small animal aisle in pet stores usually reinforces the idea that bunny food takes the form of a brown pellet mix (and many times with corn kernels and other unhealthy additives thrown in). But the base of a bunny food pyramid actually isn’t filled by pellets. The most important ingredient to a healthy bunny’s diet is hay. Fresh hay should be provided to rabbits at all times so they can graze when they please. Fiber for Digestion Rabbits have digestive tracts that are specially adapted to break down fibrous vegetation. Hay provides the fiber necessary to keep their digestive systems healthy and motile. A disruption to a rabbit’s digestive cycle can cause gastrointestinal (GI) stasis, a condition in which the contents of the digestive tract become compact, and the rabbit has difficulty passing the mass through. Providing unlimited, fresh hay helps deter this serious, potentially deadly condition. Roughage for Dental Health Not only is hay necessary for good digestive health, it also wears down rabbits’ teeth, which continuously grow. Regular hay consumption helps prevent rabbits from developing sharp hooks on their teeth known as molar spurs. Molar spurs can be very painful, causing rabbits to stop eating. Once this happens, GI stasis can occur. What Kind of Hay For baby bunnies, alfalfa provides the high caloric content necessary for their development. Once rabbits reach seven months of age, gradually switch them over to timothy, orchard grass, and/or oat hay. For people with allergies, look for the second cutting of hay. When harvesting hay, the first cutting is a coarser hay that includes a lot of stems and seed heads (and inevitably, a lot of pollen). The second cutting consists of a softer hay that includes more leaves and fewer stems and seed heads, thereby reducing people’s allergic reactions significantly. Where to Buy You can usually find bags of hay at most pet stores. However, the absolute most economical place to purchase hay is direct from a local farm. Check Craigslist’s farm/garden section or your local classifieds to find a hay farmer. You can purchase hay in bulk (by the bale) for a fraction of the cost of a pet store bag of hay. One bale (stored in a cool, dry location) can feed a single rabbit for months. If there are no farms in your area, don’t despair. You can also buy hay for rabbits in bulk online. Nowadays, there are many reputable online retailers of hay, such as Small Pet Select.
  20. Continually overrun with abandoned rabbits, local shelters and rescues are the best place to find a new pet bunny. Not only will you save an animal from possible euthanasia, there are also several additional benefits. Rescues often have rabbits of varying sizes, breeds, and ages. So, if you were looking specifically for a young, agouti mini lop, you will most likely find a good fit at the local shelter. But, you also might surprise yourself and fall in love with an older mixed breed rabbit once you start looking. Aside from the ability to choose from a wide selection of different kinds of rabbits, adopting from a shelter or rescue is also very convenient. Volunteers at rescues take the time to acclimate rabbits to living in apartments and houses. In this way, the time you would have to take to train the rabbit is cut down considerably. For example, volunteers will litter box train the rabbits as they come in, so although a rabbit may take a little while to adjust to living in a new home, you will not need to litter train your new bunny from scratch. Furthermore, because a lot of rescued rabbits live in foster homes, many are accustomed to living in households with children and other pets. So if your household situation is similar, adopting a rabbit who is already comfortable in that environment makes the transition easier for both you and the rabbit. If you were interested in having multiple pet rabbits, you may be able to adopt a bonded pair or trio. This saves you the time and effort of bonding the rabbits yourself. Adopting a bonded pair or trio is ideal if you work full time because the rabbits can entertain each other while you’re gone. In addition to saving a lot of time and effort, adopting a rabbit from a rescue also saves you money on vet bills. Rabbit rescues usually have partnerships with local vets, and rabbits will be spayed or neutered upon reaching sexual maturity. So you can adopt a rabbit after he or she has recovered from the surgery and not have to worry about paying for the procedure. Moreover, some rabbits suffer from health conditions of varying severity. One common affliction is malocclusion, a condition where the rabbit’s teeth are not aligned properly and the rabbit is unable to wear down his/her teeth. When you adopt from a rescue, all the rabbits will be checked for malocclusion as well as other afflictions. They will then be properly treated. If the rabbit has an chronic health issue, the rescue will alert potential new parents of the condition, so only those willing and able to care for the bunny can adopt him/her. If you purchase a rabbit from a breeder or pet store, they may not alert you to any pre-existing health problems. Finally, rescue volunteers are very knowledgeable. Before leaving you on your own with your new companion, they will make sure you know how to properly care for your bunny. Understanding the behavior and needs of your rabbit will be essential to creating a rewarding, long-term relationship.
  21. A common misconception is that rabbits are dirty animals. But rabbits make wonderful indoor companions in part because they can be litter box trained, just like cats! Follow these steps to litter train your rabbit. Provide a small cat litter box (or a few) with low sides and no top. You can also use a shallow storage tub. Cut a doorway in one of the sides if it’s too tall. Don’t bother with the corner litter boxes advertised for bunnies, as they are too small. For litter, use recycled paper litter such as Yesterday’s News. You can get the larger bags made for cats, but choose the unscented version. This litter will neutralize any unpleasant urine odors. Do not use clay-based or clumping litter as this is harmful to rabbits’ respiratory systems. Avoid wood shavings as well. Put a thin layer of litter at the bottom of the litter box- just enough to absorb wetness. There’s no need to fill it too high since rabbits don’t bury their droppings like cats. Plus, when you clean the litter box, you dump the entire contents out each time. So you will unnecessarily go through a lot of litter if you deeply fill the box each time. Rabbits like to eat hay and poop at the same time. So to promote good litter box habits, place hay either directly in the box over the litter or place it in a hay box next to the litter box. If you use a hay box, position it so the rabbit must hop into the litter box in order to reach the hay. It’s easiest to develop good litter box habits in rabbits by limiting their space at first. Use a puppy pen to confine your rabbit to one area, even if you intend to give him/her free reign of your home eventually. This allows your bunny to get acclimated to the area in the beginning. Once your bunny consistently uses the litter box, you can gradually expand the area. If your rabbit starts “forgetting” to use the litter box, then limit the space again until good habits resume. Here are a few other tips for those stubborn, “outside-the-box” bunnies: If accidents occur, mop up urine with a paper towel and pick up stray poop and place both in the litter box. This helps get the message across that the litter box is the place that they should do their business. Keep in mind that rabbits are generally not 100% perfect with their litter box. Sometimes they leave a few droppings next to the box, or they urinate over the edge of their box. This is normal, so placing a plastic mat under their litter box or putting the litter box on a tile floor makes it easier to clean up these little mistakes. Be patient and persistent. Litter training takes time, especially if your rabbit has learned bad habits. It takes a while to retrain them. If you can see they’re about to go outside their litter box (they may lift their tail or sometimes they sort of shimmy down in a seated position right before they go), try to pick them up and put them in the litter box or corral them in. This is oftentimes easier said than done of course. If your bunny is insistent on going in one corner of the room, sometimes it’s easier to give in to their stubbornness, and place a litter box in that corner. Sometimes when rabbits consistently choose another place to go, they are trying to tell you that that’s where they want to go. If your rabbit is pooping/spraying pee everywhere, this is probably due to your rabbit marking his territory. It’s a good idea to get your rabbit spayed/neutered in order to ease territorial feelings. Sometimes rabbits deliberately pee on your couch or bed because they’re showing you who’s Top Bunny in the house. You should correct their misconception immediately. See our article, Rabbit Peeing on the Couch? What to Do and the House Rabbit Society’s article, “FAQ: Training” for more information. Litter training your pet rabbit takes patience and persistence. But in the end, you’ll have a wonderful companion to share your home with. Litter Training Supply List Litter box A shallow storage container works well. Or you may opt for a medium-sized cat litter box (or a few). Rabbit-safe litter Opt for a recycled newspaper pellet litter such as Yesterday’s News (unscented). Hay Purchase hay by the bale from a local farmer (check local Craigslist ads) or order bulk hay online at Small Pet Select Hay feeder Placing a hay feeder next to the litter box so the rabbit has to hop into the box in order to eat is helpful in establishing good litter box habits. Puppy pen Puppy pens help limit your rabbit’s space so that he/she can get acclimated to the area and get used to going in the litter box. Chair mat (optional) You may want to protect your floor in the bunny area. Make sure to get a hard plastic one to resist chewing. Snappy trainers If your rabbit is peeing on the couch or bed, you can use these devices to keep him/her off the furniture.
  22. Bringing a new pet rabbit into your life is an exciting event. You’ll want to make sure you’re fully prepared so that you and your new bunny can get off to a great start. Learn the basics of rabbit ownership, and review our checklist of initial bunny supplies below! Are you ready for a 10-year (or more) commitment? Rabbits make wonderful indoor companions. They are clean, relatively quiet, and adorable! But before you jump into rabbit ownership, make sure a rabbit is a good fit for your family. First of all, ensure you’ve properly budgeted for your new furry friend. Costs include an adoption fee; vet bills for spay/neuter surgery, annual checkups, and occasional illness; housing and bunny proofing supplies; and food. After ten or more years, these costs can add up! Make sure you do the math first. Learn more at How Much Does a Pet Rabbit Cost?. Further, do your research on what it’s like to own a rabbit. Rabbits like to chew EVERYTHING. So anywhere your rabbit goes must be bunny proofed. If not, you will be greatly disappointed when cherished possessions are gnawed up. Rabbits require daily exercise, so keeping them confined to a small space all the time will not suffice. In addition, if you’re envisioning having a lap pet, a rabbit might not be right for you. In general, rabbits don’t like being held. Finally, rabbits should not be thought of as “children’s pets”. Families with children can certainly enjoy the companionship of a rabbit, but the primary caregiver for a rabbit should always be an adult. See Children and Pet Rabbits for more information. You can learn more about the realities of rabbit ownership in our article, Thinking about Getting a Pet Rabbit? to determine if a rabbit is a good fit for you and your family. If the answer is still “Yes!” then read on! Prepare Your House The first step when you decide to bring a bunny into your life is deciding where the bunny will primarily live. At My House Rabbit, we advocate that rabbits live inside the home with you. This provides much-needed social interaction for the rabbit, along with protection from predators and severe weather. A great place to house your rabbit is in a central area of your home. You can use a puppy pen to block off a corner of a living room or family room. A puppy pen provides ample space for a litter box, food/water bowls, a hay box, and a cardboard castle. The rabbit also still has plenty of room to hop around in. Using a puppy pen is a better option than a cage because it provides more space, and it can be easily adjusted if you want to gradually increase the area to eventually give your bunny free reign in a bunny-proofed room (or rooms). Because puppy pens have doors, it’s easy to let your bunny out of the pen for daily exercise. Once you’ve set up the primary housing location for your rabbit, you’ll have to bunny proof the surrounding area where your rabbit will romp, rumble and play. All cords must be covered with wire protectors or lifted out of reach (at least 3-4 feet). Your bunny will also be drawn to wooden furniture legs, books/stray papers, remote control buttons, moldings, rug corners, and basically anything else that’s potentially “chewable”. If you don’t want those things destroyed, you will have to keep them out of reach or covered. Or you will have to carefully supervise all out-of-pen exercise time. Bunny Supply Checklist Indoor housing Get a puppy pen 36 inches or higher so your rabbit can’t jump out. Wire covers Plastic sleeves can be neatly connected to your wall. Flex tubing is another great option for covering and/or bundling wires. Furniture / baseboard protection Large split flex tubing can fit over wooden table or chair legs. Furring strips, 2x4s or other wood panels can be used to cover baseboards. Puppy pens / baby gates Puppy pens can help block off areas or confine your rabbit to a safe area of a room. Metal baby gates can be used to block off rooms. Storage cube panels can be attached to the bottoms of baby gates with zip ties if the slats are too far apart. Litter box A medium-sized cat litter box (no top) or a shallow storage container will do. Rabbit-safe litter Opt for a recycled newspaper pellet litter such as Yesterday’s News (unscented). Food / water bowls Ceramic dishes are heavy enough so your rabbit can’t tip them over. Hay feeder This helps keep hay fresh and available to your rabbit at all times. Chair mat (optional) You may want to protect your floor in the bunny area. Make sure to get a hard plastic one to resist chewing. Food (hay, pellets, vegetables, and water) Purchase hay by the bale from a local farmer (check local Craigslist ads) or order bulk hay online at Small Pet Select. Cardboard box Create a cardboard castle by cutting doorways and windows in a large cardboard box. Chew toys Sea grass mats are acceptable to chew and can be used to cover areas. Woven grass play balls are also a favorite for distraction. Wood and rope activity centers/toys capture rabbits’ interest. Nail clippers You will need to regularly trim your bunny’s nails. If your rabbit has dark claws, a small flashlight helps you to locate the quick and avoid it. What bunny should I get and where? Now here comes the fun part: Picking your rabbit! Many ask, “What breed is best?” The answer is that rabbits have many different kinds of personalities and this is not confined to any particular breed. There are lovable, affectionate rabbits spanning all kinds of breeds, both purebred and mixed. A rescue or shelter is a great place to look for your rabbit. Rescues and shelters have baby bunnies, adult bunnies, senior bunnies, and pairs of bonded bunnies – in all breeds and sizes. Check out PetFinder.com or your local House Rabbit Society chapter website for available rabbits up for adoption near you. The added advantage of adopting a bunny through a rescue is that the volunteers often litter train the rabbits while in their care. Further, in general, rabbits older than six months have already been spayed or neutered. This greatly reduces vet bills for you. To learn more about adopting a pet bunny, see our article, Benefits of Adopting a Pet Rabbit. Because rabbits are social creatures, you may want to adopt a bonded pair of rabbits. This is a great option for people who work during the day. You won’t have to worry about your rabbit being lonely if he/she has a bunny pal. If you’re unsure, talk to a rescue volunteer about the pros and cons of adopting a pair.
  23. Guinea pigs can be lovely pets, but there are a few things you should know before making that big commitment. From expected lifespan to the social nature of guinea pigs, here are some things to consider before choosing a guinea pig as a pet. 01 of 07 Guinea Pigs Are a Long-Term Commitment While a guinea pig doesn’t live nearly as long as a cat or dog, they’re still a large time commitment. Guinea pigs live on average around five to seven years, sometimes longer, so be prepared to provide care over the long term. 02 of 07 Guinea Pigs Are Social Guinea pigs are very social animals and are at their happiest living with other guinea pigs. Keep a same-sex pair to ensure you don’t have any unwanted litters. Females can be kept together, as can males without any issues. Be aware that sometimes personality differences in the animals will mean certain guinea pigs won’t get along. Introducing them as babies is the best way to get a pair to bond, though even adults can usually be introduced with care. 03 of 07 Guinea Pigs Need a Large Cage Guinea pigs need a lot of floor space, and most cages marketed as guinea pig cages are much too small, especially for a pair. Making a homemade cage is very easy, though, and since guinea pigs are a good size and not escape artists, a homemade cage is a great option. 04 of 07 Guinea Pigs Are Quiet, Sometimes Guinea pigs make a distinctive wheeking or whistling type sound, often in anticipation of getting a favorite treat or when in need of some attention. Though generally not loud enough to annoy the neighbors, a wheeking guinea pig can be surprisingly loud. If you’re looking for an animal whose vocals will never interrupt a dinner party or afternoon nap, a guinea pig might not be for you. 05 of 07 Guinea Pigs are Generally Easy to Tame While guinea pigs may be nervous or skittish at first, with consistent gentle handling, they usually become tame very easily. Careful handling is a must, and children should be supervised with them, but they are unlikely to bite even when stressed. 06 of 07 Guinea Pig Require Vitamin C Guinea pigs are one of the few animals (humans are another) that cannot manufacture their own vitamin C, so they need to get it from their diet. Choosing a good quality diet and providing a variety of fresh foods is important, but most owners choose to also give their animals a vitamin C supplement. Vitamin C tablets are considered a better way to supplement than adding vitamin C to your pet’s water. 07 of 07 Guinea Pigs are Often Available at Shelters Before heading out to buy a guinea pig, check with your local shelter or rescues for guinea pigs in need of a new home (or check on Petfinder). Many guinea pigs end up at shelters and are in need of a second chance at a forever home. Shelter guinea pigs are generally social and easy going. It should be easy to bond with an older piggie!
  24. If you are considering getting a guinea pig, you will need to know the basic facts about them. While guinea pigs make great pets for children and adults alike, consider whether they are right for your household. Beyond choosing based on appearance, learn how to select a healthy animal. The Latin name for guinea pig is Cavia porcellus. This is why they are also called cavies (with the singular being cavy). Females are called sows, males are called boars, and babies called pups. Hairless varieties are called skinny pigs. The Appearance of Guinea Pigs Guinea pigs are approximately 10 inches long and weigh 2 to 3 pounds. They have a rounded, stout body with no visible tail, although a few tail vertebrae can be felt under the skin. There are a variety of breeds with different coat types and color patterns. The most commonly found breeds are the American (short smooth hair coat), Abyssinian (short coat with “swirls” called rosettes), and Peruvian (long-haired). A wide variety of colors are seen among these different breeds. Before You Decide on a Pet Guinea Pig Guinea pigs are social animals and you should consider keeping a same-sex pair so they have someone to socialize with. A pair of females is your best choice, as a pair of males may be prone to fighting (especially if they are not neutered). Consider these other guinea pig characteristics: Lifespan: They are a moderately long-term commitment with an expected lifespan of around 5-7 years, although up to 10 years isn’t unheard of. Housing: They need a large cage, but fortunately, it is easy to meet their needs with a homemade cage. Noise: While usually quiet, guinea pigs can call out pretty loudly and be active both day and night. Temperament: Guinea pigs may be nervous at first but rarely bite and generally become very tame with frequent handling. Children: They usually make good family pets, but make sure children handle them gently. Where to Find Guinea Pigs Pet stores are a common source for pet guinea pigs, but they should only be purchased from a store if the store/staff are knowledgeable about guinea pigs, keep them in clean housing with a good diet, and handle the guinea pigs regularly. Look for stores that house males and females separately to avoid a surprise litter. Breeders are your best option if looking for a show-quality pig, a specific breed, and even pet-quality pigs. A good breeder will make sure the babies are socialized well and handled from an early age. Shelters have guinea pigs more often than you might think. This is a great way to give a guinea pig a second chance at life. Guinea pigs from shelters might be a little more skittish at first if they were not handled much while they were young, but most will settle down in their new homes once a routine is established. Choosing a Guinea Pig Whatever the source, make sure the guinea pig you choose is healthy, well-socialized, easy to handle. Use these tips: The guinea pig should be alert and active. Avoid a guinea pig this panicky when handled, especially if it does not relax quickly. Avoid a guinea pig that is overly quiet and calm (it may be ill). Avoid a guinea pig that is either overly skinny or grossly overweight. The body should be firm and rounded. The nose, eyes, ears, and rear end should be clean and free of any discharge. The coat (fur) should be full and soft. Check the skin for flakes or redness and be on the lookout for any signs of parasites such as lice (they are often noticeable behind the ears in the bald area).
  25. Guinea pigs are popular pets, especially for families, largely due to their wonderful temperaments. They are social and rarely bite, even when they are stressed. Guinea pigs do need a large cage and opportunities to exercise outside of the cage as well as a diet that provides adequate vitamin C and roughage. An Introduction to Guinea Pig Care Introduction to Guinea Pigs – Guinea pigs weigh about two to three pounds, come in a variety of colors, are very social, can live to be close to ten years old, and make great pets for children and adults alike. Learn some facts about guinea pigs and what you need to consider before choosing a guinea pig as a pet. Guinea Pig Breeds Introduction to Guinea Pig Breeds – Did you know there is a hairless variety of guinea pig? There are actually about a dozen different breeds of guinea pigs, all of which can be categorized by their hair, or lack thereof. Find out what a texel, coronet, baldwin, and teddy are. Guinea Pig Cages Cages for Guinea Pigs – Guinea pigs need a lot more room to run around than most people provide them with. Large cages can be purchased online or in a pet store or a custom enclosure using small fencing or pens can be created to give your cavy plenty of space to run around safely. But even if you have a large cage, don’t forget that your guinea pig will love some time to roam about freely! Bedding for Guinea Pigs – Guinea pigs use the bathroom wherever they please so you’ll need a bedding that is absorbent but doesn’t cause harm to your pet. Wood shavings used to be popular but more information on how they can harm our pets has been discovered over the years, especially with cedar shavings. Popular choices include fleece, which can be purchased from a craft store and then washed and reused when it gets dirty, and various kinds of paper based small animal bedding. Feeding Guinea Pigs Feeding Guinea Pigs – Vitamin C is the key ingredient in a guinea pig diet. Like us humans, guinea pigs cannot make their own supply of vitamin C to meet their daily needs therefore we must supply it for them. Guinea pig safe vitamin C supplements and special guinea pig food that is fortified with vitamin C can be given to your pig to meet their needs. They also need a large amount of roughage, such as timothy hay. Stay away from sugary treats and seeds which can cause issues with their gastrointestinal tract. Grooming Guinea Pigs Grooming Guinea Pigs – Should you bathe your guinea pig? How do you trim guinea pig nails? Find out how to groom your guinea pig and what shampoo you can safely use on your cavy. Guinea Pig Teeth – Don’t worry, you don’t need to brush your guinea pig’s teeth. But you do need to pay close attention to them. Guinea pig’s teeth grow continuously throughout their lives and due to various reasons they may be overgrown. Overgrown teeth can cause your guinea pig a lot of pain and they may stop eating. Their teeth can be trimmed or removed but hopefully this never needs to happen to your pig. Guinea Pig Names Names for Guinea Pigs – Some people find naming their pets incredibly difficult. Thankfully there is a huge list available for those of us that need a little help in this department. Find that perfect name for your new guinea pig or just check to see if your pig’s name made the list!
  • Create New...