Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Advice for Bored Cats

Hello, I am a cat, I am so bored. My owner does not play with me, I am not allowed outside, I have had the same stupid toys for years, I am getting fat and sleep all the time. My life is boring, what can I do to spice up my life?

Signed Bored Kitty

Dear Kitty

It is up to your owner to make your life more stimulating and interesting. Sadly some cat owners just forget how important it is to play with their cats. Cats do suffer from boredom, although this is more common in dogs, no offense but this is because dogs are a bit smarter than cats. People tend to address the issues of boredom in dogs more directly, because if a dog is bored, it often becomes destructive.
I am not suggesting you become destructive in order to get your owner's attention, but you do need to do something. I realize your toys are boring, but perhaps if you play with them your owner might be motivated to buy you new toys. Most cat owners fail to realize that cats like toys they have not seen for a while. You might look at the same toy for days, but if your owner hides it for a few weeks then brings it out, you may show a sudden sign of interest in the toy.

Some cat toys are better than others. Most adult cats like cat nip toys (young kittens do not notice cat nip), but if you are overweight this might not be a good idea since cat nip is also an appetite stimulant. I suggest honeysuckle toys. These cat toys might be hard to find but are excellent. Your owner should have a variety of cat toys and should rotate them often, keeping some tucked away and swapped out on a weekly basis. Your owner should try to engage you in play from time to time too, as that will make your life more interesting.

A well placed piece of cat furniture can be a good idea. Cats like to look out the window so a cat tower with a resting spot near a window is great. Of course you will probably sleep there too, but cats do sleep for 16 hours a day.

Another thought is that your owner might consider adopting another kitty pal. Cats typically object to having a new cat introduced unless it is done slowly and correctly, but usually having another cat in the house does provide some interest, and is a good idea for owners who are not home often.

Related Reading for Cat Owners

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Advice for Breeding Betta Fish

Hi, I am a pet female Betta fish, and I always thought it might be nice to raise a little fishy family, but it seems impossible if I cannot be put with a male without worrying that he will try to fight me. How do we have a family?

Signed, Betta Babe

Answer: Dear Babe

As you know male Bettas often fight, which is why they are also often called Siamese Fighting Fish. Female Betta fish look an awful lot like a wild Betta male, it is just that through breeding, the pet Betta fish have just been bred to be fancier. As male Betta fish are very territorial a male will fight even the prettiest Betta babe, that is, unless she is in her breeding pattern.

In order to breed you, a female Betta, must be put into a roomy tank where the male lives. There should be a divider between you and the male, but water should flow between. This way you will both pick up each other scent in the water. If fed a good diet, eventually you will enter your breeding phase (as pictured above), often changing colors to show vertical stripes which will indicate to him (along with the scent) that you are a female fish. You may also start to get plumper and eggs with form within you.

The male will usually build a bubble nest. Some do this anyhow regardless of if a female is there or not.

At this point your owner can put you with the male, but you need to be supervised in case the male Betta gets rough. He will usually wrap around you and this is when spawning (fish mating) takes place. You will release the eggs and he will start to collect them and scoop them up into the bubble nest. At that point your owner needs to actually remove you, I am afraid the family will not be as you expected.

The male Betta fish is the one that looks after the eggs, picking them up if they fall out of the nest, he would fight you just to keep you away, and you might even eat the eggs yourself. The little fry (baby fish) will hatch in about two days, and three days later they should be able to swim on their own at which time the father Betta is removed so he doesn't start to eat them.


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Advice for Dogs with Vestibular Disease

Question:  Hello I am an older poodle, I was recently diagnosed with vestibular diesease.  I noticed I was not feeling well, I thought I must have eaten something bad, I was dizzy as heck.  I started falling over and couldn't seem to focus my eyes on things, I felt really sick.  My owner took me to the vet who diagnosed me with Vestibular disease, what does this mean?

Signed, Wobbles and Falls Down

Answer:  Dear Wobbles,

It is good that you have been diagnosed.  Vestibular disease looks a lot like a stroke in dogs, but is sometimes less serious, both problems are more common in older dogs than younger ones.  Vestibular disease is basically a problem with your inner ear and the nerves that run to the brain.  This causes dizziness and other symptoms, such as falling over, poor balance, and so forth, you may even find you are holding your head at a tilt.  When a dog feels dizzy they often do not want to eat, and may vomit.

Your vet might give you medication to help with the nausea.  They might be able to treat the problem causing your inner ear to be such a trouble maker for you, this could be an infection, or other cause.  Sometimes vestibular disease starts all on its own and goes away on its own, but this could take weeks or months.

I know that as a human, or dog, being dizzy is no fun.  You need to take it easy, go for short walks in safe places.  Do not go up or down stairs without help.  Try to stay calm, and relaxed and hopefully you will be feeling better soon.

Vestibular disease is not deadly, but it is very stressful, and difficult to experience, you may have some long term side effects (such as a permanent head tilt) even after you are well.

Dog owners can read more about Vestibular Disease to learn how to help their dogs, and what to expect.