The Holidays!

Hey guys!  Hope you're having a great start to the holiday season!

Penny Update:

Penny's doin' great.  She's gained enough weight that she looks like a normal dog now!  Except for the limp, of course, heh.  We go on longer and longer walks every day to build up her other muscles, and she's still on high protein food so her body will have all the resources it needs to compensate.  She's already turning pit bull haters into pit bull lovers!  She really seems to think of us as family now, too - she's only content when both my fiance and I are in the room (and when she's on the couch!).  She and the cat have progressed to sitting near each other and sniffing, but I still don't trust either of them enough to turn them loose around each other.  It's a start, though!

The weather is getting cold and it seems to really affect her - she doesn't want to move around as much when it's chilly outside, instead opting for laying down and chewing rather than running around and wanting to play.  She also displays a lot of really subtle pained body language on colder days, which seems to be independent of anything else, so I'm guessing it has to do with her leg.  Her surgery is tentatively scheduled for January 3rd, so hopefully in just one month's time we'll have started down the path to a normal puppy dog life - painfree!

If you can help Penny, please give anything you can spare using the paypal button on the right, or check out her own little blog space here.


It's gettin' holiday time, and with the holidays comes a lot of food and festivities.  Here's a neat article I just found with ten toxic items and foods to keep away from your pets.  There are of course more than mentioned, and some of the things pointed out are a little more complex than covered (like houseplants, heh), but this is a great spot to start so I wanted to share.  Remember that if you need to know if a houseplant is toxic to your cat or dog, you can check the ASPCA's list here.  For other animals, you can do a google search to determine if something is toxic or not.  If you AT ALL suspect your pet may have gotten to something dangerous, don't take any chances!  Call your vet or local emergency hour vet hospital and ask any questions - nothing is too silly to ask when your pet's life may be in danger.

Now that we've covered what NOT to share with your pets this holiday season, how about a link to something you can?  Yeah?  Yeah?  While looking for ways to fundraise for Penny, I found a huge collection of recipes for baking your own dog treats.  Wouldn't it be sweet if while you baked holiday cookies for friends and family, you could make some for your furry friend, too?  That's not the only place to find them, either, there are dog treat recipes all over the internet - just do a Google search.  I haven't tried any of them, so use judgement when picking out one that is healthy or appropriate for your pet.  You can probably find just as many recipes for cat treats, bunny treats, bird treats...just about anything!  Tis the season to bake!  Did you keep any of your seeds from your pumpkins or squash this Fall, by the way?  Rodents go nuts for pumpkin or squash seeds!  :)

While we're on the topic of the holidays, I found yet ANOTHER article here  (I can't write original content today, can I?) about how to pet-proof your Christmas tree.  I'd write about it, but I haven't risked getting a Christmas tree the past few years BECAUSE of my pets, so I don't have any experiences to lend!  With Penny needing all of our spare...well...pennies...I may have to give some of the suggestions a shot next year rather than this one!

I hope everyone's having a good start to December!
-Miss Mouse
<:3 )~~

P.S. - I was also going to talk about vaccinating your pet at home and what to do if your pet has an allergic response to a vaccine (which can happen even when it's done at a vet, so it's a good thing to know!), but it's sort of a big topic, so I think I'll cover it next time.  Maybe I'll do a video to go with it, yeah?  :)


This is just a short post, since I don't want this blog to become entirely about my pit bull:

I just heard back from a different vet who will be doing Penny's surgery for a much more reasonable cost.  The guy sounds very responsible and is going to do everything possible to save her leg.  :)

The new estimate is between $300 (if it falls to amputation) and $900 (if we can save it), with extra costs for followup visits.  Our new fundraising goal is $1,000, with anything we raise beyond the final cost of surgery going fully and directly to God's Little Creatures rescue in Bryan, TX.  If you can help, we still have a ways to go, but at least now we can get everything taken care of sooner than before!

I'll keep you updated if anything else happens, otherwise you can see news, pics, and video here.

I'll be back soon with some more varied content!  :p

-Miss Mouse
<:3 )~~

She Has a Name!

We decided to go with Penelope, or Penny for short, as a name for our new little girl.  The surgery is going to be really expensive, so we're hoping to raise a little money amongst our friends to help us pay for it.  Hopefully we can get her fixed up before Christmas!

If you have a spare few dollars you can give, we would really appreciate it.  I put up a button on the right side of the page that should make donating simple and confidential.  Any and all money that is offered will go straight to Penny's surgery, and if we're fortunate enough to raise more than we need, all extra donations will go to God's Little Creatures shelter.  Times are tough for us, but we really feel that Penny deserves relief from her pain no matter what state our finances might be in.  She's got a lotta love, that one!

The first introductions have been made between her and Basement Cat, but so far Base isn't too thrilled.  Her tail puffs out like a raccoon whenever she hears Penny's tail thumping in the kennel.  So far we're still at safe introductions - when the cat is out, the dog is kenneled, so that the cat can feel a little less threatened and see that dog doesn't have to mean scary.

As for our bunny - those introductions aren't going to happen period if I can help it.  I know you can train most animals to get along, but when both are adopted and you're not sure about socialization - it's not a good idea to put predator and prey in the same room.  Maybe this will change in the future, but there are no current plans.

Penny is already packing on a little weight, and she's really settled in.  She's the smiliest thing you've ever seen!  When you have an adult dog that is underweight, and if you're certain the cause isn't a disease or intestinal parasite, the best food to feed is one with a high level of protein.  Puppy feed is good, since they need to eat so much more than adult dogs to grow, the calories that are there are all very useful and easily to digest.  For the same reasons puppy food is bad for normal or overweight dogs, it's excellent for underweight ones.  We're also including a lot of meaty, healthy scraps and canned food when we can, and feeding through a few small meals per day rather than a bunch at once.  We don't want to overwhelm her or anything.  Also, as odd as it sounds, it's better that she doesn't gain weight TOO fast, since she's moving on three legs right now.  Vet's words, not mine.  >.>

There's one last thing I want to talk about today:


Our adult yellow rat snake hasn't been eating for a few weeks, so it's a good time to talk about brumation.  Brumation is when snakes and some other reptiles basically hibernate for the winter.  Unlike other hibernating animals, though, they don't sleep more - they are simply less active and may not eat for months at a time.  This usually happens if it gets cold suddenly, if they don't have enough heat for a while, or if the light period decreases.  It tells their body it's going to get cold, their metabolism slows down, and they don't need as much food.

They still drink and can be handled, and you don't need to worry unless they become skinny.  Snakes that prefer to stay burrowed under substrate, or ones that aren't yet mature, might not notice subtle changes and may still need to eat.  Keep offering, just don't be surprised if during the winter time your reptiles aren't up for food.

Have an awesome weekend!
-Miss Mouse
<:3 )~~

Unnamed Doggy

Well, she's come home!  We don't have a name for her yet, but we've been considering Priscilla and a bunch of other girly ones.  It's hard to decide!

Look at that pretty face!  She's even cuter when she's actually awake!

 Still sleepy from the anesthesia.

She is one of the friendliest dogs I've ever met.  It took her a couple hours but she's finally completely bounced back from the anesthesia used for her X-ray, and she's 110% focused on getting our approval, affection, and... food.  It's super cute.

She's house trained and very quiet.  Her whine sounds like a squeaky toy.  Seriously.  It's adorable.  She's crate trained, and even though she's not in a schedule or anything yet, she knows the drill and doesn't make much fuss if you have to put her away for a bit.  I simply cannot believe how sweet and well-trained this little dog is, despite being injured so seriously.

Oh yeah, about that.

When we went in to take a look at the x-ray, the first thing the doc said was "She's been shot."  I tell you what - that is right up there with things you wish the vet would never, ever say.  Hit by car isn't much better, but it angers me so much to think someone shot her and let her wander off, with no medical attention whatsoever for weeks.  There's no external injury on her now except a scar, and she's been starving since.  Even if you thought she was a coyote, or if she was getting into something of yours - that just isn't right.

There was no righteous indignation in the room, however, just a film lit up on the wall.  Bullet bits and bone fragments sprayed out across her lower abdomen and back legs, but no organs appeared to be injured.  Where one back leg bone ought to go into the pelvis was shattered - the bottom half of the bone appeared fine and it still made it into the pelvis but the bone is...well, it's history.  It's amazing to me that she can move it at all.

 Little girl's X-ray film.  The bright white spots are bullet
fragments.  You can see clearly where the bone was
shattered, just below where it connects with the pelvis.

We have two options to discuss with the doctor who will actually operate on her.  One - putting a pin in the part of the bone still in the pelvis and the part below the break to hold the two together.  This isn't guaranteed to fix it or be very strong, and she will still have a lot of damage in the area.  Two - removal of the leg at the break.  Considering how close it is to her pelvis, it'd make her a three-legged dog.

She's basically getting along that way now, but she does still have the leg to balance, and I'm worried about how she'll compensate when that weight isn't there.  I'm going to be getting her as much exercise as she wants to try and build up the muscle in the other leg so if it has to happen, she'll be closer to ready for it.  In the meantime, fingers crossed we can take a simpler approach.

Whatever happens, she now has a supportive, loving family to help her through it.

I realize I don't have a giant readership yet or anything, but if you're reading this and you would like to help us raise money for her forthcoming surgery, she and I would both really appreciate it.  When I know how much it will cost I'll add a widget of some kind to make donating easier - in the meantime if you'd like to help, please email me at

-Miss Mouse
<:3 )~~

Prey Drive

Since this new goggy has come into my life, I've been doing a lot of thinking and researching on breed discrimination and what makes people fear certain kinds of dogs.  Well, a lot more than usual.  One thing that kept popping up and seemed particularly interesting to me was something called prey drive.

So what's prey drive?

Well...prey drive is an instinct all predators have.  It's broken down into five steps:  search, eye-stalk, chase, grab-bite, kill-bite.  All dogs have this pattern, but through selective breeding, different breeds of dogs have been encouraged to show certain steps of this pattern more than others.

Some great examples are herding dogs - they don't need to look for sheep or kill them, but they do have a very strong instinct to stalk them.  Hunting dogs have a hyped up search instinct.  Greyhounds running around a track are showing chase, but don't need to sniff out what they're chasing first.  Different parts of the prey drive can be emphasized in different breeds.

In any case, this also plays a very strong part in multi-pet homes.  I've definitely heard stories about border collies herding other pets or even small children, and I know when we rescued an American bulldog, he was very, very, VERY driven to chase down and bite smaller animals that ran.  By observing the prey drive, it becomes easier to understand why some kinds of dogs don't get along with smaller dogs or cats, for instance.  You can also use it to your advantage in training...I hope, heh.

Okay, so it's pretty cool, right?  Our new little girl comes home later on today, and since I have a cat, I'll definitely be putting this prey drive modification thing to the test.  My remaining kitty is very important to me!  We will be WAY on the safe side, and eventually, when the house calms down, I'll let you guys know what I learned about introducing (duh-duh-duh-DUHHHH) a pit bull to a cat!

In the meantime, here's an awesome link on the matter.

Talk to you guys soon, and I'll post up some pictures of the new puppy when she finally arrives!
-Miss Mouse
<:3 )~~

Actually, there are two new animals in my life right now.  My cat still hasn't come back, and it's ruining me, so perhaps I'm making ill judgements.

First is a cat.  No, I'm not keeping her.  We met her in the middle of a road walking out toward a fishing spot.  My friend and I played with her for a sec, then headed out to fish.  She followed the whole way.  Then she hung out while we fished, drinking from the lake (the weather was about 50 degrees F, it was impressive that she could without complaining) and worrying me whenever she checked out my tackle box.

We weren't going to do anything about her, figuring she was a free-roaming cat of one of the residents of the area.  She was thin but not unhealthy and had a great coat.  She's got that crazy-long tail and ear fur.  Anyways, she then followed us all the way back to the house we were visiting, so we asked them about her.  They said it came around for food all the time, but they weren't sure if it was a stray or belonged to someone.  They, my fiance, and my friends all convinced me to take her home and get her scanned for a microchip, since she didn't have a collar.

She freaked out pretty hard about being in the apartment, but eventually she's calmed down and she's doing well now.  No chip, unfortunately, but hopefully by the end of the weekend we'll either found out who owns her or get her settled some place she belongs and is comfortable.

Then, there's the dog.  While looking through found ads for my cat, I came across an ad for a found pitbull.  I checked it out because our city is very prejudiced against pits and similar breeds, and have a virtually zero tolerance for them.  You can keep them (but not in apartments), but a lost pit that makes it to the pound is unlikely to come out again.  The poster responded to an email from me, and it turns out the pit was hit by a car and sustained injuries to her back leg, hip, and at least one rib.  It wasn't recent, though, and she's getting along alright.  The woman who found her can't afford to keep her, and I knew I simply had to help.

I have a little extra cash on me because of the way our bills panned out this month, so I'm helping to get her an x-ray next week.  I talked with my fiance, and once he saw her, he agreed we could adopt her.  The woman at the shelter we met at offered to help raise money to get her any needed surgeries, shots, and tests, and we discovered she was already spayed.  She's good with cats, though I'm not going to be able to let our rabbit out around her, obviously.  It looks like we're getting a dog.

It's still a question mark, especially since I really didn't think we could afford one for another long while, and because our apartment isn't pro-pitbulls.  We're not intending to stay here very long, though, so hopefully it won't be an issue.  I don't know, it's a lot very suddenly.  I thought we were just going to help with the x-ray, but as soon as my fiance saw her, he just said "yes."

I'm terrified of what it'll cost, but I'm absolutely in love with her.  I missed my chance to help the last dog I had an opportunity to, and I'm not making the same mistake.  Hopefully we'll have a new addition to our family soon.  I'll definitely keep you guys updated on how it all goes, and anything that I learn along the way.  I haven't been able to keep a dog of my own since I was a very small child, so this will be really exciting!

Our new potential puppy-dog, in her ad photo

I can't believe this is really happening!

-Miss Mouse
<:3 )~~

Lost Pets

I figured I'd get my mind off of things and turn my current problem into a blog post that might help other pet owners.  Yesterday morning my cat, Sammy, slipped out the door while my fiance was going out.  He pawed to get back inside and he noticed him, but when my fiance went to open the door and let him back inside, he bolted.

We immediately combed the apartment complex, calling for him, looking under cars and thoroughly searching the woods around the ditch next to our place.  So far he hasn't come back, and we haven't seen any sign of him.

In any case, here are some tips for panicked pet owners whose friends have run away or gotten lost:
  • First and foremost, search.  Look everywhere.  Get on your bike or in your car and slowly search outward in as big of a radius as you can.  The faster you start searching, the better chance you may have.  You might find them before you ever have to try anything else!  You should also continue to actively search each day and sometimes at night - cats particularly prefer to hide out during the sunlight hours.
  • Your second step should be to ask neighbors or people nearby to where the pet went missing.  Someone may have seen the animal leave or noted what direction it went, and been unable to let you know, or not know to whom it belonged.
  • Next, call your local animal shelters, including the county shelter/pound, and local vets.  Let them know your animal is missing and make a lost report with them if possible.  This way, if anyone brings in your pet, they know immediately who to call and that you know they are missing.
  • CHECK the shelter daily until your pet is found.  Nothing is more heartbreaking than discovering your pet was found but rehomed, or worse, put down.
  • Do not take chances with discriminated breeds.  If you keep a breed that is considered dangerous, risky, illegal, or is just looked down upon by the city in which you live - insist that you see all areas of animals held in the shelter.  Most of the people who work at shelters are good people, but it's up to you to do everything you can, especially if your pet is discriminated against locally.
  • As soon as you can, make signs or flyers that include the following information:  A big heading that reads either Lost or Reward, a color photo of the animal, a short description with any important details (color, gender, temperament, any needed medications, fixed or in tact - if you need to leave some finer details for ID purposes you can but don't leave out anything crucial), the area they went missing from, and contact information.  Post them at intersections within a 2-mile radius, especially in your area, and at nearby gas stations, general stores, and anywhere with a bulletin board.  Pass them out to mail carriers and delivery services, too.
  • Post online - try craigslist's lost and found section, and any local websites you may have for your area.  Include a picture, but be careful what information you release online.
  • Call or email the newspaper - Post an ad with them for your pet.  Some newspapers will do so for a short time free of charge.
  • Expand your search outside of your area to surrounding areas.  Sometimes pets are picked up and taken to hospitals in different places.
  • Leave things with familiar smells outside.  A litter box, a favorite bed, or even a bowl of food may help draw your pet home (and sometimes other animals - putting out food depends on your area, be careful!).
  • After a bit, check with animal control or the dept. of transportation, in case anyone has reported hitting an animal with a car.  This doesn't always mean it's fatal - sometimes ER pet hospitals will receive HBC pets and not know who to notify.  This is another reason to call as many vets as you can.
  • Last but not least - don't give up hope.  It may take a few days or it may take months.  People have found their animals quite a long time after losing them.  Have faith and use your resources.

Things you can do before your pet goes missing to help things go more smoothly if something goes wrong:
  • Keep your pet up to date on all vaccines and health procedures, and know the location of any rabies and county tags (past ones, or if you have a cat or ferret that does not regularly wear registration tags), veterinary receipts, and paperwork.  This may make picking up your animal from any shelters, or proving that the animal belongs to you, much cheaper and easier.
  • Have your pet microchipped.  I know some people are against this, but it's just done with a shot and it means your pet has less of a chance of being misidentified or taken in by a new family who thought they were a stray or could not find you.  Most if not all vets and the majority of shelters (especially county shelters/pounds) have scanners, and they scan for FREE to see if there is a chip.  The chip gives the scanner an ID code which matches a plastic tag given to you when the pet is microchipped.  The code is specific to a vet office, which was distributed the tags (at least in our case) from the county shelter, so either place can quickly track down the owner and try harder to reunite you with your pet.
  • If your pet can wear a collar safely, it's a good idea.  We've found pets several times wearing their collars, which made returning them a single, simple phone call, instead of a multiple day mess.  If your pet regularly removes the collar, or gets teeth or claws stuck in it, it is not a good idea to force them.  If they get out, then lose the collar somewhere in the city - you lose a bit of the proof that can help make identifying the pet as yours easier.
  • Make sure your vet has your current address and phone number.
All this talking and I still don't feel any better.  The only thing you can do is be prepared, and don't lose hope.

-Miss Mouse
<:3 )~~

Rabies - Why Bats?

I recently began working on my 2 year vet tech degree, so I've been learning quite a bit of interesting stuff!  Don't worry - it's not going to become a totally medical blog, heh.  At least, not right now!  :p

Something I found particularly interesting, though, (and that's Halloween-appropriate!) was the answer to a question that's bugged me since I was a kid:


I always liked bats.  They don't seem like the villains people make them out to be, but I've never been bold enough to test that theory.  I can personally vouch that their presence near one's dwelling seriously decreases the number of mosquitoes on one's porch.  They work better than citronella candles, and they don't smell anywhere near as bad.

So why are we so often warned to reduce the bat population, to keep them away from our homes, yada yada yada?  Why is it that the first animal that comes to mind as associated with rabies is the furry little bat?

It's simple, really.  The reason I think we're most afraid of bats as rabies carriers is that a bite from a bat can very easily go unnoticed.  Most of the time, when a bat lands on a person and bites, they aren't even aware they were bitten at all.  If there are bats in your house, it's possible to be bitten in your sleep, or when intoxicated, without even noticing.  For this reason, we're a bit more careful around bats.

There are of course other reasons we make the association.  Although cats are the most likely domestic animal to become infected with rabies, bats have been involved in most transmission to humans.  I think what really spooks people the most, though, is that little bit about not being aware you've been nommed.  They're just so small - it's easy to miss.

Nifty facts about rabies:
  • Any mammal can get rabies, but small rodents such as mice have never been observed with the infection.
  • Birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and other non-mammalian animals can NOT carry, transmit, or become infected with rabies.
  • The virus is shed in the saliva, but only intermittently.  Because of this, the brain must be tested, because the saliva may not be excreting virus when tested even if it was when a bite was delivered.
  • Different animals have different periods of time before they show symptoms, and exhibit different behaviors as a response to the virus as well.  Since not all animals are documented as thoroughly as domestic animals, some must be euthanized and tested rather than quarantined to determine if they were rabid (to figure out if a bitten person requires a postexposure treatment).
  • Risks are different in different countries - if you're traveling with your pet, make sure they have been vaccinated well beforehand.
  • If your pet has been bitten by another animal that might be rabid and is up to date on their shots, they still need to be revaccinated immediately and watched closely.  Go straight to your vet and let them know, as this knowledge helps determine local risks, and they can help you observe your furry friend and treat the bite.  If they are not up to date on shots, ask your vet to counsel you on what to do to ensure risks are kept minimal.
  • Here's an interesting link to the CDC's page on how Rabies can be transmitted.
Poor bats.  They're just doin' their batty thing, eating bugs, flyin' around.  They need the love.

Just NOT the close-up, touchy kind.  ;)

See you 'round!
-Miss Mouse
<:3 )~~

Feral Cat Colonies


A very kind and well-meaning friend of mine recently asked me to head a ways out of town with her to capture and bring in a colony of feral cats.  She knew they were intact because there were several kittens amongst them, and the gas station employee on whose property the cats resided vouched for their wild nature.

When the day to go out was upon us, I started to collect the necessary materials.  A carrier, towels, a first aid kit, heavy gloves...and then I thought to call her and see what she was bringing.  Unfortunately, it wasn't anything like what we would really need.

Her supplies included a borrowed live trap, and a whole lot of time.  Her plan was to sit and wait for the cats to become trapped, then move them from the trap to a cage or into town and begin again.  Then she would bring the captured cats into the local pound, who had promised her they would deliver them to the local feral cat organization.

Since there were several things wrong with this plan, and all of them are valuable points to make if one intends to participate in rescuing wild cats, I thought I'd go over the biggest issues and share them with you... juuuust in case you need to do something similar one day.
  • First and foremost - live traps take several days to work, if they work at all.  When kittens are involved, one runs the risk of separating mother and nursing young, which could easily do a lot more damage than good.  It's best to get the aid of the organization you're intending to work with, as they likely have significantly more experience and tips to pass on to you.  They are also almost always better equipped to handle the risks associated with catching wild animals, too, which you should never attempt on your own or without training.
  • Observe the colony.  Account for all cats present.  Feral adult cats are very difficult to catch and can become very violent if cornered.  They're extremely talented at getting away, so it's a good idea to have a head count and know if you're missing anyone before ever getting started.  They are a pack of sorts, or whatever the word is for a group of wild cats, and you can wind up just disturbing their dynamic and scaring them off of an otherwise safe environment just trying to round them up.
  • Speak directly with the organization you intend to pass the cats to, before you do anything with the cats.  In this instance, our pound was blatantly lying to her.  Our pound takes it upon itself to drastically reduce the cat population by several thousand annually, euthanizing cats frequently without telling the truth to those responsible for them.  When it's possible to work directly with the feral cat organization, it would be silly to involve a middle man so enthusiastic to take the kitties off your hands...and everyone else's.
  • Make a game plan with the organization with whom you are collaborating.  Most feral cat programs collect the animals, test them for serious diseases, vaccinate them, tag them, fix them, and then re-release them.  For this reason, it's a good idea to make sure the cats you think are wild really are unaccounted for - they may already be in a sanctuary or fixed.  Only kittens have a good shot at being rehomed as pet cats; most (not all) adults are already set in their ways and will only be happy in the wild.  You want to be positive what you do for the cats really does help them.  Figure out how you're catching them and how the organization will handle them.
  • Figure out who's paying.  All that work on every cat you bring in adds up quickly.  Organizations rarely receive enough donations to completely cover animal care costs.  If you can raise money before the big day, do, and make sure you aren't overburdening the organization that is trying to help you and the animals.
That's really the best advice I can give.  Rushing in before knowing the details doesn't help you or the cats, and can cause serious problems for whatever organization you ask for aid.  Even if you're trained and do this sort of thing all the time, I'd still (meekly) recommend going with another professional in the event an emergency occurs, either with you or one of the animals.

Like the boy scouts say - be prepared!

-Miss Mouse
<:3 )~~

Kitty Litter

I've been on a quest lately to discover the ideal litter.

So far I've tried pretty much the whole range of clay litters, from super fine to non-clumping (ugh!), from deodorized to scentless.  I have decided that - I hate almost all clay litters.

There are a few that I love and my cats do, too, but I've sort of found that the finer litters absorb liquid the quickest - resulting in smaller, tighter clumps that are easier to scoop.  Unfortunately - this is the *worst* to get out of your carpet.  It's like confetti.  You're never getting it all up.  And it's a whole new world of suck if you spill water on it (thank you, cats).

Now I'm experimenting with non-clay litters.  I didn't think this was an affordable option until I tried one of my local grocery stores, which apparently has an absolutely stunning and affordable pet section.  We're talking better than the pet store.  Now I could choose from pine, cedar, recycled newspaper, wheat, silica sand, and even corn cob!

There's another reason I'm switching litters around, and it plays a part in why I chose to try the one I did next.  I have a Californian rabbit, named Peanut, and now that we've moved apartments his play areas intersect with cat boxes.  HIS litter is usually either carefresh or (now trying) recycled newspaper litter, since rabbits frequently eat in their litter boxes and anything clay or clumping can cause impaction.  Therefore...I'm a little wary of letting him play around the new and interesting cat box - that's filled with deadly clumping clay litter.

Because I have numerous small animals and am extremely aware of the risks of pine and cedar, that left me with recycled newspaper, silica sand, wheat, and corn.  Wheat was right out, since the package warned some animals love to eat it for the wheat smell and Sam, my tabby, loves anything he thinks is bread-related.  I decided to go with the silica sand because it's the only one I haven't witnessed make a strong odor after a couple of days of use, although I am completely willing to give the others a chance in the cat box if this one doesn't work out.

The interesting thing about it is the pieces are gigantic, like little crystals.  Most are clear-white, while some are an opaque blue.  It gives a toothpastey feel - very clean, very sterile, very bathroom-friendly.  I was worried my two cats wouldn't like the feel of standing on hard, possibly sharp crystals instead of fine clay particles, but they really don't seem to mind.  In fact, the younger one loves the noise it makes.  Ooh, that's another thing - it's a wake-you-up sort of loud noise when they dig in it.  Kind of a con.

So how is it on doing it's real job?  Well, so far the major difference has been that the crystals absorb liquid rather than clump together and get hard.  It's sort of like each one just soaks it all up and doesn't let go of it.  You're supposed to scoop it all around and blend it together each morning so no one area gets over-wetted.  It pretty much just dehydrates waste.  So far I'm not entirely sure how to scoop through such large particulates, but I have a feeling I'll find out in the morning!

Some quick litter tips:

- Keep a minimum of one box per cat, and if you have a spacious enough area, two each will make your life easier.  When a cat thinks the box is full they may go elsewhere, or simply try to hold it in - which can lead to bladder infections.

- Scoop the box once a day, topping off as needed, and change it at least once a month.  Leaving poo in there not only increases your chances of it filling up and the kitties going in your plants, but is just icky.  It's like not flushing your toilet for a few days - ew!

- Lower quality clay litter may clump on its own in humid weather and cause difficulty scooping.  If this is a problem for you, try switching brands or type.

- Higher priced litter is not always higher quality...but sometimes it is.

- If you have extra litter you didn't like, donating it to a local animal shelter is a wonderful idea.  They can always use supplies!  Same goes for when you upgrade boxes.

- Scooping daily will also help you keep an eye on any problems that might come up like worms or loose stools.  If you come across any issues in the box, bag a sample and take it into your vet to get it tested.  Letting diarrhea continue for more than a couple of days can cause serious problems and not a small amount of discomfort - for both of you.

-Miss Mouse
<:3 )~~

Pets and House Plants

If you've ever had a cat at the same time as a house plant - you know how frustrating it can be!  Everyone has tips and tricks to keep kitties out of plants, and here's what I do.

For cats who like to dig up the soil or go to the bathroom in it - try adding rocks around the base of the plant.  Make sure to rinse them first and take care in what kind of rock you use (or paint them first with something water-proof), as watering over some rocks can drip hard minerals into your soil that might be bad for the plants.

For kitties who like to sit in plants, like my Sam does (completely killed my oregano, mmhm), buy some cheap bamboo skewers from the grocery or dollar store and snap them in half.  Push them into the soil about a half-inch to an inch apart.  Since paws are very sensitive, they won't want to step in it, and placing them closely together ensures they aren't going to just dig it up (yes, he did that, too, trial and error!).  Clip any splintery bits away before inserting them so they don't get splinters, just in case!

Lastly, for kitties who love to EAT the plants, you have two resources.  First and foremost, check out the ASPCA's Toxic and Nontoxic plant list to make certain your plants are safe.  Place unsafe plants outdoors or in rooms your pets aren't allowed.  You can always buy a new plant, but losing your furry friend just isn't worth risking!

Second, consider using a smelly deterent, or something that coats the leaves in a nasty flavor.  Several options are available, but I haven't had to try it yet (knock on wood!) so I don't have any recommendations.  Check your pet store and your plant shop!  :)

Hopefully this will keep both your plants and your pets safe from each other, and you from going crazy!  Don't forget to use organic and animal-friendly pesticides if your plants require de-bugging.  I just tried out a nifty product that's made of plant oils that kill bugs but are safe for pets - very cool!

Have a great week!
-Miss Mouse
<:3 )~~

Bringing a New Pet Home - Part Two


Last post I went over the general stuff you can do to prepare for you new pet *before* it comes home, so here’s some things you can do to once your pet is finally home.

Handling Your Pet the First Few Days
For most small pets, it’s a good idea to let them adjust for a few days before expecting them to behave normally.  Sometimes this is a matter of health, as in fish or adding animals to a colony, when isolation gives you a chance to observe them for health problems.  Sometimes it’s more of a stress issue – a new hamster or mouse may need a couple of days to adjust to their new environment before being played with or handled.  Cats, dogs, and rabbits seem to adjust faster, but you should still give them a few days before judging their personality or habits.  In snakes or other animals that don’t eat every day, appetites might shift with stress, and need a little while before becoming regular.  Remember – this is a big change for your pet, and transportation might not have been very much fun!

Introducing Your Pet to Other Pets
Definitely wait until they’ve settled in before introducing your new pet to any other animals you might have.  If your pet doesn’t require isolation, then you can introduce them as soon as you feel they’ve settled in and are comfortable and healthy.  All introductions should be supervised, and some animals cannot be left alone without supervision (predator-prey, like cats and rats or dogs and bunnies).  Look for signs of aggression – vocal warnings are one thing, but any pouncing, biting, or aggressive postures should be a sign to separate them.  Some critters will need to be introduced several times over a period of days before they get along, just depending on the animal.  A good trick with cats is to lock the resident cat into a room and let the newbie roam the place, until everything smells like them, and then switch them.  Eventually, they’ll get used to each other’s scents and argue a little less when you introduce them.

Training and Litter Training
Training is going to largely depend on the sort of pet you’re getting and its background.  It’s almost always better to go with rewards over punishments, however.  Litter training is probably the first thing you’ll have to do.  It’s not just for cats – rabbits and even rats can be litter trained, in fact, they almost train themselves.

Mice and guinea pigs tend to pick an area of the cage and always go to the bathroom there, so position food away from a corner so it won’t get soiled.  Rats prefer to keep where they sleep clean, so place a non-clay, non-clumping litter in a box in a corner of the cage and move any pellets or soiled bedding to the box.  With a little encouragement, they’ll figure it out.  Rabbits can be litter trained in a similar manner, but remember not to use clay litter as it can cause impaction.  Just place any pellets or soiled bedding in the box, and when you see bunny put his tail out, try and get him to his litter box.  Putting hay in the box helps, since rabbits frequently go to the bathroom while eating, but don’t add too much at a time or it will get too soiled.  It’s okay for a bunny to eat some of his poo – it’s necessary for digestion.  Spraying, however, is a different issue and will stop if you get your male rabbit neutered (it will help with aggression, too!).

Cats use litter boxes instinctively, so just make sure there are plenty that are easy to find in all areas of the house so your new cat or kitten can find where to go to the bathroom.  Potty training puppies on the other hand is a pretty big issue, so I’m not going to get into it right now, heh.

That’s about it for getting your new pet settled in!

See you next week (or sooner if I get around to that silly pet spotlight thing!)!
-Miss Mouse
<:3 )~~

Bringing a New Pet Home - Part One

My boyfriend and I have been checking out houses for a while now to find our perfect first home.  With much more space than our little apartment affords, we were toying with the idea of perhaps getting our first puppy along with it.  Not *quite* sure yet, but we've both always wanted a border collie.  :)

This got me thinking, so this Saturday and next I'll be rambling about the fun, but important, things to cover before and after bringing home your new friend.  :D

Today - Preparing for your new pet!

Do Your Research
And I'm not talking about asking the store employee which lizard will suit you best five minutes before bringing one home, either.  Before you ever buy a cage or go look at the shop's animals, get on the world wide web and start digging around for info to help you decide if you and that animal are a good match.  Here are some great questions to research:
     - What does the critter need for food?
     - What does the critter need for caging, litter, or space?
     - What do they need for companionship and exercise?
     - Do you have the time and money to exceed its needs?
     - Do they get along with any other pets you may have?

It's important to look at more than just one website for your information, in case the person or company publishing it doesn't have as much info as someone else, or is writing under a misconception.  Once you are certain you can meet and exceed all of the animal's requirements, can care for any friends it might require (like social animals that need to be purchased in pairs or colonies), and are aware of all of its habitat or medical requirements, it's time to move on to the next step.

Set Up the Cage or Supplies FIRST
As exciting as it is to bring your new pet home right away, it's important that your home be prepared.  It can be stressful to both you and the animal if you have to watch it while setting up its new home.  Have whatever litter box, food bowl, bed, cage, or other supplies completely prepared so the animal can relax for a little without the added activity.  This is especially important for fish - have an isolation tank set up and completely cycled before ever purchasing your new aquatic pet.

This actually leads to the last step for pre-pet preparations...

Proof the House Before Problems Arise
If your new pet is an out-of-the-cage sort,  like a bunny, puppy, kitten, ferret, etc., it will quickly become necessary to critter-proof anything in the house within reach...BEFORE damage to the house or the pet becomes an issue.  How to proof?

For cats, the biggest problem is usually scratching, climbing, or knocking things over.  I am painfully familiar with this one, and so is my denim couch!  Before your kitten or cat comes home, go through anywhere in the house they will have access to looking for:  exposed wires, glass or fragile things on counters, shelves, or desks, and any other pets the little ball of fur might find appetizing.  It's also a good idea to have extra litter boxes around the house, at least one per room, so no accidents occur.  Obviously, remove any poisons or household chemicals from reach.  If you have furniture you'd prefer not be scratched up or climbed on, most pet shops sell a spray that smells funky to cats, or you can rely on the tried and true squirt bottle method.

For puppies, it's a bit less of a climbing issue and more of a potty, chewing, and floor issue.  Once again, remove any exposed wires (or cover them), chemicals, or fragile things near to the ground.  If you have hardwood floors that need to not be scratched, keep the dog's nails trimmed and consider a nail cover like Soft Paws.  Potty training will be covered next week.

For rabbits, chewing is by far the biggest issue, followed probably by spraying (when it comes to un-neutered males).  Since rabbits LOVE branches, wires must be covered.  If you have to have some exposed, you can easily cover them using plastic tubes like come in long lengths for fish tanks.  Just slit down the length of the tube and pop it over the wire.  That way, you can watch for chewing before it becomes dangerous.  Keep inappropriate foods, plastic bags, and chemicals off the floor and any furniture the bunbun might be allowed to jump up on.  Papers are another thing to watch out for - they love to tear, and they don't care how important the papers are to you!  ;)  If you have other out-of-cage animals that you're concerned about, keep them in another room until they have been properly introduced and you're positive they can get along. 

For other free-roaming pets, just make sure there isn't anything lying around that can be chewed, messed on, or might be poisonous.  It's just important to have everything prepared so that no serious accidents occur while they're settling in.  :)

Next week I'll cover introducing pets to your home and to other pets, when to start handling your new animal, and how to train and potty train your new small animal.  :)

See you next Caturday!
-Miss Mouse
<:3 )~

P.S. - I know I missed putting up that animal spotlight this Wednesday, I'm sorry.  We've been so busy house-shopping that I didn't have much time to write a good one.  I'm still going to post something up, though, hopefully this week.  ;)

Giving Medications - For The Not-So-Healthy Critter

Happy Caturday!

It turns out my boyfriend's dog Diamond, who resides at his parent's house and we are petsitting this weekend, got a nasty ouchie on her leg last week.  Her vet has prescribed clavamox, a common antibiotic, in pill form to help her ward off infection through the injury.  She *hates* it, and is very sneaky about extracting it from whatever food we've hidden it in, spitting it out, and then eating the medicine-free food!  Here's a couple of pictures of the goofball:

Diamond is a German Shorthaired Pointer, a past champion, and quite the diva.

In the interest of Diamond, I'm going to talk a bit about giving oral medications today to our furry friends who happen to not feel so hot.  Since there are many different kinds of medications and methods of administration, I'm only going to cover a few here, but these should be applicable to several different kinds of pets - not just dogs.

First let me point out that some treatments involve vaccines or shots, and should only be given by a professional vet OR under the instruction of one.  I definitely would not recommend giving shots by yourself unless you've had training and are sure about what you're doing.  :)

When it comes to oral medications, you will likely be prescribed either liquid or pills.  Liquid medications might be flavored or might not, and some can be mixed into wet food, whereas some may need to be given straight.  When giving liquid meds, it's important to either keep the syringe you are giving it with very clean or to use single-use syringes.  The droppers that come on the lid do not need to be washed unless you've brought it into contact with food or the animal, in which case a thorough rinsing under tap water will keep contaminants from getting in the medicine.  For small animals, applying the medicine on a cracker, cheerio, or other quickly-edible treat may make things easier.

Pills also usually come with the option to be given with food, which is a huge plus in my opinion!  The common trick is to wrap the pill in cheese or peanut butter, but occasionally your pet will figure that one out (like Diamond did!).  If the pill is a tablet and not a capsule, you may be allowed to cut it into smaller pieces with a pill cutter (check the instructions, first, as some medications are timed release or need to be digested slower), which might mix better into wet food.  Obviously there are special situations that you would not want to hide the pill in a treat, such as if the problem is already causing digestive system problems.  Few smaller animal medications come in pill form, but it is quite common for larger animals like cats and dogs.

If mixing into food or hiding in a treat is not an option, you might have to give the medicine directly.  If your pet is particularly opposed to this, you'll have to take a bit of a more active approach.  When administering to a dog, remember to stay very cheerful and friendly, and give lots of praise.  Back them against something so they can't back away from you, and if someone is helping you have them hold the shoulder area.  Sit with your arm that will NOT be holding the pill closest to them, and use your non-pill hand to ease open the jaws from above.  Do this by applying gentle pressure behind the canines.  Use your pill hand to open the mouth further by pressing gently downward on the bottom jaw, then place the pill as near the back of the tongue as possible.  Don't drop it down their throat or gag them with your hand, though, just place it on the tongue.  Next, close their mouth and hold it down in a normal position until they swallow.

The idea is pretty much the same for cats, except you will need to use your elbow or a friend to hold them in place while giving them their medicine.  The ribcage is your center of control, but don't squeeze hard or you risk hurting them.  When using a dropper it can be helpful to place it at the side of their mouth and push inward with it gently, so the dropper is the first thing that gets in the cat's mouth, then release the fluid at a reasonable pace to avoid choking them.  Smacking is good, and keeps the liquid medication from falling out of their mouth.  Remember to give lots of praise!

For smaller animals, it's quite common to give medications in the water.  The dosage and method will depend on the medication in question and the animal it's being given to.  Keep in mind, however, that some medicines like tetracycline are light sensitive, so covering the bottle with foil might be a good idea.  Most medicines when given this way will require that the water be changed every 1-3 days to keep it fresh.  Some taste bitter, and depending on the instructions, *might* be able to have some sugar mixed in, but the water will need to be changed every day if so.  To make sure the critter is drinking enough of the water to get the right dose, remove other moist aspects of their diet, but remember to compensate with plenty of other foods to keep their strength up.  Lastly, check with a vet or expert to make sure the medicine is okay to be shared if the animal remains in a cage with other, possibly unaffected individuals.  Antibiotics are usually fine to be shared between small animals in the water, as long as the full course is given, and helps to prevent unnoticed symptoms from becoming worse in cagemates.

Common Medications
Here are some common medications that might come up and some general facts about them.  Because every pet is different, always follow the directions on the product and the advice of a veterinary professional.

Clavamox:  Amoxicillin and Clavulanate work together in this name brand antibiotic to ward off infections in dogs and cats.  It is by prescription only, and comes in pill or liquid form.  Nausea can be counteracted by giving food first.  Diarrhea is common and should be addressed with your vet if severe.

Baytril: I have only used enrofloxacin, or Baytril, for rodents before, but I believe it's also prescribed for a wide variety of other pets.  Baytril is another antibiotic, but should not be given to rodents under 3 months of age.  It may be effective against mycoplasma, but it's debatable.  Baytril is also available by prescription only.

Tylosin: I've used tylosin for mice too young to give Baytril and had moderate success.  Once again, it may be effective against mycoplasma, but it's still debatable.  Tylosin is an excellent antibiotic of choice for many other animals, too, including most pets and livestock.  It can be found at feed stores, but veterinary advice is highly recommended for dosages and mode of administration (available for in-the-water and injection).

Tetracycline: I recommend Tetracycline, yet another antibiotic, for anyone who comes to me with respiratory infections, abscesses, or general infections in their mice and other rodents.  It is light sensitive and should be given in a foil-wrapped water bottle.  It comes in liquid, powder, and capsule form and can be found in the fish section of most pet stores or in feed stores.  Wonderful instructions for administration to mice are available here:  I believe it can be used for larger animals, too, but I highly encourage seeking vet advice for instructions on how to give it and how much.

Ivermectine/Flea-Tick-Mite Spray:  This applies mostly to smaller pets, as cats and dogs usually receive other common medications to keep the fleas away.  Mites and other skin parasites can come in on bedding, and can cause quite a problem.  There are various sprays to choose from, but it's important to avoid your pet's eyes, freeze incoming bedding, treat weekly including the cage, and follow the instructions on the product you select.  If the spray seems to strongly irritating to your pet, try a spray for a smaller animal.  I believe avian spray is the mildest.

This is a terrific listing of dosages of various medications for rats:  Obviously there are a LOT more meds than this, and I omitted most of the heartworm, flea, and other medications your vet is likely to inform you about on a regular basis. 

Remember to keep your vet's number on hand for emergencies and questions, to always follow their instructions first, and to keep an eye out for side effects including vomiting the medication.  Never quit a round of antibiotics before it's complete - most are 14-30 days.  Quitting early can encourage resistant bacteria to thrive and make treatment much harder.

Okay...obviously there are thousands of books on vet medicine, and this is JUST a bit of an overview for the typical pet owner trying to get their pets to take their medicine.  If you have any questions or corrections about something I've written, catch me at kittuirrel on yahoo or leave me a comment.  I hope you find this useful!  I promise next week the blog will be a bit less technical and a bit more fun.  ;)

PLUS!  I'm starting an animal spotlight on Wednesday.  The first Wednesday of every month will spotlight a species of pet and their care and tidbits.  :)

Thanks for reading!
Miss Mouse

DIY Toys for Rodents

Critter toys from the pet shop can get expensive, so here are some great do-it-yourself ideas and instructions on how to make unique toys your mice, rats, hamsters, and other small animals will love!  Keep in mind when building or creating toys - all materials need to be safe to consume, and try to eliminate any risks of your pet getting caught or strangled in the toy.

Repurposing Other Items
Be creative - your rodent will love it!  Old sanitized baby toys make great hanging and climbing toys.  Some rodents love bells in their playthings, or other jingly bits, but make sure that anything within it cannot be ripped out or swallowed.  Puzzle-like toys with one trapped inside of another are a huge success with my rats, as well as hanging rings large enough for them to fit through.  Old washed milk or water jugs with a door cut out, pots, and paper bowls with holes cut in them are also every-day items that make excellent toys and hides.  Also, if you do visit a pet store in the search for new and interesting toys, don't forget to check the other aisles.  Reptile hides or climbing branches, coconut husks, bird hanging and perching toys, jingling cat toys, woven bird nests and wooden nestboxes, and even fish decorations make wonderful toys for rodents!

The Amazing Cardboard Tube
This is probably the most common plaything for everything small and furry, but there's a lot more you can do with it than just putting a paper towel or toilet paper tube in the cage (although this is frequently enough!).  One great idea is to hang it - run a piece of thin rope through the tube, then tie it to separate points on the roof of the cage, letting it hang low enough that they can reach it.  Make sure you've secured it to take the weight of your pet and then some.  Voila!  You can also hide a treat in the tube, then stuff it on either side with crinkly plain paper, tissues, or toilet paper.  Don't forget the paper itself is an awesome toy for them to rip apart and play with!

Creative Hide-Outs
Tissue boxes with the plastic film removed make terrific hide-outs.  To make it more interesting, you can line up (on top of or next to each other) several small boxes and cut holes for them to open up into each other.  Either attach with a toilet paper tube or a safe-to-consume adhesive.  You can also make mazes out of tubes and small containers!  Other great materials to use for hides and mazes include cardboard boxes (such as cereal boxes or the ones sodas come in), cardboard egg crates large jars or cans that have been thoroughly washed, and even crinkly paper bags.

PVC tubes open up a whole new world of exploration!  You can just put a piece in for them to run through or hide in, or it can lead to a box, another part of the cage, or even to a hammock.  Crinkly tubes are also fun, or you can make your own fabric tube out of fleece or old sleeves or pant legs from clothing.  You can sew in rings of some variety to help it stay open, but make sure however you create it that your little rodent friend can't get stuck in it! 

Popsicle Stick Playgrounds
This is my favorite toy to make, and my favorite one to give, too!  So far I've only used it for mice, but I imagine it would transfer well to other small rodents.  You can find popsicle sticks in bulk for a few bucks at a craft store, and you will also need a hot glue gun and hot glue sticks (Parent supervision!).  Personally I use the plain ones, because I don't know if the dye in colored popsicle sticks is harmful, and mice are colorblind anyways.  :)!  You can make it however complicated, tall, or long as you want, with as many levels as you want, and you can even make two separate structures and connect them with a tube.  It will probably be chewed to shreds in a week or so, so be prepared to throw it out and maybe make a new, different one as needed.  This works great for my mice, since they get a new playground every time, and I don't have to clean it!  Remember to not leave more hot glue exposed than you have to, and pull all the strings off when you're done.  It's safe to use, but if they eat a lot of it blockages could occur simply because it is not digestible.

Here are some examples of structures I've built, feel free to copy:

Making squares and then adding sideways sticks allows you to make more platforms.  Adding a little nook at the bottom also lets one pet hide underneath the toy while others climb upwards.

The simple hut with a door.  You can glue the sticks slightly apart so you can see inside if you'd like, while still giving them the feel of privacy.

My mice love to sleep in the tube!  Don't forget that the tops of toys can be just as much fun as the middle, so little platforms up top can be really fun.

This one is awesome!  The more levels, hides, and tunnels, the more fun it is for them to explore!

There you have it!  There are all kinds of entertainment for your little pet just lying around.  Get creative, and watch your them go wild!

See you next time, and happy building!
Miss Mouse
<:3 )~

Adopting Small Animals

Adoption has become pretty widespread over the years, and more and more people are turning to local shelters to find their new dog or cat - but did you know that there are tons of shelters out there for small animals, too?

If you look around you'll find rescues for rabbits, rats, reptiles, name it.

How do you find them?
 They can sometimes hide right under your nose.  Checking petfinder and asking your local pet shops, pound, and SPCA can be a great start.  Small animal shelters also sometimes post pets for adoption or advertise on craigslist, or perhaps in the local paper's classifieds.  You can also do a simple Google search for your city, state, or area and the animal you are looking to adopt.  Don't toss out phone numbers you find for rescues of the wrong sort of animal - a rabbit rescue might know more about local cavy rescues, or the rat adoptions in the area, etc.

What do they cost?
  Adopting a small animal from a shelter will certainly not be as hard on your wallet as adopting a dog or cat, since they don't usually require the same kind of care to prepare them for going to a new home.  It's quite possible, however, that a rare or neglected reptile or exotic might run you a pretty penny, but it's very rare that it would cost more than buying the animal from a pet shop - they want to find it a new home, after all!  In the end it will depend on the rescue.  Some rescues will give pets away for free provided you are a responsible pet owner, and some run on adoption fees to keep their animals fed and medicated.  Don't be afraid to ask!

Nonprofit shelters versus individual rescuers
 There is a difference between a nonprofit rescue organization and a person who takes in homeless or needy animals.  It's not necessarily wrong to adopt from the latter, as they are frequently good people just trying to help the animals, but they are generally on a smaller scale with much more limited means to care for the creatures they take in.  This means they will have fewer animals (one hopes), and will often run the rescue from their home.  There is NOTHING wrong with private rescues and there are numerous excellent ones out there, but I urge you to check out the owner and their setup before agreeing to adopt.  There are a few "rescues" out there that simply buy up pets from their pet shops and adopt them out.

Nonprofit rescues receive tax exempt status from the government, can accept tax-deductible donations, and are more likely to receive sponsorship from local businesses.  What this means is that people are usually more willing to donate to them, so their financial means that allow them to care for animals and acquire a facility for them are slightly more optimistic.  This allows a nonprofit to care for a greater number of animals, and to have volunteers without having to invite people into their home.  A nonprofit organization is a much more active entity in the community, and are generally held to higher standards as such.

So what does this mean?  Not much, ha, except that it's important to realize the differences between the two forms of small animal rescues so you know what to expect, what to look for, and if your adoption fee or donations are tax deductible.  A nonprofit animal rescue is an organization, whereas a private rescue is usually a person.

How to pick a new pet from a rescue
  Use the same standards you would when selecting from a pet shop, allowing for any permanent injuries that may have resulted from previous care.  A good rescue will not adopt out a pet that still needs care or is not ready for a new home - some illnesses you bring home could transfer to another pet, so all animals should be healthy.

Look for clear eyes, appropriately textured skin, no missing scales, fur, or feathers.  Before you adopt, ask about the diet the animal is being kept on, special care requirements, and if anything is known about its stay with its previous owner.  Why was it given up?  How does it get along with any other pets you might have?  Has it been quarantined to check for important behavioral cues or illness, or is it brand new to the shelter?

Do Adopt, Do Not Adopt
DO ADOPT if the animal is healthy, appropriately energetic, and socialized.
DO ADOPT if you have a cage or setup already ready, and the means to maintain care.
DO ADOPT if the rescue seems clean, professional, and legitimate.

DO NOT ADOPT if the animal is still sick, malnourished, or has open wounds.
DO NOT ADOPT if the animal has not been quarantined away from the other rescue animals.
DO NOT ADOPT if the rescue owner seems unprofessional or is buying the animals from shops.
DO NOT ADOPT if the rescue area or cages seem inappropriately dirty and unsanitary.
DO NOT ADOPT if you don't already have a place and the time/money for the animal - spontaneous buys lead to numerous animals placed up for adoption.  If needed, take a few days to think it over first and ask the person to keep the animal reserved for you in that time.

I hope you consider adoption for your next animal, or maybe someday start your very own Rescue!

Thanks for reading!
Miss Mouse
<:3 )~


This is my first post!

This blog will be largely about small animals as pets, including (but definitely not limited to!):
Cats and Dogs
Guinea Pigs
Rats, Mice, Gerbils, Hamsters, and more exotic small rodents
Birds (I will make a sincere effort not to talk out my rear – all I have experience in here are zebra finches and chickens)
Reptiles, especially snakes
Fish, largely freshwater
Arachnids and other inverts
And…despite this being a small animals blog, I might occasionally throw in a factoid or two about larger animals like goats, equines, or weirder stuff.  :)

This blog will encompass experience with my own pets, information I’ve uncovered along the way, new news relating to small pets, interesting facts, proper care and techniques, great products and toys, how to make your own creative toys and habitats, and other wonderful information.

Right now my home is occupied by many more pets than people – I currently keep two tarantulas, two yellow rat snakes, one Colombian rainbow boa, three rats, three fish tanks, one Californian rabbit, two cats, and a zillion billion trillion mice (I breed them as a hobby).  I’ve worked in a shelter for three years, an animal research lab for one, and a horse shelter for a summer.  Pretty much my life revolves around animals!  I love it, though, and that’s why I’m here – to share my knowledge with you and to learn even more along the way!

Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy the blog!