Info Indoor Outdoor Cats

My first male cat was not affectionate at all as a kitten. Unfortunately it took a car accident to turn our bond into one of deep trust and a caring connection. There is of course the opinion that had the cat been an indoor cat, he would not have been run over. I do at this stage acknowledge that, however where I grew up the notion was unheard of and litter boxes were for kittens until they learned to go outside.

When relocating to the USA I was eager to own cats all over again. Filling out the application form at the local shelter was when I first learned the term “indoor cat”. The safety it offers made it quite appealing and I considered having an indoor cat. Both cats and kittens are curious creatures. The two kittens I took home with me were no different. As soon as the front door opened they were under my feet trying to peak outside and escape. They managed to stay in for two weeks and then there I was with a halter and leash in hand educating them to the outdoors.

As regards to which Is better, well that is dependent upon where you live. In the event you leave your cat out and then on a regular basis it comes home bruised and battered then I suggest bringing it in. By the way cats can live very happily indoors. I cannot not talk to cats but you can see by there demeanor and eating habits that they are just fine. The first few weeks can be tough but overall you and your cat’s happiness are what are most important.

Training Hyperactive Cat

The morning paper, which you were unable to finish reading, is torn in shreds. Now is the time to put a stop to all of that and train your cat. When you get home at night after work or gone for a short time, you can come home to a nice quiet, clean home and a healthily content cat.

Do not start by scolding your cat for all the mischief they gotten into while you where gone. A cat cannot remember that far back. Do not reward your cat for the wrong behaviors. Also, do not go running after the cat, this leads them to think you are playing with them and that is what they are looking for. Catching them in the act of doing these things is a good time to let your cat know that is not acceptable to do that.

Rewarding your cat when they have the good behavior is the best time. Sometimes if you have a real big problem with your cats’ attitude, there are other options. You can purchase a kennel to put your cat in there for short periods. On the other hand, even get them a kitty psychiatrist to start addressing their bad behaviors.

Starts when getting home spend some time with your cat relaxing. Cats can also help us to relax; it is known that a cat could help lower our blood pressure. Massaging your cat is another way of showing them you do care about them and helps them to relax, by knowing you will take good care of them.

A cat that is bored or lonely will have a tendency to do things when you are gone. Make a safe and happy environment when you are gone for your cat. Their special toys, strings items they play with. A ball, a scratching tree to climb on, an empty box of some type so they have a place to hide and play with. Your cat can do many things while you are gone and not destroy your home. Make them a perch somewhere near a window to have a place to look out, watch for you and to sunbathe.

When teaching the cat the right behaviors you will need to help them with this. Cats will not exercise themselves. Take time out each day and play with you cat. Teaching your cat how to play with the toys and item that you give them. Rewarding your cat for good behaviors, with a healthy treat or special toy or just a simple massage will also be rewarding for a cat.

A healthy cat can learn good behaviors; this is why it is important for regular visits to the veterinarian. Cats require shots, and healthy food for them. A cat that is lazy and fat is not a healthy cat. Cats will not behave well for you and will be almost impossible to train. It is important to feed healthy foods and snacks to your cat. This will help continue to build healthy bone and muscles for playtime and continue to let the brain develop so that training comes easier as you go.

There are natural supplements that are not a drug that which can be given to the cat to help with its fears and aggressions control. Older cats are harder to train for new behaviors then kittens are. When they are young, they are not sure what is right and wrong. Kittens are born with some instincts that are not good behaviors. Kittens have a tendency to be more playful and will get into more things. This is why it is very important to start your cat at very young age to teach them good behaviors, and keep them from having bad ones.

Properly Introduce New Fish Into Aquarium

Fish Quarantine

Fish quarantine is one big, singular factor that must be observed strictly before you can be sure that your new fish is of good health and not an apostle of doom for the other inmates. Most new fishkeepers don’t take consider this very important factor.

For the benefit of intending aquarists, quarantine in the fish world refers to the physical and chemical treatment of new fishes (either imported or caught from the wild) to rid them of disease and restlessness before introduction into a new environment,

A small quarantine tank (30x20x25cm) is advisable for any serious aquarist. The alternative is to be sure that your pet shop has a functional quarantine section to cater for bacterial, fungal and viral diseases.

This is a sure guarantee against fish deaths. The unfortunate thing with most shops in the country is the lack of space and inadequate expertise to build and administer the prophylaxis procedure on new fish, as the procedure is sure to last at least nigh days! To the average aqua-investor, this is an unnecessary tie down of capital and you know what that means.

Admittedly, the expense incurred on quarantine by way of chemical purchase e.g. copper sulphate, wescodyne, malachite green, teremycin etc) is high. This is more or less reflected on the final sales price of the fish, which is slightly higher in our shop. But, this would pay you off in the long run, as it is unlikely that you will complain of fish deaths any longer.

I am quite sure, some fish farmers reading this column would be more concerned about the application of this procedure to solve their farm problems especially those with hatcheries or those who stock with post fry and fingerlings.

Feeding New Fish

When you just introduce a new fish to aquarium tank it’s necessary to feed the fish. Though this will not be instant because no matter how carefully you add the fish to your aquarium tank they will look very unhappy for a while.

Thus it’s necessary that you turn the flights out, and leave them overnight to get used to their new home first before thinking of feeding them. Then feed fish with aquarium fish food with fish flakes the next day, this will make the fish feel at home.

If you already have an established tank, it is advisable to quarantine new fish before adding them to an existing populated, and the cheapest way to do this is to purchase a plastic tank which will need no gravel or plants.

This can be used solely for quarantine and as a hospital tank.

Leave the fish in this tank for about three days during which any disease harbored by the fish would be evident for which it can be treated using available chemicals from your dealer. The fish can then be introduced into the tank in the same way as before.

When you add new fish to an established community, there will probably be a certain amount of harassment of the new arrivals by the original fish. Try to divert their attention by giving them a good feed when the fish are introduced.

Incubate Duck Eggs

The duck eggs should be room temperature before placing them inside of the incubator. This means leaving them at room temperature for at least 8 hours after removing them from the fridge. It’s time to inspect the duck eggs. Check your eggs for cracks, remove them and any abnormally large egg. Trust me, you do NOT want an egg to pop in the incubator. It stinks, it is gross and it will make a mess of your other eggs. Abnormally large eggs could mean multiple yolks and wouldn’t hatch anyway. Remove any dirt or feces from the eggs if you have not already. Egg shells act like a womb, they allow bad gases to escape and oxygen inside. Mud, feces or any other contaminants on the shell will clog the tiny holes that allow the duck egg to breathe. If you need to use water make it warm, cold contracts, heat expands. Warm water will push out bacteria from the holes while cold water will shrink the egg contents and suck in the bad stuff.

Place the duck egg small end down in the incubator tray. Placing the eggs large end up is important. The egg has an air cell inside of it and letting it stay on the bigger side of the egg allows for less liquid evaporation and a higher hatchability rate. After placing the duck eggs in the incubator, setting the proper temperature and humidity, check the incubator is functioning properly a few times throughout the day for the first day and then periodically for the next few days and the duration of the incubation process. Even slight mishaps severely affect the hatchability, too much heat or too little moisture means fewer duckies. Different breeds vary in temperature and humidity settings but typically to start is 99.5 (84.5 deg Fahrenheit if you’re using a wet bulb) deg Fahrenheit and 55% relative humidity.

Day 7 will be the day to candle the duck eggs and check for bad ones to remove. Remove any eggs that have “dead germ” or eggs that are infertile. Clear or cloudy eggs are the first sign of a rotten egg. On Day 7 you should see the embryo forming chick like features. Identifying bad eggs is very important, you do not want a broken or exploding egg mucking up the incubator and the good eggs. Check the eggs again at day 14 to make sure you have all good eggs. You should already know the best ducks for eggs.

A Hatcher is similar to the incubator except the eggs are not being turned anymore and there is enough room for the egg duckling to hatch. Whereas the incubator turns eggs and there is no room for the baby to hatch. Set the hatchers’ temperature to 98.5 degree’s Fahrenheit and increase the humidity to 94%. Over the next 2 to 5 days little ducklings will start popping out of their eggs. Once you see the egg cracking its normal to want to help them along and get them out, don’t do it. “Helping” the duckling along has many disastrous consequences, including causing the poor thing to bleed to death. It usually takes about 24 hours for your baby to fully hatch. So do not help it along unless you absolutely have too.

Breed Ball Pythons

  • Correct Sex – Insure your animals are properly sexed, and you do in fact have a male and female. There are two ways to determine the sex of a ball python one is by “popping” and the other is by “probing.” In my opinion popping is the easier method between the two, it doesn’t require any tools and there’s no danger or harm to the animal. To probe a ball python requires you to insert a metal probe backwards towards the tail into the left or right side of the cloaca. Once the probe is inserted you take a scale count to determine the sex of the animal. Males usually probe pretty deep around 8 or more subcaudal scales and females will probe around 2-4 subcaudal scales. I’ll cover more detailed instructions on how to determine the sex of your snake in another article, if for whatever reason you’re not confident in determining the sex of your animals find a qualified reptile veterinarian in your area for assistance.
  • Sexual Maturity – Males and females become sexually mature at different ages and weighs. Sexual maturity in ball pythons seems to be more determined by weight rather than age of the animal although age most definitely plays a role in sexual maturity. Females typically mature around two-three years of age and 1200-1500grams of weight, some may mature a little quicker or a little later but the gross majority will mature in this age and weight range. Males mature much quicker than females and usually mature between 6 months – 1 year of age although I’ve have a few young males breed as early as twelve weeks old! Breeding weight for males ranges in the area of 400grams for the little guys up to 800 or more grams for the larger first time breeders.
  • Seasonal Change and Temperature Drop – In the wild ball pythons are seasonal animals and typically breed between October and December in the rainy season, with egg laying season being around March and April. Baby ball pythons begin to hatch and take their first meals after the rainy season when prey items are abundant. Now in captivity, they can be breed year around, but having some seasonal change and temperature drop does increase your chances at having maximum production. I like to start gradually dropping my temps in November a degree or two every week until I reach my peek temperature drop of 5-7 degrees lower at night from my daytime high temperatures which in the off season are 85-87 degrees. In the breeding season I work my way down to 80degrees for a night time low on the hottest side of the tub for three or four months and then work my way back up to my off season temperatures of 85-87degrees.
  • Pairing them up for Breeding – Once you’re determined you do in fact have a male and female and they are in the age and weight of sexual maturity it’s time to start pairing these animals up for breeding. I introduce my males into my female’s tubs and not the other way around because female ball pythons put out lots of pheromones during the breeding season and these pheromones are great at signaling male ball pythons that it’s time for breeding. Once I introduce the male to the female I leave the pair uninterrupted for 24 hours after which I check to see if they are actively breeding, if they are I give them another 24 hours, if they’re not I move the male to the next female’s tub and start the process over. Once the male has successfully copulated with a female I offer him a small meal which is usually a small rat and 48 hours rest. Once he’s well rested I repeat the process. I continue this process of pairing up my males with females until the females have either ovulated or it’s clear that they are not going to produce for the season.
  • Ovulation – Being able to correctly identify a female ball python ovulating is extremely useful when breeding for maximum production. Here are a couple of quick tips to help you identify an active ovulation and a female that has already ovulated.
  • Identifying an Active Ovulation – A female ball python that is actively ovulating will have a very noticeable swell to the lower 3rdportion of her body; she may even appear to have just eaten a large meal. You’ll also notice her tail is sucked in to her body in an awkward “L” shape. That classic position is known as the “Suck” to veteran ball python breeders and it’s a great indicator that the female is in the process of ovulating.
  • Ovulation has occurred – If you happen to miss the active ovulation, all isn’t lost, and you can still tell if your female ball python has ovulated by uses these quick tips. First off, simply watch her over the course of a couple days and see where she spends the majority of her time. Is it on the cool end of the tub or hot end? If it’s on the hot end of the tub then chances are your female has already ovulated and no longer needs to be bred. If she’s still seeking the colder end of the tub and wrapping the bowl then chances are pretty good that your female hasn’t ovulated and she still needs to be bred.
  • Egg Laying and Incubation – After ovulation your female ball python no longer needs to be paired up with a male and you can start setting up the incubator and making arrangements for the ball python hatchlings. Right around three weeks after ovulation she’ll go into a shed cycle known to veteran breeders as the “POS” which stands for “post ovulation shed.” Following the “POS” you’re looking at around 30-40 days until your female lays a clutch of eggs.

Western Horseback Riding

I guess the first place I should start is at the beginning… the very beginning. Western riding can first be traced back to about 400 B.C. when it is widely accepted that Xenophon, a Greek solider and historian, founded modern horsemanship. Although any breed of horse can be used for Western riding, the most popular breeds are Quarter Horses, Paints, and Appaloosas.

Western riding basically evolved on cattle ranches in the American West The Western rider uses their non-dominant hand to handle the reins, and uses neck reining to control the horse. When neck reining, you push your horse gently into the direction that you want your horse to go instead of pulling in the same direction. For example, if you want your horse to move to the right, you would touch the left rein to your horse’s neck. Western trained horses are trained to listen to your commands without much mouth contact. You might be wondering why you would use your non-dominant hand to hold the reins – the reason for using the non dominant hand for the reins is so that the rider can use their dominant hand for roping cattle, etc. Even if you aren’t into roping cattle, there are many other events you can find pleasure in with Western riding! They include barrel racing, pleasure riding, roping, Gymkhana, and endurance riding.

Western saddles are heavier, and have a horn in front which is to assist with herding cattle. The saddle is also larger and deeper and can be more comfortable for a horse who has to spend long periods of time actively working. It is also comfortable for the rider, and distributes the weight more evenly on the horse’s back. The bottom of the stirrups should hit the rider’s ankle bone for proper fit.

The rider should be relaxed but sit straight with good posture, and move with the horse. Subtle cues with your hips and seat give steering signals to your horse. Your horse will rely on you to correctly shift your weight and carry your body correctly to interpret your commands.

In Western riding it is not unusual for the rider to use noise signals to change speeds. Some Western trained horses can speed up and slow down just by hearing their rider’s signals. Many riders use the “kiss and click method,” in which you click your tongue to ask for a jog and you smack your lips together to ask for a lope. A jog is the same as a trot, and a lope is the same as a canter in English riding. Some horses might recognize voice commands, it all depends on how your horse is trained. Most horses know the voice command “Whoa” to stop, as you sit deeply into your seat.

This just touches on the basics of Western riding, and in future articles I will go more in depth. If there are any topics that you would like me to cover relative to horses and riding, please comment below or feel free to contact me, and I would be happy to write about it! Until then, happy trails…

Leopard Tortoises As Pets

These are large tortoises, and there are very few larger species that are commonly kept as pets. This can create some problems as obviously not everybody has room for one of these animals in their garden. They also do not hibernate, so if you live in an area that gets cold during the winter, you’ll need enough space to keep your pet indoors for a few months every year.

Once you’ve overcome the temperature issue, most of their requirements in an outdoor enclosure aren’t too difficult to meet, but one common stumbling block is the hide box. At night or during bad weather, the tortoise will retreat into the hide box to sleep or shelter, and it needs to be heated, insulated and not let any light in. For a fully grown adult Leopard Tortoise, one of the best options is to convert a garden shed, although if this is done well and it’s large enough, you could also potentially house your tortoise in this shed during the winter.

It should go without saying that buying one or more Leopard Tortoises is a serious commitment. For starters your new pet could well outlive you, with many individuals surviving for more than 70 years. They are also not a cheap pet to own. Actually buying one is not too expensive, although obviously they cost significantly more than a hamster would. The main costs stem from their care, especially for people living in colder climates. The prices of UVB lamps, a safe heat source, insulation for the hide box and power to actually make use of all these things can stack up very quickly to make owning one of these animals prohibitively expensive for many people.

This all sounds quite negative, but if you have the space and the money, owning a Leopard Tortoise can be surprisingly rewarding. They are more entertaining than you might think and have clear personalities. They will even become noticeably more affectionate to their owner than to strangers, so it’s possible to build a bond with one of these creatures, which can only be a good thing in a lifetime companion! If you’ve never kept a tortoise before, then one of these is a good choice, but you must be certain that you’re ready and have everything you need first.

Feed a Leopard Gecko

If you are considering breeding your females a good source for them are very small pinkie mice. These mice should be no more than a few days old.

Knowing how much to feed your gecko is just as important as to what to feed them. They should be given only what they can eat in one feeding. So if you give your gecko 5 crickets and within about 15 minutes they do not eat all 5, then next time try to give only 4 crickets keep testing until you find a good amount.

Never leave any insects that were not eaten in tank, this can cause your leopard gecko to become stressed. Also hungry insects like the crickets have been known to nibble on these guys. If you are feeding mealworms and other types of worms, these can be kept in a small dish in the tank, be sure these worms are not able to escape from the dish though.

One very important thing about feeding your leopard geckos is to gut load your insects before feeding them to the geckos. To do this, simply make sure the crickets eat a good nutritional food at least 24 hours before you offer them to your geckos. Remember, what you feed your insects is what your leopard geckos eat too.

For the insects you can offer them such things as, fruits and vegetables prior to feeding your geckos. There are also commercial types of foods for crickets and mealworms you can offer them. For enclosures for the crickets, it is best to get a critter carrier to keep them in, make sure it has a good lid as crickets like to jump. For the mealworms, you can keep them in any plastic container with some calcium grains, just make sure the sides are high enough so they can’t crawl out.

Another important aspect of what to feed your leopard gecko is to make sure that the insects you feed them are powdered with calcium and vitamin powder. This offers more nutrition, if you do powder your crickets make sure to offer them to your geckos right away, most cricket will lick off the powder.

You should also make sure that your leopard gecko has fresh clean water at all times The water dish should be cleaned every day.

Beauty of African Grey Parrots

Originating from Africa, there are two distinct types: the Congo African Grey and the Timneh African Grey. The Congo is the larger of the two, measuring 12-14 inches with a bright red tail. The Timneh is smaller, closer to 11-13 inches with a darker coloring and crimson tail. The Congo and the Timneh originate in different regions of Africa.

These highly intelligent parrots became famous from the cognitive studies of Dr. Irene Pepperberg. Dr. Pepperberg worked “Alex”, a Congo African Grey. Alex was able to recognize and name more then 100 objects. He could label colors and count. Dr. Pepperberg worked with Alex for over 30 years. It is suggested these beautiful birds have the intelligence of a 5 year old child. They are sensitive and emotional, resembling the emotions of a 2 year old child. They require mental stimulation as a 5 year old child would. If bored or depressed they can be prone to feather plucking. In general, they are anxious and cautious in new situations.

They have a superior ability to mimic humans, often in the person’s voice. Usually they will start speaking after 1 year of age and can often learn several new words weekly. They form strong attachments to their human “flock” and often have favorites. They have been said to be less cuddly then other species, yet loving and loyal. They are the professors of the bird flock and require as much attention as other species. They enjoy games that require mental stimulation such as foraging for “hidden treasures” of toys and treats. If one choses to home an African Grey, socialization of people and new surroundings, mental activities and emotional nurturing is very important. They cannot sit quietly in a cage, as one would not ask a 5 year old child to. But the rewards of the Grey are immense. They are very “human like” and very special.

Purple Martin Housing

Aluminum Houses

As far as housing Purple martins go, selecting the right size house is essential. Aluminum houses for martins are not only heavy duty and durable but also have openings on all four corners. Providing spacious housing like this for the birds to perch on not only increases the potential of occupancy by them but also does away with territorial issues.

Wood Houses

Many Martin hobbyists also prefer to go with wooden houses, mainly because it has two design features that help attract them. The first one is that wooden houses can be lowered or raised vertically without making it tip over. Secondly, the nesting spaces inside are easily accessible, which allows a person to remove any unwanted pests or other species of birds. This also allows the houses to be monitored without disturbing or damaging the nests.

PVC Plastic Houses

For the first time their hobbyist, going with the plastic houses will be the perfect and cheapest way to start off your Bird’s colony. PVC houses are made out of hard plastic that is durable and pleasant to look at. They are also extremely easy to assemble and provide UV protection.


Bird house gourds have always been popular among Purple’s hobbyists. Today, you can easily grow natural gourds in your backyard with proper information. The advantage of having a gourd is that they do not attract other bird species like sparrows or starlings that can cause problems for the Purple martin colony.

Gourds are usually painted white to reflect heat and provide a cool environment for them to nest in. Plastic gourds enable the owners to access inner reaches of purple martin houses by way of a movable vent cap and extra access entrances for regular clean-ups and nest checks.