Beat the Monday Blues: Cat’s Out of the Bag!

By Rekha Nair

Normally, the regal cat will not want to be associated with the clownish ways of the dog - performing tricks, rolling on its back and... stealing things. But something irresistible in the drawer has tempted this cat to step out of its comfort zone. And of course, there's a price to pay. Look at his reaction when he got caught. That kind of expression? Priceless.

A constant source of joy and entertainment, cats are definitely one of the smartest domesticated pets that could help brighten your day.

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Pet Adoption Friday: Stitch and Tickles from Cat Welfare Society

Stitch

Name: Stitch
Sex: Male
Age: 5 months old
Breed: Domestic Short Hair
Colour: Tabby
Sterilised: Not yet (he'll need to when he's 6 months' old)

Stitch is a playful boy and gets along with other cats well. He also loves to curl up and sleep right next to you.

Tickles

Name: Tickles
Sex: Female
Age: 1 year old
Breed: Domestic Short Hair
Colour: Calico/Tortie

This sweet little girl deserves a home and family that is filled with warmth and can give her a lifetime of love. Could your family be the one?

Both Stitch and Tickles can be adopted separately. If you wish to adopt Stitch, please call or send your SMS to Nebisa Ali at 9028 6819.

For Tickles, please call or SMS Thenuga at 9107 0185.

Pet Care Tips: Hairballs in Cats; Problem or Not?

By Rekha Nair

A common problem for cat owners would be cleaning up after their cat's regurgitated hairballs. It can be disgusting and off-putting especially when you have guests or when hairballs lands on your furniture. However, did you know that this is also a problem for the cat itself? Regurgitating hairballs frequently can be a sign of blocked intestines which could pose health problems in felines.

Hairballs are formed when too much hair is collected in the stomach rather than passed out from the gut; this irritates the stomach lining resulting in 'hairball hacking' (the act of trying to cough up the hair ball) till they regurgitate the hairball. Vomiting out one or two hairballs each month is normal but any more than that is a cause for concern. Here are a few things you can do to reduce the frequency of having such hairballs.

1. Groom your cat regularly
Cats are natural groomers, however, your cat might be over grooming herself. This could cause an increased ingestion of fur that irritates her stomach. You can help your kitty by grooming her daily with a proper brush. You can also bring your feline to a groomer's bi-annually if the fur is long and tends to grow quickly. The lesser time spent on self- grooming would result in fewer hairballs.

2. Mix hairball formula into your cat's food
These high-fiber formulas help your cat's fur pass through the digestive tract properly and also minimize the amount of shedding that takes place. Your kitty would also have a healthy coat of fur due to the high omega fatty acids content.


Laxatone, Petromalt and Katalax are just a few laxative products that have different flavours like tuna, malt and liver. They can help hairballs to be passed out of the gut in the faeces.

If you find your cat hacking or gagging without any hairball coming out, you might want to visit the vet to see what exactly the problem is. Excessive coughing could be signs of asthma or other health related issues so don't leave your feline untreated.

Some help with grooming and a change in diet can help to reduce this problem leaving your cat feeling purrfectly fine in no time!

Resources: Cats of Australia, Web MD

Images: Our Happy Cat, Wild Rose Cat Clinic, 1800 Pets Meds, Drs Foster and Smith, Love to Know Cats

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Beat the Monday Blues: Doggie Diaries - My First Step

By Rekha Nair

Puppy training can be exhausting but it can also be really rewarding. Watch a short and absolutely adorable training session this baby bulldog is having. Besides the useful commands that your pet will learn from you or at a training school, he can also progress on to picking up tricks.

Many ill-prepared pet owners have this misconception that like an electronic appliance, a pet comes complete with the instructional manual and or even better, requires only a simple touch of a button to activate and start using. A pet is a lifetime commitment; please do not get one on impulse.

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New Beginnings: Old Boys

Miss Ailian Mei, our colleague from Marine Aquaculture Centre, rescued and adopted not one, not two but three rabbits! One of the rabbits, Moon, is 10 years old and still going strong. Read more about Ailian's "old boys" in our latest "New Beginnings".

Their younger days: Moon (left) & Barny (right)

Many people are surprised upon hearing that my two rescued rabbits, Moon and Barny, are doing well despite being 10 and 7 years old respectively. But with proper care and lots of love, it is possible.

Moon was one of the two rabbits I rescued in 2002. My brother alerted me to two rabbits "running wild" at the foot of my block. Being an animal lover, I was immediately concerned. With the help of my brother and father, we used carrots to lure the rabbits back into their cage, which was left open nearby, and brought them home.

Although I had experience in caring for hamsters and guinea pigs, I had never looked after rabbits before. Thankfully, I came across a very helpful website by the House Rabbit Society of Singapore (HRSS). Over the next few weeks, it guided me on how to handle rescued rabbits and provided me with information on vet checkups, mite treatments, proper diet and general care. As the two turned out to be a male and female pair that were only a few months old, we were advised to sterilize them to prevent breeding.

The lovey-dovey pair

The rabbits, later named Moon (male) and Night (female), were my main source of joy and stress-therapy throughout my teenage years. Unfortunately, Night passed away 7 years later due to GastroIntestinal Statsis, a common rabbit ailment whereby the gut stops moving. I was devastated, but became more determined to prevent it from happening to Moon.

I first met Barny in 2006 when I saw him crouching miserably in a small cage placed behind my junior college's canteen. A canteen auntie told me that she had found him abandoned in a void deck by a family who was emigrating; she took pity on him and brought him to school so she could keep an eye on him. Hearing this, I knew what I had to do. With my father's agreement, I placed him in a cardboard box and brought him home. The rest, as they say, is history.

As male rabbits are territorial and will fight if housed together, they are placed in separate playpens side by side to each other.

Moon is more shy but much more well-behaved. He knows what I am doing when I sweep his playpen and will patiently sit in his litter-box till I'm done. And even though both Moon and Barny are litter-trained, Barny will often leave a stray poop outside the litter-box whereas Moon never does. Barny is also somewhat pampered. He stamps his foot like a spoilt kid when he doesn't get his food on time! Nevertheless, Barny is very endearing and an attention-seeker. He just loves being cuddled and would be contented to just lie down while you stroke his back or ruffle his fur. You can fondle his paws and ears and he doesn't mind one bit. Barny often gives me kisses (rabbit licks) which makes me can't help but love him all the more!

Although both of them are old bunnies in rabbit years, they remain very much active and lovable and both my 'old boys' still fill the house with their cuteness and silly antics. However, it has not been easy caring for them throughout all these years. Apart from a proper diet, clean enclosure and a keen eye for symptoms of rabbit ailments, one also needs to have patience, long-term commitment and lots of love to give. (They get a lot of TLC from me and my dad, who is also an animal lover.) Nevertheless, seeing them being content everyday makes me happy and feel it is all worthwhile!

Pet Adoption Friday: Yoko and Pudding from Animal Lovers League

Name: Yoko
Sex: Female
Age: 4 Years Old
HDB Approved: Yes

Yoko was rescued off a busy road. She is affectionate and enjoys the company of humans. She'd fit right in with a family that's keen to understand her and shower her with lots of love, care and long, slow walks! When it comes to other dogs, she is selective and thus may not do very well in a household with more than one dog.

Name: Pudding
Sex: Female
Age: 2 Years Old
Breed: Japanese Spitz and Pomeranian (Cross breed)
HDB Approved: Yes

Pudding was an abandoned dog that was rescued from a construction site. She's friendly towards other pets. Let Pudding into your home and heart by giving her a second chance to be raised in a family that will shower her with loads of care and attention.

If you'd like to know more about these lovely girls, do send an SMS to 97937162.

Save lives. Adopt today!

Pre-Event Highlight: NTU Animal Day 2014

Event: NTU Animal Lovers Society Animal Day 2014
Date: Monday, 20 January 2014
Time: 10am to 5pm
Venue: Nanyang Technological University, Canopy K (near Lee Wee Nam Library)

Programme Highlights

- Snap a photo with our Responsible Pet Ownership heroes and spread the love on social media!
- Live-screening of our animation clips!
- Educational booths by Animal Welfare Groups!

See you there!

Pet Care Tips: Sterilisation for your dog

By Rekha Nair

Sterilisation of animals involves the removal of a part of the reproductive organ of an animal so that it is not able to reproduce. This procedure is done by vets with the animal under general anesthesia. Though the idea of spaying your pet might not seem like a very keen thing to do, there are actually more benefits than harm when it comes to this procedure.

Sterilising your dog makes it a better family member. You might have a dog that is aggressive, or constantly displays marking behavior indoors. Sterilisation can help by modifying your dog's behaviour and activity level by making them calmer and also reduce marking behaviour.

Sterilising your dog lessens the chance that it will develop health problems along the way. Female dogs are more susceptible to womb and mammary diseases. Males are less likely to get injured in fights and have reduced urges to roam and mate.

At the same time, sterilising your dog prevents unwanted litters. Instead of having to deal with a litter of puppies, this problem doesn't have to occur at all if your dog is sterilised. Sterilisation helps to control the animal population and saves you the trouble of finding forever homes for your dog's offspring.

Make the wise choice and consider sterilising your dog.

Resources: ASPCA

Images: Britannica, Daily Mail, Unchained New York

Beat The Monday Blues: Oh my, hoarder!

By Rekha Nair

Have you ever left your hamster delicious treats only to find them gone the very next moment? Or maybe you've seen hamsters roaming about their cages with cheeks so puffed up they look like they're going to explode? Well, here's a video that easily explains why.

A hamster's cheek pouch is an amazing storage system that can stretch to impressive sizes to help the hamster bring items like food and bedding from one place to another - wow!

Pet Adoption Friday: Baileys and Whiskey from Action for Singapore Dogs

Baileys

Name: Baileys
Age: 10 - 12 weeks old
Gender: Female
Colour: Brown

Whiskey

Name: Whiskey
Age: 10-12 weeks old
Gender: Female
Colour: White and Brown

Sisters Baileys and Whiskey are part of a litter of six puppies that were born to a stray mother. Baileys is a playful and intelligent girl who's currently learning how to be paper-trained.

Whiskey may appear shy at first but she's actually an inquisitive girl who likes to explore. Come spend a little more time with our Whiskey and you'll be in love with her.

Baileys and Whiskey can be adopted separately. If you wish to know more about them, you can go to Action for Singapore Dogs' (ASD) website or find them on Facebook today!

Pet Care Tips: What should be in your Goldfishes’ diet?

By Rekha Nair

Goldfishes are commonly kept at homes as ornamental fishes but one common mistake owners make is feeding their goldfishes incorrectly. Here are a few things to look out for the next time you buy food for your pet goldfish.

Food specially made for goldfishes should contain more carbohydrates than protein. Due to their specific dietary requirement, look out for pellets or flakes (depending on which your goldfish prefers) that are specially formulated for goldfishes.

Flakes or Pellets? Though there has been a long debate on which is better, both foods are recommended for your goldfish. Flakes tend to have more nutrients and contain more than one ingredient so you can use it as a staple. Pellets, on the other hand, tend to be made with only one ingredient so you may want to use it as a treat.

Try to feed your goldfish a diet that's similar to what they eat in the wild. When not bred in captivity, goldfishes eat crustaceans, plants, insects and even smaller fish. Since these are not easily found, you can try to find similar food for its diet. Some examples would be peas (de-shelled), boiled vegetables, frozen bloodworms and shrimps.

Choose freeze dried food over live food. There is a risk that live food carries parasites that can transfer diseases to your goldfish. Opt for freeze dried food so that your fish can enjoy the same benefits minus the risk.

Now that you're aware of what to look out for when it comes to your goldfishes' diet, you can look forward to having fishes that are healthy, vibrant and live longer.

Resources: The Goldfish Tank

Images: Cartel Themes, Aqua-Fish, Andrews Aquatics, Petco, Google, DY Trade andPet Solutions

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Beat the Monday Blues: Chatterbox

By Rekha Nair

Meet Bowie, the adorable young parrot who's learning to speak human language. Her owner has been posting many videos of Bowie on YouTube, attracting more than 40,000 visitors each time.

Having a bird can be really special, wonderful and fun. But, it does come with a lot of commitment too. Parrots have long lives (some up to 70 years), so do consider very carefully before keeping one. They're also very needy and will require lots of time and attention from you.

Be part of the community. Join us at A Pet is For Life and follow us on Twitter.

New Beginnings: The tale of Tackey and Toma

What happens when a cat falls from the ceiling and lands on you? In Miss Andrea Ni's case, she took it as a sign to adopt the cat.

Here's a short video of Tackey and Toma, the two cats from today's "New Beginnings", showing what they can do.

Tackey was heaven-sent; he landed in my arms. Literally.

I was marking some work in school when I heard some meowing. Initially, I thought it was just my imagination, but my colleagues heard the meows too. After some investigations, we found out that there were cats living on the false ceiling of the school.

The meowing sounded like it came from kittens, but we didn't hear any adult cat's meows. Worried that kittens may have been stranded on the false ceiling without their mother, we called a pest control company to rescue the cats.

During the rescue operation, we were worried that the kittens may fall from the ceiling. So we carried a basket and blanket around so that we can catch any falling kittens.

One of the kittens decided to take a leap of faith and leapt out of the false ceiling. He bounded off the pest control guy and landed straight into my arms. He then latched onto the blanket and refused to let go.

I took it as a sign to adopt Tackey. Before this whole incident, I was considering adopting a dog, but when a kitten falls from the sky and lands on you, it's hard to say no. Plus, he was really adorable and everyone was instantly taken by him.

Named after the Japanese artist, Hideaki Takizawa, Tackey loves attention.

When I ignore him, he will throw his toys at me until I pay attention to him. So when I am sleeping, he will bury me in his toys.

When one of my colleagues adopted a cat, he soon found out that the cat he adopted was pregnant. Toma was from his pet cat's litter.

I had a tough time when I first adopted Toma. Not long after adopting him, I found out that Toma had a ringworm infection, the result of being fed by the mother cat who was also infected with ringworm.

As a result, I had to shave off Toma's fur and bathe him with a special shampoo and then blow-dry him daily. I also had to separate Toma from Tackey and thoroughly clean the house every night after work to prevent Tackey from being infected.

And then, I found out that Toma had been peeing on my pillow!

He was still a kitten then and couldn't hold his bladder very well. And I think he was also too lazy to use the kitty litter. So he would pee while lying on my pillow. I only found out when I noticed that my pillow was damp!

I think some people are not aware that having pets require lots of time and money.

Having listened to several talks on responsible pet ownership by SPCA, I know pet owners have to be responsible. This means taking good care of your pets, taking them to the vet when they are sick, sterilising them and being prepared to have them for life. Pets are not things you buy at stores and then throw away when you no longer want them; pets are like children. I tell people that I am a mother of two.

As told to AVA.

Pet Adoption Friday: Nessa and Sticky from SPCA

Nessa

Name: Nessa
Gender: Female
Age: 10 years old
Breed: Shih Tzu
Colour: Brown/White
HDB-approved: Yes

Nessa and her friend, Belle were found tied to the back fence of a hotel. Unfortunately, the irresponsible owner who did this to once-family members was never found. Fortunately for these two babes, they haven't lost any bit of their love and endearment for humans. Belle has found her home, but Nessa is still waiting! Are you ready for the lifetime commitment?

Sticky

Name: Sticky
Gender: Female
Age: 9 years old
Breed: Shih Tzu
Colour: White/ Black
HDB-approved: Yes

Abandoned in a pet carrier at the void deck of an HDB block, Sticky was found with a weak lower jaw that resulted in her not being able to hold her tongue in. Thus, she depends on a diet of soft food. This darling loves to play and greets our shelter staff happily. Are you ready to offer Sticky a better life and promise her a forever home?

If you are interested in offering either Nessa, Sticky or even keen on taking both of them home, you can call 6287 5355 for more information or you can head on down to SPCA's adoption area for viewing.

More details can also be found at SPCA's website.

Pet Care Tips: The DOs and DON’Ts of A Red Ear Slider (RES) Diet

RES are generally hardy and active animals. Many health problems arise because of poor diet. Here are some do's and don'ts when it comes to feeding your RES.

Complete Commercial Pellets
Pellets tend to be well-balanced in terms of dietary requirements and are good staple diets for terrapins. Pellets should not contain high amounts of krill or shrimp, which may lead to some health complications. Purchase pellets from reputable pet shops.

Cuttlefish Bone
This is a good source of calcium and essential minerals. Break up the bone into smaller pieces so that your RES can chew on them off pieces easily whenever they need more calcium. Eating these bones may also help to keep their beaks trimmed.

Plant Foods
Younger terrapins tend to be more carnivorous while more mature terrapins lean toward being herbivores. You can spice up their diet by throwing in some uncooked mackerel, tuna or sardines. These oily fishes contain high amounts of vitamin D, which would be beneficial for your RES. Romaine lettuce, watercress and berries also tend to be favourites among terrapins.

Food for human consumption
Food that is prepared and meant for human consumption should not be fed to your terrapins even in small amounts. Food for human consumption tends to be higher in salt and fat, which may lead to health problems in your RES.

Raw chicken and beef
Raw chicken and beef contain a variety of harmful bacteria like E.coli, which could potentially lead to illness of your terrapin. Try giving fish or worms (from reputable pet shops) instead.