Main forum: Mixed Critters

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crittersplants
Feb 26, 2011 11:50 AM CST
Name: Critter #2
Pittsburgh, zone 5
You can call me Critter number 2.
Hi Skiekitty.

I'm new and while I was poking around for cubits to join, I came across your post on the thread about the baby bunnies. I thought maybe we could talk about cohabitating different species.

I had a very special cat for 17 years. She changed my life. She passed a couple of years ago. I knew I would have cats again. But I decided that before I got more cats I would have all the pets it wouldn't be safe to have when I did have cats. I started with house rabbits and was about to move on to an aquarium, a rat and small birds, maybe a snake or iguana.

Meanwhile, the Universe had other plans.

I was working in my front yard one day in October. There was a young boy (Sethan) walking down my street with a cat on a "leash" made from a shoestring.
I asked whose cat it was: "Nobody's".
I asked where they were going: "I'm taking her on a walk to the park".
After about an hour of talking to the kid, I convinced him it was SOMEbody's cat because it was so gentle.

The kids in the neighborhood had been passing the cat around for several days trying to find a kid whose parents would let them keep it. But all the parents had said “no”, and none of the parents had done the right thing and tried to find the cat’s own human. It was obviously a grownup who had tied the string on as a halter.

After a little more time I got the kid to let me keep the cat overnight and look for its human. Halloween season is NO time for a black cat to be wandering the streets! Ultimately, Sethan was more concerned about the cat’s well being than about having it to play with. And that makes Sethan a pretty good kid in my book!

It was a very young cat and obviously very well socialized. It was not a her though, as the boy thought. It’s a him. And an unfixed him at that.

So I went down to the Humane Society and had him scanned (no chip), aged (older than I thought – “No, he’s grown, he’s just a little guy”), and photographed for the found kitty report. I also posted him at telephonepole.org, on Craig’s List, and put up posters.

While at the Humane Society, I got the paperwork to apply for low cost vetting. I got a full health check, neuter, chip and vaccinations for
~~~ UNTIL ONE HAS LOVED AN ANIMAL, PART OF THEIR SOUL REMAINS UNAWAKENED ~~~
crittersplants
Feb 26, 2011 11:54 AM CST
Name: Critter #2
Pittsburgh, zone 5
You can call me Critter number 2.
OMG I got truncated......

The first night, he slept well in my basement (to keep him separate from the unsuspecting buns) and had a good long face rub that night. He was really thirsty and somewhat hungry. He knew all about the litter box. He nearly fell asleep in my lap until I had to shift position and he took the opportunity to do another patrol around the basement and I took the opportunity to go upstairs and eat dinner.

Overnight, he was quiet in my basement until I came into the kitchen in the morning. Then he cried some but not a lot. When I went down there, we had another petting fest.
I was a little concerned about giving him back to the people who let him out, didn't advertise to find him, and hadn't had him fixed. I didn't even post the sex or anything about the cat, other than that it's black. Wanted to make them tell me.

After 3 weeks, I'd gotten 4 phone calls but none were the right cat. So, although I certainly know shelters I could take him to, I saw it as a sign that he was meant for me. Been missin having a kitty to sleep with! So I decided to keep him!

But I'm still jonesing for the sound of birds in the house. I'd decided to stick to birds who won't out live me. Parakeets and finches.

I wonder if you could share some advice about safe and sane critter mixing. As it is now, the kitty gets closed in the bedroom when the rabbits come out to play. Adding birds makes me nervous.

Also, I'm about to build a new rabbit pen this summer and in my head it has a large horizontal bird cage on top of it. I plan to use one or two of those closet organizing shelves I can get at Home Depot as the front of the cage, which will be built into a "nook". Think that type of shelf will be safe for parakeets? I planned for horizontal because I read that they prefer to fly horizontally. Which is weird because there are no horizontal flight cages ANYwhere....

What do you think?

~~~ UNTIL ONE HAS LOVED AN ANIMAL, PART OF THEIR SOUL REMAINS UNAWAKENED ~~~
[Last edited Feb 26, 2011 11:56 AM CST]
Quote | Post #572174 (2)
ImageSkiekitty
Feb 28, 2011 11:04 PM CST
Name: Toni
Denver Metro, Zone 5
Too many cats!!
I just saw this, so I will be brief for now.. I'll post more in depth tomorrow (3/1)

It's pretty easy to co-habitat critters. I have a number of cats & a number of birds and 3 dogs. Oh, and a husband, who's tolerant. LOL! But, it's all about patience. I've seen pics of bunnies sleeping with cats, I've seen videos of cats cleaning bunnies. I have pictures of one of my cats with my 'tiel, no problems.

As far as flight cages, horizontal cages are pretty easy to find if you know where to look. http://www.flightcages.net/tag/cheapest-price-prevue-aviary-... has some very nice cages that are HUGE (this things are massive) and not too bad in price, either. There's lots of other websites out there that have nice flight cages for pretty cheap prices. Also, check your local Craigslist (I don't know what city you're in, so I can't help you there).

I'll get more in depth tomorrow. Awesome you for taking in a kitty who was homeless!
Never be afraid of a scar. It just means that you were stronger than something that tried to hurt you.
My new Etsy shop - handmade jewelry by ME!! http://www.etsy.com/shop/TweetsnTreats
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"I've seen better acting from extras in Godzilla movies!" - Calculon
crittersplants
Mar 1, 2011 10:35 AM CST
Name: Critter #2
Pittsburgh, zone 5
You can call me Critter number 2.
I was thinking of a cage more like 3-4 feet tall and 6-7 feet wide.

There's a 'nook" in my living room where I have the bunnies now in an exercise pen.
I need to build them a permanent pen with better runaround room. I'm thinking of a double decker 2-3 feet tall on each floor and wide enough to fill the nook. Then the birdcage would go from the top of that to the ceiling.

Would you forsee any problem with the closet organizer shelves as the front of the cage?
~~~ UNTIL ONE HAS LOVED AN ANIMAL, PART OF THEIR SOUL REMAINS UNAWAKENED ~~~
ImageSkiekitty
Mar 1, 2011 11:28 AM CST
Name: Toni
Denver Metro, Zone 5
Too many cats!!
If you're wanting a cage like that, http://www.birdcages.com/ has cages that would fit that bill. I have a number of these type of cages and they're right up your alley with being 3' tall & 6' wide. Or, you can always make your own cages, but I have problems making a cheese sandwich without screwing it up, so I won't go that route. LOL!

Thumb of 2011-03-01/Skiekitty/285138

Parakeets are filthy birds. I love 'em.. at one time I had over 30 birds in a massive 4'x4'x2' plexi cage. But it got too much with the daily cleaning.
Thumb of 2011-03-01/Skiekitty/eb9354

The smaller birds you will have to be a bit more careful with. They're basically feathered toys for cats. I love zebra finches (call them "Eep Eeps" from their song) but my cats love them too much too. :( So I don't have any finches. I keep canaries and the one tiel as above (Tiki's too rotten to be bothered by the cats.. she can easily keep the cats at bay if she has to, and has!).

As far as the double decker for your buns, I haven't had much experience with buns. I had bunnies when I was a child for 1 summer.. then I helped my father slaughter them & we ate them for dinner one night (I was 5 or 6). To me, bunnies are adorable dinner-in-the-making. :) Not to mention I just love bunny fur. But I do know that they're more of a burrower than a climber, so I don't know how they'd handle a double decker as they're more inclined to go down than up. The shelf unit - I personally would be worried as I know that the wires are about 1" apart, definitely far apart for a bunny leg to fall through & break, or for a birdie to fly through, not to mention DEFINITELY big enough for a cat paw to sneak through & grab something should the cat be not bun-friendly.

Does any of this make any sense?
Never be afraid of a scar. It just means that you were stronger than something that tried to hurt you.
My new Etsy shop - handmade jewelry by ME!! http://www.etsy.com/shop/TweetsnTreats
Buy some of my photos! http://www.catsonkeyboards.com
"I've seen better acting from extras in Godzilla movies!" - Calculon
crittersplants
Mar 1, 2011 11:45 AM CST
Name: Critter #2
Pittsburgh, zone 5
You can call me Critter number 2.
Realy think a parakeet could get out of that wire?
~~~ UNTIL ONE HAS LOVED AN ANIMAL, PART OF THEIR SOUL REMAINS UNAWAKENED ~~~
ImageSkiekitty
Mar 1, 2011 12:36 PM CST
Name: Toni
Denver Metro, Zone 5
Too many cats!!
A 1"? Easily. Parakeets should be kept in a cage that has a no bigger space than 5/8th of an inch.
Never be afraid of a scar. It just means that you were stronger than something that tried to hurt you.
My new Etsy shop - handmade jewelry by ME!! http://www.etsy.com/shop/TweetsnTreats
Buy some of my photos! http://www.catsonkeyboards.com
"I've seen better acting from extras in Godzilla movies!" - Calculon
crittersplants
Mar 1, 2011 1:12 PM CST
Name: Critter #2
Pittsburgh, zone 5
You can call me Critter number 2.
Well crum.
Change of plans then.......

Besides hardware cloth, what "home depot" type thing do you think I could substitute?
~~~ UNTIL ONE HAS LOVED AN ANIMAL, PART OF THEIR SOUL REMAINS UNAWAKENED ~~~
ImageSkiekitty
Mar 1, 2011 1:38 PM CST
Name: Toni
Denver Metro, Zone 5
Too many cats!!
I know they have a "chicken wire" type material, but the problem is that psittacines (hookbills ie: parakeets, tiels, all parrots) chew through wood, so making something out of wood is going to be destroyed after a time (why lots of bird toys are made of wood.. gives them a happy feeling when they're chewing on wood, plus helps with feather picking in theory). I believe that HD has a type of "chicken wire" that's actually little bitty squares that are 1/2" that works fine.. had a 6'6" tall x 4' wide x 2'6" deep cage built that way that I had my finches in.
Never be afraid of a scar. It just means that you were stronger than something that tried to hurt you.
My new Etsy shop - handmade jewelry by ME!! http://www.etsy.com/shop/TweetsnTreats
Buy some of my photos! http://www.catsonkeyboards.com
"I've seen better acting from extras in Godzilla movies!" - Calculon
crittersplants
Mar 1, 2011 1:49 PM CST
Name: Critter #2
Pittsburgh, zone 5
You can call me Critter number 2.
That's hardware cloth.
It's what I plan to "wrap" the bunnies' pen with.
Might as well make everything match!
~~~ UNTIL ONE HAS LOVED AN ANIMAL, PART OF THEIR SOUL REMAINS UNAWAKENED ~~~
crittersplants
Mar 5, 2011 11:43 AM CST
Name: Critter #2
Pittsburgh, zone 5
You can call me Critter number 2.
I was in Home Depot the other day and I looked at the closet shelves.
You are right that the linen closet shelves are way too wide.
But they also make PANTRY shelves, which are roughly twice as close as the linen ones.
I'm planning on using those unless you tell me there's something unhealthy about the coating on them.
~~~ UNTIL ONE HAS LOVED AN ANIMAL, PART OF THEIR SOUL REMAINS UNAWAKENED ~~~
ImageSkiekitty
Mar 6, 2011 10:59 PM CST
Name: Toni
Denver Metro, Zone 5
Too many cats!!
I'd be afraid of the critters chewing on the plastic. Can't digest the plastic and it's made in China, so who knows what is in the plastic. :)
Never be afraid of a scar. It just means that you were stronger than something that tried to hurt you.
My new Etsy shop - handmade jewelry by ME!! http://www.etsy.com/shop/TweetsnTreats
Buy some of my photos! http://www.catsonkeyboards.com
"I've seen better acting from extras in Godzilla movies!" - Calculon
crittersplants
Mar 7, 2011 10:42 AM CST
Name: Critter #2
Pittsburgh, zone 5
You can call me Critter number 2.
It's only the keets/finches that'll have access to it.
I don't know birds like you do.
Would they ingest?

Bunnies erally might, but they won't have access to it.
~~~ UNTIL ONE HAS LOVED AN ANIMAL, PART OF THEIR SOUL REMAINS UNAWAKENED ~~~
ImageSkiekitty
Mar 7, 2011 12:02 PM CST
Name: Toni
Denver Metro, Zone 5
Too many cats!!
ah, OK. Well, the keets will chew on it.. all hookbills are horrible chewers. Finches might pick at it, but their bills are too soft to break through, unless they found a broken spot then they'll tug at it with a vengeance. Remember, they're dumb. That's why we have the phrase "birdbrain". LOL! What kind of finches were you planning? I'd stay with the larger ones: zebra/society/java. I would stay away from most of the mannikens, cutthroats, cordon bleu, green singing... And, remember, finches usually breed like rabbits, especially zebras & society. You could try gouldians, but I'm not sure how they will handle the mixed critter situation (I've heard that they're rather fragile). which is a crying shame, considering how beautiful they are. That's why I stick w/canaries. :)
Never be afraid of a scar. It just means that you were stronger than something that tried to hurt you.
My new Etsy shop - handmade jewelry by ME!! http://www.etsy.com/shop/TweetsnTreats
Buy some of my photos! http://www.catsonkeyboards.com
"I've seen better acting from extras in Godzilla movies!" - Calculon
crittersplants
Mar 7, 2011 2:28 PM CST
Name: Critter #2
Pittsburgh, zone 5
You can call me Critter number 2.
I'd love to have canaries.
So darn expensive though.

I've had a zebra finch or two in the past.
I like their little beep beeps.

Had never seen a Gouldian until I moved to PA. They ARE lovely! Don't think they vocalize much though.

Whatever I get, I'll probably stick to one sex, probably male since they're the ones who wear the makeup in bird world.

I had a pet store lady tell me that male parakeets are the ones who sometimes can be taught to talk. She also told me to only buy male birds and always in pairs. 2 birds or 4 birds, NOT 3 birds. 3 birds would leave a bird without a buddy.

Frankly, I had chosen parakeets because they are said to be less fragile AND because they could ride around on my shoulder. The shoulder part is obviously out now though, since the cat came....

OH, what to do, what to do.
All the decisions not being simple enough to make without more research, I'll probably leave it until I put the garden to bed again in the fall.......

I just picked on you because I saw that sentence you wrote that said something like: "A cat is no excuse not to have birds".
~~~ UNTIL ONE HAS LOVED AN ANIMAL, PART OF THEIR SOUL REMAINS UNAWAKENED ~~~
ImageSkiekitty
Mar 7, 2011 3:30 PM CST
Name: Toni
Denver Metro, Zone 5
Too many cats!!
LOL. It is 100% true: having a cat is NO excuse to not have a bird, or two, or a flock! Much like I despise people who give up their pets because "we have a new baby", all critters can be taught (to a degree) of self-control. One of my dogs, Waffles, would be a bird killer if she got the chance, but I've never given her the opportunity! It's a person's responsibility to make sure that everyone and everything exists in a co habitable way!

As far as finchies, societies really don't have dimorphic coloration. Males & females all pretty much look the same. Zebras do have dimorphic characteristics. BUT! We're talking about birds and, while the person at the petstore was correct on having a buddy in even numbers (never odd), do not try to do just males as they have a definite hierarchy and the "lesser" bird will be picked on constantly. If you're interested in a shoulder bird, I would recommend then a lovebird (singleton). They are smart, beautiful, and can definitely take care of themselves with a cat if necessary. A 'tiel would be a good possibility as well. Parakeets will more readily bond to each other than allow a human to interfere with their lives and, if you have 2/4 parakeets, they will lose their handtameness VERY quickly and become little biters. And they can & do draw blood. Plus the EXTREMELY RARE!!! (like 1 in a billion shot) of developing psittacosis (chlamydia) from them.

Just an FYI. :)
Never be afraid of a scar. It just means that you were stronger than something that tried to hurt you.
My new Etsy shop - handmade jewelry by ME!! http://www.etsy.com/shop/TweetsnTreats
Buy some of my photos! http://www.catsonkeyboards.com
"I've seen better acting from extras in Godzilla movies!" - Calculon
crittersplants
Mar 9, 2011 10:51 AM CST
Name: Critter #2
Pittsburgh, zone 5
You can call me Critter number 2.
Word of the day: dimorphic.

YIKES! I didn't know about the biting.

" I would recommend then a lovebird (singleton)."
I'm already 52, is there a chance this bird would outlive me, assuming I die of old age?

I had a chance last year when th elocal Humane Society got in a dozen or so lovebirds. At that time, I couldn't afford to buy a cage.
~~~ UNTIL ONE HAS LOVED AN ANIMAL, PART OF THEIR SOUL REMAINS UNAWAKENED ~~~
ImageSkiekitty
Mar 9, 2011 11:34 AM CST
Name: Toni
Denver Metro, Zone 5
Too many cats!!
Lovebirds live to be 10-15 years old. Not the 50+ that bigger birds live. http://exoticpets.about.com/cs/lovebirds/p/lovebirds.htm

I had 4 lovebirds.. love them dearly. However, with my Waffles being so dangerous around them, I wasn't able to let them out of their cage as much as I wanted to. So, I had to make a painful decision: who to get rid of: the birds or the dog? Found WONDERFUL homes for the birds (they were 2 bonded pairs).

All hookbills bite. All. Anyone who tells you that they don't bite is lying. Trust me. I've sprayed enough birds with blood due to being bit to hell. Lorikeets, parakeets, cockatiels (had one that I actually named Dracula because he was such a biter that he wasn't happy until he drew blood), lovebirds (took care of a pair of lovebirds for a friend for a week. When I went to get them out of the cage, one of them bit the living snot out of my right index finger, the middle knuckle. Ripped the flesh away and sprayed blood everywhere. "Friend" actually got mad because I got blood on her bird!!).. they all bite (to one degree or another) and they all can draw blood if their beaks aren't trimmed (you can get them professional trimmed or just give them cuttlebone/mineral blocks to that, but that's not very efficient). Reason for such sharp beaks is two fold: protection and food garnering. Most hookbills are nut eaters or fruit eaters and need the sharp beak to either break open a hard nut (DH loves to go to this one local bird store & give brazil nuts to one of the macaws just to watch him crack it open like it's no big deal) or to rip apart a tough fruit casing. Much like a bird of prey. Plus, birds don't have a sense of taste up front in their mouths (their taste buds are closer to their crop than on the tip of their tongue) and don't have traditional "fingers" like you & I, so they use their beaks to taste/test something to see if 1) it's edible or 2) it's perchable. The big big birds (macaws/cockatoos/greys/etc) who are hand-fed are denied hard foods so they never develop the muscles needed to crack a person's finger OFF, but, if left to themselves, can easily bite a finger off (bigger birds can sheer off thin branches when making a nest). So they'll "nibble" on your fingers/ears/neck/whatever you offer them. My DH's Tiki (tiel already posted) will leave birdie "hickies" on his neck where she "preens" his "feathers" (neck hair) and gives him hell because his "feathers" are so messed up, there's no way he can fly with them. LOL. Plus, for some reason, they seem to know exactly where to bite for the most damage: the tender area between the finger nail & the finger, the webbing between the index finger & thumb, the fold of skin on the middle knuckle. I have trained a few 'tiels not to bite by donning on a THICK heavy leather glove and letting them bit the snot out of it. When they realize that it's not doing any good to bite (usually 2-4 sessions at 10-15 minutes each, once a day), they figure it out. That's how I got so many "untamed" 'tiels hand-tamed. You can also teach them to give you kisses by having something yummy in your lips like a cracker or a piece of bread, and letting them take it out of your mouth (once they're that safe), then making kissy noises, putting the cracker in your lips, and letting them take it out. Takes about 4-6 sessions to teach them this. Not hard at all.

Hope I didn't scare you here.
Never be afraid of a scar. It just means that you were stronger than something that tried to hurt you.
My new Etsy shop - handmade jewelry by ME!! http://www.etsy.com/shop/TweetsnTreats
Buy some of my photos! http://www.catsonkeyboards.com
"I've seen better acting from extras in Godzilla movies!" - Calculon
crittersplants
Mar 10, 2011 10:39 AM CST
Name: Critter #2
Pittsburgh, zone 5
You can call me Critter number 2.
You scared me away from BIG birds!
:0

But not from keets.
I had thought 30 years was the lovebirds' lifespan. Good to know it's shorter.
~~~ UNTIL ONE HAS LOVED AN ANIMAL, PART OF THEIR SOUL REMAINS UNAWAKENED ~~~

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