How to Train a Cat to Do What You Want

Cats are fickle creatures.  They spend most of their time sleeping or begging for food.  They like warm spots.  Sometimes they hunt your feet, and they spend most of their time pretending to ignore you.  Today, I’m going to teach you how to train a cat to do what you want.  Anytime, anywhere, any behavior.

Cats aren’t all that different from dogs.  They find motivation in the same places: food and play.  You’re going to learn how to motivate your cat, how to explain what you want, and how to get her coming back for more.

Continue reading

Feral Cat Care: How to Care for Feral Cats

Feral cats are a double-edged sword.  Many people consider them vermin, but once a population has settled into an area, odds are feral cats will remain indefinitely, even if the initial group is killed.  Good habitat will be invaded by a new population.  You’ll learn how to care for a feral cat colony, what kinds of environments feral cats live in, and how to prevent the formation of feral cat colonies.

Continue reading

6 Important Betta Care Tips

If you haven’t read my full biography, you might not know that I currently can’t keep most pets.  Yep.  My significant other and child are both deathly allergic to all things furry or feathery or that require any sort of bedding.  I do have hopes of keeping pets again in the future, but our living situation doesn’t allow it.

So, we now have fish.  Well, a fish.  His name is Scooby Doo (not named by me) and he’s a betta, or Siamese fighting fish.  Bettas are beautiful little fish.  They are complete and utter jerks to other bettas, but delicate when housed with almost any other aggressive species.

These betta care tips will keep them thriving for years instead of months.

Continue reading

The Ultimate New Guinea Pig Supply List

The kids want a pet for Christmas.  They asked for a pony, and you settled on guinea pigs.  I’ve already addressed why guinea pigs make awesome pets, so the only question left is what you need to take care of them.  This is my ultimate new guinea pig supply list.  Everything on this list is essential to guinea pig care and keeping.

Make sure to purchase everything, and set it up, before bringing your pigs home.  (Guinea pigs must be kept in same-sex pairs or groups, and adult males may never accept a companion.)  Your guinea pigs prefer to settle in their home, not their carrying case.

Beds & Bedding

  • Cage – Guinea pigs need a safe cage. If you have cats or dogs, the cage must have a lid for their safety. Otherwise, they can only jump a few inches and do not climb, so a low wall is sufficient. If the walls are high, the guinea pig should be able to see out of them. This is why I love the Midwest Habitat Plus cage. It has 8 square feet of floor space, and all the parts are replaceable.
  • Bedding – Guinea pigs need some sort of substrate. Any bedding needs to be changed regularly (the more frequent the better). Wood shavings are extremely dusty but sufficient. They can also be housed on rabbit pellets, but these are both dusty and expensive if you aren’t a breeder. Many owners are now using Fleece Liners as bedding. Change the liner every other day, pop it in the washer, and reuse.
  • Hideout – As a prey species, guinea pigs feel most comfortable in a safe house. While they love new hideouts (soda can boxes are a favorite), having a consistent hide helps them feel secure. The Pigloo is a popular choice.

Food & Feeding

  • Basic Diet Pellets – Guinea pigs can eat basic guinea pig pellets or rabbit pellets. They need a version that does not have dried fruit or seeds in it, as they are not made to eat seeds or hard chunks and can choke. The Kaytee brand makes a series of excellent pellets.
  • Hay – Guinea pigs also require free-fed hay. Like horses, they need to constantly eat hay to maintain a proper digestive system. Different kinds of hay have different nutrients, and alfalfa hay can cause kidney stones. Use Timothy Hay for optimal health.
  • Fruits & Veggies – Guinea pigs need a fresh source of Vitamin C daily. Ideally, feed them fresh veggies daily (colored bell peppers are a popular choice). You can also use Vitamin C drops. Keep an eye on their expiration date, and keep them in a cupboard because they do degrade over time.
  • Dishes – Guinea pigs need a source for hay, pellets, and water. Using a manger-style feeder keeps hay and pellets off the ground. Don’t try to use a bowl for water, they just make a mess. Use a water bottle instead.

Grooming & Hygiene

  • Nail Clippers – Guinea pig toenails and teeth grow constantly throughout their lives. A good set of nail clippers keeps both at an acceptable length.
  • Brush – Some breeds of guinea pig have long hair. They may need their hair brushed regularly (at least twice a week). A basic slicker brush and comb will keep their hair clean.

Return to Guinea Pig Homepage

Seven Reasons Your Cat Won’t Use the Litter Box

Most people keeping cats desperately fear the day their cat won’t use the litter box.  Thousands of cats find themselves homeless after refusing to use the litterbox and instead urinating or defecating in any number of places.  Many cats choose the bed, or the laundry.  Others choose the bathtub, or defecate just outside the box itself.

Sometimes their owners don’t even know that they’ve stopped using the box–they just smell an odor and eventually find a mess.  Maybe they punish the cat–but the cat has no idea why.  The cat had a specific reason for refusing the box, and punishing only means they must try harder to hide their mess.

Most cats stop using the box for one of these major reasons.  Most problems resolve quickly if treated quickly.

Continue reading

How To Stop Your Cat From Scratching Furniture

Cats scratch furniture, and unfortunately most humans hate this particular trait.  Many cats lose their claws as a result of this very natural behavior, when retraining and rearranging the household could prevent almost all furniture destruction.

As with many other behavior issues, getting ahead of the problem is key to solving it.  A cat that’s been allowed to scratch the couch for years (because it’s old) will have trouble learning not to scratch the new couch.  But cats learn quickly what they may and may not scratch, and the solution to scratching is easy.

 

Continue reading

Comparing Exotic Pets

Congrats!  Maybe you’re here because you’ve decided to add the first exotic pets to the family, or maybe you just saw some cute baby gerbils on the Internet and want to learn more.  I’m here to outline the top five rodents kept as pets, their differences and similarities, and how to choose the right species for your family.

The top five species of rodents have strongly differing characteristics.  Gerbils are energetic, hamsters nocturnal.  Mice are friendly, guinea pigs not very bright, and rats are highly intelligent.  Each requires a different perspective on pet ownership, but all entertain in their own way.

Petlosopher | Guinea Pig | Fancy Rat | Fancy Mouse | Gerbil | Hamster | Keeping | Choosing Small Pets for Kids | Small Pets for Teens |

Continue reading