Elliott

A week ago, I realized that Elliott was ill. First, he became very vocal. He followed me around meowing and looking at me expectantly. Soon I saw that he was frequenting his litter box with no results. It was Saturday afternoon and our vet’s office was closed so off we go, to Elliott’s chagrin, to the Emergency Vet Hospital. After several hours, an ultra sound and x-rays it was determined that he had a urinary problem. Duh.

They were unable to get urine for a test, but sent him home with antibiotics and pain medication. The fight was on. No amount of begging, force or tuna fish could get the meds down Elliott. He continued to struggle to pee and seemed pretty uncomfortable until Monday morning when we went to our own vet.

Here they were able to extract urine for a test. They found a small amount of blood, but no crystals which were expected. As we awaited the results of a urine culture we tried different antibiotics and still he would not take them. . . not forcefully, not disguised in food. Surprisingly he improved and started to void almost normally.

On Thursday the vet called to say there was no bacteria and not to worry about giving him the antibiotic. Well, Elliott had already made that decision on his own! After a long discussion with the vet we decided that his problem was stress due to the grief of losing Zoe, his housemate, a couple of weeks ago.

I knew that Elliott was a lover. He spends a lot of time on my lap and sleeps with me every night. I did not realize the bond that he had with Zoe. He always followed her around, but I, and she I think, believed it was more stalking than affection. She would hiss at him and he’d leave her alone for a bit. Now I think I was wrong. Elliott misses Zoe and the stress affected his urinary system which is not uncommon for cats.

So, here I am, almost $700 later with a sensitive boy missing his girl.

Zoe
Elliott
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Baby Birds

Helping Baby Birds

First, it is important to know it is illegal to injure or possess an indigenous bird. There are special facilities such as Raptor Rehab licensed to rehabilitate injured birds, but most veterinarians do not have the resources nor experience to handle injured wild birds.

When birds first leave the nest they are not fully able to fly and spend two or three days on or near the ground. Pet owners need to keep cats and dogs indoors during these sensitive nesting times.

What to do if you find a baby bird out of its nest:

First of all, determine whether or not the bird is injured. If it is not, make sure there are no animals nearby that might harm the bird. If a bird is found on the ground, gently replace it in its nest. It is not true bird parents will not care for a baby once it has been touched by a human.

If the nest is unsafe, place the bird in a small basket and nail the basket to the tree near the original nest, out of direct sunlight. If a basket is unavailable, a small plastic container with holes punched in the bottom to prevent drowning will do. From a distance keep an eye on the baby to see if the parents return. If they do not return in an hour call your local Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for help.

If the basket idea sounds far fetched to you, let me assure you it works. I have witnessed this successfully twice when my husband and later my daughter used a basket to save baby birds.

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If the bird is injured

  • Do not give the bird any food or water!
  • Prepare a small cardboard box by punching holes in the sides and top for ventilation
  • Gently place the bird on a towel or soft cloth in the box and place the box in a dry warm spot
  • Call your nearest DNR or rehabilitation center

Source: Raptor Rehabilitation of Kentucky, Inc.

“Everyone likes birds. What wild creature is more accessible to our eyes and ears, as close to us and everyone in the world, as universal as a bird?”                          David Attenborough

Photos by Pixabay

Katie & The Bird

Katie, a seven-year-old felt maternal for the half-naked starling that fell out of the sky and into her life one Saturday afternoon. Twenty-four hours later the bond was solid. Every thirty minutes or so she cautiously poked a hamburger “worm” down his throat with a tiny stick. He chirped, Katie poked. When Katie’s parents arrived the next morning they knew church was out of the question. There was no point in going to Sunday School to learn about kindness and love if you were required to leave one of God’s helpless creatures alone and without food for hours. As Katie proudly demonstrated her ability as a surrogate everyone was impressed by her expertise, especially Aunt Dianne.

After the people lunch it was again time for Bird to eat. Katie went outside to the specially prepared box to find it empty. The whole family searched and searched the yard looking under every structure and bush. Katie, though very quiet, was picturing all the harm that could come to a weak little bird. Daddy said, “Well, it wasn’t a cat, there are no feathers around.” Pop said, “I bet Bird was adopted by a Robin. I’ve seen Robins take care of orphaned birds.” Aunt Dianne said, “You took such good care of him, Katie, he was probably strong enough to fly away.” Grandmother related a story of Mommy’s beagle which disappeared without a trace and how Grandmother had always thought pleasant thoughts of his maverick adventure.

Mommy walked silently beside Katie as they continued to search all around in the ninety-five-degree heat and all the while afraid of what they might find. Finally, all the places had been explored and the disappointed family returned inside to the chilly air-conditioned kitchen. The grown-ups went back to their places at the table to cool off with some iced tea. Katie silently walked up the stairs to her own private space in Grandmother and Pop’s house. She entered the special room with all her Beanie Babies and other favorite stuffed animals who didn’t require feeding and she lay on her bed thinking of Bird out in the hot sun. Where could he be? Just as tears began to run down her cheeks she felt someone else’s weight on the bed with her. Without opening her eyes, she knew exactly who it would be. Mommy began to rub Katie’s back with the same love and tenderness with which Katie had cared for Bird. Without many words, Mommy assured Katie she, too, felt sad for Bird and was very concerned about the real dangers the big world might hold for such a little creature. They lay quietly on the bed for a long time.

Although there was no answer to the mystery of where Bird was, Katie wanted to be brave so she and Mommy eventually went back down the stairs to rejoin Grandmother’s birthday party. Katie and Mommy went to their car together to get Grandmother’s present and walked gingerly back around the house, still very quiet. As Katie stepped onto the patio she heard “chirp, chirp, chirp!” and under the shade of one of Grandmother’s big herb pots stood Bird impatiently demanding food.

Written 6/29/98

BIRD

April in March

April in March

How many of you have been watching the live cam covering a pregnant giraffe named April? April lives in Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, NY. The caretakers at the park are unsure of April’s due date, but they had expected the baby to be born toward the end of February. It is reported millions of people are watching, not including Elliott, one of my cats, seen here in my lap in the office. 
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Since I was a little girl, I have loved giraffes. There is something so graceful about the way they walk on those skinny legs while balancing a six foot long neck. The intricate patterns on their skin appear random yet artistically fashioned.  

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While I am ambivalent about zoos, I do visit one every few years and giraffes are the main attraction for me. They can usually be seen from far away, small heads bobbing forward as they slowly walk about their enclosure.

There are several types of giraffes with quite different skin patterns and they come from various geographic regions. I am not going to waste your time with scientific information, because it’s all on the Internet for review or enlightenment. I also will refrain from discussing hunting, species endangerment or captivity although these are worthwhile subjects. 

Today, I just want to share some fun, in case you are not already a part of the vigil. April is an experienced Mom pregnant with her fourth calf. She is fifteen years old, but her Baby Daddy is only five.  You can see Oliver in the stall next to April watching over her attentively. Elliott and I have been observing them for about ten days. I carry the laptop into the room where I am working, or eating or enjoying visitors. In the living room a few nights ago, Elliott monitored the situation while I watched TV. 

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We are familiar with the routine of seeing the stalls swept out, hay delivered into the baskets high up on the walls, vets and other workers patting April and giving her treats by hand. Some viewers have reported seeing the baby moving in Mom’s big abdomen and even a mouse scurrying about the floor after lights out. We have missed both of those occurrences, but I have noticed her abdominal girth seems to be growing larger. One thing is sure, this waiting will come to an end and hopefully it will result in a healthy baby likely to weigh in at around 150 pounds, culminating the fifteen month pregnancy. I certainly hope this birth does not occur while we are sleeping. 

So if you aren’t already on board, please join Elliott, me and a million others, including my family and nature loving friends. There are several sites available, but the official Park cam is at http://www.aprilthegiraffe.com

Please share thoughts if you become a “March April Watcher”. 


“Those who wish to pet and baby wild animals ‘love’ them. But those who respect their natures and wish to let them live normal lives, love them more.”  Edwin Way Teale

 

Theme photo by Pixabay