Who says the perfect pet has to be confined to the couch or bound by a leash? Backyard birds may be free to come and go as they please, but the relationship they share with bird watchers is still one of content companionship. The watcher offers succulent seeds and a quick bath, safely elevated from neighborhood cats. The bird offers song and his delightful presence as he flits from perch to perch. It’s a quiet relationship, warm and evenly reciprocated.
February is National Bird Feeding Month and, coincidentally, also a peak period for bird migration. The National Bird Feeding Society says that Congressman John Porter, in establishing the tradition in 1994, called February “one of the most difficult months in the United States for wild birds.” No doubt, the journey home for spring is a tedious one. Why not simplify the move and make a few feathered friends in the process? Besides, February affords many opportunities to see migratory birds not native to your area.
Here are some tips from the National Bird Feeding Society to help you get started:
- Black-oil sunflower seed is quite popular with most birds. The NBFS suggests placing these in a tubular feeder; sit back and watch the birds come in droves!
- Different seeds attract different species; play with combinations and see who turns up.
- Make your yard inviting and safe. In addition to feeders, provide birdhouses and baths. Attach a bell to your cat’s collar to warn birds, and always keep feeders clean.
Make sure your feeders are visible from the house–then sit back and enjoy the feathered congregation gathering right outside your window.
More and more, pet vaccinations are being seen as unnecessary. Animals have survived for years without human intervention, so why start now? Aren’t vaccinations just another way to glean money out of owner’s pockets? In these penny-pinching times, these are legitimate concerns. But vaccinating now could mean avoiding costly operations down the road. Moreover, your pet is a domesticated animal, not a feral one, and depends upon you, her human companion, for survival. Here are the basics of feline and canine vaccination (other pets also require vaccinations; consult your veterinarian for a vaccination schedule):
- Vaccines introduce a weaker form of a disease into your pet’s immune system, prepping it for stronger forms of the disease it might encounter later.
- Side effects are always a possibility but are rarely lethal. Your pet may be experiencing a side effect if he is running a fever, is vomiting, or has diarrhea.
- Don’t miss these! “Core” vaccinations are the standard for all cats and dogs.
Examples: parvovirus vaccine (for dogs), panleukopenia vaccine (for cats)
- “Non-core” vaccinations are not always crucial to your pet’s health and can be skipped (just ask your vet first!)
Examples: Canine Parainfluenza vaccine (for dogs), Bordetella bronciseptica vaccine
Vaccinations aren’t fun for your pet or your wallet, but they go a long way toward keeping her healthy and safe. Check with your vet to see if there are any non-core vaccinations you can shave off the roster. A few less expenses couldn’t be bad for your health either!
The holiday season is over, and now you’re left peering into a holly-jolly abyss: towers of refrigerated leftovers, ornaments behind the couch, a tree that has yet to be taken down. If you got a new pet for Christmas, your mess factor has probably doubled at least. So here’s a little something to add to your post-Christmas list: pet furniture covers.
Pet furniture protectors are a must, whether you’re the new owner of a rambunctious youngster or a seasoned adoptee. Claws will snag, fur will shed—it’s just a reality of pet parenthood, but a furniture protector will preserve your sofas, chairs, and loveseats. Look for a pet furniture cover that will accentuate your furniture, not cheapen it. Durability and stain resistance are also a must, if you intend to stay on good terms with your animal friend all year round!
Faux-suede polyester furniture protectors are ideal; they’re hardy and soil-resistant, yet palatial and soft to the touch. A box or diamond-quilted face breaks up an otherwise flat surface and provides interest, while muted colors and neutrals will complement any color scheme.
When choosing a pet furniture cover, keep your pet’s nature in mind. Is he small but hyperactive? Go with the Microfiber Non-Skid Protector or the Microplush Pet Furniture Cover with its longer back-flap to prevent sliding.
Is your pet so big she uproots normal protectors in one fell spring? Try the Microfiber Pet Furniture Cover with Tuck-In Flaps or the Ultimate Pet Furniture Cover with Straps. Straps serve the dual purpose of extra security as well as a more “finished” look.
Pet furniture covers can be both practical and luxurious, so think of them as a way to play up the beauty of your decor, not mask it. May the new year bring you less mess and nothing but happy times for you and your new four-legged companion.