The ASPCA conducted a telephone survey in July this year of people who had received their pets, whether they knew about it or not, as a present. Surprisingly, many owners claimed that their affection for their pet increased or had no bearing over whether they received the pet as a gift. Furthermore, around 86 percent of pets are still residing with their owners until they have passed away which is on par with people who acquired their pets through other means (i.e. adoption, purchase from breeder/pet store).
Ever come into the proximity of a cat and suddenly started sneezing and your eyes began swelling up? Well you may be allergic to cats! What a travesty! But what causes cat allergies exactly? People have long held the belief that it was a cat's hair that made them allergic. However, it is in fact a protein your cat produces called Felis Domesticus 1 (Fel D1) which is the culprit! We investigate why this is the case.
First of all, let's have a quick overview of a person's immune system when they suffer an allergic reaction. If a person whose body's immune system considers an allergen (i.e. pet dander, pollen) they come into contact with as an 'invader', the body reacts by producing an antibody called immunologbulin E (IgE). IgE adheres to other immune cells (i.e. basophils and mast cells) which, in turn, makes them release inflammatory chemicals such as histamines. These chemicals causes the symptoms one would normally associate with allergies such as asthma, wheezing and increased nasal discharge.
For people allergic to cats, Felis Domesticus 1 (Fel D1), is the allergen responsible for triggering the reaction. Fel D1 is a protein that is secreted by your cat's sebaceous glands in their skin and found in your cats' saliva and urine. When Fel D1 is secreted it becomes mainly attached to dead skin cells, commonly referred to as cat dander, on your cat. Like humans, cats shed their dander continuously which enables the Fel D1 to spread easily throughout the furniture, beds, carpets in the house (and outdoors). What makes matters worse is that cat dander can remain airborne for up to several hours which allows Fel D1 to proliferate into other areas (schools, office buildings etc) where cats do not normally reside. Furthermore, considering cats love to groom themselves by licking, they can transfer Fel D1 to their fur as well! Double whammy!!
Pondering if you are allergic to cats? These list of symptoms may assist you:
Ever forgot to finish a school assignment on time and claimed your dog ate your homework? This excuse is the oldest trick in the book and probably nowadays your teacher would expect a better excuse then that! Although... what happens if your dog did in fact eat your homework? This actually happened to Payton Moody whose pet laborador, Reggie, decided to take it upon himself to consume her entire Science project.
Budgerigar, Budgie, Parakeet
Budgerigar's actually originated in Australia over 5 million years ago and are found throughout the mainland (exception of East Coast, north of the Northern Territory, Tasmania and far south west). Flocks, which can range from 3 to the tens of thousands (huge difference... yes), usually reside in mangroves and grassy plains. They are never located far from a water source.
To distinguish between a male and female, you need to analyse the colour of the cere (the area containing the nostrils). Before reaching maturity (at six months), a budgies' cere is pink in colour which makes it difficult to figure out whether they are male or female. Some breeders claim that if the cere is more of a purple pink tinge, then it is highly likely that the bird is male. Furthermore, if there is a subtle, chalky whiteness around the nostrils then the budgie is possibly female. Other ways to distinguish the sexes is by analysing their behaviour (boy budgies are generally more boisterous and lively) and their head shape. When budgies have reached maturity their cere's become either royal blue (male) or pale brown to white or brown (female).
Budgies are easy to handle, active and very social. These birds are really interested in their surrounding environment and are keen explorers. Although they love the company of humans, they are perfectly fine being left to their own devices. If you want to form strong ties with your budgie, it is preferable not to acquire more than one. If you have a few budgerigars they are less likely to interact with humans and more with each other.
It is imperative to exercise your parakeet daily in order to keep them healthy. If you have a budgie that is in a cage, we suggest letting them fly around the room under careful supervision for a couple of hours a day. This allows them to stretch out and flex their wings.
Budgies are very intelligent and can be easily trained to talk. When you first acquire your budgie, simply speak to him/her in a warm and comforting voice to gain his/her confidence. After your budgie is used to your presence, start regularly expressing a word or phrase over and over again to him/her. In a few days or months, your budgie should start saying the word or phrase back to you. Cute eh?
The commercial budgie food available at the supermarket is usually comprised of just seeds which is not enough for a growing pet budgie! We recommend to regularly feed your budgie fresh fruit and vegetables such as leafy greens, pears and apples. It is also advisable to feed them cuttle fish as it is is a good source of calcium and a perfect treat to nibble on from time to time. Simply clip the cuttlefish to the side of your budgies cage (powdery side facing up) for easy access.
Budgies need regular fresh water (especially in the Summer). Depending on where your budgie is located, such as an outdoors aviary or in the house, it is extremely important to keep an eye on their water tray so they do not get dehydrated!
The positive aspect about budgies is that they are not expensive in comparison to other popular birds (Cuckatoo's or McCaws). You could buy one from your local pet shop for $25.
Are budgies an ideal pet for you?
Budgerigars are perfect for first time pet owners of any age group, especially for families with small children. They are relatively low maintenance birds and their upkeep is not a financial burden. Since they are quite petite, they can be housed in any dwelling i.e. apartments, houses, caravans. Their light hearted and clever personality will definitely be a hit in any household!