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Picture of small animalsHow to Share This Planet With The Animals...

Pet Rules for the Home ... plus Moving House and Bird flu precautions

Food, Drink and Neighbours

Whenever you go out ... even if you THINK you are only going to be a few hours, always leave out food and plenty of water.
You never know. You might be delayed due to an emergency. You may even have an accident yourself while you're out and have to go to hospital. As long as there is plenty of water and some food left out, then an animal can survive fairly comfortably for around 24 hours.
And don't forget a litter tray!
Make sure you always leave a set of keys with a trustworthy neighbour and carry their phone number with you at all times. So if for any reason you can't get home, your neighbour can feed your animal(s).

Keep your animals away from front gardens and roads

Many companion animal road deaths can be avoided if owners follow these simple rules below.
Your pets will respond to which location you will most commonly interact with them. So, to discourage your cat from hanging around in the front of your house never let him or her out through the front door. Train your cat to always use your rear door to get in and out of the house. That way they tend to establish most of its common territory at the rear of your house and away from the street. And when the cat wants to come in he or she will know that the only likely way in is through the back door.

Never leave your animals out at night (especially cats)

Cats and garden wildlife do not mix.
With so many species of birds declining each year it is vital that you take steps to control your cat's instinctive hunting activities. You obviously feed them so they don't even need to eat the animals and birds they catch. Cats just instinctively catch and kill other creatures, which they then leave un-eaten or else bring indoors as "presents".
In fact, it is estimated that in the UK, 300 million wild birds and mammals are killed by cats every year. Most of this carnage is caused after dark and during the early hours of dawn. If you have to keep cats as pets then take responsibility for their instinctive actions by keeping them indoors at night. Even when you let them out in the morning - keep an eye out as they are usually in the mood for hunting.
Regardless whether your cat is prone to catching birds or not, the bird population of your garden will decline simply by the presence of cats. Birds are forced to find other roosting and feeding spots and these are disappearing all the time.

Tip: If you have to introduce a cat into your garden environment then make sure you attach a loud bell to its (well elasticated) collar... this can help warn birds of the cat's approach.

Tip: During bird nesting season - after a windy night and BEFORE you let your cat out, walk around your garden in the morning to check for any young birds that may have been blown from nests. If you do find one, leave your cat in doors and in the meantime follow these steps:
Keep an eye on the young bird, but from a distance so that the parents can find it and aren't afraid to approach it. As long as the parents are aware, and are feeding the baby then that's a good sign. If the baby bird is quite featherless then it's more likely to be unable to cope in the long term. This may call for human intervention and the first thing to do is call your national animal rescue organization for advice (in the UK this is the RSPCA) However, if the young bird is a dove, blackbird, thrush, collared dove or a pigeon etc. and appears to have all its feathers but the parents are still nowhere to be seen (after many hours), do the following: Get a wire-framed hanging basket and line it with moss. hang the basket around 2.5 meters up in a tree, just under the canopy area which is out of direct rain. Make sure your "nest" can be seen, in case the parents have trouble finding it. Wearing outdoor gloves, approach the young bird from behind gently pick it up and place it in the home-made nest. Keep an eye on activity for the rest of the day. This procedure often works with larger birds and you'll find the young bird and its parents will happily adopt the nest. If after six or seven hours no parents are still nowhere to be seen, then take the bird to a bird rescue centre.

Tip: When you want to call in your animal (through your rear door) tap a fork against a tin of food or shake a box of cat/ dog biscuits. Before long they will begin to recognise the sound and come running each time! As a reward give them a couple of biscuits when they come in.

Another reason for keeping cats indoors at night is because more get run over by cars when it's dark than during daylight. This is because they explore a lot further in darkness, when they are hunting and investigating other territories (and subsequently chasing or being chased by other cats.

Tip: Always make sure you cat has an ID tag on its elasticated collar as well as an ID chip implant. The collar ID should show the animal's name, your surname, and your telephone number. Please make sure this is always up-to-date as many animals stray when they have moved to new homes.

Cat and Dog Theft.

An ever-growing reason for keeping your companion animals away from public reach is cat and dog theft. Thousands of pets go missing each year, literally snatched from their front gardens. One of the growing trends in an animal theft is ransom demands where thieves will ask for money in return for your animal.
Increased cat and dog theft is also suspected to be in direct connection for the demand of cat and dog fur used more frequently than ever in fashion. Although not legal in countries like the UK, there is a growing black market for domestic dog and cat pelts sourced from the UK and mainland Europe. However, the main source of cat and dog fur is from the far-east. (
more on this here)
Cats and dogs can also be taken by fighting and coursing gangs who tend to target a neighbourhood at a time (as do cat and dog fur traders). They grab as many animals as they can and then move on to another area. For example, cats are used to "train" fighting dogs whereby they are bagged and hung up for the dogs to savage them to death. If your cat goes missing ALWAYS report this to the police. If there are gangs operating in your neighbourhood the police need to take note of your loss to see if a pattern of thefts is emerging. If there is, then cat theft by gangs either for fur or fighting bait may more likely to be the cause. If the police appear to show a lack of interest in building up a "trend" report of incidents take the matter further via the media and search the internet for animal organisations who may be able to help. Alert and keep tuned in with your Neighborhood Watch group if a pattern of animal thefts is growing in your area.

Moving House.

If you are moving abroad make sure you choose a reputable pet travel company to help you. If necessary, buy a sturdy pet carrier. If you are moving locally, again make sure that you transport your cat in a pet carrier. To help calm a cat in a car, keep a thin dark sheet at hand to cover about 3/4 of the cage. Animals will generally feel calmer in dark spaces. Talk to the cat ocassionally and stay as near as you can to it ... it needs to hear the sound of your voice and catch your scent to feel secure.
Once you have moved to your new home, DO NOT let your animal outside for a few days. With cats, keep them in the house for at least 6 days and let them use a litter tray. With dogs, keep them on a leash even in the park etc., for the first few days, so they get used to their new neighbourhood when taking them for a walk. It is not uncommon for cats and dogs to attempt to find their way back to their old homes. Most never find them and hence become lost strays - but occasionally a few will succeed. (See VeggieGlobal's Amazing Tails) If you have only moved a short distance and your animal has disappeared, check your old neighbourhood and contact the new owners of your old home to ask them to keep a check because the animal may have found its way back there.
Only when you feel your cat is relaxing more in your new home should you allow it to venture outside - only in the back garden and preferably with a carefully tied piece of string attached to its collar (which must be elasticated). Slowly let the cat explore the garden with you, a few more minutes each day, until it feels that it has established its territory.
As mentioned before, please make sure your animal's ID tag / collar info is up-to-date as many animals stray when they have moved to new homes.

For specific advice on choosing to adopt an animal from a rescue organistion click here

Bird Flu Precautions

For a complete article, including updates relating to bird flu go to:
VeggieGlobal's Viewpoint - Animal Diseases for Dummies (opens seperate page)


Continue to >>> A Firework Code to help all Animals and Birds >>>

How To Share This Planet With The Animals - Menu



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