Happy New Year! Webpage updated!

Hello all!

I decided, over the past few days, to do some major updates on the rational parrot webpage. The following new pages have been added:

Toys: Why they’re important, where to get them, and how to teach parrots to play with them.

The following old pages have been updated:

About Us: Updated to include pictures of all parrots. Bios to come next.

Main Page: All main page links now go to pages with details on what’s provided inside, including what is and is not completed.

Enjoy and Happy New Year!

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The continued Warmy Bed Saga.

A month ago, we purchased a heated cat bed for our small herd of oriental shorthairs.

And then, there was a sadly foreseen tragedy. The warmy bed had a seam in the foam around the edge, and someone decided to eat a hole in the bed. This may have been related to Deuce’s attempt to bring the warmy bed upstairs, or some other cat’s desire to generally wreak havoc upon our household. Regardless, the warmy bed could not stay as it was.

But once you’ve introduced a warmy bed to your household, it cannot be taken away. That would be cat cruelty. We came up with a short term warmy bed to prevent the cats from mutiny while we designed a new one. It was a basket, with a rug and a towel, but it was not adequate. It was not soft enough, nor big enough, nor warm enough.

We designed a new warmy bed, and debuted it last night. It is a wooden frame with two cushions inside, one of foam, and one pillow like, with a larger heater in between. It may be acceptable.

Nemo demonstrates the general size of the warmy bed.

Which of course does not prevent the chocolate trio from squishing into the corner.

Nemo believes everyone should stop and appreciate his utter awesomeness.

Youngsmile still loves her fake kitten even as Deuce matures.

The pile of cats, save for Nemo.

Youngsmile is ALWAYS squished up somewhere, and Jelly and Deuce are almost always cuddling together. They make a very cute pair.

After a couple of hours of warmy bed availability, I came back to find this. I love Deuce’s half asleep expression, and the fascinating mix of the two chocolate girl’s bodies in the centre.

From a different angle.

I think I could make several dozen blog posts on the different orientations of cats in the warmy bed. This was the next set, four out of five.

Because five was here, in her official place, being the Lap Stripey.

If I don’t post again before then, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Posted in Cats, Deuce, Jellylorum, Macavity, Nemo, Youngsmile | 2 Comments

High Tea (April 3rd, 2003 – December 3rd, 2014)

In June of 2003, we went to Petsmart to buy food for my small herd of cats. There, we saw this small, ridiculously coloured little parrot. I read the label under his cage and discovered he was a sun conure. Since I had absolutely no idea what a sun conure was (other than probably something vaguely parrot like), I bought a book. The book told me that in no way whatsoever did I want to move a sun conure and their intense screaming into my apartment (the top floor of a Victorian house). I researched, I went and visited other parrots, and we kept coming back to see that little parrot at Petsmart.

He came home a few weeks later. We took him to the avian vet that we found, who told us that he was covered in stress bars and had a raging yeast infection. That the food he was eating was terrible, and we needed to fix that.

We fixed all of it. I taught (accidentally!) him to scream for attention and to bite me. Unteaching those behaviours is what set me on the path I am now.

He became a beautiful, social, delightful parrot.

Two days ago, he was acting completely normal, eating his food, playing, being his usual self.

Yesterday, he was normal when I woke them up in the morning. In the late afternoon, when I came to play with the little parrots, he was still normal. An hour later, his abdomen was visibly swollen, and he could barely stand up.

He died in the arms of the people who loved him. He bucked the trend of most parrots, in that he had one home his entirely far too short life. The gross necropsy shows that he had an abdominal tumour that ruptured. Nothing we could have done.

There’s an empty cage in my basement and a hole in my heart. Good bye Tiny Tea Monster.

Posted in High Tea, Parrots | 2 Comments

The Saga of the Warmy Bed.

There’s a large number of creatures in my household who are very displeased that we live in a cold place. Strangely enough, the generally tropical birds aren’t any of them. However, the cats and the doberman are certain, every time winter comes around, that they’re going to freeze to death instantly in our completely reasonably heated and insulated home.

Noire handles this with a myriad quantity of jackets. The cats, though, they just had to freeze. Until now. We purchased a heated cat bed, and well, you can see how it went over.

We plugged it in (of course we’re giving up kitchen counter space for a heated cat bed, the fact that you would possibly think otherwise is insane), and over the next hour, the quantities of Orientals piling up in the bed was impressive.

First, the girls checked it out to see if it was okay.

A few moments later, I looked over, and our trio of gourmet chocolate truffles (all three of them are genetically chocolate coloured, just with different patterns) had decided it seemed okay.

Deuce has grown a bit too, huh? Wait until you see the end pictures, this was taken at the beginning of the month.

Add in one Macavity (who is, in fact, the greatest fan of the warmy bed, and is almost always in there).

And here you have it, the entire five Oriental cats in our household all crammed into a 20″ in diameter heated cat bed.

Sometimes, the only way you can figure out which part goes with which cat is that they’re all so differently coloured.

Every day, you get a different combination of cats in the bed. This one is missing Youngsmile.

In fact, we have an entire group of pictures of cats without Youngsmile for reasons you will see later. Here, Macavity grooms his buddy.

Everyone sort of looks at the camera.

Deuce still looks like a ridiculous kitten, but he’s growing up.

Sometimes, it’s best to sleep on your sister.

What was Youngsmile doing during all of this? She was assisting us with making pillows for our daybed (the final library update of newly painted room will be posted once we finish making all six pillows. #4 will be done tonight).

She is SO HELPFUL. Also, she turned 5 at the beginning of November. She’s such a great cat, and we’re so happy to have her… most of the time. When you’re trying to sew, and she’s having love crisis, it’s a touch more challenging. At least she’s beautiful. :)

She’s also teaching bad habits to her fake kitten.

Deuce will be seven months old tomorrow, and is coming into his own both physically and in personality. His newest trick is to climb up onto people and begin purring so loudly that you must stop everything and pet him. He doesn’t want to be in laps, he wishes to be carried around and petted and worshipped as is his due.

We oblige, of course.

If you don’t do what he says, he yells at you. (Okay, if you do what he says, he also yells at you. Yelling is not optional with Deuce.)

Good thing he’s so sweet. He’s growing up to be a gorgeous boy too. I can’t wait to return to cat showing in February.

Posted in Cats, Deuce, Jellylorum, Macavity, Nemo, Youngsmile | 5 Comments

Yup, fell behind on pictures again.

Whee. I’m up to my eyeballs in pictures and have not yet managed to post any of them. Life continues to be fun and exciting, full of rapidly cooling weather, work, cat shows, pet care, and all the rest.

But I do have some excellent pictures to share!

Back in early October, we painted our library and purchased a new day bed and made what is possibly the coziest room ever. Since then, this scene has been re-enacted a few times.

Also this one, which includes all five Orientals, and the forever heat loving doglet.

I love Jelly so much, even when she flops down on my face, and then looks at me perplexedly when I start laughing so hard I am crying.

Then, a couple of weeks later, we went back to a cat show, our last one of the year, and grabbed a few pictures there. Jelly didn’t get to go, thanks to some head scratches, so we brought Mac, Y, and Deuce.

Before the cat show, as usual, cats got bathed and warmed up in front of the fireplace and frantically covered themselves with cat spit again.

Macavity got his second title at this show, making himself now Champion and Premier SiamJewels Macavity.

Deuce also did much, much better and was very calm and well behaved in the ring. He was always thrilled to be handled, but not enthused to be behind bars. Turkey and cheese (one piece before going in, one piece after coming out) made it 100% better. Cheese fixes everything.

Deuce is so pretty. He’s growing up to be a beautiful cat. This was his last show as a kitten, his debut as a Champion will be in February at our next show.

Youngsmile may be almost 5, but she plays with the best of the kittens.

Deuce in his only final of the day, looking noble. Or something.

This is mostly what happens at cat shows — cats snuggling. People constantly ask if Deuce and Youngsmile are mother and son, and are shocked to find out they’re completely unrelated.

And finally, for this picture dump, some random odds and ends.

My typical working environment. (Jelly’s cone is to deal with her head scratching, we’ve finally gotten it under control, but she kept trying to get infected thanks to scratching.)

Doglet is such a sweet, lovely dog, but perhaps not entirely right in the head.

And finally, remember to pack your Good Food wherever you go.

Wheeeee!

Posted in Cat shows, Cats, Deuce, Dogs, Jellylorum, Macavity, Nemo, Noire, Youngsmile | Leave a comment

Training goals: October 2014

I have a bunch of posts previously on training goals, and then I stopped updating. But there is decidedly some news on the subjects!

Goals from May:

1) Diet.

Done, done, done. It’s been months since all three of my newest parrots have been eating the same healthy diet as the rest of my birds. As usual, I meal feed when I transition them, and it’s easy as pie, just takes a while. So that one’s off the list.

2) Feather destruction.

When Tlalli came home, she had nearly full feathers, but the texture of the feathers themselves was very poor and felt like straw, due to lack of showers and a very poor diet. She also spent at least 30 – 40% of her time visibly destroying her feathers, and her feather quality diminished immensely. From pictures of her from her previous owner, she’s been chewing her feathers for at least 2 – 3 years.

Gotcha day:

March 2014:

April 2014:

May 2014:

We had her checked over by the vet, changed her diet, taught her to play with toys (she particularly loves chewing tiny pieces of straws, which she doesn’t eat, but methodically goes over in the same way as her eating her feathers), and gave her baths.

Here’s what she looks like today.

Obviously, she’s not completely done. She’s got many feathers still to replace, and she may barber some still. Her new feathers, however, are soft, unmarked, and are deeper red with a better texture. I haven’t seen her destroy a feather in forever, nor are we finding feather particles on her stand or in her cage, which is an excellent sign for a beautifully feathered parrot in the future. We’d love her beyond belief no matter what, but I have hopes that this will be a habit of the past.

3) Cohabitation.

When we first put them together, Tlalli and Theo seemed fine together. Theo was a little uncertain, but Tlalli was pretty happy about it. And then, after a little while, Tlalli started displaying and lunging at Theo more. I figured out (thankfully quickly enough) that my going over to check on them when she lunged at Theo was extremely reinforcing to her, enough that her lunging and screaming increased. So I started ignoring that, and rewarding both of them for good behaviour, including approaching each other, doing training sessions together, etc.

Tlalli lived in the big cage (an eight foot long, four foot wide, six foot tall cages by design cage) during this time, and Theo lived in a ‘macaw cage’ sized cage. They came out together almost every day, as long as both parties wanted (both macaws had a few days where they decided they’d rather stay in their cages, which is a completely acceptable choice in this household).

Six days ago, on October 2nd, I decided it was time to see if it would work again, and carefully put them in the same cage, then stayed downstairs for the next several hours and watched them.

They’ve been living together ever since. Neither are particularly enthused about each other yet, but Theo’s loving having the big cage, and both parties think that me rewarding them for moving towards each other is pretty okay.

Once we clean things up and rearrange it for her significantly smaller size, Keela will be moving into Theo’s old cage, going from a 24″ by 24″ to something like 42″ by 30″, which she will use every molecule of.

Not as much progress with Cin and Keela, and close to zero progress with Ky and Cody, but time will tell. The additional couple that I’m working on is Tea and Radish, which will be interesting to see if that ever happens.

4) Flight training.

Tlalli: Tons of encouragement for flapping wings has increased her stamina immensely, as well as worked to build muscle. I’m working on acquiring decent training perches that can manage her weight (and will rig something up with camera tripods shortly), and then we’ll start working on hopping and flapping. That should be fun. On one hand, I’d love to give her more ability to move around. On the other hand, I’m completely aware that she’s going to spend 100% of her time trying to get into my lap. Oh well. :)

Keela: Man, Keela is an excellent little flier. Her recall skills are improving after some work to get her more comfortable going onto and off of hands. She’ll do a short 1 – 2 foot flight on cue, and is now more regularly taking off and doing a loop of the room. We will increase this and see how it goes.

Cody, alas, is going back to remedial work because although he flies very well, he likes to use his wings to try to attack other parrots. So we’ve clipped his wings for now so that the better fliers can get away more easily, and we’ll work on that first.

Now that I’ve updated you on the previous goals, here are the ones for next time:

1) Feather destruction.
2) Co-habitation.
3) Flight training….

And:

4) Trick training. I’m working on a number of tricks with several parrots, and once I get them down, I’ll tell you what they are and probably show you video. :)

That’s it for now!

Posted in Akeelah, Cody, Parrots, Tlalli, Training goals | Leave a comment

Oh the catting (and okay dogs) we will have!

Hi everyone! Nope, not dead yet. And filled to the brim with posts and pictures to update, just haven’t thanks to shows, life, and other fun things.

This will be the first of three update posts that will come over the next few days. Here, ladies and gents, we have cats, in which I’m afraid Deuce may grow before your eyes. :)

First things first. At our last cat show, Premier Siam Jewels Jellylorum became Grand Premier Siam Jewels Jellylorum, having beat 75 other premiers to her grand title. But no, she’s not done — in the Canadian Cat Association, there are a whole slew of potential title additions: Grand, Double Grand, Master Grand, Supreme Master Grand. I fully intend to show Jelly to Supreme Master Grand Premier, because that is a title that adequately expresses her personality. :)

Here’s a quick cell phone snap from that show, of her with Terry Farrell, one of the judges.

Now, back to the household! These pictures will be roughly in the order I took them, so that you can watch Deuce shift from a 4 month old cat to a 5 month old cat. :)

With one glaring exception, so that I can show off who is who. :)

From October the 1st, the whole lineup of Oriental cats. From left to right:

Ch. Siam Jewels Macavity (aka Mac)
Siam Jewels Doppelganger (aka Deuce)
Just Oriamese Captain Nemo (aka Nemo)
MGCH & Pr. Bestcats Yesterday’s Youngsmile (Stripey, Y, Smiley, other nicknames as needed)
GPR. Siam Jewels Jellylorum (aka Jelly, the Hater).

Yes, they look like this all the time. :)

Using my time machine, back to September and the microwave cats! I assume their constant love of being in the microwave is related to the fact that I frequently cook bacon in there. Or Orientals are just weird. Hard to say.

Now that fall has come (and it’s come with a vengence, it’s cold here!), the fireplace is back in play, and cats (and dogs with no fur) are back in front of it.

I’m working from home these days, which means that generally, any time anyone takes a picture over my shoulder, some cat is in my lap. At present, it’s Macavity. In this picture, it was Deuce, all full of giant ears.

Dogs on couch, one relatively normal (as much as you get if you’re a poodle), one completely not. By the way, during this time of No Pictures, Crow also turned 9, making our two puppies 9 and 7 years old. Hard to believe.

Deuce would like you to know that he’s long, has a spotty belly, and also appreciates heat.

He can almost always be found in some variety of cat pile — with Youngsmile, for example.

Or Y and Nemo (these three together are the three Oriental tabby cats we have — cream mackerel tabby, chestnut silver ticked tabby, and chocolate lynx point).

You might think, ‘Huh, Noire’s face looks a little odd in this picture. Surely it’s just the angle.’ No. Noire decided that after eating an entire pharmacy worth of pills, she would celebrate by eating a wasp. She had a fun day with her face all swollen up. Nemo helped.

Proving that we tend to like animals that are special in some fashion, in the next run of pictures, you may notice that Deuce has a scabby ear. He had a tumble on the stairs and banged himself up a few days ago. He’ll be fine. His brain may not exist, but that’s irrelevant if you’re pretty enough. ;)

In other household news, we painted and furnished our library, which will get its own post with pictures. As part of that furnishing, we bought a daybed to go in there, which is the best place ever to nap with cats, as proven by the next pictures.

Where, you might ask, is Jelly? Jelly was in the kitchen explaining to me that food trumps nap, and that I should share my lunch with her.

Deuce decided that because he had fallen down and hurt himself, he needed some love from his mother, and since she wasn’t there, he’d take his adopted mother, Youngsmile. Yes, he’s trying to nurse. Yes, she let him.

Then they had a cuddle.

In the meantime, Jelly took up one of the intermittent sunbeams and used it to show how beautiful her blue eyes are.

It was a very brief sunbeam, so she’ll just have to settle for being beautiful while cuddling with Mac. (Four cats in this picture, if you can spot them all.)

And… that’s it for now! As you can see, the cats are doing very well. Our final cat show of the year will be in a few weeks, and then we’ll settle in for the winter and re-emerge in February, with Deuce as an adult.

Posted in Cat shows, Cats, Crow, Deuce, Dogs, Jellylorum, Macavity, Nemo, Noire, Youngsmile | Leave a comment

Heavily cat centric few days here.

There is, of course, the gloriousness of Deuce, who is sweet, demanding, loud, obnoxious, and all of the wonder of Oriental kittens, with giant ears and a purr so loud you can hear it across the room. He’s living free range in the house now, more or less ignores the dogs, and is generally as wonderful as you can imagine.

There’s another cat around here too that you may recall. Yes, indeed, Macavity is healed up from his neuter and back around the house, a little sex crazed still, but rapidly calming down with the lack of hormones.

The kitten thinks he’s pretty nice.

Yes, my house is filled to overflowing with baskets.

Baskets filled with cats. Mac looks very smug here.

Deuce loves everyone though. Even his evil half-sister.

Photo bomb of ridiculously wet macaw.

Times two!

Back to cats!

Y says she likes the kitten too, but I didn’t get any pictures of them together.

Doglet says she is WAY better than a kitten. Also, we went to the vet for her last checkup today, and she is 100% cured after her pill popping adventure. We are very, very happy with this, and must pause here to note that if anyone’s in the Brampton/Caledon area who needs a great vet, Cheltenham Veterinary Centre is beyond amazing.

Crow says that he didn’t eat any pills, and he needs to go to the groomer, but he still is worth photographing.

Yesterday, I looked up to find this in the cat tree. Can you spot all four? (Hint: Nemo and Jelly on top, Deuce in front, Mac in back).

Number 5 was lap surfing until I rudely got up.

But there are other cats too in this cat centric post. Remember these two? (Hint: They were significantly smaller.)

Yup, our found kitten buddies returned to visit us. Now known as Noir and Rouge, they’re living with some friends not far from us. We took them to the vet to get vaccines, and thus got to visit for a day. (Yes, I know Noir’s eye is squinty — he managed to tear his third eyelid. He’ll be fine, the flap is already mostly removed.)

They are doing so well — they are tame, happy, social and act more or less exactly like cats who are human socialized from birth. Their new people have done wonderfully with them.

They’ve also grown a bit. A touch. At twelve weeks old, they look like this… and they weigh nearly as much combined as Nemo does.

They still love Uncle Nemo though.

They’re not quite as sure how they feel about Uncle Macavity though.

Deuce, though, is POSITIVE how he feels about the kittens… hateful. He’s loved every cat in our house so far, but apparently that only works if they’re Orientals. If they’re strange cats with round heads and short ears, it’s completely not okay.

He’s probably also offended that they’re larger than he is, and six weeks younger.

It was great having them visit, but eight cats in the house was a bit much. :) I’m glad they went back home to their people and their dog.

Posted in Cats, Crow, Deuce, Dogs, Fosters, Jellylorum, Macavity, Nemo, Noire, Youngsmile | Leave a comment

Life slowly returns to normal.

Which is the polite way of saying you’ll see lots of cat, dog, and parrot pictures in this post.

After five days of hospitalization and one day of at home fluids, Noire’s kidney values have returned to normal. She’s got at least nine lives, that dog. We’ve got one more recheck at the vet next week, but she’s cleared to return to normal life. Pro tip: Avoid having your dog eat pills.

Deuce is settling in nicely, as you will shortly see, and has upgraded to free range of the house save when he’s eating. Macavity is still mostly sequestered (much to his dismay) to help him heal without the helpful licking of his friends. He will probably be coming out to live with the rest tomorrow or Monday.

Now onto pictures!

Playing with Uncle Nemo.

Y does not approve. Deuce does not care.

Oh, what’s this? Not a kitten, but a big flappy bird.

Parrot AND kitten. Kitten thinks parrot is pretty terrifying. I can’t really disagree with that assessment. (Hint: Do not let your cats and parrots interact unless they’ve been introduced and you know what you’re doing. More hints can be found here —My article on living with multiple species of animals)

Parrots are scary, but apparently dobermans are not. We’re three for three in boy cats that love the dogs (and two for two in girl cats who do not).

Who knew parrot swings had so many useful uses? This is how we set up Noire’s fluids, she would lay on the couch while she got filled up.

A shame pictures don’t come with sound tracks.

Nemo says ‘this toy is mine.’

Ahhh, young cats playing. Y is too mature for these shenanigans.

Not like these two hooligans.

Or these three hooligans.

Oh Nemo, it’s a good thing we love you so much, because I’m really not sure you’re right in the head.

The crazy half-siblings.

Most of the pictures of cats playing look a little more like this.

Jelly and her blue, blue eyes watch the ribbon.

Surprise! Macaw!

Also a macaw!

Deuce, Youngsmile, and Nemo’s tail.

We are happy to provide a lap full of cats to any and all visitors and household residents.

I tried so hard to get Youngsmile to look at the camera, but no luck. Two out of three ain’t bad.

Warning, non-obvious needles ahead.

Nemo decided that he really needed to help Noire get her fluids.

So Deuce decided he’d help too.

Thankfully, the fluids are behind us, so we only have usual cat helping happening here! Hopefully, as the next weeks go on, things will get a little more stable and rational here at the rational parrot. And we’ll have the return of Mac to freedom in the house too!

Posted in Cats, Deuce, Dogs, Jellylorum, Nemo, Noire, Parrots, Theodore, Tlalli, Youngsmile | Leave a comment

Charlotte ~2001- August 28, 2014

Most of our week has been wrapped up in Noire’s pill drama, but there’s been a quieter, slower issue going on in the background. Charlotte’s been slipping away for six weeks, and we let her go tonight.

She was a good dog. So many things can be said about her, but the important thing is that. She was a good dog, who had a good run. We owned her for nearly ten years, she raised two puppies, she traveled to the Arctic Circle and cross country. She was a shelter dog who was returned twice because of separation anxiety who had bad hips from the day we brought her home.

And she lived to be at least 13 years old. Not a bad run.

Good bye, Miss Charlotte.

Posted in Charlotte, Dogs | Leave a comment