Caturday with Mikey

So, what’s new with our cat population? We welcomed a few new cats this summer! First of all: Mikey!

Mikey is our new house cat. We have four now. We weren’t planning on having so many… but there are so many homeless cats! This cute little boy was found hiding in someone’s garden from a pack of dogs. I have no idea how he managed to get there, because he was paralysed. He could hardly use the back half of his body. This was what he looked like:

People found him and called me. Me and my youngest son picked him up and took him home. He was the sorriest, poorest sight ever… he was hungry, thirsty, in pain and terrified. But it was clear he was used to people. We took him to the vet, who said his back or legs didn’t seem broken. He gave him a shot of steroids and told us to wait and see, that he might get better by himself.

I thought: well, we have a paralysed cat now. I couldn’t take him to the pet zoo; he wouldn’t survive living outside. No one else wanted him. So, Mikey became our fourth house cat. I started looking up pictures of cat wheelchairs.

But, surprise surprise, Mikey really did get better! Every day, he got a little more control over his back legs. At first, he dragged himself around and slept a lot. Then, he started walking around and playing. At last, he jumped up to the window where the other cats go in and out – and that was it!

Mikey is a totally normal cat now. I think what must have happened is that he was dumped here and hit by a car, managed to drag himself to the garden and stayed there until we found him. But the damage was only temporary. What a lucky kitty!

And we were lucky too! He is the sweetest, calmest, quietest cat I’ve ever met! We all love him. The other cats had to get used to him, but they’re ok now. What a joy this cat is! 💚

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Louie the rescue dog

Meet Louie! Rescue dog who is going to have to get used to a lot of animals!

We haven’t had a dog for years. I thought a dog would be incompatible with all our cats, rabbits, chickens etc… I see so many dogs always chasing my animals and sometimes catching them! I almost started to not like dogs.

Almost! Recently, my kids started begging for a dog. My husband is a dog person and misses having one. My motto is: the more animals, the better. So the decision was easily made!

My husband visited a local shelter and sent us this picture:

We all fell in love straight away. The next day, hubby brought Louie home.

Louie is one year old and has spent 6 months in that cage in the shelter. The mystery is why no one has taken him out of there before, because he is amazing!

Despite spending half his life in a cage and not being in the best condition (not neutered, fleas, worms etc), he absolutely LOVES people. He was a little scared and submissive at first but quickly realised that we were nice. After that, he couldn’t get enough cuddles!

He has been with us for three days now and he has decided I’m his main human, because I’m at home and take him for walks! He has no idea about anything. Leashes are a new thing to him. Houses are a new thing to him. He was afraid to come into the house at first. When he finally did this morning, he was terrified of the dog in the mirror!

He has been ouside since he got here, but he proved to be a master escaper! We built him a sort of pen, but he got out of that easily. We were afraid he would disappear so we tied him… and he chewed through two leashes. After he broke the connection on a chain and kept pulling the collar over his head, I decided to just let him stay loose! He obviously isn’t going anywhere. His favourite place is right next to me for now. He kept barking and whining outside but wouldn’t come into the house!

He has met Layla and we’ve taken him all around!

We have a lot of training to do but I think Louie is the best dog we could imagine for us! He might even help me herding the animals, who knows! 🙂 The vet said he looked like an Australian shepherd. Which is interesting because a few people here have Australian shepherds and they were really expensive. I would never pay for an exclusive dog breed but I always really liked those dogs. Now we have Louie! 💚

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Eggs or no eggs

I brought some different ducks today. These were a bit more careful, they didn’t dive straight into the water. They checked it out first from the side.

Katya, the white muscovy, has been broody for weeks now. She takes every egg she can find to her nest. We keep taking the eggs away, because this isn’t the right time for ducklings. I thought maybe she’d forget about her nest if I took her to the big swimming pool for a day.

So I left them there in the morning and came to check on them a few hours later.

Katya was gone. I looked everywhere, but she was nowhere to be found. The swimming pool is a couple of hundred metres away from the pet zoo, and there is a high fence around it. I didn’t think she could have gone back, but I checked, just to be sure.

And there she was. Back on the nest.

She flew over the fence, then walked or flew back to the pet zoo. It’s amazing how strong the nesting instinct is. And the funniest thing: the nest was empty. We’d taken the eggs. It doesn’t matter to her. Eggs or no eggs, she sits.

I’ve given her three eggs now. Just because I’m so impressed by her determination.

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Ducks in the swimming pool

Ok, it’s probably not 100% allowed. And I’m not sure people will be happy if they see this. But! The pool is not used right now and it’s full of rainwater, algae and bug larvae! It’s duck heaven. I’ve been thinking of doing this for a while now. Today I just did it! 🙂

They’re so happy! These are Lily and James (Harry’s parents, yes). Tomorrow I will bring two other ducks. If I can catch these two again! They are very tame but they might not want to leave! 😉

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Trained by a donkey

2017 was the Year of the Donkey. There’s no doubt about that. Layla has been with us for an entire year now. I’ve just been looking back at the earlier posts I shared about her, and I was laughing at myself! I didn’t have a clue! Well a little bit. But anyway, a year later, she and I have both changed and learned so much. She has me trained just as much as I have her! 🙂 We are more in tune with each other now. There is no more running off – because she learned how to lead properly, but also because I learned to recognise her body language. I knew when she was about to run off and when she was relaxed, when I had to keep her head close to me and when I could let the lead rope trail.

Right there, she’s happy and relaxed, focused on grazing. There’s no reason to keep a tight hold of her – she isn’t about to run off.

This is a whole different kettle of fish! Her head is high, her ears are pricked up, she’s got her attention on the horses. The horses are excited and curious. In a second, they could all decide to take off running and bucking. Caution required!

So, how far have we come in Layla’s training? Well, how’s this:

Yes, that’s right – I got my kids riding her! Proud mummy here! It took a bit of time and a lot of learning on my part, but in the end, I got her used to a saddle and a rider. Once she understood we weren’t terrifying predators attaching themselves to her body, she couldn’t care less! She’s as steady as a rock. The part we are now working on is steering – she hasn’t got the idea of that yet! Or rather, she doesn’t see the point. She wants to go to get the nice green grass, not the other way.

The change in her is huge. When she came to us, she was almost a wild animal. She was definitely untrained and almost unhandled. Her feet were not in a good state – she had abcesses that had to grow out. She was mistrustful of people and frightened of us putting our hands on her. I just didn’t recognise her fear, because… she’s a donkey, not a horse. Horses respond to fear with an immediate burst of energy. When Layla is afraid, she freezes. I didn’t recognise this as fear at first. During our walks, she sometimes stops dead and stares at something. It took a while before I learned that there is no point trying to make her go on – she just wants to see that there is no danger. After a minute or so, she will usually continue walking.

Dogs are a potential threat. In the beginning, I totally misunderstood her reaction to dogs checking her out. Because she stood still as a statue while they barked and ran around her, I thought she wasn’t afraid. In fact, the opposite was true. She was debating whether to fight the pack of threatening predators surrounding her. Poor girl! She has learned to relax around dogs though. There are a few she actively likes, such as this adorable Italian sheepdog:

Note her half-closed eyes, the droopy ears and the head low to the ground. She’s relaxed. She nuzzles the dog and he licks her, on the face, inside the ears. He sometimes even jumps up with his front paws on her back, and she doesn’t move off. It is very hard to get her to leave after we meet this dog!

She has also learned a few tricks! She figured out how to open the rabbit cages just by watching me do it. At first, I didn’t understand who kept leaving the doors open and letting the rabbits out, until I caught her in the act!

Clever donkey opening the rabbit cage 🙂

She also learned how to break in to the feed shed:

She opens the door by biting and pulling, pawing and pushing! She even completely tore it off once. Now we tie it shut and put a rock in front of it.

All that breaking in and eating rabbit food isn’t good for her! I know she is a bit bored and looking for stimulation. She should have a field, and a friend… both things that we are planning to get her, but are still saving up for!

In the mean time, we found a temporary field for her: the swimming pool! 🙂 Well, not the actual pool itself, but the area around it. It’s closed now for the winter, and there are tons of weeds for her to eat. I bring her there every morning and take her back in the afternoon. She runs around and plays, she eats green stuff and generally enjoys herself! This was her reaction the first time she was there:

Layla in her “field”

I felt guilty seeing how happy she was and how much she needed exercise and green stuff to eat! There is really nothing better than seeing happy animals. That’s what I’m doing it all for! 🙂

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Hi! I have no idea how many people will see this! I’ve been away from WordPress for a long time. I felt a lot of pressure to “keep up” and I wasn’t enjoying it anymore, so I decided to take a break. I’m trying it again now and going to take it easier! My family, job and animals need most of my time. But I will be happy to reconnect with old followers and other blogs I used to follow!

This year has been an eventful year in the pet zoo – as all previous years have been! 🙂 I doubt there can be any other kind of year here. Here are some of the pictures and stories!

Rescue Peas

This summer, we gained two new peachicks. Their mother was found run over by a car on the road… and by her side, these two tiny day-old peachicks. Fortunately for these poor babies, someone gathered them up and brought them to us. We had a few incubator (chicken) chicks, so they joined them. The poor little things hadn’t even learned how to eat yet! It was probably their first walk ever with mummy… And disaster struck. So sad! But the babies were ok. They learn bird behaviour from the chickens. Peachicks are slow growers compared to chickens, so they had to be in a cage for several months. After about three months, they were mature enough to join the other peafowl. As luck would have it, they were both females! So now we have a really nice little family. The young females are thriving. Look at them now!

Walter and Raja, our males, have fully matured and truly burst into spectacular colour! Raja really takes my breath away. This is him now:

We’re keeping a sharp eye on our females. Last year, one of them nested outside the fence and was taken by a predator… the eggs turned out to be infertile. We have to make sure this doesn’t happen again… sadly, this might mean having to lock them up for the breeding season. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that our remaining mature female, Bindi, will choose to nest inside the fence.

Rescue kittens

Our cat population has grown, too. At the start of the rainy season, these poor little lost creatures were brought to me:

They were wet, covered in mud and half starved. Most likely, they were feral kittens whose mother had died and they had crawled out of the nest driven by hunger. Initially, there were four, but one died shortly after I got them… The remaining three had to be bottle-fed. It was the first time I had ever attempted something like that and I was very worried! Fortunately, they did great. One of them had an eye infection, but that cleared up quickly with antibiotics. They grew and played and got very attached to people! I tried to find homes for them but at first it was difficult. At that point, I had four cats at home and five in the pet zoo… I was seriously worried I’d have to take three more! But fortunately, it all worked out in the end! They all found good homes! 💚

Rescue Ducks

We also got a few extra ducks over the summer, like these cute muscovies:

They grew up into three handsome males and a pretty little female! We also got another little female later. These were all ducklings that people found (not sure how) or didn’t want. They are doing well and seem to be getting on fine! I worry that we have too many males though. I thought of rehoming some of them but I can’t really get myself to do it! I like them too much! This is Elvis, one of the males, with our Layla:

This picture must be one of my favourites ever! Their guilty faces, having broken into the feed shed! 😀

Layla needs a separate post dedicated to her, so that will be for next time! Stay tuned! 🙂

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Wordless Wednesday


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