Cats can — and do — fall out of windows
• If you live anywhere above the ground floor, your cat could be injured falling out of a window. They’re just not able to understand the risk, and sometimes jump after something interesting, such as a bird. As the weather warms, people will be opening windows, putting their pets at risk. But it’s possible to give a cat fresh air safely, no matter what kind of housing you have. If you’re in multifamily housing, you may be allowed to add heavy screening to a balcony to give your cat access to fresh air and a good view. If you’re in a detached home, you can put in a more permanent structure, such as a screened-in multilevel cat playground. And don’t open any windows that don’t have screens.
• You’ve made it as a birder if you see a bird with what appears to be bubbles on his chest, making a popping noise in hopes of attracting a mate. Experts in American bird species say the Gunnison sage grouse, which is found in Utah and Colorado, is the country’s rarest, with fewer than 5,000 remaining. Discovery magazine says the Gunnison was discovered only 13 years ago, and its numbers have been falling ever since. Private efforts to halt the population’s decline have not been effective, leading to efforts for the bird to be included on the federal endangered species list.
• Obesity is a problem in parrots, too. Some of the signs of obesity include rolls of fat around the abdomen and hip areas, along with cleavage on the abdomen or breast area. The skin of most normal pet birds is typically very thin and quite transparent. When the skin is wetted with rubbing alcohol, you should be able to see dark pink or red muscle underneath. In overweight birds, you see yellowish fat instead. Overweight birds will also commonly exhibit labored breathing after exertion or heat intolerance. Check with a veterinarian with expertise in avian care to determine root causes and develop a plan for your bird’s return to full health.
— Dr. Marty Becker and Gina Spadafori