Dear Heloise: My son brought home a very young kitten, and since we have never owned one before, I need all the help I can get on the care of our little Squeeky, especially teaching him to use a litter box. He did have an accident on our carpeting, so I definitely want him to learn quickly.
R.C., via e-mail
Kittens learn to use litter boxes at a very young age, about 4 weeks old. If he is too little to climb in and out of a regular cat litter box, you can use a disposable aluminum pan some are the perfect size. Very young kittens might need special diets. You need to take him to a veterinarian to get him checked out. The veterinarian will tell you when it's time for vaccinations, neutering, etc. Have fun with your kitten he should give you endless enjoyment.
Dear readers: I wasn't home at the time when Pinkie, our dear housekeeper and "second mom," noticed a hummingbird leaving a feeder and spiraling down to the patio. It wasn't moving, but its eyes were blinking, and it made a low chirping sound.
My office got information from a Web site about sick and injured hummingbirds. Here's what we learned, and it worked! The first thing is to put the bird in a small box lined with tissues and cover slightly. Then make a sugar-water mixture of 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. Caution: Don't use honey, red food coloring or artificial sweeteners; use only granulated white sugar. Dissolve the sugar in hot water and let it cool before feeding. As soon as this little hummingbird got a drop of the mixture, it started stirring.
Joyce, one of my longtime assistants, brought the little bird outside and found that its wings were stuck together, so as soon as she separated them, it took off, chirping all the way.
Having a pet get lost can be heartbreaking and also could result in death. Collars with identification are good, but they can't always be relied on -- they can come off, leaving your pet with absolutely no ID.
There is a microchip that can be painlessly inserted under the skin. It contains all the information needed to reunite you and your pet.
The next time you take your pet to the veterinarian, ask about the microchip. All it takes is a small device to read the chip, and most Humane Societies and veterinarians have one. -- Heloise
(c)2003 by King Features Syndicate Inc.
Photo caption: Rebecca and Amy Tamarana of Toms River, N.J., own this beautiful 1-1/2-year-old golden retriever, Skip. Here you see him "ready to operate" in his scrub hat, with his "medical bag" at his side and wearing glasses that fit him perfectly!
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