A Day in the Life of a Zookeeper

A Day in the Life of a Zookeeper
Ever wonder what its like to share your world with a bunch of crazy critters? Tune in to find out!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween - and - October Month in Review

It's Halloween - this year its pretty low key around here.  In the past Miss Emma has dressed up but not this year.  She does have her jack-o-lantern sweater she has been sporting around town.  She is quite cute when in costume - let's take a walk down memory lane....

The other critters are not big on dressing up so I try not to torture them.  No pumpkins carved this year - heading out to get a bit of candy but just not feeling it this year....

October for the critters was a good month relatively speaking.  The big happening this month was the trip to the beach - Emma, Clooney, Madison and Nigel went with us on vacation and they did amazingly well.  The kitties were on kitty cam and stayed home alone - they did just fine and are old pros.

The other happening was tied to the beach - Emma's bites that have made her and us crazy.  I am happy to report that she seems to be much much better and is not scratching or biting at her skin any longer.

The rest of the zoo seems to be in good health and they seem like pretty happy campers so no complaints.

Wow - tomorrow its November....this year has zoomed by!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Itchies and Scratchies

The Devine Miss Emma made a visit to the vet yesterday.  She had a bad case of the scratchies.  I can imagine this was terribly uncomfortable for her and she made the humans in her life crazy with scratching and biting and licking non stop.

The verdict is that she was bitten by sand fleas at the beach....ick.  Oh, and she has an extreme sensitivity  to said bites which is what was causing the extreme scratching.  Geez....

So - to fix Miss Emma - she got a steroid shot - this makes the scratching stop (which I will say has worked like a charm - I don't believe she has scratched even one time). She got some fancy medicated shampoo - it has an antibiotic in it and will soothe all the irritated spots on her skin.  She had a bath yesterday once we got home and will have another on Thursday.  Then she will have one once a week til the shampoo is gone.  We also changed her to a new product on the market that is a heartworm, flea and intestinal parasite protector all in one monthly tablet.

She also had her regular stuff that was due - bordatella, heartworm test (negative I am happy to report).  All in all she is a pretty healthy girl and since she came home from the vet she seems like she feels pretty good.

As a precaution - we Frontlined the kitties - just in case.  None of them show any flea related signs but the last thing we need is a seven critter flea outbreak.  Clooney just happened to have a bath yesterday or the day before so he is good to go.  Miss Madison also received a bath as a precautionary measure.  Nigel is not in the danger zone so per the vet no action needed.

Cripes...I am so happy that the pup is not itchy any more....

Monday, October 29, 2012

Simon's Cat - Fetch

Love Simon's Cat.... this one makes me think of Phoebe - who would actually be playing the dog.  She is a much better fetcher than Emma ever dreamed of being....

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Bonding with the Hubs

You know - the critters are mostly a me thing.  Hubs loves them and is very patient with having 8 critters share his space - but they are mostly a me thing.  He does have a particularly close thing with Emma - she does love her daddy.

Here lately he has a morning ritual with Clooney that makes me smile.  He opens the shower door and turns on the water and the little critter gets in and plays until the water warms up.  Then the hubs dries Clooney off which makes him super excited and he weasel hops and races all over the bathroom.  I love the ritual and the  narrative of the hubs talking to the ferret.  Love it....

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Green Blanket

I washed the green blanket that goes on our bed the other day - it wasn't time to change the bed yet so I set it on the end of the bed.  The green blanket has been the source of many a cat fight or a sneaky manipulation by the kitties to get to lay in its fluffy softness.

Aggie has been the primary occupier - she growls and hisses if others come too close - she wants it to be her green blanket.  A few times Zoey will sneak her way up there and be all smooth - pretending to cuddle with Aggie and give her a bath.  Then....munch - she bites Miss Aggie on the ear or on the neck.  Then Aggie leaves in a huff and Zoey is victorious and gets to lay in the blanket.

Phoebe is usually the patient one - she waits til everyone goes downstairs for food or whatever other reason and then she gets comfy.

Oliver is the brute force one - evicting the girls by standing on them, batting at them or chasing them off the bed.  Then he curls up and tries to look innocent.

The ferrets are funny - they don't want to lay on the blanket - they want to lay in it.  They find their way between the folds and curl up.  When they want to be ornery they push up on the sleeping kitties - who - by the way don't find the ferrets particularly entertaining in this instance.

The should enjoy - Monday is bed changing day and the folded up blanket will go away and they will have to find somewhere else to squabble over....

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday with Sandy

Its Friday and Hurricane Sandy is off shore.  We are not getting much in the way of weather here but its really cloudy and as a result the critters are in sleepy, lazy mode.

The ferrets have been sleeping all day pretty much - with the exception of Clooney coming downstairs for a snack - and then getting a bath because he had been somewhere stinky; and Madison coming downstairs to assist her grandmother with cleaning out a cabinet.  Nigel threw such a grumpy huff fest when I went to get him out of his cage I opted to leave him there and try again later.

The kitties are sprawled out on the bed snoozing the evening away and I am happy to report that Emma is resting comfortably and not cowering under the bed which is a common occurrence with rain.

We will only have minimal effects from Sandy but it sounds like further north could get a wallop - not what folks need....maybe Sandy will take a right instead of a left.... 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Lovely Helpers

I pity the plumber to came by today to replace the faucet and the garbage disposal...

First he had Zoey helping him out - then she decided she was done helping and moved towards snarling and threatening to bite.  The Emma decided she needed to provide assistance and proceeded to stick her head under the sink with the guy.  As if that space isn't small enough add a 40 pound dog.  Then the ferrets woke up and had to investigate the plumber and all his stuff.  Of course they weren't awake at the same time so he had two separate visits.  They are lovely helpers...

He did get both installed and we are all set....no thanks to the zoo....

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Faucet Licker

Clooney's new thing is licking water from the faucet.  He doesn't seem to care if its hot or cold water.  He loves it when I turn the faucet on to a very slow drip.  Most of the time he does this when I am in the tub so he adds a balancing act in with the faucet licking.  He is funny...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Zoey is full of piss and vinegar these days.  She is an active and happy kitty - unless she is a grump - which is fewer and further between than it used to be.....

She and Phoebe both love to play with the string on my camera - makes for challenging times getting good shots....

I am pleased with her level of health.  She eats well, her weight is right where it should be and her activity level is great.  She loves to play and is spending more time with Aggie and Oliver hanging out, bathing and snoozing with her siblings.  She still has the tendency to be a bit snitty with the ferrets but overall her tolerance of them is much better than it used to be.  Love that orange kitty girl....

Monday, October 22, 2012

Ferret Squabbles

Clooney and Madison are getting along better but they do still squabble every now and then.  The squabble mainly consists of a lot of wrestling and pushing.  Not much in the way of biting - it doesn't seem to me that they are trying to hurt one another.

Madison is a very vocal ferret.  During these squabbles she give Clooney the what for - she screeches at him and lets him know she is not loving the fight.  Even when he tries to leave the fight - she follows - giving him a piece of her mind.  Its kinda funny.

Clooney is not a very vocal ferret - he makes the happy ferret noise sometimes but for the most part he is pretty quiet.  I think the screeching is a learned thing though - there have been a couple of times when Clooney has been wrestling with Oliver that he has broken out the screech.  It's interesting what they learn from each other.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sunday - Critter To Do List

My critter to do list for today is fairly lengthy:

Emma needs a bath.  Unfortunately she has a pretty extensive vocabulary and when I told her about said bath she went and got under the bed.  What a brat!

The ferrets both need their nails cut - this is a two person chore unless you can get them when they are super sleepy.

Nigel needs his litter box changed and I think I will freshen up his cage by changing out the rug on the bottom.  He had his bath earlier this week and he got a new blanket in his cage yesterday.

Kitties need their back toes cut.  For Oliver this is a no brainer - pick him up and do it - he is very cooperative.  Zoey is pretty much the same - she doesn't much care.  Phoebe will let you do 2 or 3 if you are lucky - her's is a multi phased process.  Aggie - UGH - one at a time is all you will get.  Cat boxes need scooped and more litter added as well.

I should quit typing and get busy....

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Hamper time

I am happy to report that Clooney is feeling all better.  In fact he had a fun play session in the laundry hamper I just emptied to do the laundry.  He loves to play in there - he scratches on the nylon which makes lots of noise which makes scratching all the more fun.  The plays in the netting.  Then once playtime is over he curls up and takes a little ferret nap...


Friday, October 19, 2012

Critter Shots

And the uncooperative trend continues.  Broke out the camera to capture some critter cuteness - not happening today...

I did get a good one of Oliver:

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Stinky - wow....

Ugh - PU - Nigel was a bit odoriferous today.  My guess is this is a result of his trip to the beach and bunking with his ferret siblings.  Regardless of the cause - the time for action was immediate.

We have graduated from using a few inches of water in the tub to having a shower.  Little dude likes this much better - I spray him down while he stands still - then he runs around for a bit and then makes his way back under the sprayer.  Once he is done investigating and think his quills and feet are clean I pick him and and flip him over so I can spray his belly.  He is not super thrilled about this part but he is very cooperative so I can't complain.  I set him back in the shower and he runs around while I get his towel.  Once I bend down and hold his towel up he runs right over so I can scoop him up and dry him off.

He loves to be dried off.  Not so much on the quills although he is very tolerant.  He loves to have his belly dried off.  Now he is snoozing in his towel - happy - and not stinky....

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tummy issues

Clooney has an upset tummy today.  Who knows what the deal is with that - could be something he ate or his stress level or a touch of a virus.  I have watched him all day and luckily he has improved over the course of the day.  How do I know this you ask?

Well - parents of ferrets are poo experts.  Icky, I know but its the truth.  It is the main way to monitor the health of your ferrets.  So - without being too graphic - lets just say there has been improvements in that area over the course of the day.  This leads me to believe that perhaps it was a dietary thing.  I find that as Clooney has gotten older - he is four now and considered a sr ferret - this is a more frequent happening.  The good news is that he is just about back to normal so all is good.  I will continue to keep an eye on him just to be sure....

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Clingy kitties

OMG - since I walked in the door on Saturday from vacation Zoey and Oliver have been all over me.  I missed them terribly while I was on vacation but geez - this is a bit excessive.  I can't move without them trailing me.  I can't sit down or lay down without them trying to lay on me.  Oliver jumps into your arms when he wants to be held - he has been jumping regardless of whether he is invited or not.

Not sure exactly what the deal is.  I am glad they missed me but wow!  Chill out guys - I am home for the long haul.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Snoozy critters

Not sure if its the weather or them trying to get back into the groove after vacation but the critters are sleepy today.

Kitties were sacked out for the majority of the day.  Clooney ventured downstairs only once for a stick.  Madison was literally MIA for the entire day and Emma spent most of her day under the bed hiding from the rain.  Mr Hedgehog was napping for most of his day in his cage.

This evening is not much different - Madison did get up to play for a bit.  Everyone has already gone to bed...

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Flipped out ferrets....

Boy howdy - are the ferrets happy to be home.  After living in the pen for the entire week at the beach - they are thrilled to have free reign and run wherever they want.

I think they have reacquainted themselves with every inch of the house.  They have investigated bags, had treats, climbed all over the cats and Clooney has been hanging out in his chair (which I forgot to bring to the beach - bad ferret mommy).

Both have been very active today - lots of happy noises (dooking) and playing.  I am glad they are happy to be home.  Nigel is happy to be in his cage as well -

We are all back to the grind tomorrow....

Saturday, October 13, 2012


We are home from our week at the beach.  All the critters did well.  The kitties were home alone on kitty cam.  They seem to be just fine and they were happy to see us.  We have the ability to monitor the house while we are gone and we have a neighbor on standby just in case we need someone to come in - it works pretty well.

As for the traveling critters - Emma had a blast at the beach.  The ferrets were so good - they hate being confined but they were well behaved anyway.  They had lots of attention and were very sweet and affectionate to everyone who wanted to hold them.  On or about Tuesday I felt Nigel wasn't getting much exercise in his little pen so I moved him in with the ferrets and they coexisted quite well.

Everyone is happy to be home and back to a sort of normal routine.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Hubby's Ultimate Sacrifice - Virginia Aquarium

We visited the Virginia Aquarium while on vacation.  Overall it wasn't a bad gig.  $27 got you aquarium admission and IMAX movie.  There are cute harbor seals in the giant tank out front.  They have lots of critters you might not normally see in an aquarium - komodo dragons, snakes, otters...

They have a great tunnel - similar to the Atlanta aquarium with sting rays and nurse sharks and lots of fishies swimming overhead.  They have the big observation tanks as well - with sharks and such.  All in all a pretty nice set up.  It was a rainy cool day - perfect for spending a few hours.

IMAX theater was nice - movie was just meh - very preachy and lots of missed opportunities for using the cool 3d technology.

All in all - this was a good aquarium.  It's not my favorite - but I would go back if the opportunity presented itself.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


My brother was at it again with the fancy camera: