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!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

January Month in Review

I cannot believe that January has come to an end already - it seems like the holidays were happening last Tuesday - how did a whole month go by?

January was a pretty good critter month.

Winston had some firsts this month - a couple of outings on his harness - happy to be making some progress there and I think he is having fun for the most part.  He got some new treat dispensing toys which he loves and the always popular Bento Ball is still a favorite.  He has settled in to a pretty good routine and for the most part he is a pretty well behaved little pig.

Emma had a good month too - she is quite the defiant old girl these days.  Since she has gotten older she has decided that she no longer has to listen to what she is told.  She is picking up some stubborn ways from the piglet as well.  Her health is good (vet appointment happened - read about it tomorrow) and she is a happy dog who loves her ferrets, cats and pig.

The kitties are all doing well.  Whatever was making them pukey has resolved itself and we are back to  the occasional hairball - thank goodness - four pukey cats can make a mess!!  Ollie was limpy for the one day but his leg seems fine and he is back to finding trouble.  The kitties lead a pretty cushy existence - laying about most of the time.  Sometimes playing with toys and each other but mostly just lounging days in the sunlight or in front of the fire.

The ferrets are all fantastic.  My little business has gone from 2 distinct groups of three (the existing Theo, Violet and Maddie and the litter mates Tabs, Harlow and Kai) to being one big happy and blended family.  They mix and match and play together in different combinations.  I am particularly happy that Violet has decided that all three babies are okay.  She was pretty slow to warm up to them. Now she can be found hanging out with all of them - especially Harlow.  

February will be vet appointment month - everyone will be going in for their checkups.  I am also hopeful that I can get my act together and get their playroom set up in February as well.  Hoping your January was a furry as mine....

Friday, January 30, 2015

Pet Peeves....

Here we have it - another episode of pet peeves - the things that make you a tiny bit crazy and annoyed when you are "raising" 12 critters.

Exhibit A - Why oh why must the piglet head butt he water bowl before he drinks?  Water splashes all over the kitchen floor making for a soggy mess....perhaps its his bad eyesight - and he wants to get an idea of how deep the water in the bowl is?  Not sure but its really annoying....  The ferrets do something similar when they drink - they scratch at the water in the bowl to make it more visible to them so they don't dunk their noses - but its a bit less offensive as their splashes are a lot smaller than Winston's!

Exhibit B - Hardwood floor neurosis.  I do completely adore the dog but her neuroses do tend to work my nerves.  She is a mess when it comes to walking down the upstairs hallway floor - laminate hardwood....it's like a major drama every morning and then when she finally does decide to head downstairs its flailing and freaking out and complete ridiculousness until she makes it to the stairs.  Sigh.....

Exhibit C - Licky kitties.  Now don't get me wrong - I love to get kisses from the critters - Madison is notorious for ferret smooches, occasionally Emma gives doggie kisses.  Sometimes even the pig gives kisses - its all good.  But - three of my kitties are chronic kissers - which means you can't have any sort of engagement with them at all without it being a giant lick fest.  Oliver is by far the worst - especially at night - any flesh not covered by pjs or blankets is fair game.  Phoebe is not a whole lot better and Zoey is not only licky but she does it with great gusto so it feels like an exfoliation....  I love the kisses but every time?? Geez...

Exhibit D - While we are on the topic of kitties....Oliver has to be on me at all times.  If I am seated or laying down it takes him about seven seconds to try to hop on board.  I adore his affection and we have repeated sessions of cuddle time each day but its just not practical to try to work, use your laptop, go to the bathroom, etc with a cat on you.  Additionally - he doesn't just want to be on you where he gets in your lap and stays still - oh no - is biscuit making, turning around, head butting and licking (see above).  As I type this he is laying on my right arm....

Exhibit E - Last bug certainly not least - leaping ferrets.  Theo and Kai have decided that the console table and the dresser are now fair game and they get there by leaping from the bed.  This means nothing on either of those pieces of furniture is ferret safe now which is is giant pain in the rump.  I came upstairs yesterday and most of the photos on the console table had been knocked down.  Not only is it messy but there is no where to put things you want to keep them out of....

There you have it - my current top 5 list.  Let's be perfectly clear - I love this crazy bunch and the joy they bring me far outweighs any annoyances....

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


We are always tweaking things around here - trying new products and methods to streamline the care of 12 critters.

I have two new things we are trying - funny - they are unplanned things but we are trying them none the less. They stem from wanting to have a one stop shop for all things critter.  The pet store has dog, cat/ferret food and litter but no pig food.  The Tractor Supply has pig and dog food - tons of cat food but not what they are currently eating but no pine litter.  I don't wanna have to make two trips and quite frankly - the prices at Tractor Supply for pet food are much better than the pet store.

So - I bought a small bag of new cat food to try...so far all four cats seem to love it but I have been down this path before.  They like it because its different but they don't want it every day forever more.  So we will go slow and see what happens.  I also need to try it out on the ferrets - getting them to try new things is TOUGH.  The good news is - that even if they like the old - I can get that at the grocery and still avoid two trips for pet supplies.  The new food I got is called Taste of the Wild - we shall see if its still popular when we get to the bottom of the bag....

The other new thing is moving from pine litter (pellets) to shaved pine in the litter boxes for the cats and pig.  I am not at all unhappy with the litter - but it gets a bit expensive.  I decided to try shaved pine - the same thing you would use in a barn stall in the litter box to see how it goes.  So far one kitty and one pig have visited and deposited with no angst.... hopefully it will work because before it was 2 bags of pine litter every 10 - 12 days at 9$ a bag.  This is $6 and I filled both cat boxes and only used about 1/3 of the bag....woohoo!  Fingers crossed....

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

In General....

Things at the zoo are good!!!  Let's see... what's been up around here?  Things have been pretty status quo.  You saw that Winston had his first walk over the weekend.  Since then he is quite interested in the door wanting to go on another adventure!  We will soon I promise.

Kitties are doing pretty well.  Ollie hurt himself today jumping over the ferret gate.  He was limping a bit but after some love and rubbies he was fine.  He has full range of motion and is no longer limping but I will be keeping an eye on him.  I will be taking them to the vet in a couple of weeks... ugh ZoĆ« and the vet.

Emma is doing well... pretty much behaving herself.  She was not particularly impressed with Winston's first walk but she is always a pretty good sport.  She does have an amazing amount of tolerance and patience.

Ferrets are great!!!  The baby ferrets are learning their names and getting used to finding me when they are called - this is good!  I found everyone by 8:30 tonight which is unheard of.  Elder ferrets are doing great as well.  No complaints...

All in all things are going quite well with the zoo...

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Winston and Emma Go For a Walk

We hit a milestone today with the piglet - his first trip out and about in his harness.  We might have pushed the envelope a bit here - gone a bit before he was ready - but I think he had fun....

Getting him in the car is tough - he has to be lifted and he does hate being picked up.  Unfortunately he is a bit afraid of the car so he tends to do what pigs do when they are afraid which is poo.  I was prepared - rugs across the back seat floor and a roll of paper towels.  We were no worse for the wear - although - he did make 3 deposits - so we had multiple cleanup.

All in all it went better than I thought - we went to a neighboring town with a large open park which had no one there because it was rainy and cool.  Once he quit pulling backwards trying to get out of the harness he got the hang of walking and going with us - he followed Emma so I had her we went first.  Then the hubs and the pig followed.

We took lots of cookies for bribing him to go where we wanted.  On the way home he did great in the car - either he was more comfy or his back end was empty - or both...  :)

Once we were home Winston got a 'sponge bath' - a warm towel to wipe him down and clean the mud off his face and hooves.  Emma got a shower and a new clean scarf.  They are both sacked out napping - exhausted from their adventure!

Here are a few pics:

Mud and splashing is fun!

Rooting around like a pig should do...

I think I get it now - walks are fun!

A pig, a dad and a dog...

Muddy nose

First walk under our belts....

Friday, January 23, 2015

Week in Review

Whew - we made it to Friday - it was a short work week that felt like it was 100 years long.  It was a pretty good critter week around here...

Winston had a good week - he was a pretty well behaved piglet for the bulk of the week.  He is happy that we are back to a normal cadence and spends his days playing and snoozing....the rough life of a pig.

Emma had a good week as well - no inclement weather driving her under the bed.  She spends a lot of time playing and arguing with the piglet - they are funny to watch.  She is a good girl for the most part...

The ferrets are all doing fantastic.  They spent their week playing and snoozing and the all seem quite happy and healthy.  The 50 foot tunnel is still a big hit and gets used multiple times each day. Wednesday was flea and tick medicine application day.  The ferrets REALLY hate this except for Tabitha who did not seem to care.  They are protected for another month so a few seconds of discomfort is worth it.

Kitties also go flea and tick meds - but they don't care so much when you put it on.  They are doing quite well.  We went through quite a pukey period for some reason - all three of my thyroid kitties were effected.  Not sure if there was a mild bug they shared or if maybe the vial of thyroid medication wasn't full strength but what ever was going on has resolved itself and we have been good to go - thank goodness.  I hate it when my babies are sick and let's be honest - its messy to clean up as well.

All in all - it was a pretty good week for the humans and the critters.  Looking forward to the weekend!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Critter Bracelet

My critter bracelet is coming along quite nicely.  I have made a few finds and I was spoiled at Christmas with several new additions:
The kitty section - the silver one from my brother and sister in law looks like Isabel, the tabby cat I found on ebay and it looks like Ollie, the black kitty I found on Amazon and it looks like Aggie and the white kitty I found at the beach - reminds me of Phoebe
The ferret/hedgehog section - the brown one  and the white one I found on ebay - the brown one reminds me of Kai, the   I love ferrets is from my brother and sister in law and the hedgehog  representing my sweet Nigel from my brother in law and sister in law - its the bead that started it all off

The Winston section - the silver pig from my brother and sister in law, the two pink pigs I stumbled across and the crystal paw I found very early on in the evolution of the bracelet

The Emma section - the lampwork glass bead from my brother, the dangly one is a recent addition I found on ebay and the silver one from my brother in law and sister in law

Here it is - the whole shebang - love how its coming together!
I am always on the hunt for new additions.  I need an orange kitty for Zoey.  I am not sure I will ever find an individual bead for each of the ferrets - for some reason the ferret beads are few and far between.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Corn Cob Rubbies

Corn cob rubbies are quite popular in our house....that's our name for when the critters use their very front teeth on each other and look like they are eating an ear of corn.

Emma does this often to Oliver and he loves it - he lays on his side and she nibbles between his front and back paws - back and forth - then he rolls on his back and she does the same to the belly.  Winston does these rubbies to Emma, Kai does them to human feet, Oliver does them to Kai - its quite the happening thing.

Speaking of Kai and Oliver - that little ferret is completely enamored with the cat.  He goes from being wild and crazy ferret to a giant puddle of goo whenever the cat is around and Kai cuddles up to him in the hopes of getting a bath - its quite cute.  Ollie usually obliges him and the two of them cuddle until wiggly ferret annoys the cat and he is off to a spot where ferrets can't reach.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The State of the Business - a 6 Ferret Update

My crazy ferret brood is doing so great - I am very pleased!  Violet and Madison - the eldest girls are doing just great - they are part of the shenanigans at times but also content to be off by themselves where it is a bit less rambunctious.  They have totally accepted the new babies and they truly are one big happy family.

Kai and Theo are wild boys - they adore each other and are pretty much inseparable.  Where one goes the other is close to follow.  The two play so rough and really love hanging out together....  Healthwise the two are doing fantastic - healthy appetites and outputs and both are at a perfect weight.

Harlow and Tabby are amazing!  They are playful and engaged and seem to be fully settled in.  Harlow is much less timid and he personality is starting to shine through.  She is still a very mellow and sweet ferret but she is starting to play and is much less frightened by the humans and their noises.  Tabs is just about one of the boys - by far the most rough and tumble of the girls.  Both of these babies love their toys.  Their health is also great - no issues to report.

I am hoping that between today and tomorrow I can work on the junk/craft/ferret playroom and get their play area set up - I am excited for them to have it.  Sadly there is alot of work to get there so I will need to catch a motivation bug for that to happen - wish me luck....

Friday, January 16, 2015

Interesting Day

Today was interesting - I had to be on an 8 hour conference call...wasn't sure how it was going to go with the critters.  Both Emma and Winston were great - they were quiet for the most part and entertained themselves.  Winston got some web cam action as the people in the meeting wanted to see him.  The kitties were entertaining - multiple kitties making visits to my lap and getting in front of the camera.  The ferrets were fine - upstairs and up and about but not causing any havoc in regards to my call.

All in all they were pretty well behaved considering I had to be participatory in the session and couldn't be on mute.  I am quite glad my 2 days of really long meetings are over.  Now we get a long weekend and a bit of down time...whew...

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Crazy Critter Week

This week has been crazy for the humans!  I have lots of work things going on which require me to be at the office which is unusual and my spoiled furries don't really like it much.  I spent the afternoon and evening at the office yesterday and today will be quite a long day away.

The ferrets will be upstairs doing their thing.  I have been moving their giant tunnel each day into different shapes - they seem to like that.  Yesterday they were quite excited when they went through the tunnel that started in the bedroom and ended in the front bathroom - ferret nirvana when you start in one room and end up somewhere else I guess.

Kitties don't really miss me much - they will be snoozy like usual and will likely stay downstairs for the day. I will give them some treats and pets before I go and they won't even know I am gone....

Emma and Winston will be downstairs together.  I will load up the Bento Balls and the other treat toys to keep them busy while I am away.  They do pretty well together but out of all the critters these two miss having someone home with them the most.  Spoiled little ones are used to someone with them all the time.

Hopefully tomorrow will go back to our normal routine - I think all of us are creatures of habit and much prefer the regular cadence to our days rather than mixing it up.  I am off on Monday - looking forward to a non work day - hopefully I can get the ferret play space set up....

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Critter Cover

I was going to title this post 'Critter Throw' but I thought that this might cause concern - it could be misleading so - Critter Cover it is.

I found a great deal from Living Social on a photo blanket - normally $109 for $31.  You can put up to 100 photos on a cuddly fleece blanket.  I think it turned out amazing!  I included a snap or two of my angel babies as well as multiple snaps of the current gang.  It got here just in time for the crap weather we are having....

Monday, January 12, 2015

The 50 Foot Tube

I am working on a ferret play area that I hope to reveal soon.  One of the things I got for them is a really long clear vinyl tube.  Ferrets do love a good tunnel.  I tested it out on the bedroom floor and they seemed to like it....everyone but Tabitha checked it out - she was napping in the other room....

Traffic Jam - Maddie (top), Theo (center), Kai (bottom)


Harlow (left) and Kai (right)

Kai and Maddie

Even the box is fun - Maddie in the box and Violet waiting for her turn

Harlow exiting the tube, Kai (center) and Madison

Harlow peeking over the top




Harlow and Theo 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

How Intriguing - Four Kitty Post

My sweet Miss Agatha is doing just fantastic!  Her health seems great and she is a happy and go with the flow kind of girl.  She has been spending lots of time with me during the day while I work and I think she is happy to be back on a regular schedule - she is a creature of habit for sure.  I am quite pleased with how she is doing - love that old girl to pieces!

Crazy Oliver - the ornery boy - he keeps us hopping around here.   He has been doing great with the exception of hairballs.  Since Oliver is the ambassador of the zoo he feels the need to bathe himself, the other kitties, the dog, the pig and the ferrets - this results in some frequent and pretty gross surprises.  His weight seems to hold steady and he is certainly full of piss and vinegar.  He is due for a vet visit soon so I will make sure he is in tip top shape for sure - we would be sad without all these kitty shenanigans!

Miss Phoebe is fantastic.  She is full of energy, constantly playing with her toys and always up for some human interaction.  She is quite the sweet girl.   Little Miss is still pushing the envelope of naughtiness - trying to see just how far she can go without getting into trouble - then once she is in trouble trying to cute her way back into my good graces.  It's not hard - she is too cute for her own good.

Oh Miss Zoey - she is something else.  Zoey seems to be doing quite well.  She is cranky like always.  Her weight is holding but she is quite thin - I think as a result of the hyperthyroid.  Her appetite is good, and all systems seem to be functioning like they should.  I dread the fact that she needs a vet appointment as well - she is so awful at the vets office....but I will be taking her in to make sure she is all good.  Love that girl....

Saturday, January 10, 2015

A Lovely Saturday

Today was the first slow Saturday we have had in what feels like ages.  We spent the morning with the ferrets playing and wrestling - they are all doing just great!!  The bulk of the day was spent downstairs with the piglet, the kitties and the dog.  They napped, played with toys and hung out.  We did a few chores, hubs caught up the laundry and we did a whole lot of nothing in between - it was quite lovely.

In just a bit we will head back upstairs and take ferret attendance.  I am fairly certain I will find everyone but Violet - she seems to be on a schedule where she is sleeping very soundly in the evenings.  I saw her on a trip upstairs in the late afternoon and that will likely have to suffice.  Everyone seems to be happy and hanging out and I have enjoyed having some downtime after a whirlwind week starting back to work.  I do adore my little zoo....

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Pet Product Review - Pet Pig Busy Ball

Yes - the Bento Ball is still quite popular with Mr. Piglet - but I am always looking for new things to keep him stimulated and out of trouble.  I ordered him this:

It's a Pet Pig Busy Ball and Winston loves it.  You unscrew the red plug and fill the ball with pig food and then when piggy pushes it around food comes out the holes.  It works great - its a slow process so it takes a long time for him to empty the ball.

There is only one problem with said ball - its about the size of a bowling ball and Winston has bowled several strikes - knocking over all my kitchen chairs playing with his ball.  Needless to say - this is definitely a day time only toy - not something that I can give him and head upstairs to bed.  The downstairs would be wrecked.

I am happy he likes it and it does certainly keep him busy....I give this one two thumbs up...

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Stories of the Day

Yesterday just got away from me - it was my first day back to work after 17 days off - it was like my brain forgot everything.

Yesterday was Theo and Violet's birthday.  They turned 2 years old - wow - time goes fast.  It was a bit of a bittersweet day as it would have been Finn's birthday as well - we do miss him so.  Violet and Theo were given some special treats - a bite of yogurt covered pretzel....and - their most favorite thing ever - a chance to help change the bed.  They love to play in the sheets and blankets!  It's quite entertaining to watch.  They had some company - in fact everyone but Madison took part in bed making.  Its a bit challenging to get anything done with a five ferret assist but its much fun.

Little Mister Piglet is just too smart for his own good.  He is now obsessed with the gate that keeps him downstairs.  It started with him pushing it open - I was able to easily rectify that by putting something behind the gate.  Then he figured out how to pull it open.  Geez - after much trial and error, realignment and work with a wrench I think we have secured him once again.  Smart and very strong is a tough combination to combat.

Bento ball wars continue - somehow we are down one ball - I can't find it anywhere which means that piglet and pup have to share.  That goes over like a lead balloon.  There is much refereeing required.  Hopefully tonight when I scoot the furniture to do a quick carpet shampoo I will find it.  Emma is pretty good about letting Winston play with it once he has it but if she has the ball in her possession she is barky and snarly. Winston tries to be sneaky - cuddling up to her and slowly making his move for the ball - sometimes it actually works.

Kitties and ferrets are all doing well - quite happy with everyone's level of engagement and energy.  Life at the zoo is happy!!  :)