Friday Fun: 15 Incredible Rat Tricks

I LOVE this!  Nami and Pepper are very lucky rats to have such a wonderful person, Abby, taking care of them.  I wish all pets were so lucky!  Abby has clicker trained them to do a bunch of tricks—some tricks are pretty lengthy or complex.  The diving for peas trick is awesome.  (Instead of a clicker, Abby, clucks her tongue to mark the behavior she wants from the rats.)  I also love Abby’s DIY props for the different tricks—cute and clever.

Abby and her rats’ relationship is so much richer because of this training.  Her rats have learned to pay closer attention to her and they have much more interesting & stimulating lives than if they just sat in a cage all the time.  And I’m sure Abby has a deeper understanding of her rats since she’s had to think about what they’re capable of and how to communicate with them.  So cool!

How To Be A Good Vet Client

vetcaduceusxoJane has practical advice on how to How Not To Be A Dick At The Vet Hospital.  Both of Claire Lower’s parents are vets and she’s heard lots of stories about difficult owners.  Her father says, “Not all pet owners are crazy, but all crazy people have pets.”  Your pets will be better off if you’re not one of those crazy people!

Claire’s mom has also written a piece on her own blog on being a good vet client.  I was really struck by this piece of advice:

Be upfront with the doctor.  If you only have $250 to spend let them know.   The worst feeling is running blood tests and X-rays then finding out there is no more money to treat the pet.  I have a saying.. “X-rays are not therapeutic”

Don’t let your embarrassment hurt your pet.  Speak up and tell your vet what’s going on.  Your pets are counting on you!

DIY: Jack-O-Lantern Designs—Cats, Rabbits, Dogs, Ferrets, Rats, Mice, Fish & Reptiles

I’m a big dork about Halloween.  I really love it!  Here’s a repost of a big collections of patterns you can use to make a jack-o-lantern for almost any pet.

I love carving something different each year on our pumpkins and, though I’m very fond of cats, I thought other pets should be represented too.  Here are a variety of patterns for a bunch of different animals that should make some pretty nifty jack-o-lanterns.  And, yes there are more cats.  Just click on an image for a larger version to print or download.

And don’t miss these cat stencils and these dog breed stencils. Or you can make a stencil from your own photos of your pets.

Have a fun Halloween and keep your furred & feathered friends safe!
















DIY: Rat Condos From Ikea Furniture

People are so clever!  Today I bring you 4 easy DIY rat condos,cages or hutches from modified Ikea furniture.  You can, of course, use other furniture too and these homes will also work for other small pets with some possible adjustments.

If you don’t already own something that would work for these condos, you still may not have to pay full price.  Ikea furniture is often found at thrift stores and garage sales.  I bet there’s also a lot of Ikea furniture thrown out by collee students at the of the school year.  Don’t forget to check the Returns section at Ikea before paying full price.

First up is a rat cage made from Billy shelves.  They left it divided into 3 sections—storage, younger rats, and adult rats.  You could also cut holes in the shelves if you wanted to connect the different levels.  They add a lip to each shelf which will help keep anything falling out of the cage like bedding or food.


The rat condo made from Gorm shelving looks good and has room for some storage.  I like that they added wheels to make it easier to move and clean around.  It looks like they made the doors themselves, but that’s pretty easy.  Home Depot and Lowes will cut your wood for you for free if you don’t have too many cuts to make.  The “L” brackets at the corners are a good idea for strength and durability.  You don’t want your condo doors to fall apart!


This elaborate rat condo made from an Ikea Kullen wardrobe uses other Ikea products as components for the interior, like the tunnels, litter boxes, and houses.  This condo has lots of connected level and is flexible, so you can move things around as needed.


Another rat condo from a different Ikea wardrobe, the Aneboda.  The shelves aren’t permanently fixed so you can change things around for different configurations.  I love the flexibility, so you can keep things interesting for your animals.


Finally, check out these ideas for repurposing other inexpensive Ikea products for your rats or other small animals.  This post gives numerous product suggestions for bedding, litter boxes, play, and infrastructure.  The ubiquitous plastic bag holder also works as a bed or lounging platform.  Great ideas!  I’m going to look at Ikea a little differently next time I’m there.

Don’t miss these other nifty Ikea based DIY pet projects:

(Please note: I am in no way connected to Ikea.  Other than I shop there and like all their pretty paper napkins.)

Pet Food Recall: Dog, Bird, Mouse, Rat, Hamster, & Poultry

We’ve got a bunch of pet food recalls going on—several due to possible salmonella contamination, two because of dangerously high levels of Vitamin D, and another due to incorrect packaging.

First up we have an expanded recall of Diamond dog foods due to potential Salmonella contamination.  (If you have questions or want replacement product or a refund, contact Diamond Pet Foods at 800-442-0402, 8 am – 6 pm EST, Monday through Friday or check out their site

1. Diamond Puppy Food (dry dog food)

 Size  Product Code   Best-By Date   
 40lb  DPP0401B22XJW  6-Apr-2013
 40lb  DPP0401A21XAW  6-Apr-2013
 40lb  DPP0101C31XME  11-Jan-2013
 40lb  DPP0401B21XDJ  7-Apr-2013
 20lb  DPP0401B22XJW  6-Apr-2013
 20lb  DPP0101C31XME  11-Jan-2013
 20lb  DPP0101C31XRB  11-Jan-2013
 8lb  DPP0401B2XALW  7-Apr-2013
 6oz (sample)  DPP0401


2. Diamond Naturals Lamb & Rice

Size Product Code Best-By Date
 6lb  DLR0101D3XALW  04 Jan 2013
 20lb  DLR0101C31XAG  03 Jan 2013
 40lb  DLR0101C31XMF  03 Jan 2013
 40lb  DLR0101C31XAG  03 Jan 2013
 40lb  DLR0101D32XMS  04 Jan 2013


3. Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul Adult Light Formula (dry dog food)

Size Product Code Best-By Day
 35lb  CLF0102B31XCW  27/JAN/2013
 35lb  CLF0102B31XCW  28/JAN/2013
 35lb  CLF0102B32XWR  28/JAN/2013
 6lb  CLF0102B3XALW  28/JAN/2013


Kaytee is recalling 2 types of baby bird food due to dangerously high levels of Vitamin D which can cause kidney failure.  Signs of hypervitamintosis D in birds include:

  • Lethargy
  • Anorexia
  • Crop stasis
  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Polyuria
  • Polydipsia
  • Stunting or delayed development

For important information on tests and treatment read Kaytee’s hypervitamintosis D information page for you and your veterinarian.  (Call Kaytee at 1-800 Kaytee-1 (800 529-8331) or email for information on a refund.)

1. Kaytee exact Hand Feeding Formula Baby Bird 

Size Product Code Lot/Serial # UPC Code Best-By Date
 6/7.5 oz  100032326  A1  07185947510  21 Mar 2013
20 Apr 2013
 6/18 oz  100032328  A2  07185947511  9 Mar 2013
19 Apr 2013
 4/5 lb  100032330

 A3  07185947512  14 Mar 2013
30 Mar 2013
16 May 2013
 4/5 lb  100034332  A3 (Petco)  07185947512 30 March 2013
 1/22 lb  100032336  A4  07185947518  21 Mar 2013
13 Apr 2013
16 May 2013


2. Kaytee exact Hand Feeding Formula Baby Macaw 

Size Product Code Lot/Serial # UPC Code Best-By Date
 4/5 lb  100032337  B1  07185947515  1 Mar 2013
14 Mar 2013
19 Apr 2013


Kaytee is also recalling a mouse, rat, & hamster food due to potential salmonella contamination.  This food was widely distributed around the world—states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin; and, into the countries of Abu Dhabi, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Czechoslovakia, Dominican Republic, Dutch Antilles, Finland, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Guam, Honduras, Hong Kong, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Mexico, New Zealand, Pakistan, Panama, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Thailand, and Trinidad.   (Call 1-800-Kaytee1 (800 529-8331) phone number or for questions regarding pets that have been fed the product.  For a refund, fill out this form on the Kaytee site.)

1. Kaytee Forti-Diet Pro Health Mouse, Rat and Hamster

Size Material # UPC Code Best Before Code
 6/5 lb  100502315  71859 00001  03-Apr-2013 K61
 25 lb  100502086  71859 99995  31-Mar-2013
 6/3 lb  100502085  71859 99994  31-Mar-2013 K63
 25 lb  100502275 (Petco only)  71859 00000  30-Mar-2013


And finally, DuMOR produced for the Tractor Supply Company is recalling a poultry feed due to incorrect packaging.  This one can be confusing if you look at the FDA site, so here it is in a nutshell.  Some packages of DuMOR Poultry Grower/Finisher (which is for chicks) actually contain DuMOR Poultry Layer 16% Crumbles (which is for egg layers).  The adult food can be harmful to chicks.  (For more information contact your Tractor Supply Company location, or Feed Solutions Customer Service at 615-315-4092 or 615-315-4090 (Monday-Friday 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM CDT).

1. DuMOR Poultry Grower/Finisher

Item # Formula # Lot #
 0046445  60Y9  2MAR15OKC1