Animals 101 – Meeting your pets needs


Photo by The Paw Company


FOOD based enrichment is the most widely used method of enrichment as all animals require food to survive and the animals are also more inclined to interact. The aim of food-based enrichment is to prolong feeding times. The easiest way to do this is by dividing the animal’s daily diet into three or four separate feeds

The PHYSICAL HABITAT of the animal plays an important role in its welfare, meeting its physical requirements and providing a positive environment for them to live in.

SOCIAL enrichment involves housing animals of different species with others that they would naturally associate with or encounter in the wild.

COGNITIVE enrichment includes novel objects that occupy the animal’s time in a captive setting. The sort of objects that you may see used in this way include Boomer balls, Kong toys, tyres, cardboard tubes and fireman’s hoses.

SENSORY enrichment can encompass any of the five senses: sight, sound, touch, smell and taste. The most common form of sensory enrichment used is olfactory enrichment, which uses sense of smell. Items such as safe plants, herbs and spices, catnip for the cats and more, can be put around the enclosure.


When deciding what environmental and behavioural enrichment is required, you might want to consider the WHAT-WHY-WHEN approach. This is a simple rule of thumb to help you develop an enrichment program.

WHAT does this species spend time and energy on in the wild or in their natural setting? The more time and energy spent on a behaviour can indicate how motivated that animal is to carry out the behaviour, and conversely how frustrated it will become if it cannot carry out the behaviour.

WHY does it carry out this behaviour? This helps prioritise the behaviours, as not all behaviours are equal. If the behaviour is a result of physiological evolution that supports the species and individual survival, it is probably important. Combine this with how much time and energy is spent on the behaviour in their natural setting, and it can provide guidance on what behaviours to encourage in captivity for positive experiences.

WHEN do species need to express certain behaviours? Animals will have different behavioural needs at different times of the day, season and life cycle. For example, nocturnal animals will need to be more stimulated at night, while pregnant or nursing mothers will require appropriate refuge and young animals will need appropriate social interactions and environmental stimulation for learning.

See some enrichment ideas below! 30 minutes a day is only 2% of your week! It is not much to ask, for a pet you choose to have and be responsible for.

  • Supervise

When introducing new forms of environmental enrichment for a cat or dog or any animal, they should always be supervised initially. Monitor for safety and enjoyment!

  • They’re all individual

Enrichment is not one size fits all. My idea of a fun hobby may not be the same as yours and the same is true for our pets. Try different things and see what your pet enjoys! Even within the same breed or specie, their likes and dislikes might differ.

  • Get Creative.

There is not an all-inclusive list of enrichment ideas. Read articles about enrichment. Talk to rehabilitation facilities, rescues and other pet owners about what they do. Would your pet like that?

  • Have fun!

Enrichment for your cat or dog or other pets is also an opportunity for you to improve the bond you have and have fun together! At the end of the day – we are different species who don’t speak the same language able to co-habitate and enjoy each other’s company. That’s pretty amazing!

  • Review

Enrichment isn’t a box to tick and move on! You need to keep it fresh and ensure your pet is still enjoying what’s on offer. The same thing gets boring after a while and as our pets age, their needs change too.

Source: The Bulliten

Canine caper: Cape Town woman pays R500 ransom after dog kidnapped on Table Mountain

Canine caper: Cape Town woman pays R500 ransom after dog kidnapped on Table Mountain

Jack Russel named Jolie was kidnapped at the Table Mountain on Saturday. (Supplied)

A Cape Town woman was forced to pay a R500 ransom to a gang of dog-nappers after her 12-year-old Jack Russel, named Jolie, was taken on Table Mountain on Saturday.

Finance journalist, Lisette Lombard, 45, said Jolie was running about 20 metres behind her. The dog subsequently disappeared around 11:00.

Lombard said she was in the bushes, moving towards Rhodes Memorial, when she noticed Jolie was missing.

Lombard frantically searched for the dog for three hours before receiving a chilling phone call.  

Lombard said the alleged kidnapper saw her contact details on the tag that was wrapped around Jolie’s neck.

“This was not my first time losing a dog in the forest. Usually, normal people would check the tag and call me and say, we have your dog, where are you? And I would say, I am in the forest and they would say, I am in the forest, too, let’s meet near the cars. But these guys were not like that. They wanted money,” said Lombard.

After back-and-forth negotiations with the caller, Lombard met the group of four men around 19:00 the same evening, near the Blue Route Mall in Tokai.

“He said he would not tell me where my dog was until I give him the money. I said, ok, I was going to give the reward, if we can arrange to meet somewhere. Then he told me a name of an area close to Bellville and I said I can’t come there. I would rather meet somewhere central, maybe at Mowbray police station, to ensure my dog has a safe passage and I am safe. And I will give them their reward. He said, no, let’s meet at Blue Route Mall.”

She said the group arrived in a white Mazda Etude, while the police observed from a nearby unmarked vehicle.

She paid the four men R500 and they gave the dog back.  

One man stepped out of the car, holding a broken bottle, and asked for the money, said Lombard. 

Lombard said Jolie was dehydrated.

“They obviously deprived her of water,”  she said.

Lombard said:

I am grateful to the police because I made it clear to them that I wanted my dog back and they escorted me. They drove behind me and watched to make sure the kidnappers didn’t drive off with my money and the dog. When the group of kidnappers left, the police got out of their car to check if me and the dog were safe.

Asked why the police did not simply arrest the men, police spokesperson Brigadier Novela Potelwa said: “A report from the police official(s) in question does not suggest a crime took place during this period.”

Lombard warned the public to be vigilant around Table Mountain because there could be a syndicate of dog kidnappers operating in the area.   

“The police told me that they heard unconfirmed reports that this syndicate of dog kidnappers pay vagrants to steal dogs and hand over to them, so they can ask for ransom,” said Lombard.  

However, Potelwa said the SAPS needed time to investigate the allegations that a dog kidnapping syndicate was operating in Cape Town. 

Potelwa said: “Information gathered from a SAPS official, who was involved in the matter, indicates that he and a colleague assisted a complainant, who came to the Kirstenhof police station on Saturday evening. The matter took them to an area near the Blue Route mall, where the complainant was reunited with her dog.”

The managers of Table Mountain, SANParks, said they were not aware of a dog kidnapping syndicate operating in the area. 

But SANParks spokesperson Lauren Howard Clayton said: “We encourage our users to keep an eye on their dogs when carrying out their activities within Table Mountain National Park and to report any suspicious behaviour to management and/or the SAPS.”

Lombard said she did not report the incident to the Table Mountain National Park management.

Source: News 24