Gang violence on the Cape Flats affects pets too

Exposure of domestic animals to the escalating violence and gangsterism on the Cape Flats, and the lack of easily accessible veterinary care means more trauma for them. So said Cape Town civil society activist Nikki Botha. Botha said violence towards animals escalated in areas where there was violence towards humans. “Violent behaviour towards animals is often used to determine and analyse criminal behaviour. In domestic violence cases, more often than not, violence is perpetrated towards the family pet. It is worse for animals because they do not understand what is happening, or why Animals caught up in violent gang actions […]

Planning To Get A Parrot Or Have One?

Planning To Get A Parrot Or Have One?

Image: Pixabay

Advice for current or prospective parrot parents.
Parrots, especially African Grey parrots are popular pets, but unfortunately, many owners don’t realize the extreme level of care these highly intelligent, high-maintenance birds require.

The combination of their high intelligence and their long life expectancy makes them one of the highest maintenance pets on the planet. Adding inexperienced owners to the mix often results in a long list of behavioural problems, health concerns and unhappiness for both parrot and owner. These animals can easily change homes 6-7 times in their lifetime. The number of surrendered and abandoned birds are sky-high worldwide. Through education and awareness, we want to help change that.

Although we do not support exotic and wild animals as pets, or keeping them in cages, many are captive and that is why it is important to make sure you are ready and realistic about owning a parrot. They are beautiful, adorable and very smart, but they are also:

  • Noisy
  • Messy
  • Require expensive care
  • Need lots of time & energy
  • Demanding
  • Still needs grooming
  • Vet care is specialized
  • Destructive
  • Not ideal for kids
  • Become very old (60+)

“Parrots are commonly presented, at veterinary clinics, for feather-destructive behaviour, aggression, inappropriate noise making and/or excessive vocalization, and other behaviour problems — usually more so than for medical illnesses,” writes avian veterinarian Dr. Anthony Pilny.
Two absolute essentials for caring for parrots in captivity are access to an avian veterinarian & a minimum of 4 hours each day spent in human-bird interaction. Other fundamentals include a big monthly bird budget & a cage that is the right size, properly accessorized and well-maintained; and a species-appropriate, healthy diet.

He suggests the following:

  • You need an avian vet.  Parrots aren’t chickens or small mammals. They have a unique physiology that exotic animal vets are well versed in navigating. Avian veterinarians are better equipped than general small animal vets to diagnose exotics, as well as to understand and interpret behaviour problems and recommend appropriate treatment, enrichment methods, and behaviour counseling.
  • Owners and potential owners of parrots need to be thoroughly educated by avian veterinarians and other knowledgeable sources about the parrots’ needs so they know what to expect and how to meet the birds’ requirements in captivity.
  • The high cognitive ability of parrots should be considered in their captive husbandry as a contributing factor to developing behaviour concerns. If you’re considering a parrot as a pet, you should be prepared to spend almost the same amount and quality of time with your bird as you would a highly interactive, bright, inquisitive pre-schooler.
Planning to get a parrot

Image from Dr. Karen Becker

  • An appropriately sized cage that is cozy (draft-free) and located in a safe, low-stress but social area. Your bird’s cage should be big enough for her to spread her wings and flap vigorously without contacting anything. Even better when they can fly in their cage. Remember birds fly more horizontally, so consider this when you buy a cage.
  • It should have a variety of natural branch perches (not dowels) and contain several shreddable toys, for example, balsa wood, woven mat toys, paper-stuffed toys, nontoxic enrichment “goodie bags,” and organic hemp rope toys for chewing. A huge variety of organic, all-natural, chemical-free toys are critical, as parrots’ mouths are used as a third hand, so an ongoing supply of safe, nontoxic instantly shreddable, as well as a few resilient or reusable chew toys, are a must.
  • He recommends replacing the disposable chews at least daily and rotating the more resilient toys at least twice a week, ideally daily. Always introduce new toys slowly, attaching them to the outside of the cage for a few days first, so your parrot can investigate at his own pace.
  • The cage should be cleaned daily with a nontoxic cleaner. His recommendation is diluted vinegar. The cage floor should be lined with newspaper that is discarded daily. All loose material (feathers, leftover feed, bird poop) should be carefully disposed of before disinfecting cage surfaces. Birds should be removed from the area during the disinfecting process to protect them from fumes.
  1. DIET – Feed a high-quality diet of species-appropriate fresh foods including fruits, vegetables, sprouted seeds, whole nuts and sprouted grains. Organic, dye-free commercial pelleted food (not poor-quality sunflower seed mix, which is the equivalent of junk food for most exotic birds) can also be offered.
  1. BATHS – Parrots can get dusty, so regular bathing opportunities are important. Many parrots love baths; some will splash around in a tub of shallow water; others will join their owners in the shower and others enjoy a gentle spray from a plant mister. Use filtered water, free from heavy metals and contaminants, and consider adding a flower essence if your bird is stressed.
  1. MONEY – Beyond the initial expense of acquiring a parrot, owners should plan to spend a lot of money a month on wholesome fresh food, destructible toys, and other supplies. Also an emergency fund or pet medical aid.
  2. TIME – Just because birds live in cages doesn’t mean they are easy pets to care for. You can’t just pop your parrot into his cage and ignore him except at feeding time. Be prepared to spend a great deal of time interacting with them. Potential owners of parrots should be ready, willing, and able to commit at least 4 hours a day to human-bird contact. This will disqualify many potential owners immediately.

Birds need chemical-free environments to be healthy. Consider the dangers or effects of:

  • Tap water
  • Home scenting products
  • Kitchen cookware
  • Fireplaces and smokers
  • Home cleaning products
  • Air purification

Please think twice and again before committing and if you do…..ALWAYS ADOPT! We will fight not until cages are comfortable, but until they are empty!


Source: The Bulletin

Looking for a Avian Vet?
Search our Vet Directory

Looking to rescue a Feathered creature?
Search our Animal Welfare Directory

Adopting a Pet (Part 1)

Why saving a life though adoption is a great idea!
South Africa is overflowing with unwanted dogs, cats, puppies and kittens, even rabbits, birds and other animals. It’s sad to think that most of these animals in shelters will never experience a loving home and the security of a family they deserve. 

We have a massive overpopulation crisis on our hands because people: 

  • don’t sterilise their pets 
  • actively breeds animals 
  • support breeders/pet shops/animal dealers 
  • don’t take responsibility for their pets 
  • let their animals roam the streets 

The reality is that there are just not enough homes for all the animals. Only 1 out of every 10 dogs born find a forever home and millions of animals are euthanized (put to sleep) every year. More unwanted animals end up as bait dogs/cats/rabbits for dogfighting or get passed from one owner to the other until they eventually, if “lucky” end up in a shelter instead. 

We understand that it seems easier to buy a pet, but let us share with you why buying a pet is part of the problem.  The pet industry in South Africa is not regulated and pet shops do not promote responsible pet ownership (sterilizations, home checks, etc.). They make their profits by promoting IMPULSE BUYING. These animals can also come from a questionable source.

What is Adoption? 
Many animals come in as strays found and other animals are dumped, abandoned or surrendered by their owners. If these animals are not claimed by their owners within the pound period, the shelter has two options namely, euthanize or adoption. Adoption is when you give an animal from a registered rescue organisation/shelter a second chance, as part of your family. You will pay an adoption fee and go through a process of responsible homing.

It is never just about a good home, but rather good placement for that animal! 
There are many BENEFITS to adopting. You not only save a life but will also make resources and space available for the next one to be rescued. If you can do the math, you know you will save money by adopting! Pets are good for our physical and emotional health and adopted ones for the most part are already “trained”. You also help to lighten the load of a shelter that rescues animals and make the rescuers go on for just one more day. 

Image: Rustplaas Dog Shelter

Things to consider before adopting:

  • Are you ready for a pet? 
  • Can you afford pet care in the long term? 
  • Have you researched their specific needs and can you meet these needs? 
  • Does the animal fit your family’s lifestyle?
  • If you live in a townhouse complex, written approval from the body corporate, that pets are allowed, must be obtained.   
  • Municipal By-laws must be adhered to with regards to allowed number of pets.  
  • You may never know their breed, medical history or behavioural history. 
  • You will have to pet-proof your home beforehand. 
  • Get the necessary items for your car and for travel. 
  • You will still need to buy beds, blankets, toys, leashes, deworm every 3 months, vaccinate every year, buy good food every month, this does not even include saving for an emergency!  
  • They need to be spayed/neutered and a form of identification added. 
  • Social animals should not be the only animals in the house.   
  • They might need some training and patients to build trust, more time to adjust and might not get along with all people or animals. 
  • If you think adoption fees are too expensive, then we will advise that you rather not get a pet.  If you do the math a responsible pet owner would do, then you will know that the adoption fee which includes sterilisation and more, is at least half the price you would normally pay for everything which is included and that is excluding the animal itself.  

Image by Best Behaviour now operating as Beyond Behaviour

Rescue is the best breed! We always advise you to go and meet the animals available at your local shelter.  Shelter pets are not broken, they were only failed by humans. Adopting an adult pet can even be better than a puppy. You might just fall in love with one that you never thought of. Choosing the right breed for your lifestyle is however especially important. NEVER MAKE A DECISION based only on a dog’s LOOK or SIZE or BREED etc. The energy level of that animal should fit with that of your family.

If you like a particular breed, there are many different ones up for adoption through breed-specific rescues (e.g. google “Poodle” rescue SA).   Be careful with any organisations that do not do responsible homing which should include sterilisation and a home-check.

Changing a life through adoption is priceless! ADOPT DON’T SHOP!

Next week we will look at how the process for adoption works. 


Source: The Bulletin

Looking to Adopt?
Search our Welfare Directory!

Adopting a Pet (Part 2)

What can you expect during the process of adopting a pet?
The process and policy might differ between organisations. The process usually includes an application form, meet & greet, home check, paying an adoption fee, sign an adoption contract, sterilisation and follow-up. Depending on availability for sterilisation at the Veterinarian or home check schedules, this can be completed in as little as 3 or 4 days. 

Irresponsible homing is not rescue! As there are far too many irresponsible organisations as well as scammers out there, we consider it to be a RESPONSIBLE ADOPTION only when it includes the following:

  • Organisation must be registered and have a clear adoption policy as well transparency and accountability.
  • Must have a comprehensive adoption application.
  • Must do a home check in person. 
  • Must require proof of address and copy of the adopters ID.
  • May not allow adoption for someone else as this is highly irresponsible and no reputable and responsible organisation will do this.
  • Must have an adoption contract which includes sterilisation policy and return policy.
  • Should do follow-up post adoption.
  • Meet and greet with all the family members (humans and animals) is important.
  • We believe adoption fee should include at least, the sterilisation, deworming, first vaccination , microchip and ID collar.

If it is an individual who is “re-homing” their own dogs or their friend’s, then it is not adoption and they are part of the problem by abusing the term ‘adoption’. Selling animals on Facebook goes against their community standard and should be reported to Facebook and the group admins.

Home checks:
This is one of the most important aspects when it comes to the credibility of responsible animal welfare organisations. As a prospective adopter, you do not have to be afraid of a home check!  You might learn some valuable information about being a pet owner or things to look for and so you can help educate others too! You can also build a relationship with a very knowledgeable person which can come in handy in the future. Most organisations will give you time to make the necessary, reasonable changes and still adopt.

Some home check considerations includes:

  • Access to basic needs like food, water and shelter.
  • Fences, swimming pools, neighbour’s animals and surrounding areas.
  • Inspection of the other animals in the home, their general condition as well as their behaviour toward their owners and other animals.
  • Children and their attitude towards the animals.

If an organisation doesn’t do home checks, they are only a pet shop and you are supporting one of the reasons we have a massive overpopulation crisis on our hands.  No matter what they call it!

Organisations get blamed for being too strict when it comes to adoptions. If the process is too ‘hard’ for you, the commitment to the animal for their life will be impossible for you. You must remember that we are responsible for the life of a sentient being, not just an object you buy at the shop and can return or throw away when you are not happy. It is NOT JUST ABOUT A GOOD HOME, BUT ABOUT THE RIGHT PLACEMENT for the animal considering their needs and the availability of resources to meet those needs.

One popular critique is not allowing adoptions when all the animals in the yard are not sterilised. It is a standard practice among reputable rescues to require any existing animals to be sterilised. It is counterintuitive to our mission as rescuers to allow puppies, kittens, or bunnies to be homed where there are unsterilised animals. We would not have this massive overpopulation crisis if people sterilised their pets. It is about responsible pet owners.


  • It may take some time to gain their trust, for them to adjust (3 months at least) and they might be scared at first or for extended periods of time.
  • Even if the bond is instant, you don’t know your pet yet, so take the necessary precautions around other people, children and pets and do not introduce them to everyone at once.
  • The breed should never be blamed for any issues, it is how you handle the situation.  Get some professional help from a trainer if the issues persist.

If you have any concerns or complaints regarding animal welfare organisations please contact THE PAW COMPANY via Facebook.


Source: The Bulletin

Looking to Adopt?
Search our Welfare Directory!

Explore a first ever shelter pet app & stand to win!

Shelter pets are superheroes!

But finding that perfect shelter pet match in South Africa can be quite tricky!

That’s why we have made it easier!

  1. Download the Pet Matchmaker app from the IOS or Google Play stores
  2. Register by filling in your name and email address for the “SUPER” cool filters and
  3. Find your very own Batman, Superman or Wonder woman.

Dare to have a peak and give a hero a home.

Ps: There are Fantastic 5 prizes. See what we did there wink, wink. Try it out and share with your friends to WIN.

Download the app for FREE to help us clear the shelters!

Source: Hill’s Pet Nutrition

Pet New Years Resolutions – part 3


Image: Pixabay

Pet New Years Resolutions – part 3

Your pets can be healthier and happier in 2024 with some or all of these pawsome pet new year’s resolutions!

A new year brings new goals and more than 300 days of opportunity for you and your pet to bond, develop healthier habits and discover new ways to live a full life. Your pet can live a better tomorrow with your help. An important first step is to avoid becoming overwhelmed thinking you need to make big changes overnight. Baby steps in the right direction are the way to go. The important thing is to make a plan and move steadily forward.

Re-publication: Originally published 18 January 2023


  • Keep toxic substances like medications, cleaning or gardening products, alcohol and toxic plants out of reach.
  • Just because a pet shop or vet sells something, doesn’t make it safe. Buy safe bedding and toys made of natural material without strong smells.
  • Clean their food and water bowls daily. We prefer stainless steel bowls to plastic.
  • Be careful about cleaning products, non-stick pans, air fresheners, or perfumes and candles you use that can affect your pets.
  • Resolve to take the time to safely secure your dog in the car on all car trips, regardless of the length of the journey. Never leave them alone in a car!
  • Start firework preparation before the festivities catch you unprepared.
  • Secure your yard so it is safe and so that pets can’t escape or get poisoned from the street.
  • Keep your cats safe in your yard.
  • Make sure there is proper shelter from all the elements.
  • Have a safe space in your home that belongs to them.


Since our pets spend the most time at home or in the garden, we should do our best to build them safe, entertaining places to rest and play. Make sure all potentially harmful plants or substances are out of reach. Create some nice hiding places and vertical territory for your pets to enjoy and explore. Learn more about zoopharmacognosy, which allows your pet to self-select remedies that best soothe them, especially during periods of anxiety.


Be better prepared for the unexpected. This is a healthy habit and can save you a lot of worries later. Pet owners can now choose from a variety of pet insurance plans that meet their needs and fit every budget.


What do you think your senior pet wants to do before crossing the Rainbow Bridge? You can make the last phase of your pet’s life memorable by compiling and completing a list of activities that will have their tail wagging and your heart soaring. Prepare in advance to navigate the Rainbow Bridge journey and making the tough but kind decision to euthanize your pet.


Image by The Paw Company


  • adopt or foster a pet
  • donate to a rescue or shelter
  • donate pet products like beds, towels, bowls, leashes, collars or food
  • volunteer at a shelter
  • say thank you to rescuers (and a vet)
  • take a shelter dog for a walk
  • sign a few petitions to help us save more animals
  • share lost and found animal posts to improve their chances of being reunited with their owners
  • join a specific cause like “stop fireworks”, “say no to the circus” or sterilizations campaigns


Animals can pick up on our energies. We see how sensitive animals are to our emotional state. They get excited when we are or try to comfort you if you are down by climbing on your lap. If you’re continuously agitated or angry when you come home, this could negatively affect your pet’s emotional state. Maybe a good New Year’s resolution idea this year is to learn how to have balanced energy before coming home to see your furry family. Even though a walk might do you good, maybe not attempt it on a day that you are angry or frustrated or not in the mood because you might ruin the experience for your pet.

Keep in mind that barking, humping and digging for example are natural behaviours, but don’t allow your pet to do things if it frustrates you as this will not be good for either of you. There are alternative and healthy ways to deal with such natural behaviours.


Identify what type of pet sitter service you need. Start your search as soon as possible, ask for referrals and interview potential sitters. For us, a big factor (apart from being trustworthy) is someone who has training in pet first aid (behaviour and grooming are a bonus) and who has professional documentation (forms and terms & conditions). List your pet sitter at your vet.


If you are planning to get a new pet, please do your homework in advance about the specie and their needs. It is important that the animal and breed you choose fit with your family’s energy levels and lifestyle. Please do not support breeders who fuel this massive overpopulation crisis, so opt to adopt from reputable organizations that include home checks, a contract and sterilization.


Image by The Paw Company


Only visit True Sanctuaries and say no to those that offer animal rides, interaction, walk with, pet, or taking of photos with the animals.

  • Use your birthday to raise donations for a reputable animal shelter by asking friends and families to donate or let your wedding registry be donations to an animal shelter.
  • Organize a community clean-up because plastic and other trash are harmful to the environment and animals.
  • Support the life in your backyard like the small ecosystems, and animals and insects that live around your home.
  • Say no to pesticides and poisons because poisoning rats and other animals influences the natural food chain.

Choose to wear it kind by buying and wearing clothing ethically. Avoid leather, fur and wool and try sustainable, animal-friendly alternatives because their lives matter! Don’t buy products that are tested on animals. You can find the approved beauty brands on the Humane Guide.


This is one we really want you to help us with! Try and share an educational post about animals regularly to help others learn more about animal care and welfare. Advocate for the voiceless and the unheard, especially about topics like breeding, selling, petting farms, the circus and fireworks.


Almost done. You have your pet and you have decided to make some pet-positive changes in the new year. You even have some great ideas now for pawsome resolutions. To execute these resolutions though, there needs to be detailed goals and an easy plan to follow every day. It is important to create a plan that you can stick to. Consider asking a friend to check in with and make sure you are keeping to those resolutions. Maybe start a calendar and write down the days and the goals. The most important part…..get excited!

Do you have a New Year’s resolution for your pet? Are you sticking to them?


Source: The Bulletin


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