Pet Q&A: Lonely zebra finch needs some company

By MARC MORRONENewsdayApril 12, 2013 

Q: I have a male white zebra finch, and I want to get it a companion. Will a male owl finch be OK to put in the same cage?

A: Each species of bird acts a little differently in its relationships with other birds. Finches are no exception. Some types of finches -- such as serins (canaries are in this family) -- do not like the company of other members of their own species. Owl finches and zebra finches, though, are members of the grass finch family, and in their natural state they live in flocks that need to work together to survive. They sleep all together in a group to keep warm at night and spend a large part of the day grooming each other. These two species really do need a companion, and since they are both grass finches, they will interact very nicely.

Q: Our 14-year-old cat has been acting odd lately. We had to put his brother down five months ago, and then the strange behavior began. He puts his foot in his water bowl while drinking and splashes the water all over. He has toys that look like mice. He will take them to his food bowl and place them into or next to the bowl. He also has become very vocal. Can you shed any light on his behavior?

A: To me, your cat seems to be taking its instinct to save food -- the toy mice -- for future use and may be saving them for the return of his brother. It is a long shot, but it does make sense to me although a scientist may scoff at my idea.

At any rate, his quality of life would be vastly improved by getting another cat in the house. Even if your cat does not bond with the new cat as he did his brother, the new addition would get his mind off the issues he has.

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