Where the birds hid during Sandy
Web linksMarc Morrone's pet column
Q. Where did all the birds find shelter during superstorm Sandy? We have lots of birds and other animals living in our backyard, and on the morning after I noticed I did not see any of them at all. The first bird I saw was a seagull, and that was several days after the storm. Where are the smaller birds now? --Betty Thresher, Huntington Station
A. The only good thing about Sandy was that it happened when there were not many birds and other animals about that it could hurt. Most of the real sensitive species had already migrated or entered hibernation, and those that were left were the ones that evolved to be naturally hardy and able to persevere under harsh weather conditions. These weather-hardy species are very resourceful and are always able to find shelter somewhere -- thick evergreens such as in a Norway spruce for example -- and do their best to eke out an existence from whatever little is offered by Mother Nature at that particular time. They still lie low for a few days after a disaster like Sandy until they are sure that all is back to normal and that is why things were still quiet in your yard.
Q. My cat has an upper respiratory infection, and my vet gave me some Clavimox pills to give to her twice a day. The vet showed me how to do it. He was able to give her the pill just fine in the office, but I cannot manage it at all. I have tried to use those pill pockets that you hide the pill in but she just eats around it and squeezes the pill out. Do you have any other tricks I can try? I was thinking about crushing up the pill and mixing it in the cat's food but I was not sure if that would compromise it at all. --Richard Nelson, Plainview
A. Giving a cat a pill is one of the few things in the world I am good at, but it took me a long time to develop the skills to move my hands fast enough and in a way that I can poke the pill down the cat's throat without it knowing what's going on. It's hard to put the technique into words. The best person to talk to is the vet who prescribed the medication. If you just inform the vet that the cat is the winner in the battle of the pill, then most likely he can prescribe the medication in a liquid form that will be easier to administer. Never mix the medication in the cat's food without consulting the vet first. Each medication acts in a specific way, and only a vet can inform you of the correct way to proceed.
Q. My dog is infested with fleas for the first time ever this late in the season. Our neighborhood was hit really badly by superstorm Sandy. Do you think that all the flooding that occurred may have had something to do with this surge of fleas? We had seawater in our neighborhood that was five feet high, and I wonder if this altered the environment somehow. --Avi Spitz, Lawrence
A. A disaster the scope of Sandy has never happened in this area before. It would take a person more knowledgeable than I to say what environmental impacts such a thing can cause.
Fleas are pretty tough, though, and can withstand a lot of abuse. The flood may have drowned a few and displaced others, but there are always more. I think this is because our winters are warmer each year and so more fleas survive them into spring.
I have had to use flea control on my dogs and cats up until Christmas. It has been this way for many years, and I live not far from Lawrence.