Pet of the Day

March 9, 2004

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Kai, the Pet of the Day
Name: Kai
Age: Six years old
Gender: Female
Kind: African Senegal Parrot
Home: San Ramon, California, USA
   This is our beautiful little girl, Kai, aka Kai Rai, Kai Kai, Woobie Woo, Piggy, etc. My boyfriend and I knew she was the one for us when as a baby, she was the one out of the clutch of three who wanted to stay with a human. Kai is only eight inches tall, but definitely wants to be the flock leader. She is quite nippy and it is a daily battle to make her know her place, but she's getting better. Someone once wrote that Senegals are the terriers of the parrot world - small, but fearless and in charge.

    She doesn't talk, but we don't care. She can mimic many noises and knows a few commands. She will come to the side of the cage and put her head down for her "pet the parrot" head rub and she will close her eyes and turn her head so you can get all the right spots. Unlike most parrots, she isn't crazy about her bath, but allows me to bathe her. Afterwards I make a big deal of "rolling her up" in a dishtowel and hold her like a baby. I will rub her beak and babble baby talk. She closes her eyes while being wrapped up tight. She does like bathing in her water dish - go figure.

    As soon as we come home she comes out of her cage and is placed on the family room coffee table while we eat dinner. She is allowed to roam on the table, take food off our plates and knows how to beg better than a dog. She loves food that is low in nutritional value-white pasta, popcorn, potatoes, tortillas, bread, etc. She goes ballistic when you unwrap a fortune cookie. One of the funniest things she does is to drag a pork rib or whole rib eye steak off my plate and gnaw away. She is a master at flinging food up to six feet. We always have dried tomatoes and grape pieces stuck to the walls.

    When she wants to snuggle, she will dive head first into my lap and allow me to gently "maul" her. She purrs too! She's allowed shoulder time only when she's tired and mellow, and sits with my boyfriend and will grind her beak. Parrots do this before they go to sleep. She loves music and really has a thing for Bob Dylan and will rock her head and click to all beats of music, which we find amazing, because she will follow the timing of the beat. And she adores the boys - especially the ones she's never met before - they are her best friend. She will try to get a "stranger's" attention by singing, whistling, turning over on her back and flashing her pupils. She really knows how to flirt.

    She has a sleep cage in her own bedroom with a polar fleece tent, along with three playpens throughout the house. Every morning she has her "out time" with us while we get ready for work.

    Parrots can be the best companion you've ever had, but you have to have the utmost patience and be willing to sacrifice certain things in your life. It is exactly like having a child.

    I also want to thank the folks that work at Feathered Follies in the town of Lafayette. They take care of Kai when we go on our holidays. They know that a spoiled parrot who is shown love and boundaries makes the most amazing pet you can own.

    Kai has changed our lives with her antics, intelligence and trust.

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