Pet Pundit®

As Seen With - Cathy Rosenthal

Encourage Kindness to Animals!

Highly-acclaimed children's books for your child or organization

Cathy has spent the past 30 years working in animal welfare.
She brings her experience and advice to the blog where you can find answers to common pet questions.

How to train your dog to be patient around his food bowl


Fast-eating dogs are often aggressive around their food, so it is important to train your dog to be patient around his food dish. Here’s how: Place an empty bowl on the floor and step towards your dog so he walks backwards from the bowl. When he is a few feet away, ask him to sit […]

Stressed cat not using litter box

Dear Cathy, I have four indoor-only cats. They range in age from two- to six-years-old. Our problem child is a five-year-old female cat named Trinity. Before we adopted her at four months old, Trinity lost a leg before from a dog bite. When we brought her home, she didn’t use the litter box. She used […]

How to discourage cats aggressive behavior towards dog


Dear Cathy, We recently got a cat from our local Humane Society. He is a three-year-old male. His cage card said he wasn’t good with other cats. It wasn’t until we got home that we saw the paperwork also said he doesn’t like dogs either. We don’t have cats, but we do have a five-year-old […]

Help for dog whose been attacked at dog park

Dear Cathy, I read your response to the owner of a dog, Bella, who would become aggressive at times to other dogs in the dog park. I agree with your suggestions, but would offer another one. Our dog, Latte, was brutally attacked and became aggressive to other dogs on walks. I sought a trainer who […]

Help for cats not getting along

Dear Cathy, Last year, I adopted two male cats who were not previously paired. Fred is about 10-years-old, is mellow, and sleeps all day. Casanova is two-years-old, a sweet and affectionate cat, but also a stinker towards Fred. When Fred is sleeping, Casanova suddenly pounces on him. Currently, Fred is missing some fur on his […]

How to get your dog to not eat so fast

How to get your dog to not eat so fast Does your dog rush to eat his food? Does he or she practically inhale the food rather then chew and swallow? If it only takes a few seconds for your dog to woof down his dinner each night, there are ways to slow him down so […]

Do Microchips Help Lost Pets Return Home?

Do microchips work in returning lost pets home? Just ask Castle Hills, Texas, resident Edgar Fischel to tell his story. In 2010, Fischel adopted Little Girl, a two-year-old Chihuahua from the Animal Defense League (ADL). ADL microchipped her, which gave Fischel the added confidence that his dog would be returned to him if she ever got […]

Recycle fish tank water for your garden

Dear Cathy, When I change the water from my fish tank, I toss the dirty water onto the lawn, not into my sink. The question is, will this water be good for my indoor plants? – Bart Varacchi, Holbrook, New York  Dear Bart, Absolutely! If you have a filter on your fish tank and the […]

Don’t get a rabbit just because it’s Easter


Dear Cathy, I have four pet rabbits of my own and am always looking for ways to spread education about rabbit care, since it’s not as simple as people realize. I don’t know how familiar you are with rabbits, but I have more of a request than a question: Could you talk about why it’s […]

How to stop dog from stress-peeing in the house

Dear Cathy, My husband shared your column about the owner of a Dachshund and Dachshund mix whose dogs peed in the house within a half-hour of being brought in from outside. I reminded him that our Dachshund pees when his routine is upset, like when we pet-sit our children’s dogs or go away on a […]

How do I stop my dog from obsessively licking?

Dear Cathy, We have a big 14-year-old Silky Yorkie named Howie. In November, my husband got severely sick and was hospitalized for 11 days. He recovered at home for eight weeks. During his hospitalization, I took care of Howie while working and going to the hospital, but he was alone much more than usual. During […]

Does the cat have hairballs or something else?

Dear Cathy, Riya, my cat, has been doing this weird gag/cough/puke thing quite often the past few days. At first, I just thought it was a hairball she was working to get out, but yesterday she threw up a little food. Most of the time she doesn’t throw up, but then again in the middle […]

How to introduce a puppy to a home with two cats


Dear Cathy, We have two cats, and we’re thinking about getting a puppy. The cats are two years old. What suggestions do you have for introducing a new pet into a home with other pets? – Leslie Mallard, Norcross, Georgia Dear Leslie, The good news about bringing a puppy into a cat home Introducing puppies […]

How to stop puppy from being so destructive


Dear Cathy, We adopted a boxer/pug/bulldog named Magento. He is three years old. Our problem is that he is systematically eating our backyard from top to bottom. He is breaking branches off trees, and chewing on branches and the other plant materials in the yard. He only stops when he gets caught. A few hours […]

How to reduce aggressive behavior with cats

Dear Cathy, I have two cats, Foxy and Florence, ages 8; they are brother and sister from the same litter. They had a bit of a rough start. Their mother was killed by a car before they opened their eyes. But a kind soul took them to a veterinary clinic where they were bottle-fed and […]

How to stop dog from pooping in the car

Dear Cathy, I have a friend who received a dog from a shelter. This dog was previously with a breeder. Whenever the dog rides in my car, he usually poops (ugh!). I don’t know if he was crate trained or not, but in such a confined space of the back seat, you would think he […]

Question about cat with nodule above his eye

Dear Cathy, My older cat, Sonney, has a bump or nodule above his left eye. I have attached a photo. I don’t know how he got it; it could have started from a scratch from one of our other cats. He did have a small scratch close to the bump that healed before I noticed […]

Why is my older cat not using litter box?

Dear Cathy, We have a 17-year-old cat who over the past few months sometimes neglects to use the litter box. Sometimes, he’ll leave a surprise right next to the litter box and sometimes elsewhere. It seems to happen whether the litter box is completely clean or not. What’s the reason? – Rich, Rockville Centre, New […]

How to get neighbors to pick up their dog’s poop

Dear Cathy, At our condo complex, we have a problem with dog owners who violate the rules relative to walking their pets. Some, very few, allow their pets to defecate or urinate on lawns without picking it up. While our condo is pet-friendly, there are rules about dog walking. Is there an effective and humane […]

Is my cat grieving?

Dear Cathy, Our seven-year-old cat started licking his front paws. He has always been afraid of everything, but it has progressively gotten worse. He jumps at the slightest noise – a loud bang sends him running and hiding. We’ve always treated him with love and cuddling. Our other sixteen-year-old cat died a couple of months […]

Dog still eating too fast? Here’s one more thing to try

Dear Cathy, We have a Black Lab named Deuces who devours her food. We bought her one of those food bowls that have “bumps” in it, so she has to eat more slowly. But after we feed her, and in two servings, she still throws all of it up. What else can we do? — […]

How to stop puppy from being aggressive

Dear Cathy, My eight-month-old puppy has started to show aggression. He growls and tries to bite when you try to pick him up or put on a leash. Treats are not working. Suggestions? — Eileen, Commack, New York Dear Eileen, If this is a new behavior, take him to a veterinarian to rule out a […]

How to help your cat overcome anxiety

Dear Cathy, We got our rescue cat in October 2015 as a seven-month-old kitten.  As soon as she got in the house, she went under the bed and came out only to eat and use the litter box.  A year later, she still hid under the bed but came out more often to snoop around […]

Miniature horses as pet therapy animals

Dear Cathy, We wanted to tell you about a new pet that is making the rounds in the pet therapy world – miniature horses. We have 30 minis and have been working with them for 25 years. Miniature horses live about 25 years, but many of ours are into their 30’s. We believe the minis […]

Books on pet care ideal gift for pet owners

Dear Cathy, I read your great pet column in the Las Vegas Review-Journal every Sunday.  It’s always interesting. I am writing because our son has four cats, and seems to be very adept at their overall care. My question is, can you recommend a good cat medical guide, which would be a handy thing for […]

Reader takes right steps towards dog/cat introductions


Dear Cathy, We just took in a five-year-old dog from a family friend who could not keep him anymore.  All is going somewhat well, but he does not get along with my three-year-old cat at all. We have tried to introduce them with him being held back on a leash, but he constantly keeps going […]

Getting dog to relax with friends

Dear Cathy, I have a one-year-old rescue dog named Ted. He is a Wheaten Terrier. I don’t know his past. He is very social with other dogs but is extremely shy with people. He wants to approach others but darts away if they try to pet him. This includes my family who sees him on […]

Licking a dog licking habit

Dear Cathy, We have a seven-pound Chihuahua mix that we found roaming the streets six years ago.  We absolutely love our dog, but he has one particular habit that absolutely drives us crazy. He constantly licks. If he’s on any piece of furniture, he licks. When not sleeping, he licks.  I’ve brought this to the […]

Feral friend may be happier staying outside

Dear Cathy, I have been feeding a very feral cat since last March. Gradually, he has progressed to living on my deck.  In July, I trapped him and had him neutered and treated for fleas, worms, and mites. He has gained weight and is extremely charming. He was a skeleton when I first saw him. […]

Helping your dogs with a cross-country move

Dear Cathy, My husband and I are moving to Nevada. We have two dogs who will be making the cross-country trip with us. One will be fine, but our Westie (West Highland Terrier) concerns us. He’s not a fan of being in the car. Any advice for how to make this a stress-free experience for […]

“Leave it” solves a host of doggie transgressions


Dear Cathy, I have some new neighbors that moved in with an outdoor cat. The cat uses our yard as her potty box. Our two dogs have found this cat poop delectable and they eat these deposits before I can remove them from the yard. Is there something I can do to dissuade my dogs […]

Pilling a cat who only eats dry food

Dear Cathy, I have a cat who is five years old that we rescued from the Humane Society.  He is a Russian Blue and a great cat, except he will not eat any wet foods. The only thing he will eat is dry food. My vet has no answer. He is very healthy, but wonder […]

Introducing new kitten to older cat

Dear Cathy, We have a three-year-old domestic cat. She has always had a picky appetite, and has times of affection and aloofness. We recently acquired a ragdoll kitten. For the last month, our older cat’s appetite and playfulness have diminished appreciably.  The two of them interact very minimally; the older cat seems to allow the […]

The right music may soothe dog on car rides

Dear Cathy, I dog-sit my daughter’s lovable Yorkypoo occasionally. He happily jumps into my car, but makes the most horrendous earsplitting noises, barking, howling, all during the drive. Having him strapped in or in his kennel, having my husband hold him in his lap, makes no difference. Could he be car sick? Any idea on […]

Why dogs greet you with toys in their mouths


Dear Cathy, I have a two-year-old spayed female cocker spaniel named Roxy. She is a wonderful dog. Whenever anyone comes to the house, including myself, she picks up one of her stuffed toys and runs over to whoever came in with it in her mouth. She gets very excited and her tail wags. I think […]

Urinary incontinence in dogs can be frustrating to manage

Dear Cathy, We have a seven-year-old Chihuahua mix. She has a problem leaking urine all the time. We took her to the vet and she was checked out and had an x-ray, but they couldn’t find anything wrong. They recommend a specialist, which costs thousands of dollars for testing. We do not have that kind […]

Situational doggie incontinence

Dear Cathy, I have a problem with Buster, my two-year-old Jack Russell Terrier. Buster loves attention, especially from new people or people he doesn’t see often. The problem is, he pees when he gets excited. I’ll let him out beforehand if I know someone is coming over. I also have unexpected guests go to the […]

Fostering as flexible opportunity to love and help animals

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Dear Cathy, I am writing in response to the woman a few weeks ago whose cat died “in God’s timeline,” and she was grateful she didn’t have to euthanize her cat. I had to make the decision twice in the last 20 years, and swore I would never do it again either. But I missed […]

Teaching a dog-reactive dog to calm down on a walk


Dear Cathy, My wife and I rescued an adorable little white munchkin a few years ago. I was going to foster him, but that changed after ten minutes in our home. Charlie was ours. He’s a great companion, but he gets a little whacked out when we are walking and another dog comes into view […]

Doggie day care to help with socialization

Dear Cathy, I read your response to the owner of a dog, Bella, who would become aggressive at times to other dogs in the dog park. I agree with your suggestions, but would offer another one. Our dog, Latte, was brutally attacked and became aggressive to other dogs on walks. I sought a trainer who […]

Helping new adopted cats get along

Dear Cathy,  Last year, I adopted two male cats who were not previously paired. Fred is about 10-years-old, is mellow and sleeps all day. Casanova is two-years-old, sweet and affectionate cat, but also a stinker towards Fred. When Fred is sleeping, Casanova suddenly pounces on him. Currently, Fred is missing some fur on his side. […]

Reward tricks with treats to help dog learn new behaviors

Dear Cathy, My neighbors moved away and could not take their dog with them. We took Buster in with us. He is a five or six-year-old lab mix. Buster took to his new surroundings very well. He is housebroken, very gentle and obedient. All in all, he’s a very nice dog and we are happy […]

Elderly cat started howling at night

Dear Cathy, I have a problem with our cat who is roughly 18-years-old. She started howling at night around five months ago. This is an issue because she hangs out in my daughter’s room upstairs (she is away at college, second year). My 22-year-old son who lives at home is also upstairs. Last night, she […]

To drive or fly pets on a long-distance move

Dear Cathy, I was reading your column regarding preparing a pup for a long-distance car ride, and I have a similar question regarding cats.  We may be relocating to Florida from New York, and my wife is extremely hesitant to give our cats (two to three) to anyone like an airline or service that would […]

German Shepard fighting staph infection

Dear Cathy, I have a ten-year-old German Shepherd. She has been fighting a staph infection for the past three years. She is currently being treated by a dermatologist and has been through every medication available, but is no longer healing or getting any relief. I would say approximately 75% of her body is covered in […]

If you feed feral cats, please sterilize them too

Dear Cathy, I started feeding a few stray/feral cats in my back yard last year, and now they’re reproducing, including a litter of four in my shed. The other house tenants are angry and don’t want any cats around at all. I know there are TNR (trap-neuter-return) programs, and it is illegal to abandon them elsewhere. […]

Wild rabbit population increase

Dear Cathy, In my daily walks in my neighborhood, I’ve noticed an increase in the number of wild rabbits. They are especially numerous early mornings and evenings. Is there an explanation for the rise in their population?  — Andy, East Northport, New York  Dear Andy, I checked with Volunteers for Wildlife in Locust Valley, New […]

Helping scooting dogs

Dear Cathy, My veterinarian has been trying to help my dog keep from constant scooting since age four. She is more than 13-years-old and still does it, fussing and whining because her anal sacs are irritated. The veterinarian empties the sacs, as needed. I add fiber products in her wet food as advised by my […]

Slippery floors can make dogs fearful and anxious

Dear Cathy, I need help with a one-year-old beagle mix that has suddenly become afraid to walk on tile.  She whines in a room or hallway until you go and get her. I have tried rugs, but that has not worked, and treats, which works fairly well, but I have to go get her. I […]

How cat got feline leukemia baffles one family

Dear Cathy, My husband and I went to a no-kill shelter to adopt a cat after I became disabled and had to retire early. I was adopted by a beautiful Lynx point Siamese who had been brought to the shelter 14 months prior as an orphan. He immediately jumped on my lap, rubbed his face […]

Getting a senior dog to eat

Dear Cathy, I have a ten-year-old Maltese/Shih Tzu mix, in relatively good health. About a year ago, my veterinarian put him on a senior diet because of a slightly raised creatine level, which now is back to normal. He was not pleased with the new food, and I had to try eight different brands. He […]

Help for lethargic adopted dog

Dear Cathy, I adopted a three-year-old cockapoo from a shelter. Within two days, I realized he could not hear and confirmed it with my veterinarian. The vet said there seemed to be a residual ear infection, which we treated. He also tested positive for Lyme disease. I have only had him for a short period […]

How to manage your high-energy dog

Dear Cathy, We have a three-year-old Chiweenie (Chihuahua/Dachshund mix). As a puppy, she was abused and kept in a small cage. We brought her home at eight months old. When we put her down on the floor, she took off running around the house and was so excited she ran until she collapsed. We are […]

Senior dog hiding her food

Dear Cathy, Rosie, my nine-year-old Scottie (Scottish Terrier), has been trying to hide her dry dog food with the cloth mat, which is under the bowl.  She also puts some food in her kitchen bed, which is near the bowl. She does eventually eat it all. I’ve been feeding her the same dry food for […]

How to correct (or reward) a dog’s digging habit

Dear Cathy, I adopted a lab/pug mix from a local shelter, and we just love her. Unfortunately, she’s a digger. She is digging our tree and lilac roots, which she pulls out and chews up. I’m hoping it might be a vitamin deficiency that we can fix with nutrition, otherwise any suggestions? I have put […]

Treat dog anxiety and then train

Dear Cathy, I have a ten-year-old and 13-year-old Boston terrier and a two-year-old cat. My ten-year-old Billy is a handful. He is the busiest dog I have ever met. He licks constantly and cries and complains all the time. I love him to bits, but his behavior is very stressful and is a lot to […]

Both male and female dogs hump for many different reasons

Dear Cathy, Our Katie is a five-year-old Lab mix. She’s always been obedient and will lick you to death if you let her. Now suddenly, when little kids come over, she gets super excited and starts humping them. Why now, after all this time, is she doing this? I thought only male dogs hump. Any […]

Because most dogs can’t do two things at once either

Dear Cathy, We have a wonderful Beagle/mix who is almost 10 years old. We are constantly amazed by Tanner’s intelligence and loving nature, but he has one behavior that we cannot seem to control.  He barks at everyone who walks by our house, whether or not they are walking a dog, and everyone who comes […]

Helping a grieving cat

Dear Cathy,  We had two cats who were litter mates and adopted as kittens. One of the two cats disappeared and hasn’t returned. The other is still mourning his lost brother. Is there anything we can do to comfort him or help him get over missing his brother? Would a new kitten help? – Mundy […]

Separating bonded pair of cats easier while still young

Dear Cathy, My son, a second-year veterinary student, and I adopted two cats. They are brothers, about 13 weeks old. We adopted them three weeks ago. My son is returning to school with one of the cats. I work full time in Oceanside. Will the cats be okay once separated? Is there anything we can […]

Helping feral cats when person feeding them moves

Dear Cathy, I have five inside cats, and feed three stray cats in my yard, which has woods behind it. I have been feeding these cats for five months. There have been others in the past that I have trapped, had neutered/spayed, and rehomed. The problem is, my family and I are moving to another […]

How to handle approaching dogs on a walk

Dear Cathy, I have a 16-pound Havashu. We do not have a fenced yard, so she is walked several times a day. There are quite a few large dogs that we encounter on our walks through the neighborhood. Some are being walked and are leashed, and some are allowed loose. Sometimes, the people with the […]

Training away an ankle-biter habit


Dear Cathy, My miniature poodle was a rescue. I was recently put in assisted living, so my daughter agreed to take my dog. The problem is, he has a bad habit of jumping and nipping people, mostly men, in the behind of ankle. I have not been able to break him of that habit. Could […]

Don’t believe it; dogs can get fleas at a kennel

Dear Cathy, We boarded our 115-lb. white German Shepherd for 10 days. A few hours after picking him up from the kennel, we discovered he had fleas. The kennel owner said the flea life cycle was 14 days and therefore, my dog could not have gotten fleas during his stay. She said that the fleas […]

Dogs that get more anxious with age

Dear Cathy, I have an 11-year-old Maltese. For the last two years, we’ve noticed that whenever people come over, he gets extremely anxious and whines throughout their entire visit. He humps his toys. He licks his privates. I’ve read that as dogs get older they become more anxious. I’ve tried an anxiety shirt. It doesn’t […]

Where to find adoptable pets


Dear Cathy, Do you have any information on area shelters where you can adopt pets? Originally, I was looking for a sheltie dog, but I am expanding my preference, and just looking for other shelters where I can adopt. — Char Fiore, Franklin Park, Illinois Dear Char, You can search several animal shelters and rescue […]

When a cat won’t poop in the litterbox anymore

Dear Cathy, Our six-year-old house cat stopped pooping in the litter box, but she still urinates in it. We find poop all over the house, but never urine.  She doesn’t have a favorite place to evacuate; it’s on rugs, hardwood floors – she isn’t hiding it.  We find it out in the open and it […]

Behavior changes in older dog with health issues

Dear Cathy, I have a 14-year-old Min Pin (Miniature Pinscher) who has diabetes and is blind. She has started going in circles to the left, sometimes very rapidly. Do you have any idea what might be causing this? – Rande Repke, Naperville, IL Dear Rande, While circling could just be a new behavior, your girl’s age and […]

What to do when your dog eats dog poop

Dear Cathy,  Sometimes it is difficult during heavy rains and really cold weather to stand outside in the backyard when our dog poops so we can make sure he doesn’t eat it. Is there any way to stop him from this habit except to stand outside and grab its before he eats it? — Virginia […]

Dog that barks while he walks


Dear Cathy, We have a Border Collie/Aussie shepherd mix. She’s a wonderful dog, and will be eight-years-old this September. We adopted her when she was two. We love her, but her constant barking when we take her for her daily walk is really getting on our nerves! It starts as soon as we put her […]

When dogs stick their noses where they don’t belong

Dear Cathy, Our grand dog is one-year-old and not yet neutered. He has a habit of sticking his nose in people’s behinds. We’ve had success with eliminating his jumping up on people by using a spray bottle. But for this behavior, it is very difficult to spray when it could be effective. Do you have […]

Grass eating could mean several things

Dear Cathy, My three dogs, Reesie, Captain Jack, and Dobie, all eat a lot of grass. I was told the dog food I feed them is a good one. When I feed them, I add a little water to the food, so it isn’t so dry.  I do not let the food get soggy.  I […]

Cat’s punctual evening screaming

Dear Cathy, I have two Himalayan cats, Tango and Cash.  These three-year-old brothers are very healthy indoor cats. However, at 9 p.m. every night, Cash starts screaming bloody murder for about two minutes. I can’t figure out what is wrong with him. Any ideas? Tango just looks at him in awe! — Carol Freburger, Aventura, […]

Socialize your dog before visiting the dog park

Dear Cathy, I’m having a problem with my rescue dog, Bella, who is a 3-1/2-year-old Pitbull and Shar-Pei mix. When I take Bella and her two other furry friends to the dog park, she gets very aggressive with other dogs. Suddenly, out of nowhere, Bella will pounce, growl and snap at another dog who is […]

Drawing a cat back to the litter box

Dear Cathy, I got a Manx female kitten from my daughter’s barn when she was six-weeks-old. Her name is Lil Bit. I watched her use the litter box in the barn. The first night bringing her home, we stayed in a motel, and I took her litter box out of the carrying crate and let […]

You can change a dog’s diet if you transition slowly

Dear Cathy, When my mother passed away, I inherited her cocker spaniel.  He ate dog food as a puppy, but as an adult, she fed him table scraps. He eats green beans, baked chicken and turkey jerky, among his favorites. He is eight, and I was wondering if it is too late to try to […]

Benefits outweigh risks of the Parvo vaccine

Dear Cathy,  My son recently bought a three-month-old Boston Terrier named Riley, who is now receiving all of his necessary vaccinations. My son has been advised the next vaccination will be for the parvovirus, but because of the side effects he’s heard and read about, he is clearly leaning toward not getting this shot for […]

Finding relief for what’s itching your dog

Dear Cathy, My ten-year-old dog gnaws occasionally on his front legs, which end up red, inflamed and bare of hair. What might be causing this and how do I treat it? – Mel Davenport, Longview, Texas Dear Mel, Dogs itch for a variety of reasons, ranging from boredom and anxiety to fleas, food allergies and […]

Cat loves to eat plants and other things too

Dear Cathy, My four-year-old male orange tabby has a taste for weird stuff. He eats plants, but particularly loves pineapple leaves. If he gets out, he’ll run to eat grass and whatever plant he can find. I can’t keep live plants in the house. Even worse, he eats strings and fabric, including my bathing suit […]

Respectful and non-intimidating engagement with new dogs

Dear Cathy, Your suggestions to James C. in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, who was having problems bonding with his daughter’s dog, were good ones, including bringing a special toy for the dog and helping walk or feed the dog while visiting. I also found avoiding eye contact with my in-laws’ dog helped tremendously. The dog was […]

Keeping dogs under control when walking

Dear Cathy, The lady who wrote in saying that she found collars and leashes to be “cruel” and preferred to train her rescue dogs without leads is asking for trouble. I don’t let my dogs off lead, even in areas where it is permitted. Why? Because owners may claim their dogs are friendly, but I have […]

The message is, “Adopt, Don’t Shop,” for your next pet

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Dear Cathy, I read your recent article about research showing people are not more likely to return pets acquired during the winter holidays. I work for a rescue group, and our concern has always been with potential stress for a newly-adopted animal caused by large family gatherings, travel, visitors, unusual schedules and foods during this […]

Keep training to distract dog from chewing on household items


Dear Cathy, We have a 3-1/2-year-old Labradoodle named Rocco. He is basically a good dog, but he has a bad habit we can’t seem to break. He constantly steals stuff- socks, clothing, paper, anything he can get his paws on- and chews them and sometimes even swallows them. He even vomits stuff up sometime. We […]

Cat pees only on our bed

Dear Cathy, We’re having a huge problem with our cat. We bought a new bed a few months ago, and she has peed on it five times. My poor husband washes the sheets and mattress covers, and we get the quilt cleaned. We had no choice but to keep her out of the room unless one […]

How to handle your dog or cat’s bad breath


Dear Cathy, We rescued our golden labs – a six-year-old brother and sister – three months ago, and they are great fun, and just the best. However, they have horrible breath. Despite giving them a ‘greenie’ a day, it is still bad.  We know and have kept other dogs and have never had complaints, like […]

Helping an adopted dog with separation anxiety

Dear Cathy, In April, I adopted a retired four-year-old greyhound. I named him Geo. He suffers from extreme separation anxiety. He barks and whines when I am away. I tried doing the limited time apart, but after an hour, he reverts back to whining and barking. I purchased a new larger kennel and started letting […]

Dog owner learns a colorful lesson on the dangers of chocolate

Dear Cathy, One of your recent columns reminded me of this story. It was Christmas day, and I was expecting fifteen relatives for dinner. The house was sparkling clean, the buffet table was set up with my best china, the cold food platters were in the refrigerator, and the hot food was bubbling in the oven. […]

Teaching the dog to “go potty” outside


Dear Cathy, Evelyn in Las Vegas had a question about training her two dogs. We have a similar problem with our Australian Cattle dog, who is almost two years old. She rings the bell at the door about half the time but doesn’t “go” outside consistently. My carpets are a mess. She is a good […]

Teaching a dog-reactive dog not to react to other dogs


Dear Cathy, My daughter recently bought a three-year-old French Bulldog from a breeder who did not provide all the information about the dog. Our main concern is the dog is not friendly to other dogs and starts to bark and appears to want to attack the other dogs. Is there any way of training our […]

How to help a shy dog gain confidence in you

Dear Cathy, My adult daughter and her family have a female lab mix named Scooby. Despite my seeing her three to four times a year (they live in Atlanta), she is always afraid of me and will sometimes bark and growl at me. Eventually she calms down and I can pet her. Even though she […]

Skin problems and weight loss need a vet consult

Dear Cathy,  My son has an almost four-year-old lab mix. These past few months, her fur seems to be coming off in patches around her body, it scabs and bleeds at times. She seems to be losing weight as well. We don’t know what’s causing this. We want to take her to the vet, but […]

People and pets should stay together during euthanasia


Dear Cathy,  I have a sad question.  Since 2011, I have had to euthanize three dogs. My Dachshund Troy, almost 18 years of age, went peacefully. He went to sleep after the initial shot, and died after the second shot. My Maltese, Star, 13-years-old, did not respond to either shot. They had to take her […]

Lost cats can get trapped in garages, basements

Dear Cathy, Could you please warn people about lost cats getting closed in people’s sheds, garages and basements. I know someone whose cat went into a neighbor’s basement. Since the man never went into his basement, the friend’s cat wasn’t found for three months. He couldn’t walk when they found him, but believe it or […]

Cat food not good for dogs

Dear Cathy, Is it dangerous for my five-year-old poodle/Shih Tzu, Babou, to eat cat food? I am babysitting my daughter’s 16-year-old cat, Cinnamon, for the summer, and he is eating her food. I finally put the cat food high up where Babou can’t reach it, but wondered. – Jeanine Szajna, Bayport, New York Dear Jeanine, […]

Sensitive dog barks at movement and things on TV

Dear Cathy, I adopted BeBe two years ago. She is a mixed breed terrier about eight-years-old. She is very devoted to me. She follows me when I leave the room and hides under the bed when I leave the house. She has two issues I hope you can help me with. First, she barks at […]

Kitty’s incessant night meowing

Dear Cathy, I have a ten-year-old Ragdoll cat. She is very sweet, but since I am a light sleeper, she keeps me up most of the night with her incessant meowing. I don’t recall how long this has been going on, but I don’t think she has any health issues. Do you have any insights […]

You can help your dog cope with separation anxiety

Dear Cathy, We recently adopted a two-year-old male dog from a rescue shelter. He is a Pomeranian/Fox Terrier mix and was neutered and housebroken when we got him. Five people live in our home and he has become a very loving, happy, and content member of the family. The problem is, when left home alone, […]

Help for itchy dog gnawing on paws

Dear Cathy, My ten-year-old dog gnaws occasionally on places on his front legs that end up looking bare of hair and inflamed. How do I treat that? – Ann Railsback Pitts, Moyock, North Carolina Dear Ann, Dogs chew on themselves because they itch, either from fleas, allergies, or even a habit formed by anxiety or […]

Expectant parents: Wait until baby is born to adopt pet

Dear Cathy, My son and daughter-in-law are having their first baby in October. They have informed us that they plan on adopting a pit bull from a rescue. My wife and I are against it. We will fear not only for them but the baby. I know people say it’s how the dog is raised. […]

Stray dog found her new palace

Dear Cathy, Your column often reminds me of our first dog – a sweet beagle who literally adopted us. One night, she was sitting in the garage when I came out to put newspapers into recycling. That poor dog cowered and crawled backwards to get away. I can’t imagine how mistreated she must have been […]

Dealing with the prospect of euthanasia


Dear Cathy, When we lost our last kitty, I was so thankful God took her in his timeline. For me, the guilt feelings of deciding when was the “right” time was overwhelming. I pray I never need to make that decision again. – Donna B. Tampa, Florida Dear Donna, If you have pets, then you […]

Handling a fearful Chiweenie

Dear Cathy, We have a four-year-old Chiweenie who likes only four people and one other dog. He is afraid of everyone else. We want to go on vacation in the RV and leave him at home because otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to do anything or go anywhere. My sons are not able to take […]

Night-time vocalizations keep cat owner awake

Dear Cathy, Our six-year-old neutered male cat has a behavior that disturbs our sleep. He will meow, run across the bed, push the rugs around, and jump off the chest of drawers onto the bed. He has gone for periods of time (weeks, even months) sleeping contentedly at night. We don’t understand what brings on […]

Walking dogs off-leash can stress other dogs and people

Dear Cathy, A few months ago we moved to a community that requires dogs to be leashed while walking. Leash walking has been clearly stated in our newsletter several times. If someone ignores this community rule, they are fined at some point, but I don’t know if that has ever happened. In our previous home, […]

Keeping pup from licking paws

Dear Cathy, Our ten-year-old rescue, Buddy, a Poodle Bichon, recently began to lick both fore ankles, just above the paws. He has licked his white fur turning it into an ugly, angry pink, and the skin looks raw.  We have checked him for parasites and found nothing. He has been to the groomer and bathed, […]

Obedience training can help with excessive barking


Dear Cathy, We have a 10-year-old pit bull who is an excessive barker. People do not visit because the dog never stops barking. The dog is fine with my wife, but if I come into the room where my wife is, the dog barks her head off. We tried giving her commands, but it takes […]

Calming a difficult rescue cat

Dear Cathy, My cat is 17-years-old and very frail. I rescued a kitten last Thanksgiving in part because I wanted to soften the blow for myself when my older cat dies. What a big mistake. This kitten, now 13 pounds compared to her three pounds, constantly terrorizes my older cat. I have to take my […]

Keep pets safe from extremes of weather


Dear Cathy, Though I agree with your response to the lady in Arizona who has the 12-year-old Golden Retriever who won’t drink water when outside, I also think that you should have said that a dog should not be kept all day in the heat, especially in Arizona. That poor dog. Please tell pet owners […]

Couple rescues former housecat living on the street

Dear Cathy, My wife and I subcontract for several local banks, performing property assessments of foreclosed properties. We recently came to a property that included an abandoned cat. We needed another (third) cat like a hole in the head, and while we could have dropped her off at the shelter, she ingratiated herself so quickly […]

Resetting the feline alarm clock

Dear Cathy, We rescued our cat from our local shelter two years ago. She’s the sweetest cat in every way except for one. She wakes us up at 4:00 a.m. She is relentless and does not give up until one of us gets up with her. When we come downstairs with her, she lies down […]

Mourning dog’s behavior tied to loss of loved one

Dear Cathy, We are friends with an elderly couple who adopted a young rescue about ten years ago. The wife passed away about a month ago, and suddenly the dog is peeing on the carpet three times in one day, even though he has a doggie door that he does continue to use regularly. This […]

SSSCAT Spray pet deterrent

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Dear Cathy, SSSCAT Spray by Petsafe has kept my two cats away from the Christmas tree for years. I just put batteries in, and the motion sensor detects curious kitties and emits a harmless shot of air. They quickly get the hint. It’s available at many online retailers, and costs about $30. – Stacey, Nashville, […]

Keep food gifts out from under the Christmas tree


Dear Cathy, I live alone with Andy, my 110lb yellow Lab. (He is not fat, just a big dog.) Last Christmas, I wrapped presents and put them under the Christmas tree. The next day I went on a golf outing. When I returned, I found a small scrap of paper on the kitchen floor. Turns […]

Chaos turned to peace after consistent training


Dear Cathy, I wanted to give you an update on the training you recommended for my pups last year. They are finally learning to signal with a bark or a whimper at the door. They are so well trained now it is absolutely amazing. I can go out for hours and go to bed at […]

Should you worry when your cat goes from shy to friendly?

Dear Cathy, We have a female cat named Polly who we believe is about 17 years old. She’s always been shy; no one has ever been able to pet her or get close to her. We adopted her with her twin sister Molly. Both of them hid under the china cabinet the first year we […]

Cat-proofing the Christmas tree


Dear Cathy, We had a Persian cat that loved to bring down our holiday tree – glass ornaments and all. Our tree was typically displayed near a window, so we hit on the idea to use high-strength fishing wire from the top of our tree to the curtain rod.  It’s synthetic and relatively invisible. Problem […]

Pet-proofing all around the Christmas tree


Dear Cathy, I am a professional cat sitter plus I have three cats of my own. I’ve been lucky when it comes to Christmas tree disasters. We always get a live tree but put it up without decorations until the cats lose interest in it. Then we add decorations. We put unbreakable ornaments on the […]

Pet- and kid- proofing the Christmas tree

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Dear Cathy, I read your column in the Chicago Tribune/Lake County News-Sun, and I enjoy it very much. You asked for stories about keeping a Christmas tree upright when animals are present. Here’s mine. I am a retired art teacher, but many years ago I also had some private students. One of my students was […]

Keep the leashes on- it’s safer and it’s the law


Dear Cathy, I’ve been fostering abused and neglected dogs for about five months. They pulled on their leashes, which produces tension on their necks and causes stridor (harsh vibrating sound) when they sleep. Leash training takes time. The vest and other walking devices also cause problems. I think collaring/leashing dogs is cruel now and prefer […]

Good reasons to restrain your dog

Dear Cathy, You really brought up a hot-button issue the other day. While walking on a trail, we came upon a large dog off-leash. The owner told us not to worry that her dog was well trained. I pulled my Shih Tzu close to me. Her dog came over though, and before we knew it, […]

When is the right time to help a pet pass over?


Dear Cathy, Our beloved husky Krypto is over 13 years old. He has had Valley Fever for over a year and has been taking compounded meds (Fluconazole) for eight months. He is very thin, although he eats a lot and has a good appetite. He drinks gallons of water every day. In fact, when the […]

Separating bonded animals


Dear Cathy, My sister and I started our own cat rescue a little over a year ago and this is our first official “kitten season”, and we are struggling with the issue of bonded pairs. My question to you is, at what age do you think it would be unwise to separate a bonded pair? […]

Slightly feral cat not adjusting well to new home

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Dear Cathy, We recently adopted a 2-1/2-year-old orange tabby cat from our local TNR rescue. He was rescued as a feral kitten and neutered at three months of age. Since then he has been at the rescue. Before we brought him home, I spent time with him over a three-week period. Although not overly friendly, […]

Breaking the habit of growling at visitors at the front door

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Dear Cathy, My dog, a Yorkie-Pekinese mix, barks at every noise he hears. He goes into a frenzy when someone comes to the door. If I let them in, he is very aggressive and will even bite visitors. If I leash him, he gets worse. He is four years old. I adopted him three weeks […]

Strange cat loves to eat his clipped toe nails


Dear Cathy, I must have the strangest cat in world. I take out nail clippers, call him and he comes running. He lets me cut each nail and for some reason loves to eat the clipped nails. Maybe that is the distraction? — Jeff, Henderson, Nevada Dear Jeff, You not only have one of those […]

Approaching neighbors about leash laws


Dear Cathy, In the Newsday column on July 16, 2018, a woman from Illinois complained about her neighbor having her dog loose out in the front yard when she was walking her dog. The dog would come up to her dog. I googled it because I have problems with my neighbor’s six dogs running around […]

What to do when a cat stops covering its poop

Dear Cathy, My four-year-old male cat, Max, has developed an unusual habit. While he always uses the litter box, he no longer bothers to cover his poop with litter. Have you heard of this before and do you have any thoughts as to why this might be happening? — Martha, Long Beach, New York Dear […]

Cat’s nocturnal nature and getting some sleep

Dear Cathy, In regard to the woman whose cat keeps her up all night, the only thing that worked for us was to put our cat to sleep in the basement every night. She had her food and toys down there and a nice ottoman to sleep on. She was fine until my husband woke […]

Socializing and training a fearful dog


Dear Cathy, My dog, Major, is a rescue who was 18 weeks old when we got him and is almost two years old now. I fell in love with him in his cage huddled against the wall with his head up the wall. He is so sweet and gentle. I have taken him to dog […]

Shaming owners to change behavior doesn’t work


Dear Cathy, I cannot believe your answer to John who “inherited” his daughter’s 115-pound Great Dane. Substitute “dumped” for inherited and “cruel” for metal cage daily. Oh yeah, that would require critical thinking on your part – instead of “pat” answers.  Why not educate these people? Don’t buy a dog you plan on leaving in […]

Trimming cat’s nails all about personality


Dear Cathy, I love all the reader tips about getting a cat to cooperate with nail trimming. I have tried all those suggestions at one time or another with my cats, but to no avail with nail trimming. So now, I take one of my guys to the vet (he was banned from the pet […]

Woman says condo doesn’t allow “service” dogs

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Dear Cathy, I live in a condo that doesn’t allow certain service dogs. I have a certificate, a vest and badge, and a doctor’s letter, but the president of the condo association doesn’t want to look at it. I have panic attacks, anxiety and depression. When I have my lab with me, she calms me down […]

Redirect energy to keep kitten from chasing cats

Dear Cathy, I recently adopted a nine-week-old kitten we named Sonny. I have two older female cats- Dolly, we have had ten years, and Charlotte, we have had eight years. My problem is, Sonny chases after the female cats, and they run from him. He has tried to jump on their backs, but they are […]

Cat gastric distress and reining in the vet bills

Dear Cathy, I have three one-year-old cats, all littermates. One of the girls, Mona, throws up from time to time; sometimes it’s just liquid. We haven’t discovered the cause, but it’s better since we switched to a limited ingredient diet. Sometimes I think its “scarf and barf” because it looks like undigested food. Other times, […]

What could cause a dog to go blind so quickly?

Dear Cathy, What causes a six-year-old dog to go blind in less than a week? Is there anything we can do to fix it? The vet says she has SARDS. — J. Vozzo, Henderson, Nevada Dear J, While several conditions can cause your dog to go blind quickly, if your veterinarian says your dog has […]

Dog drinking excessive water a possible sign of disease

Dear Cathy, Your column is interesting, and I enjoy reading it. But, you dropped the ball on your advice to the parent of the husky Krypto. Krypto’s mom Darlene said, “He drinks gallons of water every day. In fact, when the vet took a sample, it was almost all water. He pees a lot too. […]

Dog won’t drink water when owner not home

Dear Cathy, Whenever I have to go out during the day, I leave my 12-year-old Golden Retriever in the backyard where she has ample shade, a covered patio and a large bowl of fresh water.  She does not drink any water when I am out even if am gone for most of the day and […]

Newly adopted dog takes time to settle in

Dear Cathy, I recently adopted a two-year-old dog rescue from China. She had been in a rescue center here for three weeks when I got her. She is a wonderful dog, but, probably because of her background, has no interest in any toys, not even the ones that offer a reward. I take her for […]

Animals associate pain with where they experience it

Dear Cathy, We have two nine-year-old cats. Charlie and Stella have been together since kittens and are both fixed. They get along fine. In the last six months, Stella has been going outside the litter box. I took her to the vet, and she checked out fine, just a little constipated. She now eats a […]

How do you clean a dog who is afraid of a bath?


Dear Cathy, Our eight-year-old dog, Shea, has never liked getting wet, but has tolerated being bathed and getting wet to “do her business” in the rain. However, when my son tried to bring Shea upstairs to give her a bath the other day (she is 48 pounds), she started growling and snarling and hiding behind […]

Reward tricks with treats to help dog learn new behaviors

Two 13-year-old German Shorthaired Pointer sisters enjoy getting a bath. But not all dogs do. Photo credit: studioportosabbiaDear Cathy, My neighbors moved away and could not take their dog with them. We took Buster in with us. He is a five or six-year-old lab mix. Buster took to his new surroundings very well. He is […]

Does my cat really want us to watch him eat?

Dear Cathy, Oliver is our three year old cat. He was rescued at about eight weeks old. He has grown to become a happy, healthy and very playful adult cat. However, he has one odd behavior that we don’t understand. Before he approaches his food bowls, he will meow at whatever family member is nearby […]

Neighbors and pets


Dear Cathy, I am a very responsible pet owner. I currently have two small breed dogs, a 13-year-old toy Rat Terrier, and a nine-year-old tricolor Chihuahua. I walk my doggies every day but, for the most part, they are home bodies. Recently, a disgruntled neighbor called animal control and filed a ‘Citizens Complaint’ against me […]

Understanding your cat’s sound world (Music hath charms…)


Dear Cathy, I recently adopted two small kittens and am curious to know if keeping a clock ticking near where they sleep somehow imitates their mother’s heartbeat and would make them feel more restful. – Mike, Garden City, New York Dear Mike, What a thoughtful question. People don’t often think about the sound world around […]

Possible reasons dog has become a hoarder


Dear Cathy, We have a nine-year-old, 14-pound female dog named Bernie. We believe her parents were Bichons. We brought Bernie home when she was only four weeks old because of the desperate condition she and the rest of the litter and parents were in. Our recent concern is that Bernie has become a hoarder. On […]

Cats with the gift for gab sometimes drive owners crazy


Dear Cathy, My dear friend has a seven-year-old rescue cat that never stops meowing. She tried using a collar for this purpose to no avail. She loves her cat, but the meowing is driving her crazy. Can you offer any advice to stop the constant meowing? – Marilyn, via email Dear Marilyn, Cats use “meow” […]

Calming a cat for nail trimming

Dear Cathy, I have a six-year-old indoor cat. He was rescued from the shelter several years ago by my daughter. He is incredibly sweet and affectionate and very attached to me. However, clipping his nails is almost impossible. He just won’t allow it. I must bring him to a pet store to have it done. […]

Get the vet to recheck growing spot


Dear Cathy, My seven-year old brown Shih Tzu has a black “hot spot” on his right-hind quarter. It was a small dot but has grown to over three-inches and is raised. The vet said not to worry about it, but we are concerned. Is it a mole, is it cancer, is it nothing? While it […]

Why pets must be supervised with their toys


Dear Cathy, I look forward to your weekly column in my paper, however, I’m afraid I must disagree with your mention of foam and aluminum foil as good toys for our cats to play with. Foam is easily bitten into and swallowed, as is aluminum foil, both of which can cause intestinal problems and blocked […]

OCD cat licks everything

Dear Cathy, My husband and I have four cats and a dog. One of these cats is a female, spayed, 9 years old, and licks everything. Floors, walls, bags, especially me. She lays on the keyboard tray while I am on the computer. If my hand is anywhere near her face, she licks me. She […]

Young reader worries about her lethargic dog


Dear Cathy, I am a thirteen-year-old girl. My parents and I adopted a three-year-old mixed-lab female dog last August from a rescue group in South Carolina. At first, Dorie was very timid and thin, but she has gained a lot of weight and is not at all active. She prefers to either lay on her […]

Cats make toys out of almost anything

Dear Cathy, In response to your column on cat toys, both of my cats go nuts over small paper balls made from shopping receipts or old lottery tickets. As soon as I take the receipt out of the bag, they run to me and anxiously wait for me to crumple it into a ball and […]

Professional pet sitter a good choice for peace of mind

Dear Cathy, I read your column every week and find the topics on cats helpful as I am a professional cat sitter and have been for 22 years. While your suggestion of hiring a vet tech for pet sitting is a good idea, many times this is a side thing for them and they have […]

Dog has begun barking when home alone

Dear Cathy, Our 13-year-old Havanese has begun barking when we are not home. We only discovered this after installing a video camera in our home that turns on when there is noise. He barks every 10 to 15 minutes when we are not at home. Since we live in a detached home, we have never […]

Dog keeps digging at same spot in carpet

Dear Cathy, For the past few weeks, my ten-year-old poodle has been pawing the rug in my living room. As a result, the nap is being pulled up. Please tell me why he is doing this and how I can handle this situation other than correcting him with a no command. – Evelyn, Massapequa, New […]

Aggression in ageing dog can indicate pain


Dear Cathy, I have a 13-1/2 year old wheaten terrier. He is in failing health. The veterinarian told us he has severe arthritis in his back legs and has a large gingival mass in the left maxillary region. We have not had the mass biopsied because of his age. The reason I am writing to […]

Lethargic pets and possible causes


Dear Cathy, In response to a letter from Emma about her lethargic dog, Dorie, what about depression? Can’t dogs get depressed? My border collie was treated with a short trial of antidepressants and it was quite helpful. He is a rescue and very atypical of his breed; not energetic and intense, like they usually are. […]

Helping a small overprotective dog feel at ease


Dear Cathy, My Chihuahua is extremely protective of me. No one can touch me or come near me. I want to learn how to teach my dog not to be defensive on my command.  – Rafael, New Castle, Delaware Dear Rafael, With a small dog, overprotectiveness is mostly related to fear. Growling and baring their […]

Don’t leave dog in kennel all day


Dear Cathy,  I inherited a 115-pound, seven-year-old Great Dane from my daughter. At my daughter’s house, she was kept in a very large metal cage most of the day because of work and school. No issues were ever reported. At my house, she tears up anything inside her cage, even if we are gone for […]

Sleep-deprived mom needs help with wide-awake cat

Dear Cathy, I am a cat lover and have had several cats over the years. I have a three-year-old Russian Blue that I adopted from a shelter. She is very sweet and smart. The problem is, she sleeps all day and is up all night. I wouldn’t mind it if she would just play, but […]

When people let their dogs run off-leash


Dear Cathy, I am getting frustrated with people with unleashed dogs. I have a six-year-old poodle-bichon, Rosie, that we rescued three years ago. She is great with people, especially kids, but is very aggressive whenever we see other small dogs.  As the summer is progressing, I encounter more people out in their yards with small […]

Treating an over-grooming cat

Dear Cathy, Our 15-year-old male cat has started pulling tufts of fur from his legs with his teeth. He pulled fur from a two-inch spot. Any suggestions? – Mike, Tucson, Arizona Dear Mike, Poor guy! Cats may pull out fur because they itch. Do you use a monthly flea preventative? Sometimes people don’t treat their […]

Build trust with cats through play and slow blinking

Dear Cathy, I have a seven-year-old cat named Squeaky. She was fixed as a kitten and is an indoor cat. She was the only cat for two years before we inherited a second kitty from my son. The second cat really brought Squeaky out of her shell. Both cats get along fine, but Squeaky is […]

Why kitty stops using the litter box

Dear Cathy, Our cat stopped using its litter box. She will now target a left-out blanket or coat.  – Carl, Oak Park, Illinois  Dear Carl, You don’t leave me a lot of bread crumbs to follow, but I think I can still help you. Litter box problems are common and often the result of several […]

How to control a dog trying to control you

Dear Cathy, We rescued a miniature poodle in 2016. He was five months old. It has been a trying 18 months. We took (obedience) training with him and he got the basics. He just turned two and no longer eats everything he finds. But he has bitten both my husband and me on multiple occasions. […]

Options for pet sitters

Dear Cathy, You suggested a few ways to find a pet sitter. Another way is to ask someone in your veterinarian’s office. This way you already know the people and have recourse if anything happens. Many of the vet techs do this as a side job.  – Barbara, Smithtown NY Dear Barbara, That’s a great […]

Options for cats scratching furniture

Dear Cathy, I read the recent column about cat scratching furniture.  My cats would never use scratching posts. They love and use the cardboard scratching boxes that sit on the floor. You can buy them at most cat supply places. I think it must be the feel of the cardboard and that they can sink their claws in […]

Dog paws out special space before sleep

Dear Cathy, I have a one-year-old terrier mix who is very calm and sweet all day until bedtime. She comes to bed with us and immediately begins to scratch and paw at the bed covers. This behavior continues until I pick her up and calm her down. Finally, she will lie down and then sleep […]

When should your dog’s pricked ears stand up

Dear Cathy, My wife and I recently purchased our fourth German Shepherd. Two have passed, and we have one who is 11-years-old. Our previous puppies’ ears stood up at about two to three months, but our new addition turns four months tomorrow, and her ears still droop. We feed her a brand of puppy chow, […]

Canary has stopped singing


Dear Cathy, My seven-year-old white canary hasn’t sung in over a year. It used to be beautiful. I’ve not made any significant changes to his routine. His diet is the same, a combination of commercial canary bird seed, long seed, egg treats, and fresh greens and fruit. I play two different CDs of canary song, […]

Research ongoing for dogs with CIL disease

Dear Cathy, I would like to bring some attention to a terrible disease that strikes all breeds of dogs, but rarely gets any publicity – Canine Intestinal Lymphangiectasis, which is an intestinal disease, causing diarrhea, swelling, and malabsorption. I had never heard of it before my eight-year-old Bulldog Daisy was diagnosed through an ultrasound and […]

Are pets as gifts a good idea for the holidays?

It’s the time of year for gift-giving and giving pets as gifts is sometimes at the top of that list. Some animal shelters, however, frown on pets as gifts for fear the animals will be “returned” to the shelter after the holidays. But a study conducted by the ASPCA in 2013 seems to indicate animal […]

How to make a sick animal feel more comfortable

Ever wonder what you can do to make a sick dog or cat feel better? Animals, like people, just want a few creature comforts around and to know they are loved. In addition to being under veterinary, pets should have clean beds, blankets, and sleeping spaces. Sit with your pets, stroke them, and talk to […]

Older dog experiencing new separation anxiety

Dear Cathy,  We have a 16-1/2-year-old rescue Jack Russell. He is the love of our lives. He recently went deaf and now is almost blind as well. He recently underwent surgery to have 13 teeth pulled. He’s a real trooper. Even though he has all these old age issues, he remains spry when he’s up. […]

Try trimming nails on cat with a full belly

Dear Cathy, Recently, a reader asked you how to relax her cat, so that she could clip the cat’s nails. My sister has had many cats over the past 30 years. She has always waited until the cats finished eating and then cut their nails. She has said that they are more lethargic after eating […]

Sweet talk, distractions and other “magic” tricks for cutting cat’s nails

When I opened my email, I was pleasantly surprised to find a slew of reader tips on how to cut a cat’s nails. I am impressed with so many soft-spoken cat parents who have mastered the art of distraction to get their felines to pay attention only to them, and not the approaching nail clippers. […]

Helping dogs and cats survive the 4th of July

With the 4th of July midweek this year, your neighbors are likely to pop off fireworks before, during and after the holiday. That can mean a stressful week for people with noise-phobic pets. Dogs and cats that are afraid of fireworks will express their fear in different ways. Cats may run and hide under beds […]

Reader wants to clarify the benefit of keeping cats indoors

This references another letter in the post “Helping a grieving cat” Dear Cathy, In your letter to Mundy Rado from Lawrenceville, Georgia, why didn’t you take the opportunity to tell the owner that cats should not be loose outside?  You could have given her stats on the longer life of housecats at the very least. […]

Microfiber can dissuade cats from scratching

Dear Cathy, I read your recent column on how to get cats to stop clawing the couch and wanted to share my solution. As a woman in her 70s, I have had two cats in my home at all times for decades. I am very much against declawing cats. To me, it’s amputation. It’s illegal […]

Some 4th of July tips

If you have a noise-phobic dog – a dog scared of thunder, fireworks and other loud sounds, then I know how you will be spending the 4th of July weekend. As soon as the first firework pops off, you will be trying to calm your trembling, panting, pacing, and generally freaked out dog who will […]

Discouraging dog’s distressing poop eating

Dear Cathy,  What can I do to discourage my doxie’s occasional dog-poop eating? I try to pick it up every day but sometimes she gets back outside before I do. Also, my daughter can’t clean her yard every day and her dog “snacks” as well, sometimes bringing dried poop back inside – yuck! Is there […]

Teaching energetic dog to relax


Dear Cathy, My son’s dog, a beautiful two year old German Shepherd, is great in so many ways except for one habit/compulsion: she constantly wants to play ball. Even after a two-mile run she can’t just sit down and relax. We love her and want the best for her, but she is relentless with this […]

Feeding ferals and discouraging intruders


Dear Cathy, I have two feral cats. Pigeons are trying to take the cat food. I have to bring it in before the cats can finish. Also, do you have any suggestions for better food? I give them “complete” dry food twice a day. When I give them canned food, the cats suck out the […]

How to find pet sitters in your area


Dear Cathy, My daughter is getting married in a few months, and I need someone to pet-sit my Boston Terrier, age seven. Is there a legitimate list I can get somewhere that offers pet sitters in my area? — Ted, Merrick, New York Dear Ted, There are several sites where you can search for pet […]

Dog afraid of going outside

Dear Cathy, I catch your column in the Allentown Morning Call. I found your column about basically taming your house cat very helpful. My parents are amazed at how our 10-year-old cat has been transformed over the last year. Who knew you could teach an old cat new tricks? I am hoping you could help […]

Don’t buy a rabbit- adopt from rabbit rescue groups or shelters


Dear Cathy, I read your column about rabbits and whether families should buy them for Easter. There are many rabbits languishing at the Animal Care Centers in New York City (ACCNYC). It would be so much better to adopt than to buy. They have a whole room full of rabbits that people can go and […]

Got allergies around a rabbit? Look at the rabbit’s food first


Dear Cathy, I just read your piece on adopting rabbits. Another issue worth mentioning which my family encountered is allergies to Timothy hay. My husband had to wear arm-length rubber gloves when handling the hay, and the dust kept us sneezing. Rabbits eat a ton of hay, so if you’re sensitive to it, think twice. […]

It takes a lot of time for rescue cats to adjust to new home


Dear Cathy, I have a three-year-old female cat. She was a rescue cat and is fixed. Ever since I took her in she has been residing under my couch, for eight days. She only comes out in the middle of the night to eat and use the litter box. I purchased the calming spray because […]

Teaching a teething puppy not to bite you

Dear Cathy, My 15-week-old silver Labrador is our pride and joy, but she just won’t stop biting. What do you suggest? – Frank, Oro Valley, Arizona Dear Frank, Puppies teethe around four-months-old and need teething toys and lessons from you on what’s acceptable to put in their mouths.  Don’t use your hands or arms to […]

Cats can be distracted and redirected towards better behavior too

Dear Cathy, I have a four-year-old American short-hair female cat. I got her at eight weeks old from a friend. The problem is, she scratches my upholstered furniture and rugs. She only does it when I am in the room. I have tried sprays, tape, and correcting with a spritz of water. I have various […]

Reining in the excited loud barking


Dear Cathy, My eight-year-old dog Zoe is part cattle dog and border collie. When we go for walks, she is very excited, grabbing on the leash and growling and barking. She is fine in half a block and doesn’t make any noise the rest of the walk. I have tried bringing treats to distract her and looking […]

Going on vacation leaves some pets feeling very sad


Dear Cathy, Nani is our 15-year-old cat. We lost her brother four years ago. She was depressed for two years, but then improved. When the family is all gone at once, I have someone come in every day to check on Nani, change the litter, and feed her. In December, we were gone for 13 […]

Bonded pets grieving and a spring burial

Dear Cathy, You recently wrote a column, which appeared in the Naperville Sun, about felines forming strong bonds, and it reminded me of my two cats. They were sisters, just weeks old when I acquired them. After sixteen years, one died, and the other one searched every corner of my Chicago apartment for more than […]

Sewing thread is a threat to pets


Dear Cathy, I just wanted you to be aware of a danger concerning cats swallowing sewing thread. A friend took her cat to the veterinarian because she was afraid the cat had swallowed a needle. X-rays showed no needle, so the cat was sent home. The next day, the cat was much sicker. Emergency surgery […]

Oral hygiene options for your dog and cat

Dear Cathy, My dog is six and a half years old and had to have her teeth cleaned about a year ago. Since then, I had started brushing her teeth almost every day, as the vet suggested. Now she will not let me get near her mouth to brush her teeth. She doesn’t growl or […]

Reader requests more cat-focused content


Dear Cathy, Each week, I read your column and rarely find postings about cats. Your column is mainly about dogs. I love dogs, but I have a cat and would like you to post more information about cat behavior, medical information, problems, etc. – Gloria, New York Dear Gloria, Over the last few months, I […]

She created a low-profile litter box for her cat

Dear Cathy, I read your column where Rich from New York wrote about his 17-year-old cat pooping outside his litter box. You suggested the cat could be arthritic. My mom experienced this problem with her cat, and found that a Rubbermaid container lid turned upside down with litter in it worked wonders. Her cat could […]

Distract and treat for timid dogs afraid of cars


Dear Cathy, My son, who lives with us, has a three-year-old 106-pound female German Shepherd/Boxer mix. She is a very sweet and loving dog, but very timid. We have a large fenced-in yard, which is where she typically goes, but we live at the end of a cul-de-sac and when we take her for a […]

Rescue cats drag toys to the water bowl


Dear Cathy, I have two rescue cats that I spend a lot of time playing with. One of our games is playing with a string that I drag around the floor, and they chase it. My question is, why do cats drag the string or toys to their water bowl? It’s cute but curious. – […]

Teaching a rescue dog to play


Dear Cathy,  My husband and I rescued a six-year-old yellow lab/ greyhound mix. He must have been abused because he has scars on his front legs and he was very skittish in the beginning.  We love him so much, but he doesn’t know how to play. We throw the ball or Frisbee and he just […]

Why do some cats have a ridge of fur along their backs?

Dear Cathy, I rescued a six-year-old part Siamese female about six months ago. I started noticing she has a long ridge of fur along her spine when she is relaxed or sitting, similar to that of a (Rhodesian) Ridgeback dog. I don’t know if there is a connection, but she is also polydactyl on all four […]

Getting a visiting feral cat to use the litter box


Dear Cathy, How do I get a feral cat to use the litter box?  He comes in the house and is very affectionate, but one problem- he will not use the litter pan. He goes on my carpet. Help! – Gloria, Center Valley, PA Dear Gloria, It can be difficult to get a feral cat […]

Obedience training essential to correct over-protective dogs


Dear Cathy, I have a Havanese dog who is approximately seven years old. My daughter and I adopted him from North Shore Animal league five years ago, but since she moved out he’s become very attached to me. He is very loving. He follows me all over and sleeps with me. He is walked at […]

As popular as a green iguana


According to Reptile Magazine, “Leopard geckos have increased in popularity and are probably the most widely kept reptile pet next to the green iguana.” While the average age of a domesticated gecko is ten years, with some male geckos living more than 20 years, poor petkeeping can cut their lives short.  If you have a […]

What to do when a cat licks and chews clothing


Dear Cathy, I have a rescue kitten that was born June 2017. He was picked up on a freeway underpass. He weighed about 1-1/2 pounds and was five to six weeks old. I adopted him in July. He is thriving and uses the litter box, but he “eats” clothing. He started with shoe laces. He […]

Possible causes and solutions for hair loss in dogs

Dear Cathy, I adopted a four-year-old Maltese mix several months ago. He has a very sparse amount of hair on his chest area and inside of his legs. The rest of his hair is fine and thin.  I thought this might be due to stress and diet. He eats well and is a very happy […]

Helping a traumatized cat trust his environment again

Dear Cathy, After seven months missing, our indoor cat was found by a neighbor. The poor cat suffered through below zero temperatures. We are assuming he lived in a garage or barn. Our neighbors were not aware our cat was missing. They found him eating out of one of their cat dishes in the middle […]

Getting a feral cat to use the litter box


Dear Cathy, Regarding Gloria in Center Valley, Pennsylvania, (who was trying to get a feral cat to adapt to a litter box), tell her to cover the regular litter with outside dirt since that is what the feral cat is used to. It is not that difficult to get a feral cat to adapt to […]

Techniques to train a dog to not “mark” around the house


Dear Cathy, We have four miniature dachshunds. We started with a brother and sister. Years later, we bred the sister, and we kept two of her female puppies. After that, the male began to mark in the house. He was always neutered and had never done this before. We used wraps to contain this, and […]

Tips for getting dogs to pee outside

Dear Cathy, During wintery weather, our 14-year-old 10-pound female Chihuahua mix dog doesn’t want to go outside. Normally, we go for walks two to three times daily to take care of her toileting needs. Because of the snow and cold weather, however, she refuses to have bowel movements outside and will wait almost the entire […]

Cats will miss you but will be okay with proper care

Dear Cathy, My husband and I will be going away for a month, and we have two cats. We will not be taking them with us. Is it okay to leave them at the house for that time with someone coming in daily to feed, change water, and clean their litterbox? They do not have […]

5 questions to ask yourself before getting this pet


The description on the website reads: “Alana and Andrina are a bonded pair. They must be adopted together. They are somewhat shy…and are very sweet and playful. They are litter trained (excellent litter box habits) and neutered. Prefer experienced adopter. Indoor housing only.” While this may sound like a description for two cats or kittens, […]

When routine behavior changes look for a health problem

Dear Cathy, Our wonderful sweet rescue dog, Pippin, has developed some sort of anxiety at bedtime. This behavior has come out of the blue. He is about eight and we have had him almost five years. Until recently, he seemed to really love bedtime. He would jump into our bed and cuddle. When we turned […]

For birds, there is no 100% safe house paint product


Dear Cathy, I was very interested in your answer to Michelle from Naugatuck, Connecticut, about painting the house with birds in the home. I took my birds to my daughter’s house to avoid fumes from roof coating. It was so stressful for them. I will never do it again. But my house needs painting. If […]

Household fumes dangerous for birds


Dear Cathy, You mentioned the dangers of using Teflon pans with a bird in the home. Another thing to keep in mind if you have a bird is that self-cleaning ovens emit fumes the same as Teflon pans, and birds should be removed from the area too. – Cynthia, Long Island, New York Dear Cynthia, […]

Keeping your birds safe when painting in the home

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Dear Cathy, We would love to have the interior of our home painted professionally, but we have two birds. One is a Cockatoo that we’ve had for 32 years, and the other is a parrot that we’ve had for three years. I’ve done research on using low VOC paint, but I still don’t trust what […]

Mocking bird sings for a mate day and night


Dear Cathy, A mockingbird moved into the tree outside my bedroom window.  He/she starts singing around 3 a.m. During the day, he/she sings on top of the light pole in the yard, and every so often he/she jumps straight up in the air, lands on the pole, and continues singing. Is this going to continue throughout the […]

Foiling squirrels at bird feeders


Dear Cathy,  I have recently put out a bird feeder for a family of Cardinals that visit. I first put the feeder in a tree until I caught a squirrel batting the feeder to knock out the seed. I then moved the feeder to a free-standing post in the yard thinking that feeder would be […]

Training older dogs keeps the mind young

The other day I was in the office supply store and found my heart racing. I looked at the pens and pencils, the notebooks and back packs that line the aisles this time of year, and all I could think about was how great it would be to go back to school. This is not […]

Do you have a gassy dog?

If you have a dog, you may have passed gas and then blamed him for it. “Max, did you do that?” Your dog, the loving canine that he is, silently accepts responsibility for the social infraction without missing a beat. But maybe you really do have a gassy dog and you find yourself constantly explaining […]

Teaching a shy dog to have more confidence


Q: We have had our dog Schageh for about three years now, and he is still fearful, even of us. He was in the shelter system for about a year before we got him. He is more confident when the other dogs in the house are near us, but doesn’t like to be by people […]

Birds may be brainier than you think


Polly wants a cracker. And while you are at it, listen carefully to see if she says “please” and “thank you,” too. If you ever wondered if animals could talk, I certainly believe they can, but not the way you think. Animals communicate with each other through sounds and body language and are skilled at […]

Prepare pet for baby’s arrival

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At the shelter the other day, a young couple was waiting to adopt a Labrador retriever puppy. The puppy was bouncing around and the couple was smothering him with attention. I was distraught over this possible adoption. The woman was pregnant and only a few weeks from having a baby. I guessed she was adopting […]

"Just one litter" adds to euthanasia crisis

A woman happily told me that she plans to get her cat spayed, but only after she has “just one litter,” she said smiling. “I want her to experience motherhood.” I smiled back. “That’s like saying every woman has to have a baby in order to be fulfilled as a woman.” (Some days I think […]

How to handle your dog's leash aggression

Dear Cathy: I have a 3-year-old terrier mix that loves to go for walks. She is usually friendly with other dogs, but not when she is on a leash. When she meets a dog face-to-face on a leash, there is usually some ugly growling exchanged. Her ears go back and her hackles go up. How […]

"Resident dogs" are usually the biters

In a sensational world, headlines about dog bites and canine aggression tend to focus on certain breeds rather than the circumstances that create these behaviors. If you really want to understand canine behavior, then you need to know there are two types of dogs living in the United State, according to the National Canine Research […]

Take the jump out of your dog

The other day while teaching a pets and babies class for new parents-to-be, I asked the group what their biggest concern was about their pets and babies interacting. On this day, the concerns were almost unanimous: Everyone who had dogs was concerned about their dog’s jumping behavior. Rambunctious pooches jump because they are excited and […]

Five ways we pick pets names

A few weeks ago, I asked readers to share their pets’ names. After reviewing your e-mails, I realized that a pet’s name can provide as much insight into a pet owner’s personality as it can about the pet himself. Here’s my take on the five ways we name our pets. First, there are “human names,” […]

Who defines humane treatment for farm animals?


While this column focuses on companion animals, my background includes time on Capitol Hill, where I worked on companion animal, wildlife and farm animal issues. So I am going to step off the curb and address an article by Mike Barnett, publications editor for Texas Agriculture Talks, a publication of the Texas Farm Animal Bureau, […]

Xylitol and a major pet emergency

When Tarin Goodnight, a student at Texas State University, ran to the store, she didn’t expect to come back home to a pet emergency. But during the short time she was away, her then 18-month-old Chihuahua, Carmen, had jumped onto her desk and eaten four pieces of nicotine gum, leaving the paper wrappers as the […]

Bella beats Max for six years in a row

Max ruled the top spot in the list of the top 10 most popular dog names. But Veterinary Pet Insurance crunched the numbers on its more than 475,000 insured pets to determine 2009’s most common pet names, and Bella beat out Max by more than 400 dogs. Max may have slipped in the polls with […]

Dogs don't always listen? Here's why

Letters about “stubborn dogs” that don’t seem to listen flood my e-mail. Margie G. says, “Whenever we go for walks, I say my dog’s name, but she doesn’t turn her head to look at me.” Gina says she must ask her dog to “sit” several times before her dog will even think about complying. “What […]

Helping children cope with pet's death

When I was 7 years old, my little dog Pepper saw a cat across the street and ran out the open front door. Before I could get outside to catch him, he ran into the street and was hit by a car. I remember screaming and crying. I was overwhelmed by what I had just […]

Why do dogs like squeaky things?

Does your dog go crazy every time you bring home a squeaky toy. Does he grab it and shake his head back and forth as if he is trying to kill it. After the squeaker stops working, does he drops the toy and never touch it again. Well, once upon a time, when dogs hunted […]

Searching for a way to use contraceptives with pets

In February 2008, Texas A&M announced the university would do a study on birth control for wild animals and eventually cats and dogs.  This would be a transformational event in the battle against animal population control. Unfortunately, in a recent conversation with Dwayne Kraemer at Texas A&M, he said “preliminary studies were not panning out the […]

Why does a cat bite after petting

A readers says, “Sometimes when I pet my cat, he starts twitching his tail and then bites my hands. This is very distressing for me. I love him, but it really hurts me when he does this. Am I doing something wrong? How can I make him stop?” This is actually a very common behavior. […]

How long do parakeets live?

Let’s say you just bought a parakeet for your 9-year-old child. How long will this bird live? What do they like to eat? And how can you tell if the bird is a male or female? Parakeets can live 7 to 15 years, which means your bird could live until your child is 24 years old. […]

Can dogs watch TV?

A reader says her mom’s dog Jack watches TV. “He actually follows objects as they move across the screen and loves animal shows and sports shows that my dad turns on,” she says. “Is this really possible?”  Many people say their dogs watch TV and it seems they really are following some of the action on […]

Why do some cats "knead" and some do not?

Kittens knead their paws on the belly of their mother to stimulate milk production. Because this action brings immediate rewards and comfort, it’s not unusual for cats to continue this behavior with their human loved ones as adults. When a cat kneads your belly, he feels emotionally secure and happy. In fact, the action is […]

Would you perform CPR on your Pet?

In a medical emergency, would you perform CPR on your pet? Would you be willing to begin mouth-to-snout resuscitation — your mouth over his closed snout — to revive your dying dog or cat? In a poll conducted by the Associated Press and, 63 percent of dog owners and 53 percent of cat owners […]

Cat to Dog / Cat to Cat Introductions

Sara recently wrote to me to tell me that her cat Oliver had passed away. She plans to open her home to a new kitten — maybe two — when enough time has passed. However, she has two Lhasa apsos already and was wondering how to integrate a new cat into a home with resident dogs. When my feline, Miss […]

First H1N1 virus confirmed in a cat

Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine has confirmed the first known case of the H1N1 virus in a cat.  Up until now, the virus has only been found in humans, pigs, birds, and ferrets. Apparently, the feline got sick after being exposed to several household members who had flu-like symptoms. The feline will recover. According […]

Man shoots baboon "to see what it feels like to kill someone"

AA Gill, a restaurant critic in England, said he shot a baboon on safari “to get a sense of what it might be like to kill someone”. In his Sunday Times column, he described in painful detail how he shot the primate from 250 yards away while riding in a vehicle “full of guns and […]

Nora the piano playing cat wins Feline of the Year


Back in February, the Pet Pundit featured a story on Nora the Piano Playing cat. Watch her first video here. Today, she has been named Cat of the Year by the ASPCA who said they picked her not just for ability to paw out a tune, but because she was an adopted feline and what […]

Common sweetener can kill pets

My veterinarian told me today that three of her canine patients had died recently from xylitol toxicity. “That’s never happened before,” she said. “I don’t have three dogs that die all year from something like that.” Xylitol is a popular sugar substitute used in many human food products, especially in diabetic foods. It looks and […]

"GoD and DoG" brings smile to face

Thought you would enjoy this! (Source:

Dogs as smart as two to three year olds

When it comes to intelligence, the latest researchs shows dogs are apparently as smart as two to three year old kids. They can comprehend about 165 words, learn signals, and can even count up to about 5, according to Stanley Coren, an emeritus professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia and author of ” How Dogs […]

Learning how to speak dog

I get lots of questions about dogs and their so-called “bad behaviors.” Mostly, people want to know how to get their dogs to listen. Here’s the big secret about interacting with your canine companions. Dogs look to their human pack leaders for signals on how to handle every encounter and what you do impacts their […]

How many dogs and cats live in your city?

Ever wonder how people determine the population of dogs and cats in your city? In the past, it required some math, using a formula provided by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).  See the formulas section here to see how these formulas are calculated. But if you know your city’s overall population, you can now plug in that […]

Top ten wild animals that most commonly attack pets

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Wild animals can and do attack our pets, leaving lacerations, bite wounds, puncture, and soft tissue trauma — and a trip to the pet emergency room for you. Snakebites, which are the most commonly reported injuries, may require anti-venom whereas scorpion stings may cause allergic reactions requiring antihistamines. Treatment may vary depending on the severity of the attack and […]

Tips on protecting pets from the heat

With unseasonably warm temperatures right now in many parts of the U.S., pet owners may not be aware that normal routines need to be adjusted to accommodate for the excessive heat.  I had a friend who lived in Phoenix who used to walk her dog at 5 a.m. every morning so that they weren’t out in the […]

Unsafe levels of fluoride found in dog food

The Environmental Working Group recently commissioned an independent study and discovered that eight national brands of dog food, marketed to puppies and adults, had unsafe levels of fluoride. In fact, the fluoride was 1.6 to 2.5 times higher than what the EPA has deemed a safe amount in human drinking water. Why is excessive fluoride a problem for […]

Lucky the elephant’s story


I live in San Antonio and write a pet column and blog for the San Antonio Express News. A reader sent me this link about a lonely, 49-year-old elephant in our local zoo who certainly deserves to live out the remainder of her days in a sanctuary that has already agreed to take her — […]

What a cat must do to get his owner's attention

If you have ever had a cat, you will laugh at this short film that shows what a hungry cat must do to get his owner’s attention. Cats communicate with us, but we humans aren’t always great at listening to our pets.

Report sheds light on pit bull attacks, a national dog bite victims’ group, released their 2008 report on pit bulls shot for public safety reasons. The 20-page report documents 373 incidences in which U.S. law enforcement officers and citizens were forced to shoot a dangerous pit bull to prevent an attack or to stop an ongoing attack. The report tracked 12 […]

Study shows majority of pet cats neutered

A new study in the Journal of the American Veterinary Association reports that the vast majority — at least 80% — of pet cats in U.S. households are neutered, with middle-to higher-income households reporting rates of over 90%. The peer-reviewed study, based on data collected for the national nonprofit organization Alley Cat Allies by Harris […]

Pick up after your pet; President Bush does

Former President George W. Bush appeared at a reception for high school seniors in New Mexico recently and talked about life outside the Oval Office, which including walking his dog, Barney.  “There I was, former president of the United States of America, with a plastic bag on my hand,” he said. “Life is returning back to normal.” […]

Why do dogs hump?

One day, while giving a tour to some middle school students of the shelter, two dogs began humping.  The kids giggled and pointed, whispering under their breath to each other that the dogs were having sex. Certainly, that would seem to be the case, except the dogs were both females. Here was the perfect opportunity […]

Rescue Waggin' gives pets a guaranteed second chance

Meet Ernie. He is the 25,000th dog to take a life-saving ride on a PetSmart Charities® Rescue Waggin’® vehicle. The Rescue Waggin’ program, which celebrated its 5th anniversary this month, is a unique shelter transport program operated by PetSmart Charities, a nonprofit organization, that moves adoptable dogs from shelters with very high pet populations to shelters elsewhere […]

Soldier's often have to give up pets to go to war

Allow me to introduce you to Max. Max is a seven-year-old Golden Retriever with a sturdy frame, a bright orange coat, and just a touch of gray around his muzzle, the only hint of his advancing age. A soldier being deployed to the middle east had brought Max to the Humane Society because he didn’t […]

Fly the new "pet-friendly" skies

The best inventions come from solving personal problems.  For Dan Wiesel and Alysa Binder, their dilemma was how to ship Zoe, their Jack Russell Terrier, across the country, safely. They weren’t comfortable letting their favorite pooch ride in the cargo hold of an airplane. So the two entrepreneurs have created the first pet-only airline that lets pets travel […]

Scientists study what dogs are thinking

When it comes to studying animal behavior, dogs have rarely been on the top ten list. Not since Pavlov became interested in learning the secrets of a dog’s digestive responses have scientists given much attention to canines in the animal behavior arena. But today, Harvard scientists are wondering what dogs are thinking and using a series of […]

Dogs and cats underfoot can lead to falls

The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control of the CDC reports that there are 86,629 reported nonfatal falls annually that are associated with dog and cats. This is an average taken from 2001-2006 stats on nonfatal falls. Nearly 88 percent of those injuries were associated with dogs, and women were twice as likely to […]

"What Now?" A guide for people faced with the illness or loss of a pet

As a pet parent, it can be difficult to learn that a pet is sick. As you begin treatment, you wonder at what point you might have to make an end-of-life decision. A new guide called “What Now?” offers pet owners some guidance when faced with a pet’s illness or with the grief of losing a […]

If a pet has no potential for adoption, they won't get into a no-kill shelter

An SPCA in Danville, Pennsylvania says it wants to change its image as a dumping ground for animals. Their new policy, according to an article by John-Erik Koslosky in the Press Enterprise, is that if they don’t think a pet can be adopted, they will not accept it into the shelter. Oh and “cats are wild,” says […]

Puppy dies from eating Sago Palm

In my hometown, San Antonio, Texas, sago palms are a frequent plant in the landscape. In fact, my neighbor has a huge one at the entry way to their front door. Because they can grow rather large here, I considered buying one and putting in a large clay pot for my patio. Now I am having second […]

You can train your fish to do tricks (no joke)

So your fish does nothing, but swim around the tank all day. Maybe that’s because you didn’t know that fish can actually learn to do tricks, if given the right training.  According to the R2 Fish School, tropical fish can learn tricks based on marine mammal training techniques. Using their kit, fish have been trained to play soccer […]

Visit with a cat in a Japanese "cat cafe"

Sarah Marchildon, a blogger on the Hollywood North Report, is attending a university in Japan and has discovered the neatest new thing for felines in Kyoto that I have heard about in a long time — a “Cat Cafe.” A Cat Cafe is a place where you pay the equivalent of $5 to go in and sip coffee in a cafe-like […]

One million pets at risk of being homeless

The current U.S. financial crisis has the potential to grow into a serious animal welfare issue, warns executive vice president of ASPCA programs, Dr. Stephen Zawistowski. As households across the country are caught in the economic downturn, an estimated 500,000 to one million cats and dogs are at risk of becoming homeless. “According to national […]

A look at how "Animals Make Us Human"

A person with autism, Dr. Temple Grandin , a Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University, has become famous in the animal world for her ability to understand the nature of how animals think. She says autism makes her a visual thinker and believes animals see the world in the same way. The proof, they say, is […]

Presidential legacy may be linked to pet names

Turns out, if you are a good little President, your followers may someday honor you by naming their pets after you. When historians and political pundits look back on a President’s legacy, there may something more to review than job creation or approval ratings. Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), the nation’s oldest and largest provider of pet health […]

Ten ways your pet can help you score a date

Finding love is never easy, and with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, the pressure is mounting for singles everywhere. While many pet parents may sometimes feel that their furry best friend is destined to be their one-and-only soul mate, offers the top 10 ways a pet can help score you a real human date. […]

The Link: Man kills pets with six children in the home

When I read about a Wisconsin man who shot and killed two dogs and four cats in front of six children, my stomach sank. Angered over two of his dogs fighting and one killing the other, he decided that it would be best if he just killed all the other pets in the home. And […]

Puppy Bowl, the "softer side" of Super Bowl Weekend


If you only watch the Super Bowl for the ads, then you also might enjoy flipping over to Animal Planet and watching Puppy Bowl V — “the ultimate puppy showdown.” (Above is the clip from Puppy Bowl IV.) Recruiting from local shelters, the Puppy Bowl features adoptable puppies on a pseudo-football grid iron battling with toys, playing tug-of-war, and committing fouls […]

100 people cited for chaining their dogs

In Macon, Georgia, 100 dog owners were cited for chaining their dogs outside. And I say hooray to the city for boldy enforcing its chained dog ordinance. Last year, Macon passed an ordinance outlawing the chaining of dogs and cats and gave pet owners sufficient time to build runs or fences to secure their pets. Pet owners may […]

AKC releases most popular breeds for 2008 (and 1884)

The American Kennel Club’s top ten most popular breeds for 2008 shows the Labrador Retriever in the #1 spot for the 18th year in a row. There were twice as many Labs registered last year than any other breed making it a likely leader for many years to come. Docile and easy-going, it’s easy to see why people love […]

CPR (and oxygen masks) can save pet's lives

Scared and frightened, pets often hide when a fire breaks out, making it difficult for rescuers to find them in a burning home. While more than 40,000 pets die annually in house fires, even more are saved thanks to the heroic efforts of firefighters. Firefighters now know to look for pets these days, and in […]

FDA recall on peanut butter affects pets too

Pet treats are being impacted by the FDA’s recall on peanut butter products. Salmonella contamination has been traced to a plant owned by Peanut Corporation of America (PCA), a distributor of peanut butter and peanut paste – a concentrated product consisting of ground, roasted peanuts. “Peanut butter is often used in small amounts as an occasional reward for dogs, […]

What does "no-kill" really mean when it comes to pet overpopulation?


The phrase “no-kill” has been bantered about in many communities as the end goal in the game of tackling pet overpopulation. Few people, however, know what the term really means. Most people think it means the halting of all euthanasia of dogs and cats for good, but it’s meaning is quite different than that, depending on whether […]

"Hotel for Dogs" features former shelter pets


  In the movie “Hotel for Dogs,” many of the 35 plus dogs on the set, according to American Humane, were once former shelter dogs.  In fact, 75 to 80 percent of pets in film are discovered in animal shelters only to be adopted by cast or crew after the filming ends, they say. It seems only […]

Obama family down to Labradoodle or Portuguese Water Dog


President-elect Obama announced this week that their family has narrowed down their dog choices to two possibilities – the Portuguese Water Dog and the Labradoodle. One is a curly-headed mop top, the other a relaxed version of a poodle. Both shed very little, which is what the Obama’s were looking for in a pet since […]

Cat groomer recycles cat hair into purses


When Danelle German sees a Persian Cat come into her grooming salon, her heart skips a beat. That’s because  many people want their Persian cats shaved for easy maintanence and Danelle uses the leftover hair in a lucrative recycling business. She spins the cat hair into a silky yarn to produce one-of-a-kind handbags that sell for between $45 and $400. She apparently has sold […]

A simple guide to cat talk


Whenever I ask people how many words they think a cat can understand, they often guess “0” or “3”. I am amazed because some of these people actually have cats in their lives. I guess they figure cats can’t comprehend a single thing we humans are trying to say, so don’t really expect much of a […]

Adapting to the rhythms of cats

Very often, we make concessions for our feline friends that we would never consider making for dogs or even our human family members. For example, you probably can’t tell, but I am typing this column with my left hand because my cat has fallen asleep on my right arm. I don’t wake her because I […]

Elephant and dog: two unlikely animals become BFFs


BFF — the text jargon meaning “best friends forever” — may not just be the mantra of young girlfriends, but the pledge of happy elephants too. According to a story on CBS Sunday Morning, elephants arriving at the Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee seek out the special friendship of a single pachyderm at the sanctuary, a best friend they can spend most […]

Top 10 pet poisons of 2008

Curiosity can kill the cat, but it can kill the dog also. In 2008, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) in Urbana, IL, handled more than 140,000 cases of pets exposed to toxic substances, many of which included everyday household products kept around the house. Based on those calls, here’s the ASPCA’s top 10 pet poisons […]

New Year's resolutions learned from dogs and cats

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While everyone is pondering their New Year’s resolutions, I have decided to venture forth this year as if my dogs and cats were my closest advisors. Here’s what pets teach about the important things in life. There’s always time to stop and smell stuff. Sticking to your diet means eating only what’s on your plate, not the plate itself. Ice cubes can be good […]

Training remedies for Marley-like pups

As an animal person who has spent 20 years helping people better understand their pets, the movie Marley and Me was a bit stressful. While everyone was giggling and laughing at Marley’s on-screen antics, I found myself clutching my seat and making mental notes of what they could do to get Marley under control. I […]

10 tips for finding the right cat – for you – at an animal shelter

Most people don’t think of an animal shelter when looking to adopt a cat. Very often, a neighbor has a litter of kittens she needs to find homes for or a stray feline wanders up to the front door. But the animal shelter can be a great place to find your next feline friend, since […]

10 tips for selecting the right dog – for you – at an animal shelter


You can see him through the cage door just begging for attention: cute little brown eyes, soft plushy ears, and a wagging tail, designed to pull on your heart strings. It’s so easy to lose your heart at an animal shelter. There are so many adorable animals vying for your attention that you may find yourself wanting to […]

Getting pets ready for baby

If you are expecting your first child, you probably feel excited, but also anxious, especially if you have a dog or cat in the home. You may wonder how your pet will adjust to the new baby and whether the two will get along. Well-intentioned friends and family may offer unsolicited advice, even suggesting that […]

Treating dogs fairly, important to other dogs

The very first test on dogs to see how they perceived fairness was conducted and much like primates, the results, reported in the December 8, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed that dogs had a real sense of what humans would call “fair play.” Researchers asked a dog to shake a paw. The dog would […]

Tips on finding your lost dog or cat

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Losing a pet is very stressful and a cause for anxiety. As you worry about your pet’s whereabouts and safety, you might not be thinking straight, so it can be helpful to have a handy “to do” list to make sure you cover all your bases. By following a few simple tips, you will stand a […]

Top 10 most popular–and unusual–dog and cat names of 2008


When you can name your pet after anything from good fortune (Lucky) to food and drink (Muffin and Brandy), you would think that we would be much more original with the names we select for our pets. But, it turns out, that most people select the same names over and over again. When my sister […]

Top 10 reasons people give for giving up their cats


It’s a myth to think that most cats end up at shelters because they have behavior problems. The truth is, most cats are turned into animal shelters because of changes in people’s lives, which means there are lots of great cats waiting at shelters for a new home. Here’s a top ten list of why cats […]

Top 10 reasons people give for giving up their dogs

It’s a myth to think that most pets end up at shelters because they have behavior problems. The truth is, most pets are turned into shelters because of changes in people’s lives, which means there are lots of great pets at shelters — and lots of people who have trouble adjusting to change. Here’s a […]

Poor economy hurts dogs and cats too

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A poor economy means that more pets are ending up in animal shelters than ever before. Shelters all across the nation report rising populations, as people surrender their dogs and cats in record numbers. And, as people hold on tighter to their purse strings, shrinking donations are leaving animal shelters with fewer resources to care for this […]

Obama to join long list of Presidents with pets in the White House

Of all the decisions the new President-elect has before him, none has captured the American people’s imaginations more quickly than the first family’s decision to get a puppy. Following through on an early campaign promise to his girls (win or lose they get a puppy after the election), Obama has been bombarded by animal groups […]

10 Steps to Starting a Dog Park


Looking for a place for your dog to run and play off-leash? If you don’t already have a dog park in your community, your dog may thank you for helping to get one started. Dog parks exist thanks to determined dog lovers working together to bring this dedicated play area to the community. If your […]

A cat battles with new technology


Normally my cat perches on the desk leaning over the keyboard to bat my fingers as I type. Or, she stretches and then sits in front of the computer monitor, so I have to type and look over and around her to see the screen. So naturally I was amused at watching this cat try to figure […]