From tickling tummies to fussy eaters — your pet queries answered


HE is on a mission to help our pets  . . . and is here to answer YOUR questions. Sean, who is the head vet at tailored pet food firm tails.com, has helped with owners’ queries for ten years.

He says: “If your pet is acting funny or is under the weather, or you want to know about nutrition or exercise, just ask. I can help keep pets happy and healthy.”

Our pet vet answers a query from the owner of a cat who loves to be tickled

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Our pet vet answers a query from the owner of a cat who loves to be tickledCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Sean McCormack, head vet at tails.com, promises he can 'help keep pets happy and healthy'
Sean McCormack, head vet at tails.com, promises he can ‘help keep pets happy and healthy’

Q) My male cat Barney, who will be nine in July, likes to be tickled and LOVES a kiss on the tummy.

I read that if a cat rolls over on his back and exposes his tummy he is showing his trust, but it is an abuse to then rub it.

However, Barney really enjoys it, so is he really unusual in this and am I abusing his trust by doing what he seems to love?

Jean Linda, Wigan

A) I like an old tummy rub too, Jean, I’m not going to lie.

You hear all kinds of “rules” for pets which sometimes don’t take into account the fact they’re unique little individuals with their own quirks and preferences.

If Barney enjoys a belly rub, who am I to say don’t give him one?!

Got a question for Sean?

SEND your queries to sundaypets@the-sun.co.uk.

Q) My girl Mollie is a 13-year-old Westie and has just been diagnosed with cataracts.

Is there anything I can do to help?

Tommy Watson, Port Glasgow

A) She can have a cataract operation to remove them if she’s a suitable case. You’ll need a referral to a specialist vet ophthalmologist.

If you’re worried about her age, I get it. But age is not a disease, and she will be thoroughly checked before they consider her for an anaesthetic.

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Of course she will also adapt to losing her sight so don’t feel pressured.

Financially, it’s a big outlay, and we don’t know if Mollie will live until she’s 14 or 18.

So weigh up what’s important and discuss with your vet.

Sean answers a query from a worried Westie owner

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Sean answers a query from a worried Westie ownerCredit: Getty – Contributor

Q) I have a female short-haired cat who is four this year. If I give her wet food, all she does is lick the gravy off it and leaves the meat.

I’ve tried all types of wet food but she does exactly the same thing. She will eat dry food when she feels like it. She is at a steady weight and full of life when I play with her.

She does sleep a lot but I have been told this is normal for a cat.

I read your stories each week and find them very helpful, so wonder if you can help?

Dave Mason, Gloucester

A) Thanks Dave, glad you’re enjoying the column. As I always say, every pet is different, and sometimes they have strange quirks that don’t make sense.

If your cat doesn’t like wet food, she’ll be perfectly fine on dry as long as it is complete, balanced and caters to her individual needs.

I wouldn’t stress, but I’d probably stop wasting your money on wet food if it just gets thrown in the bin after the jelly is licked off.

Tails.com provides tailor-made nutritional food for pets
Tails.com provides tailor-made nutritional food for pets

Q) Our cat Rico is 18. He’s fit and acts as he did 15 years ago, but lately he has started getting mucus in his eyes – not daily but regularly.

I’ve tried antibiotic drops which help a bit but don’t stop it. Do you have any advice?

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Robbie Wilson, Broughton, Lanarks

A) It’s not a good idea to use antibiotic drops here and there just when his eyes look inflamed or have excess mucus.

They’re like a course of antibiotic tablets, and should only be used for a definite infection and for a sustained period of time to be effective.

Otherwise you risk creating a resistant infection.

There are many reasons Rico’s eyes could be bothering him, none of which I can diagnose without seeing them. So I’d advise having them checked by your vet.

Star of the week

Shih Tzu Jasper Parsnip is a “miracle dog” – defying all odds to celebrate his fourth birthday after being born with a cleft palate and throat problems.

He battled pneumonia and was resuscitated three times – including once by owner Susan Setterfield – when he choked on milk.

Shih Tzu Jasper Parsnip has celebrated his fourth birthday after being born with a cleft palate and throat problems

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Shih Tzu Jasper Parsnip has celebrated his fourth birthday after being born with a cleft palate and throat problems

A vet said he should be put to sleep but determined Susan dug deep to pay for surgery.

He was given less than one per cent chance of survival and had to be revived on the operating table – but bravely pulled through.

Susan, 41, who works with vulnerable young adults, says: “The vet now says Jasper Parsnip is a medical marvel. He is amazing. Every animal deserves a chance, whatever the odds of survival are.”

Pets take priority over world

One in five owners say they will quit their jobs if they can’t take their pet to work, a Paws & Claws survey has found.

Three in four said they are struggling emotionally with the thought of being parted from their pets when they have to return to the workplace, according to our survey of 2,000 owners conducted by insurance firm Bought By Many.

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One in five owners say they will quit their jobs if they can’t take their pet to work

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One in five owners say they will quit their jobs if they can’t take their pet to work

And a third said they were planning to take their animals into the office if their bosses agree.

Psychologist Jo Hemmings said: “Time with our pets increases our levels of oxytocin – also known as the love hormone, which in turn increases our attachment to them.

“So it’s no surprise people are finding it difficult to cope with the thought of being apart from their pets and are considering lifestyle changes to spend more time with them.”

Jo recommends getting a pet cam to keep an eye on animals at home and focusing on the end of the day when you will be reunited.

She added: “Returning to the workplace in a time of uncertainty can provoke anxiety and the added stress that seperation anxiety can bring is not to be dismissed.”

WIN: Ball Launcher

DOES your pup love to play Fetch?

With the weather now cold, chances are they would rather be indoors – and the PetSafe Automatic Ball Launcher (petsafe.com/UK) lets them play ball at home.

Train your dog to drop the ball into the launcher, wait, then retrieve it.You can choose from nine distance settings and six angles.

The launcher costs £141.99 and we have two to give away.

To enter, send an email marked LAUNCHER to sundaypets@the-sun.co.uk. Competition closes November 8.

Full T&Cs here.

Cheeky pet cat turns on tap and blocks plughole leaving whole house flooded

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