From a lonely ferret to a hoarse cat – 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.

This week Sean helps a reader with a ferret

4

This week Sean helps a reader with a ferretCredit: Getty
Sean McCormack, head vet at tails.com, promises he can 'help keep pets happy and healthy'

4

Sean McCormack, head vet at tails.com, promises he can ‘help keep pets happy and healthy’

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.”

Q) I AM looking to get a ferret but is it right that they are happier in pairs or small groups?

Peter Bryan, Sheffield

A) Ferrets are quite a social species, so I always advise that they are kept in pairs or even trios.

READ MORE PET NEWS

They are bags of fun, and spend a lot of time playing together.

I feel it’s not really fair to keep a lone ferret as we humans can’t really meet all their social needs or provide the outlet for play that other ferrets can.

They make wonderful pets.

If buying from a breeder, choosing two littermates of the same sex is a good idea, and pretty much guarantees they will get along.

Most read in Money

Some animal rescue centres also offer ferrets so it would be good to consider rehoming.

Q) MY cat Fred likes to pounce on people’s feet.

I’m a pet sitter and there’s a breed I’d never own – each one I’ve watched has had ‘absolutely no manners’

It was cute when he was a kitten but now he’s a bit of a bruiser and it can hurt.

How can I teach him that his behaviour is unwanted?

Kerry Brown, Brighton

A) This hunting and pouncing play behaviour is normal for cats, but shouldn’t be directed at their human friends.

The usual reason for it to be a problem with adult cats is playing inappropriately with them when they were kittens.

I’m talking about the “harmless fun” of encouraging kittens to stalk, hunt and bite human fingers, hands and feet, even clothing.

This encourages hunting play later, as it’s ingrained as rewarding and fun.

The best remedy for kittens, and adult cats with the habit, is to re­direct the behaviour towards something altogether more exciting, like feathers and toy lures on string, or dangled on fishing rod-type toys.

Try not to react to pouncing on you at all, if possible.

So no shrieking or encouraging Fred to chase you.

Hopefully in time he’ll learn it’s much more fun playing with his toys than your feet.

Q) PEACHES, our cat, now sounds like she is hoarse.

She’s getting older at 19 and is eating well but sometimes no sound comes out.

Is that just down to her age?

Keith Blackwell, Barnsley

A) Poor old Peaches. The first thing to say is well done on her ripe old age.

Sometimes hoarseness or a change in voice can just be a normal development in a cat of more senior years.

Saying that, there are also some conditions or age-related niggles that are worth ruling out.

Dental problems, particularly gum disease or gingivitis, can cause a sore throat or inflammation and lead to hoarse meowing.

Other issues in the mouth or throat can also be a factor.

Even some hormonal conditions like an overactive thyroid can play a role.

So with any changes in an older cat, I say it’s best to get a physical check booked in with your vet.

It’s for peace of mind as much as catching things early.

Q) HOW can I improve my dog Dave’s recall?

He’s a rescue and 90 per cent of the time he’s great but then he’ll just do a runner.

Steve Saunders, Chichester, West Sussex

A) If he’s a sighthound, I’m guessing it’s squirrels in the park.

If a scent hound, maybe he’s caught a whiff of something interesting.

It’s in some breeds’ nature to lose focus in certain scenarios.

To tackle this, try to understand and preferably avoid the triggers, or at least head them off by popping Dave back on a lead. Failing that, sausages!

Always have chopped-up sausages in your pocket. You need to be the most exciting prospect in the park.

Star of the Week

A STRAY cat who was found with three kittens picking her way through broken glass on a building site now lives in a palatial setting, thanks to Blue Cross pet charity.

Two-year-old Daisy now has the run of woodland and gardens after being rehomed at the luxury lodges of Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, Oxfordshire.

Two-year-old Daisy now has the run of woodland and gardens after being rehomed at the luxury lodges of Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, Oxfordshire

4

Two-year-old Daisy now has the run of woodland and gardens after being rehomed at the luxury lodges of Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, OxfordshireCredit: Martin Phelps

Daisy’s owner Simon Oliver, park manager at Blenheim Palace Lodge Retreat, said: “Daisy has settled in really well and everyone has taken to her.

“She will just lay there for people to tickle her. She really loves the attention.”

Find out more about the work of the Blue Cross or to rehome a pet see bluecross.org.uk.

WIN: Bundle of Webbox cooling goodies worth £21.50

WE’VE joined forces with pet brand Webbox to offer 12 dog owners a £21.50 bundle of cooling products for summer.

They include a pet cooling mat, bandanas and fruit toys.

For a chance to win one of the packs, send an email headed WEBBOX, specifying if you would like a small or large cooling mat, to Sunday pets@the-sun.co.uk by July 21.

See webbox.co.uk.

T&Cs apply.

Pups keen to whine and dine at pubs

HAIR of the dog has a whole new meaning as 80 per cent of mutts are regular pub- goers, we can reveal.

A fifth (22 per cent) of dog owners admit they got their pet with the intention of taking them to the boozer.

Hair of the dog has a whole new meaning as 80 per cent of mutts are regular pub- goers, we can reveal

4

Hair of the dog has a whole new meaning as 80 per cent of mutts are regular pub- goers, we can revealCredit: Getty

And more than half (55 per cent) say their furry-friend gives them more confidence to socialise.

The study showed golden retrievers are the best pub companion, followed by ­labrador retrievers and cocker spaniels.

Almost three quarters (71 per cent) believe their dog enjoys the pub as much as a trip to the park, due to lots of extra fussing (52 per cent) and treats (53 per cent).

Yet more than a quarter (28 per cent) have felt un­welcome at a pub, with one in five having been asked to leave due to their pup.

READ MORE SUN STORIES

Adem Fehmi, from pet-care platform Rover.com, which carried out the study, said: “Taking your dog with you to the pub can be enjoyable for both you and your pooch, helping to socialise your dog and provide them mental stimulation.”

  • Top ten “pub dog” breeds: 1 Golden Retriever, 2 Labrador Retriever, 3 Cocker Spaniel; 4 Cockapoo; 5 Jack Russell Terrier; 6 French Bulldog; 7 German Shepherd; 8 Border Collie; 9 Daschund; 10 Staffordshire Bull Terrier.