Four years ago, Steve and Sharon Ward noticed a dirty and emaciated stray cat hanging around their Perry Hall house. They'd begun leaving food outside for another stray cat, and the second one soon caught their attention.
"She was very skittish," says Steve. "She would peek her head around the corner but always run if we tried to approach her." They dubbed the kitty Mystery Cat, and when the first cat stopped coming around, Mystery Cat kept eating outside the Wards' home. That went on for six months.
"She'd hide in the bushes at the edge of our yard and when she heard us open our sliding door, she would emit a very loud, clear meow because she knew she was about to be fed," says Steve. After a lot of debate, the Wards decided to adopt her if she'd come in, which turned out to be easier than anyone imagined.
"On New Year's Day 2010, we opened the sliding door," says Steve. "She ran in the house, scurried right under our couch, and hasn't been outside since." As it turned out, a neighbor had kicked Mystery Cat out after deciding she wasn't wanted anymore, turning her out to fend for herself instead of taking her to a shelter.
All's well that ends well, though. Mystery Cat has made herself quite at home, playing with toys, enjoying games of fetch with a favorite rubber ball, and cuddling on the couch with her humans, which is a far cry from begging for food outside. And the humans in the house have a message for their beloved pet's former owner.
"To that neighbor," says Steve, "All we can say is 'Thanks.'"
To have your pet - including hamsters, snakes, horses, guinea pigs and the like - considered for Collared, email information to email@example.com.
-Kim Fernandez, for The Baltimore Sun
(Christopher T. Assaf, Baltimore Sun /August 26, 2014)
What can I do to prevent my dog from getting carsick? She is fine for a short trip, but after 20 minutes, she gets sick.
Motion sickness is one of the undertreated problems that we see in pets. This can make a road trip a nightmare for the pets and their companions. Before trying to fix the problem, it is important to figure out what's making them to throw up in the car. Two main reasons for this are fear of the car ride and true motion sickness. The first is especially common in younger pets or newly adopted pets that have not had a lot experience in cars.
Try to get the pet used to car rides in an incremental fashion. The first few days, put her in the car for a short while without doing anything else. Once she is comfortable with this step, start the car but stay parked (with the door open for ventilation). Next time, start the car and move it a little; then the next, drive her a few blocks and come back home, again increasing the distance at a slow pace. Reward her after each step when she is calm and relaxed. At any point, if you notice her getting anxious or carsick, go back to the previous step. It could take several days until she is relaxed enough to ride without any issues.
You can also help ease the sickness by not feeding her anything at least a couple of hours before the trip; not letting her run or jump while in the car; and letting in some fresh air. Some pets will need help from medications. Your veterinarian can discuss these options and the common side effects. Alternative choices like acupuncture and ginger have some limited success, but may be helpful when the side effects from the medications are intolerable.
This week's expert is Dr. Padma Yadlapalli, Freetown Animal Hospital in Columbia. To submit a question for a local animal expert, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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