Higgins' name was given to him because his owners thought it was cute and unusual, but having gotten to know him since the day they picked him up, they've rethought things a bit.
"We should have named him Hoover," says Tom Buser. "As in vacuum."
A 7-year-old Yorkie-Poo, Higgins fancies himself something of a hunter and always has his nose to the ground, snarfing up whatever he finds around the house -- woe to the mere crumb dropped from the dinner table. Buser brought Higgins home as a birthday gift for his wife, Joyce Starr, and the pup immediately took to life on Pasadena's Stoney Creek.
When he's not hunting down treats from his owners or the floor, Higgins likes racing around his yard and chasing squirrels.
"He truly is the gift that keeps on giving," says Buser, who adds that Higgins loves playing hide-and-seek, so long as a treat awaits at the end of the game, and knows simple tricks, including sit, stay and offering his paw for a shake. Thankfully, he also obeys "drop it" when he grabs something nonedible.
He's also a friendly dog.
"Walking him takes time since we have to stop for a pet on the head from the neighbors," says Buser.
-Kim Fernandez, for The Baltimore Sun (Christopher T. Assaf, Baltimore Sun photo /November 15, 2013)
How can I get my cat to stop tearing and eating paper?
The ingestion of any nonfood item is not a normal activity for a cat and should be diagnosed by your veterinarian to assess whether this is a medical, behavioral or nutritional issue.
You can assist with this diagnosis by logging and sharing the frequency, timing and consequences of this event. Does it happen each time there is paper in sight; is your cat alone when this happens; does this interfere with normal eating and elimination patterns of your cat?
Shredding and chewing paper could be the way your cat relieves his boredom. He may also be amused by the sound of the crinkling paper. Provide environment enrichment for your cat by providing safe cat toys. Change the location of his toys daily for him to seek out. Set aside time to actively play with your cat. This will provide him with a mental and physical substitute for choosing unsafe materials.
Be sure you are feeding nutritionally sound food to your cat. Again your veterinarian will recommend what is best.
Soon your kitty will be going "paperless." This week's expert is Betty Cox, hospital administrator at Cat Hospital at Towson (catdoc.com). To submit a question for a local animal expert, email firstname.lastname@example.org.