Joan Meo never expected that a bike ride through Rehoboth Beach, Del., would end in heartbreak, but that's exactly what happened shortly after she set off with friends. Midway through their ride, workmen building a house told them the United States was under attack, and like so many others, Meo knew she'd never forget the date: Sept. 11, 2001.
She returned to the house she was renting to find that the owners had discovered a group of stray cats and kittens, including three tiny brothers only a few weeks old. Meo jumped right in to assist.
"Helping with the kittens took my mind off the heinous events of that morning," she says. And when it was time to leave for home a few days later, she found herself unable to go empty-handed, so one of the smallest kittens was scooped up to head for Baltimore and a new life.
Nicholas soon took charge of the two other cats in the house, and he charmed every human who came to the door. "Nick's personality has grown bigger with time," says Meo. "More dog-like than cat in his interactions, he greets all guests at the door and stays close by at all times, enjoying the camaraderie of family and friends."
She says Nicholas let her know that even in the face of horror, happiness is still possible.
To have your pet - including hamsters, snakes, horses, guinea pigs and the like - considered for Collared, email information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
-Kim Fernandez, for The Baltimore Sun (Barbara Haddock Taylor, Baltimore Sun photo /September 9, 2014)
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 email@example.com.
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