Sissy has a thick white mane, and little kids sometimes mistake her for a lion when she's out walking in her Harford County neighborhood. But this 13-year-old collie couldn't be any sweeter or gentler.
Holly Robbins and her family adopted Sissy when a relative couldn't care for her anymore and was forced to give her up. "She's unlike any other dog I've ever met," Robbins says. "She is not into retrieving toys, much to my dad's dismay, but she does love to go for walks." She also loves to be close to family members.
"She's as sweet as she looks," Robbins says. "Our dog groomer's husband likes to kneel down and put ham in his mouth for Sissy to gently slip out and enjoy."
Sissy spends much of her time sleeping, sometimes flat on her back. She gets a summer haircut each year that Robbins says makes her look like an entirely different dog. That's a relief for the family, though. "She hates being brushed!" Robbins says. "Her hair is very thick, and she will not cooperate when we try to comb through it. We've certainly tried. Her hair is so thick that we have a hard time getting her skin wet when we bathe her."
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-- Kim Fernandez (Christopher T. Assaf, Baltimore Sun photo /May 16, 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.