Karen Lancaster moved to Baltimore from New York about 5 and a half years ago, shortly after her two elderly cats passed away. One of her first stops when she got to town was the MD SPCA shelter on Falls Road, where she spotted a black-and-white kitten perched regally in his litter box (of all places), and fell instantly in love.
Toby, as she named the little cat, settled in nicely to Lancaster's Roland Park apartment along with his adopted feline sister, Lily, and the family has been a solid unit ever since.
"I put videos of birds on my iPad," says Lancaster. "One is 19 minutes long, and the two of them will sit there and watch the entire thing." Toby spends much of the summer on the apartment balcony, watching birds and playing what appear to be organized games of hide-and-seek with a neighborhood squirrel, who hops over from a nearby evergreen for playtime.
"If I sleep too late, Toby will jump on my bed and pat my nose until I wake up," says Lancaster. He also loves chasing the beam of a laser pointer around the apartment and walking across any drying oil paintings his mom leaves out (as a result, she is forced to do most of her work in a studio rather than at home).
"The people at the MD SPCA told me they found him on the steps of the B&O Railroad Museum, all by himself," she says. "I think about that a lot. If somebody hadn't seen him, he wouldn't be in my life. I would have been so sorry to have missed out on him."
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 (Christopher T. Assaf, Baltimore Sun /July 22, 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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