Mark Messenger enjoyed a week of hunting at the cabin of some friends in Breezewood, Pa., a few years ago and came home with quite a catch.
The friends had been feeding two stray cats for a few months, and one adopted Mark's hunting clothes, which he left in the garage every night, as her bed. "When the week was up," says his wife, Jan, "he had to bring her home. She wouldn't survive in the mountains with the wild animals and the cold. She was quite thin and needed to be fattened up." So the kitty came home to Reisterstown at the end of his trip.
The couple took the long-haired cat, whom they named Chrissy, to the vet and learned she was about 15 months old. It didn't take long for them to also learn she was super sweet, and it didn't take Chrissy long to bond with the family's chocolate lab, Maggie.
These days, the entire family enjoys camping trips together, and Chrissy went along for a road trip to Texas last Christmas. "To protect Maggie and Chrissy from accidentally escaping, we have tethers attached like car seats to our back seats," says Jan. "We put them both into harnesses, and the harnesses attach to the tether. Because Chrissy is a cat, we have her tether attached to a short leash so she can reach her litter box in the back of the van. She's a great car rider!"
Chrissy has come a long way since her days as a skinny stray in the Pennsylvania mountains, and Jan and Mark say they can't imagine their life without her.
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 (Kenneth K. LAM, Baltimore Sun photo /July 15, 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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