Dear Cathy: Our
17-year-old indoor cat Since his sibling died five years ago, he has been an
only cat. Suffice it to say he is spoilt. He enjoys eating while combing,
sitting on our laps, and napping in our bed. But the crying after bedtime has
been going on for years, and it's gotten worse. He hurt his paw and is in an
orthotic brace for carpal hyperextension. Now we have to keep him out of our
bed. Our sleep is clearly impaired, and we need help. — Kathy, Florida.
vocalize to indicate boredom, fear, pain, and discomfort. The brace may be
causing him some discomfort (or irritation). But, since the howling is growing
worse, I recommend getting him checked out by a veterinarian first.
If he's fine and you don't think it's the brace, try three
10-minute play periods a day, the last one 30 minutes before bedtime. So feed
him before bed. He'll be more likely to sleep thereafter if he's full and
exhausted. This means you may have to feed him later in the morning to meet the
recommended feeding schedule.
A cat tent would be great if you have a yard, deck, or
patio. Put him in it for an hour or so daily, depending on the weather. A cat's
mind needs stimulation, and the cat tent provides it.
These approaches should eventually tire him out and restore
his nocturnal habits. Until then, acquire some earplugs and a sound machine for
your room – and seal the door if necessary.
Dear Cathy: Your article
about cat fights was really instructive. Our two long-time friends are
currently fighting. For now, they're split. The senior cat is nearly content to
be alone. I'll try the pheromone diffusers, but I'm afraid about the collars
because cats might hurt themselves with them. Is there a safer, breakaway
pheromone collar? I can't find one. Thank you for your post. We'll do anything
you propose. — Laurie, Nevada
Dear Laurie: Glad my
advice to Steven in East Meadow, New York, helped you. Get your elderly cat a
full veterinarian exam. When one cat is unwell, other cats in the house may
suddenly “pick on” the sick cat. Let's make sure your elder cat is healthy and
not sick. Comfort Zone produces a breakaway collar for cats that you can buy in
a pet store or online.
Dear Cathy: My Jack Russell was
particularly sensitive to his tags hitting the food dish, so I wrapped it in
rubber tape to protect his ears. Please aid Karen from Port Washington, NY.
Kathy Connolly, Elwood
Dear Kathy: Tags
striking food and water dishes might irritate certain dogs (and people). Felt
can be glued on the back of each tag to act as a buffer between tags, in
addition to rubber (silicone) tape. Tag silencers are available at pet stores
and online. They're rubber bands that go around each tag to keep them apart.
The tags can also be stored in collar-mounted storage pouches. Or you can use a
nametag that is fastened or embroidered to the collar to completely silence it.
The new year is also a perfect time to update your pet's ID
tags and microchip information.