Halloween Safety Tips for Your Pets

Some Things To Think About
When Considering A Pet

When Mrs. Anderson was presented with the little Yorkshire Terrier puppy as a Mother’s Day gift she was anxious about her capability to take care of it. Even though her kids had provided all the basic Dog Accessories along with the gift of the puppy she still wondered how in the world she was going to take care of her newly acquired pet both physically and financially.

It had been many years since she and her late husband had owned a pet of any kind and was alarmed that the petite little thing was going to be demanding of her time. Well, she didn’t have to worry because soon she was enjoying her new friend so much she couldn’t believe it. She even went shopping when the weather turned cooler and purchased Small Dog Clothes for “Hannah” so she could take her for walks far into the bitter wintry weather of Wisconsin. She also realized the following benefits of having a pet:

• Pets are at all times present for you no matter the time of day or night. A lot of folks have attested that being greeted by their pet when returning home is the highlight of their day. The overall recognition and affectionate enthusiasm by the pet are not based upon the owner’s appearance or personality but upon the mere presence of the owner. The simple fact that its owner has returned home is enough to make an animal go wild with delight.

• Pets provide structure to an owner’s day because their needs must be attended to at definite times. Elderly folks, in particular, profit from having better structure in their day. Over time someone can get regular habits and not really be interested in getting out much because it can seem like more trouble than it’s worth to them. This is not the case when you own an animal that desires a walk and lets you know it! A good walk not only benefits your puppy but you as well.

• Pets are a faithful companion and offer security to their owner. It can be a basis of peace and sense of well being to own a pet who can alert you to approaching danger by their actions. Stories are numerous of animals who have alerted their owners of house fires, tornadoes and even intruders in the home. Just the sound of a barking canine no matter how big or how little can be all that’s needed to frighten an intended thief. It’s been proven that owning an animal is a real crime deterrent.

• Pets love to receive affection and will return it in kind without reservation. It’s been said that just petting an animal can lower a person’s blood pressure so there is a real health benefit to be had in owning a pet. Whether your pet has you taking a walk because he wants one or has you brushing his coat because it’s tangled or just stroking him because he’s nervous at an approaching storm, the benefits are shared between owner and pet. All of these connections are beneficial for man and beast alike and will increase the bond between the owner and his pet.

6 Basic Dog Training Tips
Jeffery Rush - LandGrabOnline.org

How you go about basic dog training depends on several things. You want to take into consideration what kind of dog it is, what dog behavior training you are trying to accomplish, and how old the dog is. But it is important to note that it is never too late to teach a dog a new trick. Here are 6 basic dog training tips to keep in mind.

1) Positive

The key thing to remember is that this is a fun process to teach your dog something new. Therefore, make sure to constantly offer positive affirmations in the form of verbal praise and treats. Whenever the dog does something correctly make sure they know it.

2) Patience

It can be difficult being patient but it is a process that is not going to happen in one session. You have to be willing to give it time and over a period of training sessions your dog will learn. Your dog will pick up on your emotions so hide those feelings of anxiety and anger and keep it positive.

3) Consistency

Consistency is vital with dog behavior training. Training your dog one day and then skipping a few will not get the job done. The more consistent you are the quicker your dog will pick up the trick you are teaching. However, it is not a bad thing to take one day off here and there to give them a break.

4) Short and sweet

The last thing you or your dog wants is a two hour training session each day. Around fifteen minutes is the perfect time for dogs to learn simple commands. Always make sure to stick with one command or trick per session and do not overlap the tricks within each fifteen minutes. And remember, praise is essential when your dog does something correctly.

5) No distractions

To get the most out of your basic dog training, try to pick a spot that eliminates any kinds of distractions. While this may be difficult to find, try to pick a quiet spot free of people or other dogs. Going in the backyard or an inside room typically are the best locations.

6) Above All Else – FUN! FUN! FUN!

Although this is quite repetitive, it is essential that you keep each session fun and lighthearted. Your dog will feed off of your emotions and if you are having a good time they will enjoy it as well. If your dog makes a mistake, you can be firm but friendly at the same time. And after each fifteen minute session, play with your dog for a while.

Over time you will begin to build an even greater bond with your dog as you both learn to trust in each other through these lessons. This will help you on the path to a long and loving relationship with your best friend. It will also provide the foundations for a well mannered and behaved dog who will be a joy to have around the family, and in the company of others.

Jeffery Rush

Get Your Dogs or Cats
from an Animal Shelter

There is a major companion animal overpopulation problem in this country. An estimated 6 to 8 million dogs and cats enter animal shelters each year, but only 3 to 4 million of them are adopted. The remaining animals are euthanized. There are simply not enough homes to go around. Shelters have no choice but to humanely euthanize animals that are not adopted to make room for the huge influx of more dogs and cats.

You can help lessen the overpopulation problem by spaying/neutering your pets. Secondly, never buy a pet from a pet store. Pets in pet stores are bred, which increases pet populations. Plus, pets at pet stores often come from puppy mills.

Adopt an animal from your local shelter instead.

William McMullin
Lansing, Mich.

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Never Underestimate the Visual
Power of a Cat in a Wig
By ANDREW MARTON - Star-Telegram

Two strong constants have threaded their way through Jill Johnson’s life: A fervent devotion to still photography and an abiding love of cats.

Now, the 38-year old Johnson, a Houston native who spent 12 years as a staff photographer for the Star-Telegram, has combined them. As the principal lens-woman for the new picture-book Glamourpuss — The Enchanting World of Kitty Wigs (Chronicle Books, $14.95), Johnson has immortalized, in color-drenched photos, her love for all things endearingly feline.

Collaborating with Dallas-based author and entrepreneur Julie Jackson — who devised Glamourpuss’ nifty cats-in-wigs theme, along with the photos’ cheeky captions — Johnson created a Vogue-worthy photo spread for each of the 25 cats wigging out under hairpieces that are colored everything from "electric blue" to "bashful blonde."

The project began in June 2008, and it took roughly two months to shoot all her four-pawed models. Johnson’s high gloss, often playful shots got the whimsical project some early national notice: One of Johnson’s initial glam cat portraits appeared on a segment of Anderson Cooper’s CNN program, 360 Degrees.

Other members of the media soon jumped into the Kitty Wigs litter: One opined that a Johnson shot of a cat in a shocking azure wig brought to mind the same studied aloof pose of super-model Naomi Campbell. And recently, Publisher’s Weekly put another of Johnson’s cat-walk models on its cover.

Glamourpuss — The Enchanting World of Kitty Wigs officially hits bookstore shelves this month. The Star-Telegram recentlycaught up with Johnson to ask her about capturing so many cats — not in hats — but in wigs.

Wasn’t your first pet a cat?

Indeed, my first pet was a cat called Kelsey, a real tuxedo cat in that she had a black-and-white face. I’ve always had cats. Indeed, there’s never been a point in my life when I didn’t have a cat.

What is it that you like so much about cats?

I love how independent spirited they are. I love that they can be silly, goofy, smart, funny and lazy — essentially everything that I aspire to be. I so envy their life: They eat whenever they want and sleep whenever they want.

Describe the varying personality types of the cats you worked with.

In breed and look, they ranged from Persian and Siamese to tuxedo and calico. Some of these cats were divas, some were lazy, some were just nonchalant. And some were big teases, playing with the wig before deciding to wear it for the shoot.

Were certain breeds more challenging to work with than others?

I had always heard that Siamese cats could be real testy and only really fond of their owner. But Boone, the Siamese that I worked with, was one of the best models by far, with a great temperament.

How did you persuade these cats to wear the wigs?

The key thing is to spend time — sometimes a lot of time — preparing the cat for the wig-modeling experience. If they were an outdoor cat, I asked that they play outside first and then come in during the middle of the day when they’d be the sleepiest. Then we created a loving nest for them, often with a cozy rug I brought to the shoot. With all this in place, you then have to seduce them in order to get the wig on them: You rub under their chin, over and on their ears as the wig will have to fit over their ears — something that cats simply don’t like.

Andrew Marton is a Star-Telegram senior arts writer, 817-390-7679

How To Help a New Pet
Adjust To Their New Home

Lets face it moving to a new home is a stressful experience for anyone. If you are getting ready to bring a new pet home the move is just as stressful for them. But I know a few tips that will help you introduce your new family member that will help them feel more at home sooner with less stress.

Some of these tips will be easier to use then others and they can be applied to most pets with the exception of the exotics such as snakes, frogs, spiders and lizards.
The first thing you want to do is make sure their is a spot in your home that is just for your pet. Someplace they can retreat to when they need to be alone. It should be someplace where every family member understands is just for the pet. Whether it is a crate for your new puppy or a bed in a corner for your new kitten, or a plastic igloo for your new hamster or guinea pig they need someplace to escape too.

When you go to pick up your new family member get some of the bedding that is in the cage with your small animal. If you are getting your dog or cat from a reputable breeder see if you can drop off your puppies new bed a couple days early so it gets the scent of home on it. To help close down puppy mills make sure you know where your puppy or kitty comes from. Avoid pet stores because the only way to make sure of where your pet comes from is to get it from the breeder yourself. Now if your like me and get your pet from a shelter then check with the shelter to see if you can drop off the bed before pick-up.

Now to help get the pet use to you faster, before you bring them home take an old worn out shirt (one you don't want any more) and where it to bed (don't wash it). When you bring your pet home add it to their sleep area or cut it into pieces and add it to the small animal bedding. This will help them get use to you faster.

Last but not least and especially important if you have small children. Give your new pet some room to explore their new home with out being mobbed with attention. You should give small animals at least a week before you try handling them. (this of course depends on where you get them since some pet stores do an excellent job of handling their small animals) By giving your new family member some room to explore you will help prevent agressive behavior based on fear.

Petting Your Way
Through the Blues

As a therapist, I work in a unique setting that invites not only my clients (children and adults) into a serene office -- their pets are invited too!

Maggie Baumann: I work in a pet-friendly therapy office and I witness the healing powers of pets with their owners every day.

One 13-year-old girl I work with is often resistant to talking about her family problems when she comes in on her own. But when she brings her three-year-old brown Lab with her, she is animated and more free to open up about her feelings.

I had another male adult client who I saw relax and let go of his defensiveness to his issues when he brought his 135-pound female Rottweiler with him to his appointment. As he spoke, he stroked his dog -- and it allowed him to reduce his anxiety about the painful topics we were discussing.

When stress hits home, use the healing power of your own pets.

The point is: Animals can often be our safest and closest healers. And you don't need to go to a pet-friendly therapy office to receive the benefits.

Research on the bond of attachment validates what pet lovers already know -- that the bond we share with our pet(s) can be even stronger than the bond we share with people. There is this empowering sense of unconditional love you get from your pet, and that can instantly improve your mood.

Pets improve both mood and health.

Interacting with your pet can provide many benefits for everyone in the family, from infants to seniors. You can feel less anxious and less stressed in as little as 15 minutes when spending time with your dog or cat, or even watching fish swim.

Physical changes happen in your body that can improve your mood and decrease stress. The production of the body's feel-good chemical called serotonin -- a common neurotransmitter found in the brain -- is increased through pet play.

Research has also shown that interacting with your pet can lower your blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, and reduce your risk for heart disease.

When someone is battling depression, many therapists often prescribe playing or walking your pet (if your pet is mobile) as a way of dealing with and recovering from depression.

Pets offer 24/7 on-call support.

No matter what time of day or night it is, pets are always ready to listen or play. Stroking your animal's fur or skin can provide you with a soothing tactile experience. Taking care of your pet and grooming it are effective ways to get your focus off your stress and take you out of yourself ... and this helps you feel better about yourself in the long run.

Pets can have a calming effect on people of all ages. If your toddler is fussy, try getting your young one to safely interact with your pet -- touching the fur, making funny faces at the pet. If your elementary-age child has had a bad day at school, offer to sit down with your child on the floor to play with your pet -- your child may more easily open up about why the day has been so difficult.

Kids with ADHD can benefit too. Taking charge of the tasks necessary in caring for a pet can help a child learn to plan and gain positive responsibility. Pets need to play, and playing with a pet is an excellent way for a child with ADHD to release excess energy. And since the bond between a pet and a child is unconditional love, pets help improve self-esteem in ADHD children.

Even for busy moms, when stress hits (and your animal is movable), take your pet out for a walk or run to let off steam. Hopefully your partner can take on supervision of the kids so you can get out to feel better.

What happens if you don't own a pet?

If you don't have a pet, consider getting one. If you can't afford one, visit a friend who has a pet. Another option is volunteering with your family at your local animal shelter, where you can play with the rescued animals that could benefit from your interaction.

Some people may have allergies to certain pets, such as cats or dogs. The selection of a pet that can bring you improved health can be any type of pet, including a parrot or any other type of bird. Birds have been shown to be loyal, loving, and good companionship pets.

Stress overload? Seek professional help, when needed.

Although a pet can do wonders for lowering your stress and improving your mood, know when it's time to seek help from a professional therapist. If life's stresses are unhealthy or dangerous to your health or to anyone in your family, you need additional support. Of course, pets aren't meant to replace therapists, just complement them in treating people seeking relief from many common problems including depression, chronic pain, and anxiety disorders.

As for my work with pets in the therapy office, I have only found positive benefits. Yes, I find a few loose dog hairs on the couch sometimes, but our offices are cleaned daily, so no worries there. Now, if someone brings in a pet snake, I am not sure how I would react ... but that hasn't crossed my path yet.

Maggie Baumann, M.A., is a marriage family therapist intern working as a counselor in a private practice in Newport Beach as well as at The Victorian in Newport Beach, a residential treatment facility providing care to women struggling with eating disorders, addictions and body image. Maggie has written for various publications and appeared on national television promoting eating disorder awareness and prevention. She also facilitates two eating disorder support groups in Orange County, one in Newport Beach and the other in Laguna Beach. You can reach Maggie by email or visit her website at MaggieBaumann.com.

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Pet Dementia:
Older Dogs and Cats
Get Forgetful, Too

Families are keenly aware of the havoc Alzheimer's disease takes on an aging parent, but when it comes to recognizing cognitive disorders in older pets, many owners are left in the dark.

Canine and cat dementia is a condition that afflicts millions of geriatric pets, according to Dr. Shawn Messonnier, and there are continued advances being made to identify and treat the disease. Messonnier is a holistic vet with a new book Unexpected Miracles (Forge Books) , about how holistic medicine helps treat animals when conventional medicine fails.

He answered several questions about cognitive disorders for readers of this blog and says more on his website petcarenaturally.com, which also has results of studies he's done using different therapies on pets.

Question: What are the signs?

Answer: It's the most common degenerative neurological problem of older pets. It can present itself as deafness, lethargy, excess sleep, house-training problems (usually urinating inside the house), staring at the wall, occasional lack of recognition of the owner, and lack of awareness of surroundings.

Q: When does it start in dogs?

A: I start screening for as early as five years as age. In Great Danes that only live to 7 years or 8, it can start as early as 4 or 5. I probably don't start seeing signs in most pets, except the giant breed sizes, until 8 or 10.

Q: When does it start in cats?

A: In cats, it is often called kittie Alzheimer's disease and is seen as early as 7.

Q: Is there a test for the disorders in pets?

A: No, but you can rule out other things. You do blood testing and urine testing to rule out other things like diabetes or heart disorder. If you rule out everything else and start some therapies for them and they respond, you might have cognitive disorder.

Q: What therapies are there?

A: There are natural remedies and the drug AniprylR is approved for treating cognitive disorder in dogs. It must be given daily for the life of the dog once the diagnosis is made. Side effects are rare in dogs and included restlessness, disorientation, vomiting, anorexia, weakness, anemia, stiffness, and polydipsia. The major concern among owners is the cost: a one month supply for a 30 pound dog costs about $125. In cats, some pets respond to choline supplement CholodinR which contains the B vitamin choline, phosphatidylcholine, methionine, inositol, and various B vitamins.

Keep Your Pets Safe
on Halloween
by Mark Ramirez - TimesUnion.com

Halloween can be a lot of fun for some pets — those that love the stream of strangers coming to the door, enjoy getting dressed up in costumes and welcome the attention for being so cute. The holiday, however, does pose some risks. Here are some tips for staying safe come Oct. 31:

•Keep treats on hand to help keep your dog calm as trick-or-treaters come to the door

•If your pets don’t appreciate the company, keep them in a quiet room away from all the commotion

•Don’t leave your pets out in the yard, where they can be victim to pranksters

•Make sure your pet can be identified if he gets loose, whether through up-to-date tags or a microchip

•Keep open flames to a minimum and avoid small decorations your pet might be tempted to eat

•Keep candy out of your pet’s reach — dogs love chocolate, but it’s very dangerous for them

•Eschew costumes if it causes stress for your pet; avoid ones that obstruct his vision or make it hard to move
Bandit gets excited whenever there are lots of people around, so we’re going to have to take precautions so he doesn’t get a chance to bolt out the door. Plus, while he gets along with everyone, we don’t know how he’ll react to people in costume. What we’ll probably do is keep him in a closed room with his water, food and toys and try to keep him company as trick-or-treaters come by.

If that doesn’t work, we might just leave a bowl of candy outside, a ways from the front door, and refill it from time to time.

Do you have to make special preparations for your pet on Halloween?

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Coffee Drinkers Pay Big
For Cat Poop Coffee
By Amanda Murphy - nbc24i.com

TAMPA, Florida – A Florida coffee house is brewing up a buzz by selling the rarest type of coffee in the world—‘Cat Poop Coffee’.

‘Cat Poop Coffee’ comes from the Indonesian Civet which resembles a cat and eats coffee cherries off of trees.

The beans end up in the animal’s feces and the next step is to sift them by hand. The end result is a coffee bean considered a delicacy and only 500 pounds are made each year.

The coffee is one of the rarest in the world. The Tampa coffee shop paid $190 per pound. Customers paid $20 for a 12 ounce cup.

Gary Bogue:
A Feral Cat Likes Me.
Should I Become Her Friend?
By Gary Bogue - Contra Costa Times
There are no ordinary cats.

— Colette

Dear Gary:

I am not necessarily a cat person, but one female feral cat that I have watched raise her kittens has made me her friend.

She comes over and will rub against me and even let me scratch her back.

I'm not sure what to make of it. Should I become her friend, feed her or just leave her alone? I feel OK about it, but don't know what to do about it.

Art in Hayward

Dear Art:

Cats are the ones that decide who is, or isn't, a cat person. We humans really have nothing to do with it.

You should start feeding her. Set up a feeding place for her and leave a bowl of cat food and a bowl of water. Bring the food and water in at night so the raccoons, skunks, etc., don't eat it. She will quickly learn when the food is available and become a regular visitor.

Try to be around when she comes to eat and sit and talk to her so she'll rub against you while you scratch her. You want to continue the bonding process and help make the relationship stronger.

After a week or two, try moving the food and water closer, and closer, and finally inside your house with the door open to see if she'll come in and feed. Be careful not to frighten her when she's inside and don't close the door. She needs an escape route if she gets frightened.

When she'll let you pick her up and even sit on your lap, contact a veterinarian and explain what you're doing. Make arrangements to get the cat vaccinated and spayed. Make sure the vet realizes she's feral and may be freaky and frightened and you're making her into a pet.

Get a plastic cat carrying case from the pet store, put a clean towel in the bottom and use it to transport her to the vet hospital when the time is right. Be very careful not to let her escape on the way to and from your house so she doesn't get lost.

Ask the vet how long you need to keep her inside after her surgery. When you bring her home, you can keep her in a little room (spare bathroom?) with the door closed. Set up a litter box and a special soft bed for her ahead of time. Use the food and water dishes she's familiar with.

Yes, she'll be frightened at being kept inside, but spend some time sitting quietly and talking with her and she'll come around. You don't want to let her back out until the vet says it's safe.

At this point, you have a decision to make.

You can let her back outside and stay an outside cat, or install a cat door in your back door so she can learn to use it and become an indoor/outdoor cat "... or "... you can start training her to be an indoor cat. Indoor cats can live up to five years longer than outdoor cats because they don't have to deal with coyotes, dogs, disease, other cats, bad humans, etc. They also don't kill birds, lizards and other wild creatures.

Your call.

By arranging for her to get spayed, you will have helped her to escape that dangerous cycle of pregnancy after pregnancy "... with no medical help, no food or shelter "... and endless litters of kittens that may or may not survive.

You will have saved her life, and you also will have become a cat person.

Welcome to the club.

My Pet World
by Steve Dale

Dog fighting hurts animals and neighborhoods

Q: Did you know about the dog-fighting arrest made at the day-care center? Don't you think people who fight dogs should suffer the same fate as the dogs? Why not? -- A.C., Chicago

A: You're talking about the arrests made for dog fighting at an in-home day-care facility in Maywood, a Chicago suburb.

Listen, dog fighting is awful for a community since there are, according to Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, always other crimes going on as well (illegal gambling, drug sales, etc.) Sometimes these dogs, which are not typically vaccinated for rabies, get out and terrorize neighbors. Actually, most fighting dogs are actually good with people.

"I remember breaking up one fight where the dog, a pit bull, just looked at me as if to say, 'Save me, please, if you have an ounce of decency,'" Dart recalls.

Of course, dog fighting is always inhumane; the animal abuse is unfathomable. During a fight at the day care center, one dog's leg was twisted so badly that amputation seems the only likely solution, and a puppy was missing an eye. Often, the most humane act for some brutalized and severely injured confiscated dogs is euthanasia.

Experts concur that violence begets violence.

"There's a clear link between practicing violence on animals, and then following through with people," says Dart. "Nothing is worse than children witnessing this stuff. And sadly, it happens all the time."

It's unclear, however (as of this column going to press), whether the kids at that day care actually witnessed dogs fighting or training to fight.

Dog fighting is a felony in most states. Exposing children to dog fighting carries an additional penalty in a handful of states. Ledy Van Kavage, senior legislative analyst at Best Friends Animal Society, hopes other states follow through with similar laws. What's more, as a result of a conversation I had on my WLS Radio show (in Chicago) with Dart, Van Kavage will attempt to pass the first-ever legislation of its kind so dog fighters face additional felony charges if they hold dog fights within 500 yards of a school zone or a children's day-care center.

I think we ought to throw the book at dog fighters. "Law enforcement can still get more serious about dog fighting in some places," says Van Kavage. "The reality is, the courts are dealing with overcrowded jails, and keeping prisoners in jail costs the system money in tough economic times."

I'm all for Van Kavage and others pushing for stiffer penalties, but Dart says ultimately dog fighting won't stop until society no longer tolerates it.

Q: Our 15-year-old cat has been diagnosed with a hyperthyroid condition. The vet explained that we can choose from one of three treatments. Any advice? -- P.A., Cyberspace

A: You do, indeed, have three choices, according to Atlanta-based feline veterinarian Dr. Drew Weigner, including:

1. Surgery. This can cure your cat. However, as with all surgery, there's a potential risk of complications. Hyperthyroid cats are older, and surgery may not be the best option for frail cats with additional illnesses.

2. Radioactive iodine. Your cat would be injected with a radioactive substance which destroys most of the thyroid gland. What thyroid tissue remains is plenty for most cats to function. While this treatment has no complications or side effects, the cat must be away from home for several days. For some cats, being away from home may be too traumatic.

3. Drug therapy. The human drug Tapazole (Methimazole) works, but cats on this medication need to be monitored, plus the issue of getting a cat to take a pill.

Tapazole is relatively inexpensive. Surgery or radioactive iodine will set you back $900 to $1,300. Weigner points out that realistically, the pills -- which do work to control hyperthyroidism but can't cure the disease -- might be the most logical choice for a frail cat who was, say, 18. For an 11-year-old or even a 15-year-old with at least several more good years, radioactive iodine might be the best choice. Surgery is curative but the least popular option. As for pilling your cat, Weigner recommends custom compounding. Your veterinarian probably works with a credible compounder who could magically transform a bitter pill into a tuna-tasting treat.

You must do something. Left untreated, a hyperthyroid cat will die.

Q: How do cats and rabbits get along? I have two rabbits and my boyfriend has two cats. I'm not willing to give up on Izzie or Smith, and he's not willing to part with Bonny or Clyde. Any advice? -- D.F.C., Miami

A. Typically, pet cats are respectful of rabbits.

"I think it's because rabbits move so differently than cats," says Marcia Froelke Coburn, director of the Red Door Animal Shelter in Chicago. The first few times you introduce the two species, keep the rabbits inside their hutch. Bring the cats into the room and offer treats to all. The idea is for the cats to associate the rabbits with something good.

Coburn says that in her experience, cats aren't as likely to threaten the rabbits as they are to wonder "what the heck is that?" and scamper to the top of a piece of furniture where they can assess the situation from a safe distance. As for the rabbits, they instinctively tend to know their best defense is to not act afraid. As long as the rabbits are nonchalant about their feline visitors, the cats will more likely be respectful. Some rabbits give off warnings; in this instance being assertive is a good thing.

Even if the cats and the rabbits seem to be getting along fine, adult supervision is required for at least a few months. Otherwise, restrict the rabbits to their hutch, or confine the cats to another room, behind a closed door. Management and bribery (especially treats for the cats) will be the key to success.

Q: When my dog barks in her sleep is she having a dream? -- C.H., Boston

A: Yes, she's dreaming. Some dogs growl in their sleep, even cry, just as some people talk, laugh or cry in their sleep. If your next question is, "What's she dreaming about?" you'll have to learn to translate dog.

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