Marc Morrone was born in 1960 in the Bronx and, when he was 2, his family moved to ...
Q: We got a Yorkie puppy two months ago. She is very smart and has taken to using the wee-wee pads to pee and poop on. The problem is that she tends to wander off the wee-wee pad and "goes" on the floor right next to it. I realize that we really cannot scold her for this as she is doing the right thing in a way, but is there any way that we can help her to get her aim a bit better? --Dulce Fernandez, Hempstead
A: I offer three suggestions that can be of help:
- Try a larger wee-wee pad.
- There are wee-wee pad frames that clamp the pad in place and have three high sides on the frame that surround the pad and help to keep the puppy in place.
- Sometimes putting two or three drops of ammonia in the center of the pad helps to attract the puppy to it. The puppy thinks that there is some very strong urine in the center of the pad and wants to add her mark over it.
Q: I have a front porch on my house that is open with a roof on it. We have been in this home for more than 35 years and it is only in the past three years that we have a group of pigeons that stay on the porch rail all day. They leave a mess of feathers and droppings on the porch. What can I use to repel them from my porch? I would prefer something that is safe for my dogs and humans. Do you have any suggestions? --Linda LaBarca, Deer Park
A: Most species of birds do not have a very good sense of smell, so there is nothing that you can sprinkle or spray on the area to repel them. All you can do is to make the area that they are roosting on uncomfortable for them. I have found the best way to do this is to use a Slinky toy. Just stretch it out along the top of the railing and tie it securely so that it is not hanging in loops as then the birds may get caught up in it. With the Slinky tied to the top of the railing, the birds will no longer be able to perch on it. They then will choose somebody else's porch railing to perch on. The Slinky may look a bit odd on the railing, but after a month or so you can take it down as most likely by then the pigeons will have given up on your porch.
Cats: Home vs. roam
Earlier this month I helped out a reader whose backyard bird feeder was being frequented by a neighbor's cats with disastrous results for the birds. The writer had asked her neighbor to please not allow the cats to roam, but for unknown reasons the neighbor chose to ignore the request. So the question to me was how to protect the birds from the cats under these circumstances.
My answer was to erect a fence of wire mesh in a circle on the ground around the feeder to stop the cats' rush and allow the birds to get away. However, I was shocked by the volume of mail I got from readers who admonished me for not making an issue of the cats being allowed out of their home to wander outside.
The way I see it, the domestic cat has no place at all in our natural world. There was a time that it did, but that time is now over. My cats are all house cats and I would never allow them outdoors unless they were on a harness and lead or in a screened-in porch or an enclosed gazebo. This is for the protection of the cats and the native wildlife that is vanishing every day. It has been scientifically recorded that the domestic cat -- both feral ones and pampered pets that are allowed outdoors -- have devastated native wildlife that is doing its best to eke out an existence in the few areas left to them.
Plus, busy people do not need to be cleaning up their homes and gardens that are soiled by free-roaming cats.
It really is important to be respectful of neighbors' properties.