Q I have a 12-year-old German shorthair pointer. She has arthritis in her hind legs and is being treated. This sweet pup is terrified of going to the veterinarian's office. I would like to find a vet to come to the house. Do you have any suggestions of how to go about finding one?
— Kathy, Kings Park, New York
A Visit the vet locator at https://www.vetlocator.com/housecallvets.php and plug in your ZIP code to find a mobile clinic or house call veterinarian near you. I found several options within a 25-mile radius of your town. Just know, these veterinarians often see fewer patients in one day, so their office visits may cost a little more.
Most veterinarians will provide medication to give to pets for their visit to veterinary clinics, so that is an option. Even with a house call, your dog may still need to be medicated to reduce her stress.
Another option may be to find a Fear Free veterinary clinic near you. These clinics go the extra mile to reduce a pet's stress, from bringing them in a quieter entrance to spraying pheromones on their clothing to calm the pet during an exam. I checked and while there are no Fear Free clinics near you, there may be a veterinarian certified in the Fear-Free program that can help. You can search at https://fearfreepets.com/certified-practice-directory.
Q I started out with three feral cats more than eight years ago. I got them fixed and sheltered them. A large white cat recently appeared and intimidates my other cats. They run away and sometimes miss meals. I don't feed this cat and chase it away. How can I get it to stay away?
— Mary, Las Vegas, Nevada
A There are not a lot of options when a "bully" shows up, but here are a few things to try.
If the white cat is only around occasionally, try feeding your colony cats at other locations or times to throw off the white cat. I also recommend trapping and fixing the white cat because it can reduce some aggression and territorial behaviors. It may take a week after the surgery before things settle down.
When you trap the cat for his/her spay-neuter surgery, have the vet's office scan for a microchip. If the cat belongs to someone else, your problem is solved. If not, another option is to relocate the cat. Do not dump or abandon the cat. Instead, look for someone who may want a barn cat or a business who may want a shop cat to handle rodents in exchange for feeding and sheltering the feline. This "re-homing" may be the best way to go.
Q In a previous letter, Deborah from Allentown's wording for her "question" to you about cats and fireworks was so rude and unfair that I am moved to write a quick and first-time note to you. Deborah's triple play of questioning your authenticity with "You call yourself an animal advocate" along with her audacious suggestions that you don't know that "cats are animals too" and that "cats even exist" are just too much.
Why couldn't she just have written you something like "My cat's behavior changes at fireworks time, too, and I could use some tips, please"? You cover cats a lot in your column; always with obvious affection and understanding. I often think after enjoying your feature, "What a compassionate and nice person this writer is!"
Your column educates me, calms me and/or leaves me with a "wow" feeling. The advice you give is smart, creative and user-friendly. We need more people like you in the world!
— Nancy, Telford, Pennsylvania
A You're sweet to respond. I have worked in the animal welfare field for 30 years and written pet advice columns since 2003. Occasionally, a reader will disagree or be upset with me over something. If I publish the letter, I don't delete the negative comments, so my readers know they can trust me to share their frustrations.
On the flip side, I generally don't share letters of appreciation. I am making an exception today to assure you (and other readers) that a tough tone and unkind remarks won't keep me from using a letter if I think the content might provide some value to other readers or give me a chance to revisit a problem with solutions I might have missed or not had room for in a previous column.
Thank you for your kindness Nancy.
Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, author, columnist and pet expert who has more than 25 years in the animal welfare field. Send your pet questions, stories and tips to email@example.com. Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal.