My cat has a habit of demanding attention whenever we have guests at home. The moment anyone visits us she, she demands to be fed, to be taken to the toilet and keeps scratching us, sits on our laps goes on mewing non-stop. Though many people think it is cute, it becomes embarrassing at times. How do I stop her from this behaviour?
— Rehanah Habib
Pets are very much like kids. They throw tantrums, are fussy, get jealous and seek attention always. It seems, from what you wrote, that your cat is a spoilt ‘child’. It is evident that you love your pet a lot and she is used to being the center of attention at all times. And that is the reason for her attention demanding behaviour when you have guests over. She doesn’t want anyone else to share or have your attention except her. To make her give up these tantrums you will have to make her feel sure that there is no ‘threat’ to her position in the house. This is a gradual process and will take time and patience. Whenever you have guests at your home, make it a point to keep speaking to your cat often. Make her sit on your lap and pet her. Then let her go. Keep doing this every 15-20 minutes or so, to instill the faith in her that she is still the baby of the house and has all your attention. Gradually, she will learn that she need not throw tantrums to ‘reclaim’ her position.
I have a two-year-old dog. We take him out twice a day for him to relieve himself. Of late, he has started going out on his own. Nowadays, his ‘trips’ have started to get longer and longer and sometimes he stays out all evening. He also roams and mingles with the stray dogs and is often seen following them. Though I do not mind him playing and ‘hanging’ out with other dogs, I am worried for his safety and hygiene.
What if he gets into a fight with one of the strays? He is, after all, a pet dog and does not know the ‘rules of the jungle’. Apart from that, I fear for him catching an infection or a disease from these strays. Keeping him home is becoming a task as he comes and goes on his own will. Please help.
— Saurabh Gupta
Seems like your pet has found friends. A dog will be a dog and he needs the company of others, just like us. But what you said is a valid point. Mingling with strays will bring in a lot of unwelcome germs, viruses or even allergies. On your part you have to make sure that all his vaccinations are on time and up to date.
A regular visit to the vet is also a must, in case of every pet. Also make sure to clean his paws whenever he comes home. Do so with a disinfectant or just a few drops of Dettol mixed in some lukewarm water. Wipe his paws thoroughly. Also give him an all over with a damp cloth (use the same dettol-water mix). Check him for any cuts, bruises, bites anywhere on his body. As for him getting into fights, that he will have to take care of himself, but you make sure to keep him away from harm.
Also try and train him to be indoors more. Take him for frequent walks and let him play with the strays, but bring him with you. Let him know who the boss is.
Also, if you are not comfortable with your pet mingling with stray dogs, make arrangements for him to meet and play with other pet dogs.