From old cat to best place to keep rats — your pet queries answered

HE is on a mission to help our pets  . . . and is here to answer YOUR questions.

Sean, who is the head vet at tailored pet food firm, has helped with owners’ queries for ten years.

He says: “If your pet is acting funny or is under the weather, or you want to know about nutrition or exercise, just ask. I can help keep pets happy and healthy.”

If you want him to answer a question for YOU simply email him at [email protected]

Q) MY son has bought a new cage for his rats but it is too big to fit in his bedroom.

Now he is worrying about the best place for them.

He says the kitchen floor would be too cold, and the rats need peace and quiet during the day.

Do you think he is being over-cautious?

Kate Summers, Melrose, Roxburghshire

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A) It’s true that they need some peace and quiet throughout the day, but rats are also highly social and intelligent and will take interest in the household goings-on.

Would the living room be an option? A warm place, out of drafts is needed.

I think your son sounds like an excellent pet owner.

Tell him I said well done!

Got a question for Sean?

SEND your queries to [email protected].

Q) PEANUT, my three-year-old ­rabbit, has developed a habit of tilting her head to one side in the past few weeks.

I would like to know what’s causing it.

Please can you help?

Matt Stevens, Yeovil, Somerset

A) Head tilt in rabbits can be caused by many factors, and it’s rarely good news.

Dental disease, an ear infection, neurological problems, a parasite called E. cuniculi . . . the list goes on.

I would take Peanut to a rabbit-savvy vet as soon as possible for a full health check.

Always remember that rabbits are prey animals in the wild, so they hide their illness very well, often until it’s quite advanced

Early treatment is key.

Q) IS it safe for my ten-year-old cat to have a general anaesthetic or is she too old?

Our vet says it should be OK, but what do you think?

Mandy Richardson, Sunderland

A) In theory, yes it is safe. There is no cut-off point after which a pet cannot have an anaesthetic.

As vets, we just take extra precautions with older pets that might be slightly higher risk.

We may recommend a blood test, for example, to make sure her kidneys and liver are functioning well and can handle the drugs used.

We would possibly put her on fluids so we can control her blood pressure during the op and have access to her veins if we needed to give any emergency drugs during the procedure.

Trust your vet and talk to them about the pros and cons.

For me, a 20-year-old cat is a scary prospect for a general anasthetic.

A ten-year-old cat is fairly routine.

Q) WE are looking after a friend’s guinea pig, who is called Marmite, and I have noticed discharge coming from his eyes and nose.

He’s eating less than the last time we took care of him, but otherwise seems pretty healthy.

Is there anything we should do urgently or just wait until the owners get back from their holiday?

Alice Waller, Kent

A) I’d want the peace of mind of getting Marmite checked out by a vet, just in case anything is wrong.

The last thing you want is something to happen to him while your friends are away.

Small, furry pets are prey animals and hide their illnesses well.

If they didn’t do this in the wild they would get picked off by ­predators.

Eye and nose discharge indicates infection or dental problems, and not eating much is quite worrying too.

Make sure your vet checks ­Marmite’s teeth.

Star of the week

LITTLE Frank helped his owner Kerry Albrighton cope with grief after her dad died – and now the dog is raising funds to help the NHS.

Brian Langley died from Covid aged 76 just 19 days after he had bought the Dachshund for his daughter in November 2020.

Kerry, 34, of Polesworth, Warwicks, a senior buyer for a construction firm, said: “Dad was short and feisty and Frank is exactly the same. He was my light in a very dark time and has made me smile every day.”

Frank joins 11 dogs in the Covid Companions Calendar, £19.99.

Photographer John Cooper said: “It celebrates the support dogs have given owners during the pandemic.”

All profits will help to relaunch the Pets In Hospital project.


Win: Cat fence barrier

FEBRUARY is Responsible Pet Owners Month and one lucky cat-lover can win a ProtectaPet 20m fence barrier kit, worth £350, which will keep their kitty safely inside the garden boundary.

To enter, send an email with the heading PROTECTAPET to sundaypets@the-sun. by February 6.


T&Cs apply.

Gun attacks on animals double

THE RSPCA is calling for tighter regulation of air rifles after shock new figures revealed attacks on domestic cats and wildlife doubled last year.

The charity received 454 calls regarding animals shot, injured or killed with air guns –  up from 265 in 2020.

But these numbers are the tip of the iceberg as not all cases will be reported.

David Bowles, head of public affairs at the RSPCA, said: “These are deliberate and brutal acts of cruelty.

“Cats and wildlife are normally the animals that are more susceptible because they are out in the open.

“These weapons cause horrendous pain and suffering and it is illegal.

“We are calling for tighter controls on air weapons.

"This, along with better education when buying an air gun, and requirements that everyone must receive basic safety training could help relieve the problem.”

Margo Ayres, of Telford, Shrops, found her ten-month-old cat Marley dead in her garden in October.

She discovered a wound from a pellet and vets confirmed he had been shot.

Margo said: “He was a massive part of our family.

“I struggle to understand just how anyone could think of harming an animal in this way.”

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