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My Pet World: Should you worry when your cat goes from shy to friendly?

By Cathy M. Rosenthal, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Cathy,

We have a female cat named Polly who we believe is about 17 years old. She's always been shy; no one has ever been able to pet her or get close to her. We adopted her with her twin sister Molly. Both of them hid under the china cabinet the first year we had them.

Last year, Molly, who became our social, loving girl, died from kidney failure. Now, in the last week, Polly has become very friendly and loving and allows my wife and myself to pet her and pick her up. She sits with my wife every night. Should we be concerned with this change is personality? -- George and Bonnie, via email

Dear George and Bonnie,

Animals living in multipet households often change their behaviors whenever another pet is added or leaves the household in some way. It's quite possible Molly was protective of you and your wife and kept Polly away with subtle body language gestures.

Don't worry about the change in behavior though. Becoming friendly and loving is never a sign of a disease or illness, so celebrate Polly's new outgoing nature -- and don't adopt another cat right now to replace Molly. If you do, Polly could respond by hiding again. Instead, let Polly be the solo cat in your household so that she can enjoy attention from both of you for the remainder of her life. She has a lot of catching up to do.

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Dear Cathy,

I wanted to give you an update on the training you recommended for my pups last year. They are finally learning to signal with a bark or a whimper at the door. They are so well trained now it is absolutely amazing. I can go out for hours and go to bed at night knowing I will not come home or wake up to a disaster. They are almost like two completely different dogs than when I wrote you about them last year when I was crying every day about the chaos. Thank you. -- Evelyn, Las Vegas, NV

Dear Evelyn,

You made my day! I am so glad you stuck with the recommended training until you got the desired result. Not everyone is cut out to deliver the persistent and consistent dog training needed to develop or correct behaviors. I am proud of you. And, I am glad you have no more worries about accidents. If your dog's ever revert to old behaviors, go right back to your training to communicate your expectations. Thanks for keeping me posted.


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