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My Pet World: How to keep an indoor cat happy and content

Cathy M. Rosenthal, Tribune Content Agency on

— Joe, East Haddam, Connecticut

Dear Joe,

The circuit breaker test is a good idea. Everything is so eerily quiet when the power goes off in a house. So, it couldn't hurt to switch everything off and back on again to see how a dog reacts.

As for rodent-repelling ultrasonic devices, researchers say most dogs won't be affected by their sound. Dogs can hear the sound, they say, but their reaction would likely be more curious about where the sound is coming from than fearful of the sound itself.

However, having said that, we all know most dogs are not bothered by thunderstorms, yet some dogs totally freak out. So, it’s a legitimate consideration. If a pet parent has one in the home, they can turn it off to see if the dog relaxes. If he does, the pet parent would need an alternative approach to keeping rodents out of the house.

Dear Cathy,

Regarding the dog who was scared of going into the house, has the family considered their choice of cleaning products? A dog's olfactory and tactile perceptions are much better than ours. Perhaps the dog's human needs to clean their home without chemicals. Baking soda and vinegar are natural. Training is necessary, but the actions are moot if the home is not environmentally safe.

— Meg, Parksville, New York


Dear Meg,

Choosing natural products to clean with is good for both pets and people. But even with more robust products, it seems like the dog’s fear would subside as the odor dissipated, especially a day or two after cleaning. But I like the way you think.

Certainly, if a dog or cat is afraid of something, we can't assume it's from something obvious. It’s great that you (and several other of my readers) are trying to understand a dog’s fear from his/her unique sensory perspective and come up with out-of-the-box ideas on how to resolve it.

Thanks for writing.


(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 Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal.)

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