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My Pet World: Anything you can do when a dog pees in the same spot every day?

Cathy M. Rosenthal, Tribune Content Agency on

Within one summer, the number of rabbits in the neighborhood quadrupled, and the ground and tree squirrels doubled. The rabbit population had grown so large the following summer that it wasn't unusual to count 20 to 40 rabbits in view without even trying hard. My next-door neighbor lost his entire garden to rabbits, and we all fought to keep rodents out of flower beds and landscaping.

I would encourage moderation in any attempt to control feral cat populations. The woman doesn't want to have a much larger problem with animals that are even harder to control.

— Debbie, Charleston, Illinois

Dear Debbie,

Until people stop abandoning their felines, neighborhoods will be dealing with feral cats. Cats, as you point out, are the most effective, long-lasting, and humane deterrent for keeping rodents and other small creatures away from our homes.

They not only hunt these small animals, but if these animals get a whiff of a cat, they tend to stay away. And, when neighborhoods get these cats fixed, they also eliminate unwanted reproductive behaviors and future kittens from being born, making it easier for everyone to co-exist. The average cat lives 14 years; the average feral cat, less than seven – and more often only three or four years.

Dear Cathy,

We have two cats, 10 and 12 years old, a one-year-old kitten, and a Cairn Terrier, who is maybe 10. Our vet says the oldest three need their teeth cleaned, but it's $400 each. Where can I get this done at an affordable price?


— Lee, Batavia, Illinois

Dear Lee,

Some low-cost spay-neuter clinics and animal shelter vet clinics offer teeth cleanings and can provide you with a more affordable option. They may even have a grant to cover some of the costs. Private vets also run dental specials in February. You could wait until then or ask your vet for their “February price." You should also call several vets in your community to compare prices or to see if they offer special rates for seniors.


(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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