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My Pet World: Local ordinances can guide you when helping a neglected dog

Cathy M. Rosenthal, Tribune Content Agency on

She's now 15, so we thought it may be arthritis in her legs. We tried CBD oil but could rarely get her to ingest it if added to her food. We've gradually changed her diet from kibble to fiber treats and mostly wet food, thinking she had constipation. However, she defecates daily, so constipation doesn't seem like the culprit.

We clean up with an enzymatic cleaner. We tried putting an extra litter box on the rug, but she still uses the rug. She goes up and down the stairs multiple times daily and pees in the litter box, so it doesn't seem too difficult for her. The vet gave her a clean bill of health.

We love her, and she seems otherwise content and healthy. Any ideas?

— Irene, Mansfield, Connecticut

Dear Irene,

Stress can lead to litter box issues and, over time, can develop into poor habits. You are doing the right things by providing a second litter box, cleaning with an enzymatic cleaner, and giving more water in the diet in case it is related to constipation.

At this point, provide her with an open litter box. Some cats, especially arthritic ones, like to stand on the edge of the box to pee or poop; if they can't do this, they will pee and poop somewhere else instead. Place it in a quiet location where she can’t be startled when using it. Then, sprinkle a litter box additive into the litter (available at pet stores or online) to lure her back to the box.

Finally, use a pheromone collar on her for 60 days to provide emotional comfort. Pheromones can help resolve any lingering anxiety, which can help turn things around.

Let me know how she does with these changes.


Dear Cathy,

My new kitten always scratches the side of our mattress. I tried sprays, which my cat didn’t seem to mind, and sticky tape on the mattress. He just tore the tape off with his teeth. I finally put a fitted piece of plywood against the side of the mattress. We lived happily until his death 14 years later.

— Ron, Henderson, Nevada

Dear Ron,

I love it when readers find humane solutions for handling a problem that results in peace and harmony in the home. Thanks for sharing.


(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.)

©2023 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.





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