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My Pet World: When a cat hisses, does that mean he doesn't like you?

Cathy M. Rosenthal, Tribune Content Agency on

Finally, he may be stressed for reasons that range from changes to his routine or your routine to new people visiting or moving into the home, family members leaving (going off to college, for example), or even someone close to him dying recently.

If he’s healthy and there is nothing startling him, then talk to the vet about treating him for stress. You also can buy over-the-counter calming treats and feline pheromone collars, plug-ins, and sprays to create a more calming environment for him. But don’t do this before talking to the vet first. The frequency of the hissing makes me think it’s a health issue.

Dear Cathy,

Do some animals, especially dogs, know when the time has come to cross Rainbow Bridge? My 11-year-old Border Collie Lab mix has cancer, and I know it's just a matter of time before she is gone. She is still playing, eating, drinking, pooping, and peeing. Any words would be appreciated.

— Anthony, Lynbrook, New York

Dear Anthony,

I am sorry that your dog has cancer. I know this must be a tough time for you.

I don't know if animals know when they are going to pass over the Rainbow Bridge. Sometimes, I think they know when their owner or another pet in the family is dying, but I am not sure if they know when they are dying. Animals are great at living in the moment — enjoying all life has to offer — food, play, and time with the people they love. They exude pure joy and show great love to us, often up until their final moments. We are lucky to have them in our lives.


If she is still playing, eating, drinking, etc., use these last days enjoying her companionship, giving her special joys (like a special treat or car ride, whatever her favorite thing is to do), and hugging and petting her as much as possible. A part of her will always remain with you, and a part of you with her. The love we share with our animal companions never ends.




(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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