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From an aggressive cat to a dog with dementia — your pet queries answered

HE is on a mission to help our pets  . . . and is here to answer YOUR questions.

Sean, who is the head vet at tailored pet food firm, has helped with owners’ queries for ten years. He says: “If your pet is acting funny or is under the weather, or you want to know about nutrition or exercise, just ask. I can help keep pets happy and healthy.”

Sean helps a reader with an aggressive cat


Sean helps a reader with an aggressive catCredit: Alamy

Q) MY 14-year-old cat Dougie has become very needy since I’ve been at home during lockdown.

He follows me everywhere, crying and wanting attention all the time.

I will be going back to work soon and I’m concerned about him fretting.

He even starts crying when I pick my keys up as he knows I’m going out.

Any advice about getting him ready for my return to work please?

Gill Greenwood, Manchester

A) Set up false departures by grabbing your keys and going through the motions of leaving without actually going, multiple times a day.

Build up to actual departures but for minutes at a time. Take a phone call outside, walk around the block, come back — no biggie.

Multiple times a day, close the door in the room you’re working in.

Basically build up Dougie’s independence and “leave” so often that it becomes boring to him and he realises you will always return.

When life returns to normal, he will adapt — don’t stress.

Q) PEPSI, my two-year-old neutered female cat, is so aggressive.

She can be coming over to me for a stroke, then attack me, biting and latching on.

If I open the door to let her out, she hisses and attacks my legs.

She lies on the bed with me but if I move, she bites me.

We love her and brought her up from five weeks but I’m at the end of my tether.

Jennifer Finch, Liverpool

A) This is more common in cats that were hand-reared or ­separated from Mum and litter mates early.

They miss out on learning to curb their aggression during play.

Your reaction can promote the behaviour by increasing the excitement and the prey drive that she’s directing at you.

You need to redirect her prey drive into more suitable playthings, like fishing rod toys.

Try not to react with aggression or fight her off, and definitely never tempt her to “hunt” your hands and fingers.

This is cute with kittens but can lead to challenging adult biting behaviour. If all else fails, get a ­qualified cat behaviourist to help

Sean McCormack, head vet at, promises he can 'help keep pets happy and healthy'


Sean McCormack, head vet at, promises he can ‘help keep pets happy and healthy’Credit: Doug Seeburg – The Sun

Q) MY collie cross Molly, six, has started reverse sneezing on a regular basis.

She always seems to be congested as if she has a permanent cold.

The vet prescribed antibiotics and steroids but they haven’t really helped and she is still bunged up and sometimes sounds like she is struggling to breathe.

I have also tried antihistamines because I think she has allergies but they don’t help either.

She seems to eat grass all the time so I don’t know if this habit is making things worse.

Lindsey Cresswell, Chester le Street, Co Durham

A) As it’s very sudden and persistent, I wonder if something is physically causing Molly to sneeze.

That could be a polyp or growth in her nasal chambers or throat, or a foreign body stuck somewhere and causing inflammation.

Grass seeds at this time of year are a prime culprit.

Although reverse sneezing looks extreme, it’s not actually harmful.

Maybe return to the vet for a physical check, perhaps under sedation, to examine everywhere internally.

Got a question for Sean?

SEND your queries to [email protected].

Q) I’VE recently noticed behaviour by my dog Marcie that I think is due to her age. She’s nearly 14.

She has symptoms of dog dementia, is also struggling with her back legs and takes metformin for diabetes. Otherwise she seems happy

Is there anything else I can do to help her?

Sylvia Ringer, Ashford, Kent

A) Without knowing her full details it’s hard to give specific advice.

But here’s where developing a great partnership with your vet can really help.

Try to see the same vet each time, so they know you both well, and talk now about when the time comes to let her go.

Meanwhile there are other medications that can put a pep in her step for her twilight years.

Star of the week

BERT the tortoise has spent so long with canine pals Poppy and Gertie, he thinks he’s a dog.

The seven-year-old reptile even likes to share their beds at night.

Seven-year-old Bert the tortoise spent so long with canine pals Poppy and Gertie he thinks he’s a dog


Seven-year-old Bert the tortoise spent so long with canine pals Poppy and Gertie he thinks he’s a dog

Bert lives with Kate Taylor, her husband Rob and Jack Russells Poppy and Gertie in Calne, Wilts.

Kate, 43, who runs an online dog-friendly directory, says: “Bert is so funny.

“He spends the day mooching round the garden and the girls will go out and look for him.

“It’s like he plays hide and seek with them. Once he dug a hole and was a foot underground but Poppy still sniffed him out.

“He’s also toilet trained and wanders around the house just as the dogs do.

“We never imagined having a tortoise could be so entertaining.”

Win: Doggy soap

DOES your pooch sometimes smell a little whiffy or love to roll in the unmentionable?

Pampered Poochy makes all-natural soap bars containing dog-friendly essential oils that deal with odours and leave a gentle fragrance.


We have six “loaves” of ten bars, worth £39 each, to give away.

To be in with a chance to win, e-mail PAMPERED to sundaypets

Entries close on June 20. Terms and conditions apply.

Dogs don’t need to miss out

DOG owners worried about leaving their pets can use a new app to make sure they are not left home alone when there are other options.

The app helps owners find dog-friendly cafes, pubs, restaurants, hotels and tourist attractions ­wherever you are.

Adele's app lets owners know where dog-friendly cafes, pubs, restaurants, hotels and tourist attractions ­are


Adele’s app lets owners know where dog-friendly cafes, pubs, restaurants, hotels and tourist attractions ­areCredit: Tom Harper

Adele Pember created after her Chihuahua cross Charlie had separation anxiety.

Adele, 31, from Cwmbran in Wales, said: “After leaving a camera on in the house while I was at work, I could see Charlie was struggling and I realised the best thing to do was to take him with me as much as possible.

“Leaving him broke my heart. I had the idea to make a resource where people could find places where their dog would always be welcome and went on a mission to create one myself.

“The life of a dog is way too short, and it should be filled with cherished memories to last a lifetime.”

The UK’s dog population has soared to 12million in the past year with one in four homes now having a canine companion.

Adele added: “Dogs have been a great support in the pandemic. Now that things are opening back up, it would feel wrong to leave them at home while we go out and have fun.”

This Morning vet forced to apologise as his dog wees on the show’s carpet live on air

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