From a cat feeling the cold weather to an attention-seeking dog — 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.

Today Sean helps a cat stay warm in the cold weather
Sean McCormack, head vet at, promises he can ‘help keep pets happy and healthy’

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.”

Q) MY cat Pickles keeps climbing on top of the radiator to keep warm in the cold weather.

I put a towel or blanket on the radiator so she doesn’t get too hot — and she can get down, of course.

But a friend said it might burn her or harm her.

Is this right?

She looks so content and I feel bad telling her to get down.

Amelia Turner, High Wycombe, Bucks

SEAN SAYS: Pickles is very unlikely to burn herself but placing a towel on is still a good idea. A hanging cat bed that clips over the radiator is better.

Here’s a bit of fun science . . . 

Cats are mammals, just like us, and have thermoreceptors in their skin that tell them when they are too hot and might be burned.

Reptiles have different thermoreceptors and, being cold-blooded, seek out heat.

I’ve treated burns on lizards and snakes where they coiled around an unguarded heat lamp and didn’t realise they were burning.

Q) WE have a male Border Collie, almost four, called Marley who we love to pieces.

But he is clingy and attention-seeking.

He moves my arm to snuggle between me and my partner on the sofa and taps my arm for a cuddle.

He is loved and well looked-after but it is at the point where we avoid having people over, as he jumps up and won’t leave them alone.

Are we spoiling him?

A few people have said to have him castrated. But he’s not snappy or sulky.

Laura Clare, Milton Keynes

SEAN SAYS: Too much love and attention — what a problem! Joking aside, this is a pretty standard Border Collie thing.

They are a clever breed and need lots of stimulation, so if he is not being exercised enough or working his mind, he might be bored.

I don’t think castration is a solution here, although there are health benefits to doing it at his age.

Rewarding the behaviour with attention is probably part of the problem.

Work out a plan with a qualified behaviourist, as Collie brains are tricky to unpick. provides tailor-made nutritional food for pets provides tailor-made nutritional food for pets

Q) WE have a 15-month Border terrier called Bessy we got as a pup in January 2020.

All was well with classes until we had lockdown. (We are shielding for health reasons.)

She bites my husband’s feet and he can’t move without her grabbing his trousers.

She wants his attention all the time, scraping the arm of his chair then lunging with bared teeth.

Putting a lead on her calms her down. Is a muzzle the answer?

Barbara Fowler, Spalding, Lincs

SEAN SAYS: It’s so difficult to give behaviour advice without observation.

But starting with the basics, it is a problem for young and boisterous pups to be cooped up in lockdown.

Do you have any friends who might be able to give her a good amount of exercise on long walks daily?

I think she is climbing the walls.

Sean says: ‘Starting with the basics it is a problem for young and boisterous pups to be cooped up in lockdown’

Q) I AM an experienced cat owner and have just adopted nine-month-old Cassie.

She was an indoor cat but dearly wants to go out. How I can introduce her to the garden safely?

Lorraine Villiers, Wolverhampton

SEAN SAYS: Have you ever heard of a “catio”?

It’s an enclosure you can make in your garden with a cat flap so your cat can get outdoors and watch the world go by — while avoiding the risks of getting lost, being attacked or getting hit by a car.

Indoor cats don’t have to miss out, you just need to get creative with how to entertain them.

Star of the week

ADORABLE Eric is hoping to find a new home after overcoming his shyness by playing football.

The six-year-old American bulldog was heartbroken when his owner moved overseas for work in October and he was handed in to the RSPCA’s Danaher Animal Home in Essex.

Eric is hoping to find a new home after overcoming his shyness by playing football

Animal welfare manager Craig Horsler said: “Our staff have been working really hard to help him gain confidence.

“He’s still nervous but is ready for a new home.

“It would be lovely to see him have a second chance at happiness because he’s a truly wonderful dog.”

Find out more at

No threat from spluttery pets

CATS, hamsters, horses and ferrets can get Covid.

But they are likely to bounce back to health and can’t pass it on to humans.

Cats, hamsters, horses and ferrets can all catch Covid

A cat was the first pet to test positive here, last summer, followed by two in New York, prompting worries among owners.

In South Korea, pet cats and dogs are even being tested for coronavirus.

But Pet Vet Sean McCormack says there is nothing to fear from our furry friends.

And there is no plan to develop a pet vaccination.

Sean said: “A few pets have caught coronavirus but it is very rare and those that have were living in very close proximity to people who were infected and they aren’t able to spread it.

“If a pet has it, you would expect to see coughing, sneezing, discharge from the nose and eyes and for them to feel under the weather but it’s much more likely to be kennel cough or cat flu.”

Sean said the Covid vaccine is a reminder for pet owners to make sure their animals are up to date with boosters.

Dogs and cats require annual vaccinations.

Sean added: “As we wait to be called for our jabs, it’s so important to keep our pets up to date with their vaccinations too.”

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