From a nervous parrot to a disappearing cat – 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.”

This week Sean helps a reader with a shy rescue parrot


This week Sean helps a reader with a shy rescue parrotCredit: Getty
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: Supplied

Q) MY rescue parrot Captain is very nervous. Any tips to make him less shy?

I’m trying not to push him too much, but I’m keen to give him confidence.

David Sharp, Exeter

Sean says: This is really simple and just takes time and patience.

From your first pet bird to dogs going blind - your pet queries answered
From parrot mimicking the doorbell to anxious dog — your pet queries answered

Depending on Captain’s history, you may only progress so far, especially if he’s emotionally traumatised from his past experiences.

Some people may laugh at that but parrots can have the emotional intelligence of a human toddler, so they are complex creatures.

Go slow, make friends and don’t overcrowd him when he wants to back away.

Oh, and bribery with favourite treats works really well.

You want him to think you are the most exciting thing in the room, so find his favourites and use them sparingly.

Q) OUR cat Snowy keeps disappearing for days, then comes back, eats something, has a sleep and vanishes again.

I’m really annoyed that someone is clearly feeding him.

How can I stop Snowy being unfaithful to me?

Ben Black, Reigate, Surrey

Sean says: The blunt truth is that you probably can’t, I’m afraid.

The only way would be making Snowy an indoor-only cat and not allowing him to have access to the outdoors.

You might attempt to ask whoever is feeding him not to do so, by attaching a note to his collar saying that you would appreciate it if he wasn’t fed by anyone else as he is on a specialised diet for his specific medical needs.

This is a common problem, and sometimes that approach works, sometimes it doesn’t.

But it just shows you — dogs have owners and cats have servants, eh!

Q) MY guinea pig Plumpy thinks he’s some sort of shark – he’s very nippy.

What can I do to stop him from biting? I’m thinking about renaming him Chunk.

Sarah Edwards, Leeds

Sean says: Does he have a friend? Maybe he’s a bit cranky if he’s lonely or frustrated.

Could he also be scared? Who handles him? Any kiddos perhaps, who may be not as gentle as adults?

Lots of questions and very few solutions here, I realise.

You just need to renegotiate your relationship with him — lots of feeding his favourite treats, not picking him up and allowing him to approach on his own terms.

And definitely more guinea pig company if he doesn’t already have it.

Q) ONE of my neighbour’s cats is tormenting my five-year-old puss Heathcliffe.

He stares through the window at Heathcliffe and, if my cat goes out, the other attacks.

While my neighbour sympathises, ultimately he says he can’t stop his cat doing what he wants. Any suggestions?

Pat Stone, Edinburgh

Sean says: Is there any way of excluding this neighbour’s cat from your garden and keeping Heathcliffe in your garden?

If you have fences or walls all around, there are cat-excluding barriers you can fit to the top which provide an overhang to either keep cats out or in, or both.

It will be a bit of work and expense, for sure, but may be the only solution to this feline face-off which will be very stressful for poor Heathcliffe.

Star of the week

Jasper the silver fox has learned to trust again after being rescued from the fur trade


Jasper the silver fox has learned to trust again after being rescued from the fur tradeCredit: Supplied

JASPER the silver fox was rescued from the fur trade and has learned to trust again – thanks to dog muffins.

He now lives in a special fox palace at the Bucks Goat Centre in Stoke Mandeville.

Jasper struggled to settle, but his owners won him over with The Barking Bakery’s dog muffins – and he’s now a star of the centre’s mini-experience, where visitors feed animals.

Owner Ruth Higgins said: “It shows that a little treat goes a long way in winning over the trust of an animal.

“Jasper’s in the right environment at last and we can’t wait to see him blossom even more.”

WIN: £50 B&M voucher

WE’VE joined forces with B&M to offer five lucky readers the chance to win a £50 voucher to spend in-store.

This summer B&M has everything that Sun readers need to keep their dogs’ tails wagging and cats purring – from cooling products to tasty treats and food for some delicious din-dins.

To enter, send an email headed B&M to by July 23. See T&Cs apply.


FIFTY per cent of cat owners say their cats keep them company during their working day – but more than half of them are secret saboteurs.

A survey from cat care company Tippaws found that 55 per cent of felines hang about in home offices, either seated on their owner’s lap or next to them.

A survey revealed 37 per cent of owners said their cat often hampers work


A survey revealed 37 per cent of owners said their cat often hampers workCredit: Getty

A whopping 82 per cent of owners also revealed that their colleagues know their cat’s name.

But 37 per cent said their cat often hampers work, by meddling with their laptop or phone.

An additional 22 per cent admitted they’ve had to mute, pause or leave a Zoom call because their pet was demanding attention or making loud noises.

Eight in ten admit they also stop work for a quick chat or play with their cat.

A Tippaws spokesman said: “Kitties have a therapy role. Nearly all (96 per cent) of the respondents acknowledged the role their cat plays in improving their overall mental health.

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“Feline co-workers also help their WFH owners draw a line under their hard day at the home office with sofa snuggles (25 per cent) or trying to instigate fun, with 16 per cent of cats following their owner around the house wanting to play.”

Find out your cats workplace personality at


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