Berkeley cat has sudden aversion to being petted

Dear Joan: My lovable 9-year-old cat just took a peek at me after I lay her down for over a minute. this is very strange. It is usually docile. Any ideas that might be the cause of this?

Stephanie Manning, Berkeley

Dear Stephanie: When pets start behaving differently, I always suggest taking them to the vet for a check up. There may be something physical happening to him that causes him pain or discomfort when petted.

Since your cat has accepted being petted in the past, there is a chance that he may feel nervous. If you’ve been at home with him more during the pandemic and are now spending more time apart, or if there are changes in the family, he may feel some anxiety and turmoil.

It’s not unusual for a cat to change his mind about things, and cats can be quite particular about being petted. Many will tolerate it, and some seem to crave it, but animal experts say it’s not in the nature of cats to enjoy extended petting sessions.

When cats have friendly interactions with other cats, they may come into contact with each other, but this contact is short. Their grooming sessions usually end when one cat has had enough and is away from the other.

If your vet gives her a full medical certificate, I’d suggest letting your cat call the shots. When you raise him, watch for signs that he’s starting to get angry, then stop.

Dear Joan: Do you have any idea why the permanent resident birds are disappearing from my backyard?

I used to replace the grease block every day. Now sitting for over a week. I used to renew the seed feeder every two days. Now he sits for days on end.

House sparrows, ginkgo, titmouse, hickory, oak tit and others appear rarely. I am not aware of any environmental changes in my immediate neighbourhood. I thought they would be hungry this time of year.

Any idea what’s going on?

Vicki, Auckland

Dear Vicki: It’s always hard to tell what’s going on just by looking at your garden. A cat may have started wandering the area just a few doors away. Or far away, your neighbor may be putting out tastier food. The recent rains may have stimulated life in a new natural food source.

It’s safe to say that something lured or scared her away, but know that all birds migrate, even those that live here year-round. They do not leave the Bay Area, but move to other places where food supplies and shelter are more abundant.

Now is the time to evaluate your backyard. Plants grow and landscapes change over time, so feeders that once attracted birds may not be in the best place now.

I have no doubt the birds will return at some point, so keep the feeders clean and stocked with fresh food.

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