Who can resist a cute pet? Given America's enormous pet population of 86 million cats and 78 million dogs, the answer seems to be "Not many of us." But when animals and people mix, dicey social situations sometimes result. Here, some common ones - and the expert solutions.
1. When my 7-year-old's friend comes over, he's too rough with our family cat. Saying "Be gentle!" hasn't helped. What should I do?
It's possible that this kid hasn't had much exposure to animals and doesn't understand what "gentle" means with regard to your cat, so try making it a teachable moment, advises Gail Melson, Ph.D., professor emerita of developmental studies at Purdue University and author of Why the Wild Things Are: Animals in the Lives of Children. You can demonstrate, saying, "This is how Fluffy likes to be petted. Now she's purring!" But if the child is still too rough, put Fluffy in another room - no point in traumatizing your pet. Post-playdate, speak to the child's parent - but don't do it at Read More »from 5 Tricky Pet Problems Solved