Dear Vicki, My cat is stay­ing with a trusted friend while I’m away for a few days. He’s had is­sues with his blad­der so if he gets sick while I’m away can my friend take him to my vet for me? Yes you’ll need to pro­vide a signed, writ­ten let­ter of con­sent that gives per­mis­sion for your friend to agree to treat­ment for your cat while you’re away. It may also be worth ring­ing your vet be­fore you go as they may be able to add your friend’s de­tails to the sys­tem. Dear Vicki, I’ve got a nine-mon­thold male Bi­chon Frise, Ber­tie. Lately he keeps jump­ing up at ev­ery­one who vis­its our house. I know the be­hav­iour is nat­u­ral, but I don’t want him do­ing it to my guests! Dogs are very so­cial and so vis­i­tors are a com­mon fo­cus of ex­citable be­hav­iour. Mount­ing be­hav­iour may be in­ten­si­fied by sex hor­mones, so I would rec­om­mend you take Ber­tie to your vet to dis­cuss neu­ter­ing. Dear Vicki, I took on my friend’s par­rot, An­gus, as she moved house and couldn’t keep him. But he keeps say­ing a rather rude word when­ever any­one goes past the cage. Par­rots are very so­cial an­i­mals and An­gus is say­ing this word be­cause he has learnt that it gets him at­ten­tion. You need to make sure ev­ery­one com­pletely ig­nores him when­ever he says this word; don’t speak to him or even look at him. But give him lots of at­ten­tion when he says words that you want him to say. Over time he will learn that this word means he gets ig­nored, but other ways of be­hav­ing or speak­ing get him at­ten­tion. It will take time and pa­tience.

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