Dear Annie: My friend Jess and I recently moved into a three-bedroom apartment together. We each have one cat. We knew it would be challenging to integrate the cats at first, but we figured that it wouldn't be too difficult in such a spacious place. Boy were we wrong. Every night is fight night for these cats. I wake up several times a night to them body slamming each other, from the sound of it. I can't tell if they're fighting or just roughhouse playing, but it doesn't sound good. I get out of bed to detach them; two hours later we repeat the whole scene. Jess and I have tried separating them at night, but our place is carpeted and when we shut the doors the cats start trying to dig trenches underneath. We don't want them destroying the carpet of our rental. We're locked into our lease for another nine months — and moving is such a pain that I'd hate to have to move again, even after our lease is up. Do you or your readers have any tips for making cats get along? The sleepless nights are starting to catch up with me. — Tired of the Night Prowls
Dear Tired: A harmonious multicat household starts with preparation: keeping the cats in separate rooms and slowly introducing them to each other via scent by exchanging blankets that they sleep on, for instance. But there's no use mewing over spilled milk.
I'd recommend using a feline pheromone diffuser, such as Feliway, to foster a more relaxed environment for the cats. Install several throughout the apartment for best results. Also, be sure there are ample feline facilities: Vets often recommend one litter box per cat plus one more, so you should have three. And, of course, play with them and be sure they get lots of exercise. Do everything you can during the day to tucker the little tigers out for the night. If I hear any ace tips from readers, I'll be sure to print them here.
Dear Annie: Every year when Easter comes around, many well-meaning people purchase adorable bunnies for their children.
I have two rabbits I adore. However a huge amount of work is required for these pets, and I wanted to share some of my tips and warnings.
1) Rabbits are constantly chewing on furniture, cutting wires, etc. A room that is "rabbit-proofed" is needed for everyone's safety.
2) A good-sized cage is needed, but also give the rabbit some free time to run around outside of the cage every day, too. I let mine run around free about five hours a day.
3) Most rabbits can be trained to use a litter box, but it is normal for them to leave "pellets" on the floor that are easy to clean up.
4) They need to eat hay all day so their intestinal systems run properly. I give my bunnies rabbit kibble twice a day and vegetables twice a day as well. Check the internet for the right vegetables to give them. They are not able to vomit so everything they eat must be carefully chosen.
5) Litter should be changed twice a day. They enjoy kicking litter and hay outside their cages, so keep the vacuum handy!
Rabbits are one of the most abandoned animals in our society. However, if you are ready to do the work, you will have an adorable companion for a long time to come! — Mrs. Roberta F.
Dear Mrs. Roberta: These are all great and timely tips. I'd like to add that anyone thinking of getting a rabbit should adopt, not shop. As you mentioned, rabbits are frequently abandoned, and as they can live up to 10 years, there are plenty of bunnies in shelters right now in need of fur-ever homes. Thanks for writing.
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]