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Cats and dogs have an almost sixth sense about your well-being

German Shepherd puppy American Curl kitten white background.

German Shepherd puppy, and a American Curl kitten, white background.

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Updated: May 19, 2012 8:04AM

Q. My cat Jonnie wakes me up during the night if she senses my low blood sugar. What is the cat sensing or smelling to want to wake me up?

A. You just said it yourself — low blood sugar. How do cats and dogs smell these things? Oh, changes in your breathing, your aura, your skin, your odor. Seriously, dogs have been trained to sniff cancer. A researcher in Japan says dogs can predict colon cancer with more precision than a colonoscopy. Cats have a preternatural sense of smell and timing. Enjoy the attention and be grateful for a creature that cares about you enough to wake you if she senses trouble.

Q. My 87-year-old mom wants a puppy. I suggested a grown dog from the pound, but she wants to see the dog grow up and thinks that pound dogs come with all sorts of issues. What do you think?

A. Actually, you’re seeing things clearly. Your mom has a wonderful instinct to bring a dog in her life but a puppy would probably be too taxing for her. She may be spry at 87, but house-training requires a big commitment of walking the pup. And puppy misbehavior — chewing, testing limits — is difficult to control.

Adopting an older dog from a shelter would be much more humane. Giving a second chance to a dog in need of a new home will bring out the puppy in both the dog and your mom.

Q. Our 5-year-old Chihuahua, Snickers, is afraid of drinking water. He will slink up to the dish and maybe take one lick before jumping back. I have tried all different kinds of water dishes to no avail.

A. After you call your veterinarian and make an appointment to discuss Snickers’ H2O trauma, take up the water bowl and wet down your dog’s regular grub. The food bowl might look a little soupy but at least your dog is getting hydration. The vet may tell you to do this regularly, but check with him or her first.

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