Pets and Animals

By The Mercury News | Pets and animals news and advice from The Mercury News staff and columnists.

Christmas shopping: What not to give your pet

Half of all pet parents will spend up to $75 on their pets this holiday season, according to Healthy Paws Pet Insurance.<p>What will that money go …

Pets

Learn about butterflies, meet a newt, look for birds on weekly walks

Here are the pet and animal-related events in the Bay Area on Dec.15 and beyond<p>EAST BAY<p><b>Donation Drive for Shelter Animals:</b> Help shelter pets at …

Pets

What kind of hawk would do this to a bird at a bird feeder?

<b>DEAR JOAN:</b> I heard a commotion outside my window and saw what I believe is a hawk with one of my precious little birds held down with its …

Birds

Four-legged ‘breathalyzers’ come to aid of diabetics

CONCORD — They flunked out of other schools that train service dogs.<p>One disliked walking through puddles, another lost all focus whenever he spotted …

San Francisco Bay Area

Why is my older cat refusing to use the litter box?

<b>DEAR JOAN:</b> One of my cats is a 15-year-old male that was feral. We’ve had him a good long time in the house, and, finally, after 10 years, he isn’t …

Cats

Critter Corner: Teaching Skip to behave before going for a walk

<b>Dear Miss Behavin’:</b> My dog Skip acts like a maniac before we go for walks — he grabs the leash and runs around the house, usually knocking things …

Pets

Mean kitty stories: Why do nice cats suddenly bite?

We had lots of response to the article about why a cat, seemingly happy and content while being petted, suddenly will bite the hand that strokes it. …

Cats

Orphaned mountain lion cubs from Orange County join Oakland Zoo

OAKLAND — The Oakland Zoo is caring for two orphaned mountain lion cubs that were found in Orange County two weeks apart and veterinarians will test …

Wildlife

Dog revived by firefighters at Pacifica home blaze

PACIFICA — After pulling the pooch from the burning home Tuesday, North County Fire Authority crews quickly determined that it had suffered smoke …

San Mateo County

Will hanging a Canadian flag in your backyard attract hummingbirds?

<b>DEAR JOAN:</b> I keep forgetting that I need to share my secret for attracting hummingbirds! Lots of them!<p>We’ve lived here in Fremont for 40 years, and …

Birds

‘Star Wars:’ These are the pet names you’re looking for

How do dyed-the-bantha-wool, card-carrying Jedi knights best honor their “Star Wars” obsession? By naming their pets after movie characters, of …

Star Wars

Carrie Fisher’s dog makes ‘Last Jedi’ cameo, but there’s a dark side to his fame

Who are Rey’s parents? What has Luke Skywalker been up to? Who exactly is the “last” Jedi? When does Carrie Fisher’s beloved French bulldog make his …

Star Wars

Dollars and Pets: Best pet toys of 2017

The holidays are just around the corner, and you may be wondering what to buy your furry family members. No need to worry — we’ve done the research …

Pets

This Old Pet: Treating geriatric issues in dogs and cats

Quite a few people have written in with questions regarding how to best care for geriatric pets. The key to caring for our dogs and cats as they age …

Pets

Why does my cat bite me when she seems happy being petted?

Those of us who share space — or have shared space — with that furry, lovable package of contradictions otherwise known as a cat, have likely had …

Cats

Why won’t my cat snuggle under the covers at night?

<b>DEAR JOAN:</b> I wonder if you can help explain some odd behavior on my cat’s part.<p>He is a wonderful kitty: loving, playful and very low maintenance. So, …

Cats

Rescue me: Well mannered Marlowe, bright-eyed Remy, Toto the star, and mini-tigers Palmetto and Chanticleer are looking for homes

Here are a few animals up for adoption in the Bay Area:<p>FRIENDS OF THE ALAMEDA ANIMAL SHELTER<p>The only thing we want for Christmas at Friends of the …

Cats

Why does my cat go crazy over the smell of Bengay?

<b>DEAR JOAN:</b> I have a knee issue and sometimes after vigorous yard work I’ll rub on some pain relief — Bengay or Icy Hot. My 11-pound male cat, …

Cats

Who’s responsible for secretly pruning my redwood trees?

<b>DEAR JOAN:</b> l have two large, healthy redwood trees in my backyard, planted in 1996. I’ve lived here since way before they were planted and have …

Santa Clara

Adopt a new pet, read to a therapy dog, volunteer at a shelter

Here are the pet and animal-related events in the Bay Area on Dec. 8 and beyond<p>EAST BAY<p><b>Wild@Night: Blizzards, Birds & Brews!:</b> Enjoy a special evening …

San Francisco Bay Area

Beep, beep. What was a roadrunner doing in Livermore?

<b>DEAR JOAN:</b> We saw roadrunner at Poppy Ridge Golf Course in Livermore last week. What’s it doing so far north?<p><b>Patrick Fowler, Bay Area</b><p><b>DEAR PATRICK:</b> …

Birds

How did lost dog find her way home through a maze of unfamiliar streets?

<b>DEAR JOAN:</b> Two months ago, my wife and I adopted a dog rescued from Puerto Rico. She is a 30-pound, 8-year-old mixed breed — beagle-Shetland …

Magnetism

Oakland street artist ‘Nite Owl’ creates owl mural for Lindsay Wildlife Experience

The eclectic street artist, Nite Owl, has spread his artwork on various urban canvases, from Oakland to Paris, France. Now he has adorned the walls …

Street Art

Time to celebrate the winter holidays with pet photos

Got a sweet picture of your pet with Santa? Or maybe a shot of your cat sacked out under — on in — the Christmas tree? How about a dog in an elf …

Sleep

Dollars and Pets: Boarding and house sitting costs for pets

As a pet owner, you will inevitably be faced with the choice of who will take care of your beloved pet while you are away from home. But how do you …

Pets

Why does my Chihuahua puppy insist on licking me at bedtime?

<b>DEAR JOAN:</b> Every night before bedtime, my Chihuahua puppy insists on licking me to death before he’ll go to sleep. If I try to hold him back he gets …

Pets

Therapy llamas make finals prep a little more bearable at Cal

BERKELEY — Some years ago, resident advisors would spread out rolls of bubble wrap during the “dead week” ahead of final exams and let nervous …

UC Berkeley

Rescue me: Sweet Bobby Jo, lively Percy, and mellow charmer Luna Lovegood are looking for their forever home

Here are a few animals up for adoption in the Bay Area:<p>ANTIOCH ANIMAL SERVICES<p><b>Bobby Jo</b> is a 1-year-old spayed female white and orange tabby who is …

Cats

Coyote seen in Lafayette. Should residents be worried?

<b>DEAR JOAN:</b> I just spotted a large dog-like animal walking slowly across our yard behind our home in Lafayette at 3:30 this afternoon. He was only …

Golden Gate Park