'My cat is ruining the wallpaper' Telegraph vet Pete Wedderburn answers your questions

Pete Wedderburn
Credit: Patrick Bolger

Dear Pete

My seven-month-old cavalier spaniel won’t eat his kibble from his bowl. He used to have no problem but family members began feeding him by hand if he wouldn’t eat and now he won’t take it any other way. What can we do?

SR, Carlow, Ireland

Dear SR

Dogs are social creatures who often enjoy human attention so much that they’ll delay eating if they think that it will prompt people to give them more affection. Try to separate feeding him from socialising with him. Give him plenty of love at random times, petting him and playing. But be strict about meals: put his food down, leave it alone with him for 20 minutes, then remove it. Ignore his reaction. Do this twice a day for three days and by the end of it he should be eating normally.

Credit:  Getty Images 

Dear Pete

My three-year-old neutered tom cat shreds a patch of wallpaper by the front door. He reaches up, stretches his front feet out, and rakes it with his claws. How can I stop him?

LK, Inverness

Dear LK

Cats have a natural desire to place visual marks at the fringes of their territory in this way: your wallpaper is the equivalent of a tree trunk to him. Try deflecting the behaviour: set up a sturdy scratching post in the area that allows him to stretch his legs to full length above him. There’s a wall-mounted version that comes in 3ft or 6ft (1m-2m) sizes, depending on how high he’s leaving marks on your wall. See purrrfectpieces.co.uk.

Free online training courses for dogs

Last year more than 20 per cent of the dogs surrendered to Dogs Trust for rehoming, some 3,000 dogs, were handed in for behavioural reasons. A quarter of people look online for training and Dogs Trust has launched a series of online videos to help owners train their dogs. See dogstrustdogschool.org.uk/training for details.

Rescue pets

Jaydon and Jubilee

Jaydon, a five-year-old ginger, and Jubilee, a two-year-old grey, are best friends. Contact The Cat & Rabbit Rescue Centre on 01243 641409.

Send queries to [email protected] or tweet 
@PeteTheVet. All sick animals should be taken to a vet.

Pet Subjects by Peter Wedderburn is published by Aurum Press (£12.99). To order a copy  visit books.telegraph.co.uk