Pets' corner: How to stop dogs chasing cats and the ideal pet for a small space

Your questions answered by Chamois Rose-Wood
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The Independent Online

I have a two-year-old female Boxer and I'm going to get a kitten. She's been around cats before, but she chases them. How can I stop her? Maria McDonald, Liverpool

When you bring the kitten home, keep the dog in another room. After about a week, when the kitten feels more confident, you can start introducing them. Have your dog on a lead. Put the kitten down so the dog can sniff it for a few seconds. Then guide her away with the lead. If the dog gets overexcited or starts to chase the cat, say "No! Don't chase the kitten!" and put her outside the room. Leave her there for about two minutes to calm down. Repeat this until she starts to lose interest in the kitten. Praise her when she's being calm. Never leave them unattended in the same room, unless the cat has an escape route.

I would like to have a pet, but I live in a small studio flat. Any suggestions? Alessandra Mendez, London

An ideal pet for you would be a mouse. The beauty of them is that they require very little space, can be kept indoors and are extremely cheap to feed. If you get two female mice, they can keep each other company, they won't produce any babies and, unlike males, won't fight or smell as much. A pet shop will provide you with all the equipment necessary for your mouse to live a short (the average is two years) but happy life. You can find lots of information at http://www.bbc.co.uk/cbbc/wild/pets

Send your queries to The Independent Magazine, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS, or email petscorner@independent.co.uk

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