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Pet Grooming and Diet Questions

Marc Marrone answers questions about bathing cats, feeding your pet, and hamster color.
Martha Stewart Living Television

I've never given my cat a bath. Should I bathe it regularly?
Whether or not you should bathe your cat frequently depends on the cat's temperament and your own persistence. Some cats simply refuse, but many can be cajoled into submitting to a bath. But it's important not to just fill up the sink with water and throw the cat in. Use three buckets: one empty bucket in which the cat can be bathed; one filled with warm, soapy water; and another filled with rinse water.

How do you put a cat on a diet?
The best and simplest way to get your cat on a diet is to substitute your cat's regular food with a lowfat cat food. The only drawback is that your cat's coat might become less glossy without the fat; if it's a significant difference, consult your vet.

What can I do about my dog, who is a very picky eater? He won't eat his dry dog food unless there are meat bits in it, and sometimes he even picks those out and leaves everything else behind.
Remember that dogs are like people with respect to their appetites: They'll always go for what tastes best. If you want your dog to stick to dry food, that's the only thing you should feed him. He may turn his nose up at it for a day or two, or even refuse to eat it at all, but eventually he'll give in.

How can I tell if my dog's overweight?
There's a simple test for determining if your dog needs to lose weight: Feel its ribs. If you can feel them easily under his skin, your dog is at a good weight. If not, the dog is too heavy. If that's the case, consult a vet who can advise you on the best diet for your pet.

I want to get a hamster for my child. There are so many different colors to choose from. Does color matter?
Color plays no part in a hamster's temperament. Their disposition is dependent on how often they are handled when they're young, so make sure your hamster is well socialized and used to being held.