B.B., Minnetrista, MN
Jun 24, 2006
We have a male, neutered cat that came to us as a stray about five years ago. He''s approximately 9 years old, loving and affectionate. We take in a lot of strays, fix them up and find homes for them, but this one we kept.For the past several years, he has experienced diarrhea. He drinks a lot of water (but does not have diabetes) and eats well, and his weight fluctuates between 15 to 18 pounds during the summer and 18 to 20 pounds during the winter. Structurally, he is a large cat. He''s on ZD allergy food.He''s had blood tests, stool tests and an endoscopic exam. These and all other tests have come back negative. His doctors are somewhat perplexed as to why he is experiencing the diarrhea. They are thinking of giving him a steroid shot, thinking it might be inflammatory-bowel disease.Do you have any suggestions? What are the risk factors involved with the steroid shot?.
B.B., Minnetrista, MN Jun 25, 2006
Good for you for rescuing and rehabilitating stray cats!With your cat, avoid more steroid treatments after the first course. Take your cat through detox as per my article on Endocrine Disruption Syndrome, and try my home-prepared cat-food recipe, all detailed on my Web site at www.doctormwfox.org.Oral squirts of a teaspoonful of aloe vera three times a day for four to five days may help considerably. Add a trace of essential oils of peppermint or ginger, and fennel, as well as probiotic (acidophilus) pills. A holistic veterinarian could help you find the right essential oils, enzymes and other supplements that may give your cat a new lease on life.Inflammatory-bowel disease is very common in cats, and I would like to hear from other readers who have found effective remedies for this distressing condition in their cats.
L.D., North Richland Hills, TX
Tags: small pet
Jun 24, 2006
Awhile ago, I saw a black, feral cat in my backyard, far from the house. I took it upon myself to put food out for it. It took a long time, but she gradually came closer and closer to the house.I was surprised one day when she arrived with four kittens, one of which has only three legs but gets around quite well. They are all quite skittish, but they now wait for me at 5:30 p.m. at the patio door, looking to be fed.My problem is that in the near future I will have to move. I''m hoping by then I will find a solution, as I would very much like to take these little creatures with me.I have limited funds, so is there anyone I can call to assist me financially so I can give them medical attention before my move and fix it so they will not have any more kittens? If I move without a plan, there won''t be anyone to feed them, and I don''t know what will happen to them. I really want to keep them together and take them with me, but I don''t want to call just any association that might be inclined to pick them up and put
L.D., North Richland Hills, TX Jun 25, 2006
I sympathize with your dilemma and appreciate your loving concern for the mother cat and her kittens. Unfortunately, you have set up a difficult situation, a classic Catch-22.Without the food you put out, the kittens are likely to starve to death and the mother to kill more wildlife trying to keep them alive. Then, if food is put out regularly and the mother and her offspring are not neutered, more kittens will be born. Furthermore, the older the present litter becomes, the more difficult it will be to socialize them (if not impossible).The best solution is to check your phone book for a local humane society or cat-rescue organization, or call around to various veterinary hospitals to point you in the right direction for professional help in catching the mother and her kittens humanely. Once caught, they all have a better chance of becoming socialized and adopted by you and/or others after they have been neutered and provided veterinary treatment as needed.
G.L., Washington, DC
Tags: dog Washington DC diet food
Jun 17, 2006
My 7-year-old Rhodesian ridgeback died of liver cancer. Surely, she was too young to die so soon. She was fed top-quality dog food and was on regular heartworm (Interceptor) and flea-control (Program) medicine every month. What do you think could have caused the cancer?.
G.L., Washington, DC Jun 18, 2006
Many factors are involved in the development of various kinds of cancer, notably genetic susceptibility, stress, diet, prior infection and exposure to toxins in the environment and in food. More toxic metals and harmful pollutants, such as dioxins and PCBs, are suspected of being present in commercial pet foods than in home-prepared diets made primarily from organically certified ingredients.I am especially concerned that many veterinarians are advising monthly preventive flea-control drugs for life for dogs and cats that could be at risk from long-term treatment, especially if their immune systems are already compromised.
J.K., Washington, DC
Tags: small pet Washington DC diet food
Jun 17, 2006
Since your column deals with all kinds of animal issues, perhaps you can help me with a deer problem.I have had a new house built close to federal parkland, and at night deer come into my garden and ruin it. I don''t want to put up a fence because I like the open, natural landscaping. What is your solution to keep deer away from my property?.
J.K., Washington, DC Jun 18, 2006
The white-tailed deer (and other wildlife like raccoons, opossums, moles and squirrels, who will also dig up your garden) were there before you. You have invaded their domain. How many trees and how much natural cover did you destroy to put up a new home and make a garden?If you really like open, natural landscaping, why not make your "garden" a wildlife haven, with plants that attract butterflies and provide food and shelter for birds and other wildlife? Dig a small pond and put up a salt lick for the deer.It is ironic that people like to live close to "nature" but wage war against wildlife with poison bait, fences, electrified wires, bright lights, electronic bug-zappers, pesticides and even live traps. The most humane deer deterrents are strings of flashing Christmas-tree lights and shiny strips of light-reflecting plastic.
B.H., Silver Spring, Md
Tags: small pet Silver Spring MD diet food
Jun 10, 2006
Is there anything I can do for my 9-year-old cat''s very bad breath? I took her to the vet, and he found no abscesses, no tooth decay, no gum disease and very little tartar. Her mouth was very healthy. However, her breath is awful. I can smell it even when she''s grooming herself. She eats many flavors of moist food and always her dry food and water. Help!.
B.H., Silver Spring, Md Jun 11, 2006
Years ago, one could buy chlorophyll tablets for bad breath. This worked well on cats and was even given to make female dogs less attractive to male dogs when they were in heat.While your cat may have healthy teeth and gums, microscopic particles of food that remain in her mouth after eating could contribute to halitosis. Giving her a raw chicken wing to chew on twice a week should help take care of this problem. Also, add a daily tablespoonful of chopped wheat grass or alfalfa sprouts to her food -- an excellent source of chlorophyll. You may well find that shifting her gradually to a home-prepared, balanced diet of whole-food ingredients (with no fine-particle processed ingredients) like the basic recipe on my Web site (www.doctormwfox.org) could give your cat sweeter breath.Bad breath can also mean chronic indigestion and be an early sign of kidney or liver disease. So keep a close eye on your cat''s health, and have her checked out by your veterinarian every six months.
S.H., Norfolk, Va
Jun 10, 2006
Regarding the letter from M.W., whose cat suffered from itchy skin and hot spots, I would like to share my experience with a similar situation, although my cat (one of six) had a urinary-tract infection as well.My veterinarian, who specializes in cats, asked me what my cat was eating. At the time, I was feeding all my cats Meow Mix, which was by far their favorite. My vet told me to stop feeding them any foods with dye in them. I did so immediately, and the skin and urinary-tract problems cleared up in a couple of weeks.Even though I am allergic to red dye No. 40, it never occurred to me that a cat could also be. There are many brands of cat food without dye in them, and my cat hasn''t had any further problems.
S.H., Norfolk, Va Jun 11, 2006
Your veterinarian''s advice is worth noting by all people with cats and dogs, and especially by the pet-food industry.The beneficial consequences of giving your cat a diet that contains no artificial coloring are indeed dramatic. Many holistic veterinarians follow the principle of wholesome natural food first, which they insist upon as the first step in treating a variety of prevalent health problems in their animal patients. Dyes are not the only chemical additives and adulterants in many commercial pet foods. Common sense dictates these additives should be avoided because of potential risk.
E.L., Long Island, NY
Tags: small pet Long Island NY
Jun 03, 2006
My 8-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback has been living with my family for the past six years. Although it never bothered him before, last winter he became frightened of the noises coming from the radiators. We''ve tried giving him treats when it happens, but he won''t take them. We''ve tried ignoring his behavior, but he will knock over anything he can. His behavior is very disruptive, especially when we''re all trying to sleep. (He won''t let us!) We''ve tried putting him in his crate or leashing him to his bed, but he cries so much that it makes my heart wrench.The vet gave us tranquilizers to calm him down at night, and it does help some, but I don''t feel that it is a proper solution to the problem. Please help. We all need sleep!.
E.L., Long Island, NY Jun 04, 2006
I pity both your poor dog and your family. He''s developed a phobia, and since tranquilizers have not eliminated the problem, "total immersion" therapy is called for. This entails making a tape recording of the radiator noises.You will need two tape recorders and a good loudspeaker. Use the second tape recorder to repeatedly copy a short burst of radiator sounds captured on the first tape recorder. It should be about 15 to 20 minutes in duration. Play this at different volumes at random times, rewarding him with praise and treats for being still. This process is called desensitization.But first, try bleeding the air out of your radiators, or have them flushed and refilled to eliminate air pockets that are most likely the cause of the radiator noises. The problem might be corrected easily by a plumber.
M.N., Fort Worth, TX
Jun 03, 2006
I thought you might enjoy a real story about our 2-year-old, mixed-breed male cat named Buddy.When he was a kitten, we told him he could not go out to play until he was "dressed." He would jump up on the picnic table to have his harness with a long yellow leash put on. This way we could keep an eye on him so he couldn''t get into trouble. Now he wears just a breakaway collar with his tags.Recently, he came in without his collar. We looked inside and out. It was nowhere in sight. About three days later, he brought in the collar and dropped it at my husband''s feet. Buddy just sat there until we put it back on. We assume he doesn''t feel "dressed" without his collar, and we think this is pretty amazing.Have you ever heard of a cat doing this? Maybe a dog, but never a cat.
M.N., Fort Worth, TX Jun 04, 2006
Your cat is indeed remarkable. I have a strong suspicion that most cats are extremely bright like yours, but they don''t let us know.Buddy is demonstrating classic associative learning, linking getting "dressed" with the enjoyment of going outdoors.I am glad he wears a breakaway collar. This is a wise safety precaution, as it is for dogs who wear their collars indoors. Two dogs playing together can get caught up in one or the other''s collar, often with tragic consequences. Cats outdoors can get hung up by their collars, and the breakaway kind can be a life-saver.