J.F., Toms River, NJ
Tags: cat Toms River NJ
Jan 30, 2010
I have a 1-year-old neutered color-point Siamese cat. About six months ago, he started doing a sexy dance: He comes up on the bed, kneading the covers, quivering and posturing as if he were ejaculating. He is very intense. He also started peeing outside of (but near) his litter box. My vet did a blood test to check testosterone levels, but everything was normal. Will this behavior stop on its own? None of my other cats do this. What is the cause? He usually does it near me, but also on top of me.
All my cats eat EVO canned food, supplemented with raw beef and Fromm dry cat food.
J.F., Toms River, NJ Jan 31, 2010
I see no reason why your vet felt it necessary to check your cat's blood testosterone level. Many perfectly healthy neutered male cats behave as yours does. They will engage in various activities that can be triggered by soft, pliable materials that I interpret as self-stimulating play that can include elements of kittenish kneading, sucking, prey-killing and copulation. Siamese cats notoriously engage in sucking, often chewing and swallowing pieces of towel or blanket. This behavior has elements of obsessive-compulsive addiction and the lanolin in the wool may be a pheromone-like trigger.
Try remotivating your cat with various toys like a wand or fish-pole and lure. A padded glove with various toys on the fingers can be a winner for cat-play and distraction/remotivation purposes. He may be urinating or marking outside the litter box because he is feeling insecure or is asserting himself over the other cats in the home. An extra litter box and regular daily cleaning of the same would be advisable.
R.L., Egg Harbor, NJ
Tags: dog Egg Harbor NJ
Jan 30, 2010
I have a Silky Terrier. She recently turned 11 years old and doesn''t have a mean bone in her body. In September, she had all of her shots and a heartworm test. Everything seemed fine, but a month later, I noticed her breath smelling bad and a lump in her neck. I took her to the vet and he said she had a bad back tooth, possible sinus infection and a swollen gland. He put her on Baytril, 22.7 milligrams, 1-1/2 tablets every 24 hours for 14 days. About a week later, I took her back because the lump was getting bigger and she started having trouble breathing, and occasionally choked. At times, the lump moved over to the side and she seemed fine. The vet said surgery is difficult in that area and she would have to go to a specialty hospital. I''m 74 years old and on a fixed income and cannot afford the surgery. I don''t know what to do. She doesn''t appear to be in great pain, only when the lump appears to cut off her breathing. I''ve tried everything, including trying to move the lump away from her throat. What should I do? Should I put her down?
R.L., Egg Harbor, NJ Jan 31, 2010
You have my deepest sympathy. So many pet owners are forced, for financial reasons, to have their beloved animal companions euthanized. It is regrettable that there is no national organization in the United States like the United Kingdom''s People''s Dispensary for Sick Animals that can help low- and fixed-income pet owners. Aside from the possible association between receiving additional vaccinations that no 11-year-old dog like yours should need, and the soon-after appearance of infection or cancer, your wonderful little dog might be a poor candidate for surgery, anyway.
Feel no blame or shame for not being able to do more for your dog than help her be as comfortable as possible and be secure in your loving arms rather than separated from you in some hospital cage for more tests and treatment.
S.P., Winston-Salem, NC
Tags: cat Winston-Salem NC diet food
Jan 30, 2010
I have two cats that are about 2 years old. They weighed about 8 ounces each when I found them.
They have watery eyes and sneeze when the seasons change. Is there anything I can do to help with this?
S.P., Winston-Salem, NC Jan 31, 2010
Cats are very sensitive to environmental and other stresses that can make prior infections such as rhinitis (sniffles) and cystitis (bladder inflammation) flare up. Simply ensuring they have a warm place to lie down and sleep is half the battle. A blanket in a cardboard box, a heat lamp or a warm pad will give them comfort.
Supplements in their food to help boost their immune systems would provide much relief. These include probiotics, fish oil and super-oxidants like Coenzyme Q10 that you put in their food, beginning with a few drops of fish oil and working up to 1 teaspoon daily. Probiotics come in capsules or tablets containing around 5 billion beneficial bacteria -- break up and give twice daily. Give 50 to 100 milligrams of CoQ10.
J.B., Norfolk, Va
Tags: small pet
Jan 30, 2010
We have a red bird that has been pecking at our window for about a month now. He repeatedly flies at the window. Sometimes I hear the flutter of his wings, as if he is trying to come through the window. This started at our bedroom window, then he began to alternate between there and an adjacent window on the same side of the house. Lately, he has been flying around to the back side of the house and doing the same thing.
We feel sorry for the poor bird. He must be terribly frustrated. He''s very persistent. We have tried opening the windows to change the reflection angle, making a sound to scare him away, etc., but nothing seems to deter him.
Do you have any idea what this bird is trying to do?
J.B., Norfolk, Va Jan 31, 2010
I appreciate your concern, but I assure you this bird, most likely a male Cardinal, is simply jousting with what he believes is a rival male in his reflection. He should eventually habituate, but you may want to cover the windows that he is drawn to with sheets of paper secured with masking tape. This may end his fixation. Placing a piece of material about the same size and color of a male bird''s plumage on a branch may elicit aggressive responses in a variety of species. The behavior is most likely in response to a perceived territorial intruder and rival.
P.A., St. Louis, Mo
Tags: cat MO diet food
Jan 23, 2010
My 4-1/2-year-old cat Brady likes to sleep on my lap. The problem is that he has nightmares and wakes up terrified. Usually, he just runs off, but a few weeks ago he dug his rear claws into my leg, causing me six very deep wounds. Last week, he bit my hand and attacked my arm, wrapping his legs around it and holding it with his claws. He hurt me that time, so now I am afraid of him. I asked my vet what he thought, and he checked him out. He is physically fine. I''ve had him since he was 6 weeks old, and I am home with him almost all of the time. I am at a loss as to what is causing this. Can you suggest anything?
P.A., St. Louis, Mo Jan 24, 2010
Poor Brady has a problem, indeed. First, rule out the physical. He''s young, but there are probably enough chemicals contaminating your house and the food and water you give him to have harmed his thyroid gland. Hyperactive thyroids can make some cats irritable and aggressive.
Transition him onto a gluten- and lectin-free diet -- no grains, soy, corn, dairy ingredients or artificial flavorings and colorings. For details, see my Web site, www.DrFoxVet.com/info. Some food ingredients can cause seizures and other neurological problems that could be associated with your cat''s apparent nightmares. Before trying a prescription of valerian or melatonin one hour before bedtime, give him a couple of tablespoons of lightly cooked turkey, which can have a tranquilizing effect.
L.F., Fairfax, Va
Jan 23, 2010
We adopted two young dogs from the SPCA who had been abused at a puppy mill. They have adjusted nicely, and we love them dearly. We would like to be able to take them to parks and on short family trips, but they get incredibly carsick. Do you have any recommendations for dealing with this?
L.F., Fairfax, Va Jan 24, 2010
Carsickness is a distressing but often-treatable canine malady. You should desensitize the dogs by sitting quietly in the car with them until they settle down. Repeat for a few days, then turn the engine on. Once they are settled, drive around the block once or twice and then to the park. Take it from there.
Anxious dogs often calm down in the car when there is a strip of cloth hanging inside (or a bandana around the neck) that has a few drops of lavender oil on it. Lavender oil has a calming effect on many dogs. Nauseous dogs benefit from a 1/2 teaspoon of chopped fresh ginger (per 30 pounds of bodyweight) tucked into a ball of cream cheese or meat. Give 20 to 30 minutes before the car ride. Some dogs eat sugar-crystallized ginger like candy, and this, too, can settle their stomachs. Ginger is one of the most beneficial of all herbs and has anti-inflammatory and anti-nausea properties.
M.C-S., Mineral Wells, TX
Jan 23, 2010
Five years ago, my husband and I adopted a sweet and beautiful Pekingese. The vet estimated her to be 18 months old at that time. When we got her home, I took her to the backyard to introduce her to her new home and surroundings. It didn''t take long to learn that she was not housebroken. I have tried everything I know to train her, but to no avail. I''ve had dogs before and never had problems with training, but this is my problem child. I would appreciate any suggestions you might have.
M.C-S., Mineral Wells, TX Jan 24, 2010
Some breeds can be difficult to house-train. It is also possible that your Peke was never trained as a pup. I presume the main problem is urination, and if she is straining and only passing a little urine, the vet should check her for cystitis and other bladder-related problems. If you haven''t tried crate training, it is worth the effort if she doesn''t get too upset. Crate her for the night with a blanket or towel to lie on then take her outdoors first thing, putting her close to newspapers that she has soiled indoors or paper towels that you used to clean up her mess with. This way, she may soon begin to associate outside with urine and feces. Praise her with a treat when she evacuates. Take her outside after she has eaten, let her run around and sniff where she has evacuated before. This may act as a trigger. When she comes indoors, keep her close to you on a leash or in a secondhand playpen. Take her outdoors every three to four hours, especially just after her meals and when she wakes up from a nap. This process takes time and patience -- good luck.
G.W., St. Louis Park, MN
Jan 23, 2010
Please say something about people leaving dogs outside in subzero weather. I live in Minnesota, and some of my neighbors leave dogs outside so long that they bark and yelp. On another note, how can these "experts" talk about global warming when we get cold and snowstorms across the country like this?
G.W., St. Louis Park, MN Jan 24, 2010
When you factor in wind chill, no wild-animal-like winter coat and having been acclimated to the warm indoors, dogs and cats are at risk if kept outdoors for just a few minutes in severely cold weather. Frostbite can quickly afflict ear tips and paws -- the latter can also be damaged by sharp ice and road salt. Our rescued street dog Batman from India cries after two to three minutes outside without boots and coat when it is below 5 F or colder, and the hair on his back goes up with fear. Many animals may panic in severe cold and run anywhere to find escape. For short walks, many dogs, especially older ones, need boots and coats.
Global warming is a grossly inaccurate term for what I believe is a metabolic change in the Earth''s ecology caused by the human infestation of overpopulation, overconsumption and pollution. Like any sick organism, our planet has severe chills, fevers and other perturbations that are increasingly irreversible, causing climate change, droughts, floods and other dire consequences. All nation states must cooperate to immediately stop further deforestation, overfishing and poisoning of the planet. Just reducing the "carbon footprint" is too little too late.
L.P., Hendersonville, NC
Tags: cat Hendersonville NC
Jan 16, 2010
adopted two cats from the Animal Compassion Network. I noticed one of them eating dirt out of my planters. Many tests and $1,200 later, the diagnosis was acute feline anemia. I am giving her prednisone every day. Nothing seems to help her blood count. Do you have any suggestions? Two different vets have tried everything they know.
L.P., Hendersonville, NC Jan 17, 2010
Obsessive dirt eating by dogs and cats can be a cardinal sign of anemia. In many cases, the anemia owes to an autoimmune disease that may be triggered by vaccinations. Or it may have a hereditary basis. Cats can develop anemia with adverse drug reactions, blood parasites (such as haemobartonellosis), viral infections (such as feline leukemia), bone-marrow diseases and hypothyroidism, etc. Because the veterinarians have been able to identify the type of anemia afflicting your cat, I would follow their course of treatment. Discuss with them the possibilities of adjunctive treatment with blood transfusions, Procrit, cyclosporine, human gamma globulin and folate.
L.C., Bartonsville, Md
Tags: cat Bartonsville MD
Jan 16, 2010
I am responding to your request for cats with unusual tastes for plants. My Ninja is an 8-year-old Maine coon cat. She is black, brave, and loves to sneak up on people. And she loves lemongrass!
She loves to eat it and, when the leaves are trimmed off, she makes a nest of it. George and Pat, our other two cats, also like to nibble on it. I'm told cats hate citrus, so why do they like lemongrass? I've also been told that lemongrass is safe for cats to eat. Is this true? I have several large pots for cooking, and they have to be indoors for the winter.
L.C., Bartonsville, Md Jan 17, 2010
First, all things in moderation. Sprout some wheatgrass and alfalfa for your cats, as well as catnip, so they can rotation-graze. Lemongrass has a host of beneficial ingredients that are antibacterial, antifungal, anti-parasitic (nematodes), antiseptic, diuretic, cooling, sedating and helpful with digestion. Lemongrass may also help prevent blood clotting and cancer. Externally (as a strong tea), it will act as an insect repellent and clear up athlete's foot. Concentrated essence of lemongrass (essential oil) could be harmful to cats, because unlike people and dogs, they lack certain liver enzymes to break down various compounds that, if not eliminated from the body, could prove to be toxic. That is why hydrosols, rather than essential-oil extracts of beneficial herbs, are used for various feline health problems.
So a nibble of lemongrass will not harm your cats, but an intense craving could indicate (rather than cause) some underlying nutritional deficiency or disease such as hyperthyroidism.