J.M., Poughkeepsie, NY
Tags: cat Poughkeepsie NY diet food
May 12, 2013
A year ago, I decided to take care of a stray cat in my backyard. When I saw him running around with a piece of bread I had thrown out for the birds, I knew there was a problem.
I would put food down in my garage, and it would be gone the next day. This went on for several days until I finally got to meet him. I call him Jack.
He''s a very handsome rogue with beautiful tortoiseshell coloring. After weeks of working with him, I was able to get him close enough to me to sniff the fingers of my outstretched hand. All I wanted to do was to help the little fellow make it through the winter, and I did.
Jack has been with me ever since. But there are two problems:
First, he''s a feral cat who has pretty much reverted back to the wild.
Second, he has worms. I''ve observed this from his insatiable appetite and his hyperactive behavior. I also saw a worm he passed.
I''ve called several local animal clinics, and they all want me to bring Jack in for tests and the works. I can''t afford to do this. Also, I could never get Jack into a pet carrier, and I am afraid of how he would react around strangers. Have I any other alternatives? I''d like to be able to make him well by adding something to his food.
J.M., Poughkeepsie, NY May 13, 2013
You do not give enough details in your letter as to what kind of worm you saw Jack pass. If it was long and thin, it could be a Toxocara roundworm. If it was a white, oblong, rice-grain-sized wiggly thing, it''s a tapeworm segment. If that''s the case, he''ll need to be treated for fleas, which carry tapeworm eggs.
While it may seem shocking that no veterinary hospital will give you some worming medicine to put in his food, without a stool sample and/or a sample of the worm you saw, the proper treatment cannot be determined. Get these samples and you won''t need to take Jack in unless it turns out he requires flea treatment. Not having had a rabies vaccination may make these animal clinics worry about dealing with Jack, and I urge you to rent a humane trap and get someone to help you catch him and take him in. He may need to be neutered, which will make him easier to handle. If you have a spare room, put him in there when he''s given a clean bill of health, and he may soon become sociable.
S.W., Brooklyn, NY
Tags: cat NY diet food Brooklyn
May 06, 2013
Six months ago, I rescued a young male cat from the city street near my apartment. I thought he would be a good companion for our 5-year-old male cat who is home alone during the day, and he is indeed very sweet.
I took the new kitty to be neutered and was told he was in good condition considering he came from the street. He and our older cat have gotten to be very close and enjoy playing together. The problem is, these cats wake us up early in the morning, and it''s killing us.
They tear through the apartment, running up and down the hall, tackling each other. They scratch and knock things off the dressers, as if they were trying to make as much noise as possible.
I feed them consistently at 9 a.m. (when I like to get up) and 10 p.m., yet they wake us up at 6 a.m. I am at my wits'' end, and I am considering giving up the second cat. I know our older cat likes the companionship, but the lack of sleep is ruining our lives. And I cannot bear the idea of letting the cats win by feeding them whenever they wake up. If I close them out of the room, they just scratch on the door, which is even worse. Please help.
S.W., Brooklyn, NY May 07, 2013
Sleep interruption and sleep deprivation are serious issues, and by all accounts, a common malady -- not just among those who live with early-to-rise cats. Cats love to make noise when they are playing together, and I think it would be tragic if they have to part forever. Is there no separate room with lightproof, covered windows where they could spend the night together? You could try making the bathroom cozy for them and shut them in with soft (i.e. quiet) toys to play with, along with food, water, catnip and all breakable things put away. As a last resort, there may be another person in your apartment complex who would take the new cat and they could get together for playtime early evenings and weekends. If you are feeding them only at 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. (a dog''s feeding schedule), you need to change that to at least four smaller feedings daily.
S.M.Z., Poughkeepsie, NY
Tags: cat Poughkeepsie NY
Apr 21, 2013
I adopted two cats from a shelter in July. The vet there gave them a clean bill of health. Later, I took them to my own vet and was told the same.
Over time, I noticed that Jay's "third eyelid" showed more frequently than on any of my previous cats. I went to the Internet and saw that it was a sign of all kinds of problems. I emailed the vet's office and was told to bring her in. I have not done so yet because I don't see it as frequently and she shows no other symptoms. My concern is that she has only one good eye, so I would hate for her to lose the other.
Can I safely wait to take her in?
S.M.Z., Poughkeepsie, NY Apr 22, 2013
If I read your letter correctly, you adopted a one-eyed cat from the shelter. I applaud your choice, since most people are repulsed at the sight of "defective" animals. Those who have suffered and had to have a leg amputated or eye removed surely deserve to experience the affection and security of a loving home.
It may be less traumatic for your cat to have a veterinarian come and examine her in your home. Many animal doctors do house calls.
The good eye should be examined, and your cat should be given a full physical. The eye could be affected by a condition called sympathetic opthalmia, triggered by the optic nerve stump in the empty eye socket. This may not be harmful, but an eye examination is advisable since, as you found on the Internet, extrusion of the third eyelid (or nictitating membrane) could be a signal of possible ocular disease.
J. and M.H., Poughkeepsie, NY
Tags: dog Poughkeepsie NY diet food
Mar 31, 2013
Thank you very much for your sensitive and helpful response to our July 2012 letter regarding Loki, our 13-year-old mixed-breed dog. We deeply appreciate your empathy for animals and those who care for them.
The following is an excerpt from our 2012 Christmas letter to our friends and family:
"Loki, poor Loki. In addition to having Cushing's syndrome and being blind, he was diagnosed this summer with vestibular disease -- that means he is dizzy (and he's not even a blond). He has, however, developed a certain sense of decorum.
"One night while being walked by Jon (dog-sitting while we were away), Loki picked up something from the street. Jon didn't notice it until walking up our driveway. He saw that it was a sandwich, probably discarded by construction workers next door. He tried to pry it out of Loki's mouth, but the dog would not give it up. Into the house Loki marched, went to his dog dish, deposited the sandwich and then ate it. I guess that legitimized the food. Not bad for a former street dog from Brooklyn."
Thank you again for being there for our pets.
J. and M.H., Poughkeepsie, NY Apr 01, 2013
I have taken the liberty of sharing your intimate account of your beloved former street dog from Brooklyn.
In spite of his infirmities, he displayed better manners than many of our own species. Thanks to your devoted care of this old dog, he was not only able to enjoy some quality of life, but also to demonstrate a degree of sensibility that helps us deepen our appreciation for other creatures who enrich our lives in countless ways.
I like to think that we are beginning to settle the score of our indebtedness after centuries of exploitation and abuse of creatures -- wild and tame -- as more people support their local animal shelters, advocate animals' rights, oppose cruel factory farms and support wildlife and habitat protection and restoration at home and abroad.
Your story of Loki reminds me of a captive kit fox who deposited morsels of food around his cage mate who had died suddenly. As with humans, saving food can be a token of affection. For Loki, perhaps not gobbling the food he found in the street but bringing it home to eat in a civilized manner was a tribute to his preferred existence under your roof.
J.P.H., Brooklyn, NY
Tags: cat NY ear Brooklyn
Jan 21, 2013
My boyfriend and I adopted our 4-year-old male tabby cat from a rescue a little over a year ago. He is a sweet, personable and playful cat, and he seems well adjusted to us and to our apartment. Unfortunately, we have a couple of problems.
He has a chronic ear infection -- he had one when we adopted him -- which three different prescriptions have failed to clear. While the prescriptions seem to help during treatment, the brown gunk comes back as soon as the drops run out. The vet ruled out mites on the first visit.
He shakes his head and scratches at his ears constantly, and it's heartbreaking. Is surgery an option? What can we do?
Secondly, he keeps waking us up hours before his breakfast time. We feed him moist food twice a day -- at 9 a.m. and 10 p.m. This worked fine for a while, but he is now waking up at 6:30 a.m., and he misbehaves and makes noise until we get up to feed him. The sleep deprivation is taking a toll. Any advice?
J.P.H., Brooklyn, NY Jan 22, 2013
Your cat may have ear mites that might not have shown up on the initial examination. Thoroughly clean his ears, then use a cat-safe insecticide in the ear canal. Have your veterinarian prescribe Zymogen, which will help reduce inflammation and possible bacterial and/or fungal infection.
You are not feeding your cat frequently enough. Dogs do fine, as most humans do, on two meals per day, but many cat owners are unaware that it is better to give cats three to six small meals a day. Weigh your cat and keep a note on weight gain or loss, adjusting the amount of his meals.
J. & M.H., Poughkeepsie, NY
Tags: dog Poughkeepsie NY euthanize
Dec 17, 2012
We first wrote to you about our dog Loki in 2008 after we had rescued him from the Animal Care & Control of NYC shelter. He was described as a 5-year-old collie mix. He was actually more like an 8-year-old Lab/pit bull mix, according to our vet. He was very anxious and seemed to be longing for a lost owner. Your response to us helped immensely.
Our reason for writing now is to ask how we can determine Loki's current quality of life. From our vantage point, he seems happy -- but he is blind, often confused and has been diagnosed with Cushing's disease. He is now probably about 13 years old. He weighs 90 pounds, but should weigh 80 pounds.
In 2010, Loki had a benign mast cell tumor removed. In February 2011, he was diagnosed with Cushing's. The next August, he went blind. After a thorough exam by our vet and a canine ophthalmologist, no cause could be found, but the condition -- bilateral optic neuritis and chorioretinitis -- was deemed irreversible and not treatable. It was surmised the pituitary tumor may have grown to impact the retinal nerves.
We do not want to give up on Loki. He responds to us with vigorous tail wags and eats your recipe for homemade food well. He knows his way around the house, but is totally disoriented outside. He is loved and pampered by the entire extended family.
Our vet prescribed tramadol tablets if it seems he has pain, but we really don't know. We have been mildly criticized for keeping Loki alive this long.
What is your opinion? Our vet is noncommittal. We value your suggestions and always appreciate your compassion for animals.
J. & M.H., Poughkeepsie, NY Dec 18, 2012
Yes, I remember your earlier letter concerning Loki because that happens to be the name of an elephant with whom my wife, Deanna Krantz, became involved in India, resulting in an international controversy.
I regret that your veterinarian is behaving in a noncommittal way. I have had some bad experiences with dogs on tramadol, which can make them more anxious/agitated. Three or four drops of lavender oil on a bandanna may relieve some of your dog's anxiety. A daily full-body massage, like in my book "The Healing Touch for Dogs," an occasional buffered aspirin (with food) and a daily teaspoon of fish oil in his food may help alleviate inflammation-associated pain.
As long as he enjoys life, continues to cope with his loss of vision, feels secure and responds to all the TLC you can give him, I feel euthanasia may be premature. In some communities, there are veterinarians who do in-home hospice care supervision. Perhaps you can find one.
V.T., Poughkeepsie, NY
Tags: cat Poughkeepsie NY diet food
Dec 10, 2012
My 11-year-old male cat will eat only dry Kitten Chow. He will sometimes eat cantaloupe when we have it in the summer.
He is a house cat who scratches up furniture and is timid. He has never been ill until lately, and he now has a sore left eye. Forget about changing food -- he tries to bury anything besides Kitten Chow. Is it OK if he continues eating this? I have plenty of fresh water around.
What can I do for the eye? The last cat I took to the vet was so afraid, he died of a heart attack.
V.T., Poughkeepsie, NY Dec 11, 2012
Considering your cat's age and evident addiction to dry food, try transitioning him onto a dry food that has no corn or soy ingredients. There are several improved brands on the market -- just read the labels. Visit my website, DrFoxVet.com, for names of brands that I recommend.
His eye condition does concern me. He may have an infection or a turned-in eyelash, which could lead to ulceration of the cornea or blindness.
There are veterinarians who make house calls, so check your local Yellow Pages to find one who will come to your home to examine your cat and provide appropriate treatment. Going to the veterinary hospital can be extremely stressful for some cats, and I sympathize with the loss of your other cat. Putting cats in a boarding facility can also be stressful and result in post-traumatic stress disorder. This is why I advise either an early-in-life boarding experience or in-home care for people going away on vacation without their cats.
D.R.G., Poughkeepsie, NY
Tags: cat Poughkeepsie NY empathosphere
Dec 02, 2012
I believe my cat, Kali, has remote sensing abilities. Her eyes twitch and perk up whenever my husband is coming home, even at different times and in different vehicles. She knows when I am ill, and she will not leave my side for a minute. She can negotiate from any part of our two-story home, her favorite being the screened-in porch, where she can sense birds nearby and will sit chittering away.
Kali is blind from an eye infection as a kitten. If you move the furniture or put something foreign on the floor, she will bump into it. But she knows where the clear paths are to run and play with toys that she finds thanks to the catnip smell. She will tap me on the face when she wants a treat and reminds us when her pill is due. She is showered with treats and attention. She was on phenobarbital for seizures for eight years and now is on thyroid medication. The people at the vet's office love her for her gentleness and trust. She truly has a unique personality.
We also had a cat named Weird Kitty who accidentally got into our car and went to work with my husband 10 miles away on busy roads. We were unable to find her on our own, but within two weeks she showed up at our door, hungry and happy to see us.
At one point, our mean landlord gathered all the cats in our complex and dumped them miles away in a wooded area. I searched desperately for weeks. I couldn't find any of the cats until one day, walking on the dirt road, my cat walked out of the woods and came to me. I never let a cat outside again.
D.R.G., Poughkeepsie, NY Dec 03, 2012
Many readers will join me in expressing appreciation for your sharing of experiences with Kali.
Had I received your letter earlier, I would have mentioned Kali's remote sensing abilities during my interview on ABC's news program "20/20," which aired Oct. 26. I discussed cats and dogs being the first to know when a loved one has died in the hospital, and their ability to find a loved one, buried or alive, in locales where they have never been before. Watch the episode at abc.go.com.
I welcome receiving letters from readers wishing to share such experiences, in part because they demonstrate the power of love, and in part because they are a challenge for science and reason to explain.
Perhaps if we were as open to the universe as our animal kin, we would neither doubt nor deny the reality of this dimension of consciousness that I call the "empathosphere."
E.W., West Falls, NY
Tags: dog NY West Falls
Aug 06, 2012
We have two dogs, a 6-year-old un-neutered English bulldog and a 4-year-old female Chihuahua. They are indoor dogs, but they do go outside for exercise and bathroom duties.
When the Chihuahua urinates, the bulldog will come by and lick it, causing his tongue to freeze in place for a few minutes, then he drools. Why does he keep doing this? We have tried everything to stop him.
Is there anything you can think of that would help put an end to this disgusting habit? They both get along famously and are the best of friends -- they even sleep together.
E.W., West Falls, NY Aug 07, 2012
What may seem disgusting to you is perfectly normal canine behavior. Some people are even put off when dogs sniff each other's rear ends.
I can understand anyone protesting when his dog rolls in some stinky, organic goop, but that is, in some ways, akin to humans putting on perfume.
Your English bulldog is showing the Flehmen reaction, which is most often seen in bulls and stallions sniffing the females of their species. In a Flehmen reaction, the tongue curling and freezing is done to place the scent or pheromone of whatever has been licked on a spot just behind the upper front teeth. This is where two ducts leading to the vomeronasal organ are located -- a second scent organ present in other mammals, including cats, who often show the Flehmen reaction when sniffing and tasting various substances. This organ may play an important role in pheromone influences on the animals' brains and behavior.
So please accept your bulldog's bond-affirming behavior, and let him be.
F.M., Elk Garden, NY
Tags: cat NY Elk Garden
Jun 18, 2012
I hope you can give me advice to help my 17-year-old indoor calico cat with a paw problem.
She has a tumor on her right front paw that has left a hole about 1/2 inch deep. She walks and jumps using the paw with no obvious pain, and she eats normally. I clean her paw regularly with peroxide, which was recommended by two veterinarians who have checked her physical condition. They both said part or the entire paw would have to be amputated, but did not recommend it because of her age -- she might not survive the operation.
Any advice on avoiding amputation would be greatly appreciated.
F.M., Elk Garden, NY Jun 19, 2012
I am glad those veterinarians are not persuading you to subject your cat to surgery.
I agree that, because of her age and because she is enjoying normal physical activity, doing nothing outweighs the risk of surgery. She may not survive the anesthetic or, if she does, she will have a painful healing process.
If she is periodically licking the sore, she may be preventing it from healing. Cancer cells in the lesion will also interfere with the healing process. If possible, keep a light bandage on the wound to prevent her from licking to help the lesion slowly close up and possibly heal. Clean the wound once daily with an irrigating stream of warm saline solution, dry and add a few drops of organic honey, a natural antibiotic with healing properties. Irrigate once every five to seven days with diluted hydrogen peroxide if there appears to be any pus; daily application could actually delay healing.