B.L.C., Washington, DC
Tags: dog Washington DC
Jun 16, 2013
I am hoping you can help me understand this cat behavior: I adopted two lovely female ragamuffin cats about 2 1/2 years ago from a rescue site; they were about 8 months old. I was told they were sisters.
I noticed Leeza was the dominant one. Sissy would let Leeza eat some of her treats if Leeza finished first. Leeza did not want to be approached and was very skittish. Sissy would follow me around like a dog and was very vocal, greeting me when I came home and sitting on my lap when I watched TV. Leeza would stretch out on the floor with her legs in the air and mew quietly, but when I approached her, she would run off.
Recently, after reading an interesting a book about cat personalities, I decided that when Leeza stretched out, put her legs in the air and mewed, she probably wanted me to pet her. I crawled slowly toward her, and she allowed me to pet her and very much enjoyed it.
Now Sissy is not following me around, won''t greet me at the door, acts standoffish and hides in another room. She is eating less. Leeza has become my shadow and is the vocal one, constantly stretching out on the floor and mewing for attention while Sissy is off hiding somewhere. It is almost as though there was a shift in personalities.
I feel bad for Sissy. I have petted them both when they are near one another, but it is as though Sissy is a dejected cat. Tell me what more I can do to show both of them that they are loved equally.
B.L.C., Washington, DC Jun 17, 2013
What you describe is something very feline in terms of how cats react to attention -- you can call it jealousy, competitive social dominance or displacement. Encouraging your cats to interact playfully with a lure on a string or grooming them in turn may help bring the triangle of your two-cat family and you together. My e-book "Understanding Your Cat" may give you other helpful insights that cats have taught me over the years.
A.R., Washington, DC
Tags: dog Washington DC diet food
May 05, 2013
I have adopted a rescue dog who is about 15 months old. One vet said it's possible he has irritable bowel syndrome. I am not committed to supporting a sickly dog, so I hope to get this problem corrected if possible. Two vets have suggested canned pumpkin. This works if the dog eats his entire bowl of food; however, if he doesn't, the problem is assured to manifest immediately.
The first bowel movement of the day is normal. The second -- if the pumpkin has not been eaten, and often even if it has -- is characterized by straining (which include yelping that I assume indicates discomfort/pain), a mucus texture and concludes with further straining, resulting in wet droplets. This is frowned upon at the dog park because I think it is interpreted as evidence of an owner who is lax in providing medical attention for her dog.
Note: Regardless of the number of walking/dog park opportunities he is presented per day (usually four), the dog's bowels move on average only twice a day. Is there some kind of fix for this condition?
A.R., Washington, DC May 06, 2013
If your veterinarian ran no fecal tests to rule out parasites and did not try a short course of treatment with metronidazole or Tylosin and only suggested you give your dog canned pumpkin, I would take your dog to another animal doctor, especially if what kind of food you are giving him was not discussed.
Check my website, DrFoxVet.com, for details on the various factors that can trigger this common canine and feline condition, as well as treatments. These can range from a diet free of grain/cereal and GMOs to giving psyllium husks in the food along with digestive enzymes and probiotics. Peppermint tea, mixed with his food if he won't drink it or accept it syringed into his mouth, can be beneficial for dogs and humans alike.
P.D., Washington, Mo
Tags: cat Washington MO
Mar 24, 2013
Some time ago, I lost my diabetic cat. He had a stroke and became blind and confused. I took him to the vet, and the vet had to put my cat down. I was in such a state that I failed to ask what caused the stroke.
For more than 12 years, I kept my cat alive by giving him his insulin shots and taking him to the vet for blood tests. Is there something I didn't do right, or did I do something to cause the stroke? I have not gotten over this feeling that maybe I did something that caused the stroke. I still miss him very much.
P.D., Washington, Mo Mar 25, 2013
I sympathize with you over the loss of your poor cat who was afflicted by diabetes.
Many diabetic cats develop various complications, just as human sufferers of this disease do. These complications are often compounded by liver and kidney problems.
Blood clots and burst blood vessels from high blood pressure can cause strokes, partial paralysis and blindness. These complications are no fault of yours, and you could have done nothing to prevent them -- it's just the luck of the draw. The only consolation is that your cat did not suffer long, and he enjoyed the security and pleasure of your loving care.
J.P., Washington, DC
Mar 03, 2013
Our beagle/basset-mix has had a persistent itching/scratching/biting problem for the past two years.
We have tried many medications. They all bring temporary relief, but none cures the itching. We have tried many types of food, from grain-free to all-natural to homemade. Again, there is no consistent relief. We have spent a lot of money at different veterinarians, trying to pinpoint the problem -- to no avail. Prior to the itching, which started in August 2010, our dog had been on the same high-quality food for three years. We''ve added no new pets, changed his beds and given him baths with prescription shampoo and conditioner/lotion. There is no consistency as far as time of year.
We got him as a rescue, so we are unsure of his age, but we believe him to be 8 to 10 years old. We have grown weary of opening our wallet time and again to try and fix a problem that is frustrating for him and us.
J.P., Washington, DC Mar 04, 2013
It seems you and your poor dog have been through the ringer. He may have multiple allergies and a dysfunctional immune system. More costly tests and trial-and-error treatments may -- or may not -- put an end to his problem.
Here are a few suggestions: Have his thyroid function evaluated. Try short-term oral antihistamines. Discuss starting an elimination diet with your veterinarian. Give your dog cotton towels or bedsheets to sleep on, and never use scented laundry detergents. Don''t use any anti-flea or -tick products. Give him up to 1 teaspoon brewer''s yeast and fish oil. Give him a spritz of a mixture of aloe vera juice, calendula and witch hazel. (For more suggestions, check the archives on my website, DrFoxVet.com.)
M.C., Washington, DC
Tags: cat Washington DC dental
Dec 09, 2012
My question concerns the relatively recent advice on cleaning the teeth of cats -- a process requiring anesthesia. If you recommend this for a healthy animal, how often should he or she be subjected to it?
In my childhood, we had many pets over the years, and they all lived long lives. Our cats lived to be 18 to 20 years old, and their teeth were never cleaned.
M.C., Washington, DC Dec 10, 2012
Some will argue that cats in years past did not receive adequate veterinary preventive care. But in years past, many cats were allowed to roam free, killing mice and other small prey that naturally helped keep their teeth clean. Nor were they fed high-fiber, processed ingredients in their diet, like the microparticulate, glutinous materials in many canned and dry (soak them and see!) cat foods.
Regrettably, periodontal and other gum and tooth diseases are all too common in cats and dogs, especially toy and brachiocephalic (pushed-in face) breeds with crammed and misaligned teeth. Neglected, these oral diseases cause animals pain, misery and secondary infections spreading to the heart, liver and kidneys. Inflammatory substances (cytokines) injure the heart, kidneys, pancreas and possibly the joints.
Daily brushing (with equal parts salt and baking soda), safe chew toys, and periodic treatments with specific oral care products -- like those from PetzLife -- will help reduce the need for annual dental cleaning under a general anesthetic. This is a high-risk procedure for many animals and could be avoided by owners taking better care of their animals' mouths.
B.K., Washington, Mo
Tags: cat Washington MO diet food
Sep 03, 2012
We have a cat who is 9 years old and weighs 19 pounds. We have her on Purina Pro Plan weight management food trying to get her to lose some weight. The biggest problem we have is her throwing up.
She just started this about two years ago. We have been to three vets, and each says something different. Her stomach has been X-rayed. They think she vomits because of hair balls. She gets one Capilex pill every morning to try to digest her hair balls, but she still throws up several times a week -- and sometimes more.
B.K., Washington, Mo Sep 04, 2012
You have a middle-aged, overweight cat who is probably suffering from the same related health problems we see in overweight people. These health issues include diabetes, arthritis, fatty liver and heart disease. A veterinarian should check this out.
The most common reasons cats throw up after eating are not only hair balls in the stomach, but eating too quickly -- usually because they are so hungry and are fed only twice a day -- or being allergic to one or more ingredients in their food.
I would transition your cat to a cereal-free cat food such as Organix or Wellness. Give 2 teaspoons of food six to eight times daily, along with probiotics or a little plain live yogurt or kefir. Try to get her to play more; physical activity is good therapy. This is one of the reasons I advise people to keep two cats. They stimulate each other and are more active and healthier than live-alone cats.
G.L., Washington, DC
Sep 02, 2012
For the past 17 months, I have been a feral cat colony caretaker. All of the cats were part of the Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program, and further breeding has ceased. The colony in which I am involved consisted of 10 cats originally; there are now five. Some have disappeared over time, and, sadly, one was found dead recently, with no obvious illness beforehand.
I have two beloved felines at home -- a tortoiseshell and a tuxedo. One was a rescue cat, the other a shelter adoptee. Needless to say, they are loved and respected for the wonderful animals they are.
I am writing to you today with the following questions regarding feral cats, as well as caretakers such as myself:
- Are you an advocate of feral cat colonies, and, if so, what conditions must be met by the caretaker(s)?
- Do you believe that euthanasia is a more humane approach for cats that are not receiving annual vet visits, such as feral cats?
- Do you feel I am wrong in sustaining the lives of these innocent animals that are susceptible to disease and many other hardships?
My colony has ample shelter and fresh food and water provided daily. We clean feeding bowls, etc. We stress hygiene as much as possible in our efforts.
I decided to be a feral cat caretaker because we, as human beings, through neglect and disdain, have forced these innocent animals to fend for themselves through no choice of their own. Many of these cats have unique personalities, no different from my two at home. As a caretaker, I do whatever I can to lessen the hardships of these animals.
G.L., Washington, DC Sep 03, 2012
I wish there were more compassionate and caring people like you helping animals. Unfortunately, the best intentions often go awry. Maintaining a feral cat colony is a full-time responsibility. Cats who are sick or injured and too fearful to be caught do suffer. Even with neutering, there is the ethical question of providing food and shelter to cats only to prolong their suffering until they expire.
My biggest concern, and the reason I oppose TNR programs, is cats killing birds and other wildlife.
As I have discovered, some feral cats can be socialized and make good indoor companions. Perhaps you may find more fulfillment facilitating adoptions at your local shelter (ideally for two or more littermates) and pushing for legislation and public education to deter people from letting their cats roam free.
I applaud your efforts to help these poor animals, and I respect all involved in TNR programs. But the consequences of humane intervention must be considered, for the road to hell is indeed often paved with good intentions. I would rather advocate TNA or TNE -- trap-neuter-adopt or -euthanize the unadoptable -- knowing that given time and patience, many wild, terrified cats can be rehabilitated. I kiss one on his tummy every morning.
C.R.W., Washington, DC
Tags: dog Washington DC vaccinations
Aug 05, 2012
I have a 2-year-old Yorkshire terrier named Rondo who has a large, bald hot spot on the upper thigh of his right hind leg.
I took him to a veterinarian when the spot was small. She said that it came from hormones in a vaccination that was too strong for him. (I got him vaccinated at the local Petco, and it cost me $37.) She prescribed Animax Ointment nystatin-neomycin. The tube of ointment was $20, and the visit was $87. I used the entire tube to no avail.
The spot is getting larger and has a bumpy feeling. What do you suggest putting on it to make it heal? Although it does not seem to bother Rondo, it is unsightly for such a little dog
C.R.W., Washington, DC Aug 06, 2012
If this is indeed the spot where your little dog was vaccinated with a relatively huge shot for his size, then you could have a serious problem developing, especially since it is getting larger and has a "bumpy feeling."
Any veterinarian who tells a client that the "hormones" in a vaccination caused the reaction and gave you Animax Ointment should go back to school, give you your money back and read my article on adverse vaccination reactions on my website.
A biopsy needs to be taken to determine if the growth is a benign granuloma or a cancerous fibrosarcoma, which is a more prevalent reaction in cats at the point of injection. Until such a determination is made, I would advise against giving your dog any more vaccinations or other treatments.
R.M., Washington, DC
Tags: cat dog Washington DC
Jul 30, 2012
We enjoy your syndicated column here at the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), and we appreciate your commitment to companion animal health and welfare. We want to alert you to a rally on Aug. 7 at 4:00 p.m. at Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. We are marching to the South Korean embassy to protest publicly the production and sale of dog and cat meat in that country. I hope you can attend!
For those of you who can't attend, you can still organize a campaign, demonstration or leaflet distribution for South Korean dogs and cats at a local venue. AWI will provide the materials you need. To learn more about events happening nationally and internationally, please contact Rosalyn Morrison at AWI: Rosalyn@awionline.org or 202-446-2126.
R.M., Washington, DC Jul 31, 2012
Many readers share your concerns about the cruel treatment of dogs and cats in South Korea and other Asian countries, where cats are often skinned and boiled alive and dogs are tortured, beaten, hung and torched to tenderize their flesh before they are killed.
I will not be able to attend your rally, but here is my position statement: Why dogs and cats are killed for human consumption in countries such as South Korea is a question of culture, custom and commerce. But how they are handled and killed is a question of conscience, civility and compassion, which must be answered by all involved. Informed people from around the world are calling for full accountability since the measure of civilization is in how humanely animals are treated, regardless of their monetary value and utility. We should all ask ourselves if it is ethical to consume any animal species that has died in fear and pain.
C.W., Washington, DC
Tags: cat Washington DC diet food
Jul 08, 2012
My vet recommended my cat, Bob, have a dental cleaning and an extraction of at least one tooth due to a resorptive lesion. We do not want to risk putting him under anesthesia because he has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and an arrhythmia. He was diagnosed with asthma and is being treated with the Flovent inhaler.
Are the ingredients in PetzLife oral products safe for our cat to ingest? What are the results of using PetzLife on a resorptive lesion? We were told that the tooth would rot and eventually fall out, possibly causing a lot of pain and maybe an infection. Have you seen other cats with resorptive lesions use this product? Any other inforomation you could give me would be appreciated.
C.W., Washington, DC Jul 09, 2012
This possible autoimmune disease, namely the tooth resorption, is a complication of stomatitis -- check my website and archives therein for more details: DrFoxVet.com.
In my opinion, your cat is at greater risk from anesthesia than from giving him a daily treatment of PetzLife oral care gel or spray. Simply follow the manufacturer's instructions, applying a small quantity to you fingertip and rubbing it on your cat's gums, making sure to get between the teeth and gumline to help your cat get used to this treatment. Remember, more is not better for any medication. This treatment will help reduce inflammation and infection, and it may actually help arrest further tooth resorption. Let me know if this turns out to be the case.
For his heart, and also to help his dental problem, get him used to a few drops of Nordic Naturals fish oil for cats, working up to about 1 teaspoon daily. Discuss with your veterinarian giving Bob benazepril and a CoQ10 supplement.
Many cats diagnosed with "asthma" actually have a food allergy. You may want to transition your cat onto organically certified, grain-free cat food. For details, visit www.felinenutrition.org.