Friday, April 27, 2012

Reader Question: Dem ol’ Litterbox Blues

Dem ol’ Litterbox Blues. 
My colleague, Alice Moon-Fanelli, chimes in on what to do when cats start avoiding their litterbox.

QUESTION:  I have 5 felines; 4 females and 1 male.  Three of the cats are older (2 females and 1 male), between 5-6 yrs of age.  The other two are young females. About 5 weeks ago, one of the young  females was spayed.  About 2 weeks ago, this female, Buttercup, began defecating and now, urinating,  on the family room and other small rugs.  The rugs have been cleaned and sprayed with anti-marking solutions and Nature's Miracle, but she continues to defecate on the spot and is not concerned about who is watching.  I live in a large home, with a large lanai which is enjoyed by all the cats.  There are 3 large litter boxes available and I use the "World’s Best Cat Litter" in them. Do I need to increase the amt of boxes?  Should I have her checked for a UTI or other illness? I am getting ready to change all the litter in all the boxes to fresh litter.  She is a beautiful, sweet little cat, but is making me crazy!  Any help/advice will be greatly appreciated.

Julie Lapitino
Viera, FL

ANSWER: Dear Julie,

Monday, April 23, 2012

Reader Question: Feline King of the Hallway

One of my readers has a cat whose desire to be King of the Hallway is driving her crazy!  Here’s what noted veterinary behaviorist Nick Dodman has to say about it:

QUESTION: I have a 14-month-old ragdoll who constantly wants to go into the hallway of my apartment building to the point that he is driving me “crazy”.  He will sit by the front door and cry and cry and cry, put his paw on the doorknob, and literally beg me to open it.  Once I take him for a walk, the first thing he does is rub himself all over the carpet then strolls the hallway as if he were King.  I tried putting a harness on him so I can take him outside, but he won’t allow me to.  This happens several times a day, and it really has become very annoying.  Could you please make a suggestion as to what I can do to get my “strolling” cat to want to stay inside?

Phyllis Kohl


ANSWER: Dear Phyllis:

Friday, April 20, 2012

Bee Sting on a Cat's Paw

The other day, I took a glance at our afternoon appointment schedule, and I saw that a cat was coming in for a “bee sting”. This is not a common presenting complaint at our hospital, so I was intrigued, but skeptical. When the cat came in, however, the story the owner related sounded pretty plausible.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

It’s snot what you think… or maybe it is

My clients crack me up sometimes.  

As you know, I own a cat hospital, and cat clients are a little different than dog clients.  Cat clients are intense.  I mean that in a good way, of course.  Some cat clients are worriers.  They watch their cat’s every move, and if something is just a tiny little bit off… WHOOSH… they’re off to the vet, terrified something terrible has befallen their cat. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Dr. Plotnick's Response to *50 Things That Your Veterinarian Won't Tell You*

There’s a post from the Reader’s Digest website that is making the rounds. It hasn’t gone “viral”, but I’m seeing it pop up on a lot of the newsfeeds that I subscribe to. It’s entitled “50 Things That Your Veterinarian Won’t Tell You”. They make it sound like you’re getting some super-secret scoop on what really goes on behind the scenes, like Anthony Bourdain’s book “Kitchen Confidential”. 

Many of the comments don’t really pertain to me or my practice, since I only do cats. But I do think some of the points are worthy of commentary. I’m selecting a few that I think are relevant to me, my clients and my readers. Feel free to read RD's entire post if you like.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Reader Question: Introducing a Trouble-Making Cat into a Stable Cat Household

Veterinary behaviorist Nick Dodman weighs in on the mayhem caused by the introduction of a trouble-maker into a stable cat household

QUESTION: I have two cats (not from the same litter) who are 8 years old:  Patches (19 lbs.) and Molly (half-Manx around 9-10 lbs.).  I also have two miniature dachshunds Annie and Acee, who are 6 years old.  I introduced a new cat about a month ago, whose name is Cutie.  I would say she is around 1 year old.  We live in the country, and she showed up on my back porch (where I feed several feral cats) wearing a collar but no tag.  She is very sweet and loving to humans, and she seemed so vulnerable; however, she doesn’t like other cats (except for an aggressive tom cat).  Since being in the house, she has chased Patches three times…now he is terrified of her and hides in the closet.  Molly has wandered out but gets in hissing/growling contests with Cutie.  Additionally, Molly has now stopped eating, but she is diabetic which is controlled through diet.  I don’t want to give up Cutie, but I don’t know what to do.  Molly would start eating again, I’m sure, if I can just get Patches out of my closet (where she normally eats uninterrupted).  I keep Cutie in the den where my dogs are kept in a crate during the day and night when I am not home or sleeping.  Can you offer any concrete suggestions?  Thank you very much for your help.
Elissa Patadal


ANSWER: Dear Elissa:

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Reader Question: Can Cats be Hoarders?

Can cats be hoarders? My colleague Alice Moon-Fanelli says anything’s possible!

QUESTION: We have had Heff for a year. He was a humane society cat and the vet said he was about 2 years old so now he would be 3 years old. During the day, he will find pairs of socks or other piece of clothing and bring it into the kitchen area, meowing, a specific meow, while doing the transport. We cannot figure out what triggers this behavior. He appears very well adjusted to indoor life and outdoor cat cage time, he eats well and gets along with my 4 other cats. I can come home to 3-4 pairs of socks on the kitchen floor!!! He also does this behavior when we are home. Do you have any thoughts on his behavior?

 Joanne Priebe

ANSWER: Dear Joanne,

Cat Man Do Awarded Cat Blog of the Month by aims to bring you quality information about cats, as well as keep you entertained. And that is exactly what Dr. Arnold Plotnick's mission is with this blog "Cat Man Do." Which is why our blog won TCS' Cat Blog of the Month April 2012! MEOW! is everything cats cats cats! For in-depth cat information check out the numerous articles on cat care, cat health, cat behavior and cat breeds. Or just pass the time reading some Cat Snips to further your knowledge about cats. Join in at their Cat Forums - Share cat care advice or just chat with fellow cat lovers.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Reader Question: Why do Cats Bring their Toys to the Water Bowl?

Ever wonder why cats bring (and sometimes drown!) their toys to the water bowl?  Here’s what my colleague Alice Moon-Fanelli has to say about this:

QUESTION: I have a four-year old tiger striped cat named Quincy.  He was adopted from our local Humane Society when he was just seven months old.  Since that time he has grown into a very beautiful and playful cat.  However, he has one very odd habit which I cannot seem to get an answer.  Quincy has a favorite toy which is a stuffed mouse.  He constantly drops this mouse which has stuffing inside into his water dish which saturates the mouse with water.  He will carry this saturated mouse around the house which we sometimes step on and will get an unpleasant wetness under our feet.  But, the worst of this habit is when he drops the mouse in his water dish and then proceeds to jump on the bed with the mouse in his mouth and drop it on or near me when I am sleeping.  Again, my sheets and I are getting saturated with the water from this mouse.  The other morning he hid the saturated mouse inside my pillow case and woke me up trying to bite at my pillow trying to get the toy out.  I then awoke to half my pillows soaking wet because of his saturated mouse he had placed inside.  These rituals that he performs are always in the early morning hours.  Can you tell me why he has to keep saturating his toy mice and why they must be brought to me in my bed? 
Best Regards,
Terri Oreck

ANSWER: Dear Terri,

Monday, April 9, 2012

Reader Question: Feline Marking Behavior

Here are two reader questions that deal with marking behavior.  As you’ll see in these two letters, some cats mark with poop.  Others mark with pee.

QUESTION: My wife and I are retired and have two 3-year-old cats, Mr. Charles Dickens and Ms. Charlotte Bronte, (male & female/neutered & spayed, indoor only) adopted from the local cat rescue. Mr. Dickens is the “alpha” cat and weighs 17.5 lbs. Ms. Bronte weighs 12.5 lbs. The cats like to sleep on our bed at night and almost all the time when we are away. Otherwise, during the day they sleep in many different locations. Mr. Dickens is more outgoing with strangers and will be the first to “check them out” when we have guests. Ms. Bronte is very shy and takes a considerably longer time to investigate strangers (if at all).

During the holidays, our son visited us and was staying in our guest bedroom. Somehow our son closed the bedroom door when he went to sleep not knowing that the male cat was under the bed in his room. Unfortunately, the male cat needed to use the litter box, and instead of waking our son, he found our son’s open sports bag which was on the floor with some clothing in it and used it as a litter box. The cat immediately began a habit of defecating in the center of the master bedroom bed instead of in the litter box about once every other day. About three days ago, he defecated on the center of the guest bed as well. This occurred shortly after we had weekend guests who slept in the guest bedroom and when we thought that the bed in the master bedroom was the only target.

The bed linen and covers were laundered after each occurrence, and more recently “Zero Odor” has been sprayed in the master bedroom. We have tried a Feliway plug-in in the master bedroom, all to no avail. The only way we can prevent this behavior is to close the doors to both bedrooms during the day, opening them when we are ready to go to bed, which we would prefer not to do routinely as it makes the house seem smaller. Closed doors worked for several days in a row until I inadvertently left the master bedroom door open for not more than 10 minutes, in which time the male cat slipped into the room, repeated the act, and slipped out. The female cat is not a party to this behavior. She seems to ignore his bad manners and does not seem to be offended when he exhibits his bad behavior while she is sleeping on the master bedroom bed.

We have no idea how to begin behavior modification of Mr. Dickens. We are quite sure that his behavior is deliberate and not accidental. We love both cats and enjoy their company.

I apologize for the length of this letter. I wanted to include all the information I thought was pertinent. We hope you can help.

Sincerely, David and Janet Harden

ANSWER: Dear David and Janet:

Reader Questions

From August 2004 to January 2012, I served as the medical editor of Tufts University’s Catnip newsletter, under the brilliant and professional guidance of my friend and colleague, Arden Moore.  [It would take an entirely separate blog to detail Arden’s contributions to the world of animal education and entertainment.  Just check out her website and her podcast and see what I’m talking about].  Arden left Catnip to bigger and brighter endeavors, and the publisher decided to revamp the newsletter.  In short, the medical editor’s position was eliminated.  Sigh. 

However, while I was the medical editor, I got to work with two excellent behavior specialists, Dr. Nick Dodman and Dr. Alice Moon-Fanelli.  I frequently called on them to answer some of the more challenging letters sent in by Catnip readers.  I’ve decided to share their wisdom with you.

In the near future look for blog posts by myself as well as my fellow colleagues (look for the tags "Questions" and "Answers". I'm very excited to be able to provide you with their insights on my Cat Man Do blog.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Just another Manic Monday - Part 2

(Continued from part 1) After that crazy morning I had a little break, or so I thought.   I was hoping to cram a little food in my face, but my technician Hiromi was doing a dental cleaning, and she informed me that I had a tooth to extract.  It was a carnassial tooth (the third upper premolar), and that’s a three-root tooth.  The gums around the largest root were very diseased, and there was a very deep pocket between the gum and tooth, indicating that the periodontal ligament (which attaches to tooth to the gum) was diseased.  However, the gums around the other two roots  were okay.  Trying  to extract a tooth with one diseased root and two healthy roots is NOT easy.  It took me a good 20 minutes, but I got the tooth out intact, leaving me 10 minutes to scarf down my salad.

Next, I looked at Jack,

Monday, April 2, 2012

Just another Manic Monday (a.k.a. Whatever happened to a plain ol’ feline physical exam and vaccines?)

After 23 years of being a vet, I finally have a nice work schedule.  I work Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and every other Saturday (for four hours).  I’m off Wednesday and Sunday.  It’s perfect.  I think of Monday and Tuesday as my “mini-week” and Wednesday as my “mini weekend”.  Then I work Thursday and Friday and (every other) half-Saturday, and get Saturday afternoon and Sunday off.  This schedule keeps me pretty sane.  No complaints.

This past weekend I had the entire weekend off. It’s a good thing, too, because Monday turned out to be totally crazy.  My practice has gotten really busy lately (no complaints about that, either.  With this economy, I consider myself very fortunate), and it’s all been pretty challenging stuff.  Here’s my actual day, with very little dramatic embellishment.  This is what comes through my office – and what goes through my brain – on a manic Monday.

A Cat's Diary

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