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The Refined Canine



  Veterinarian Q & A

Julie Pomerantz D.V.M, is veterinarian practicing in New York City.

Feel free to submit your questions to Dr. Pomerantz and we will email you when they are posted. Because of the volume we can not answer all questions received.
Click here to submit your question

This information DOES NOT replace professional veterinary care. It is intended solely for educational purposes. Your pet's medical condition should be evaluated by a veterinarian before implementation of any medical or husbandry changes. If there is a potentially life-threatening emergency involving your pet, take your pet to a veterinarian or veterinary facility IMMEDIATELY.

October 2008

Sudden unusual cat behavior
Myrtle asks:
I have noticed my cat is biting his fur out and is drinking to much water.

Hi Myrtle, you say that your cat is drinking excessively and is pulling out his fur. Without more information about your cat it is hard to say what the cause of these behaviors is but one thing that comes to mind it hyperthyroidism – a common hormonal problem in older cats. A physical exam and some blood tests performed by your veterinarian will determine whether the thyroid is the problem of if something else might be going on. Other causes of excessive drinking include diabetes and kidney disease. Excessive grooming may be associated with skin problems, parasites and can often be induced by stress.


Traveling with your cat
Ani asks:
We have an older (16) spayed female cat, and we would like to take her with us when we travel to our vacation home, 2 hours away. Of course she doesn't seem to like to travel, moaning and crying the whole way. At her age, is there anything that we could give her that would make her comfortable for the trip? Her house mate, a 6 yr old neutered male, seems uncomfortable too, but he just rides with a very loud purring sound. We have to leave them home, and only stay away 2-3 days each visit, leaving them food and water for the time they're alone with their toys. We're getting close to retirement, and want to spend more time at the vacation spot, with our cats. Please help us with suggestions.

Cats are homebodies. Your cats are probably reacting to the stress of travel and may also have motion sickness. After a traumatic trip the cat will often be more sensitive the next time – maybe even starting to react just at the sight of the cat carrier. You can work on desensitizing your cats to the travel experience. Start by leaving the cat carrier out all the time, put a food dish or some treats inside. Once the cat will voluntarily enter the carrier then begin closing the door for short periods of time. The next step is to put the carrier in the car with the engine off, then with the engine running and then gradually start taking short car trips. Remember to drive calmly with no sudden stops and starts. If at any point the cat becomes anxious, return to the previous step and gradually proceed again. Your cats’ veterinarian can prescribe a medication that may help to prevent motion sickness and cause slight sedation to make the trip easier. It is important to check with your vet before starting any new medication to be sure that it is safe for your particular cat and to avoid any possible drug interactions.


What to do about cats who pee everywhere
Melissa writes:
Hi there, my partner and I live in a double story house with my parents living downstairs. They have 2 cats, one female and male, same age about 3 years old. The past 2 years they pee everywhere, and i mean EVERYWHERE! Mainly the male though because we have usually caught him in the act but rarely the female. They pee on front and back door, any clothes, pillows, couch, towels in bathroom, walls and even on parents bed. And the smell is unbelievable. We have tried spraying citronella all over the place but still pees. Just today i found out he peed ON my mum. My dad says its there way of telling you they love you, I'm sorry but that does not sound right. What do I do? Any advise will be valuable.

Hi Melissa, you don’t say whether the cats are spayed and neutered. Unaltered cats mark their territory by urinating – especially by spraying urine on vertical surfaces such as walls. Having the pets altered may help to stop this behavior and will prevent unwanted litters of kittens. Cats who have been altered will sometimes mark territory – particularly if they feel threatened by another at in the house or seeing other cats outside the windows. Of course you should also have the cats checked by their veterinarian to be sure there is no medical reason for their behavior. Citronella can be used as a deterrent to keep cats away from certain areas but it will not eliminate the urine odor. Use a good odor neutralizing product designed for pet odors to clean the soiled areas/objects. Of course, litterbox hygiene is very important – clean boxes every day and have one more box than the number of cats at least until the problem has been solved.


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