It's Your Turn - Tips From Our Readers


Additional electrical cord catproofing

Hi, I just discovered your site and had to comment on one of the tips from your readers. It came from a Lisa W., and had to do with catproofing electrical cords. I have an 9 year old tabby who has always chewed on any and all electrical cords he can get at. He even burned his mouth once, but that didn't stop him. We first tried wrapping electrical tape around the wires, but he chewed right through that! So what we did was to get some plastic loom, the type used to wrap wires in car engines. It's inexpensive, can be bought in several sizes, in case you need to wrap multiple wires together, and works like a charm. Kashmir never chews it. I hope someone benefits from this. Alison

Urinating problems -

I thought I would pass along a tip for a problem that we have solved. I don't know if it would be useful to your readers or not. There is no reason in the world we would ever give our baby (cat) up, but some people do for the smallest of reasons. One day our male, adult (8years old) cat started to stand and urinate. He would get in the litter box and he didn't do it every time, but half of the time he would do it and it would go everywhere. If I happened to be in the bathroom at the time he was going, I would gently push his bottom down towards the box. He let me do this and then he would urinate properly. The problem was that I couldn't always catch him. So we decided to put the litter box in the shower. We make sure the the tub is dry after we shower and of course we remove it while we shower. It has worked just wonderful and gets washed down twice or more times a day when we shower. No more problem. We also have the masturbation problem and he is neutered also. That one letter you have on it could have been written by us. It is the same problem we are having, word for word. Thanks for you site, Diane

Declawing thoughts and scratching post training tips

Your site is great, I can't stress that enough! Dr. Mike said he would be interested in knowing about an easy alternative to declawing, because most people aren't willing to "train" the cat to use a post. I run a cat rescue, so this has been tested on our own 6 cats, plus many, many foster cats and kittens. All of our cats LOVE corrugated cardboard scratchers that they sell at PetSmart, Target, Wal-Mart, etc. Most of them come with catnip to sprinkle on the scratcher, and they are very inexpensive, $5 to $10. Maybe vets could sell them at their office, as an alternative to declawing. It is really catching on where I live, so I'll bet it would be a real hit! Dr. Mike made it sound like training is too much work. In my experience, getting a cat to not scratch on the furniture is no more work than litter "training" a cat. They basically teach themselves if you provide them with appropriate scratching material. If the cat is a horizontal scratcher (carpet), buy horizontal scratchers such as the corrugated cardboard. A berber throw rug with duct tape on the back placed on the existing carpet stops damage and provides an appropriate outlet for carpet scratchers. If the cat scratches vertically (upwards) and the cardboard scratcher doesn't entice them, buy a vertical scratching post. Sprinkle catnip on the scratching material for assured success! As far as the few cats who need their nails trimmed to prevent scratches, nail trimming only needs to be done about once of month to keep the nail blunt. Dogs need to have their nails trimmed, so doesn't the occasional cat deserve it too instead of a radical surgery? Even though I have a great amount of respect for Dr. Mike, based on my own experience I disagree with most of the information on his declawing page. Many declawed cats come to rescue and shelters not using the litter box or because they are biters. My own experience with declawing, and those around me who have had their cats declawed, tells me to trust the many humane societies, the ASPCA, Cat Fanciers Association and many other countries who believe that declawing is anything but a convenience. About 10 years ago my parents had my kitten declawed. Her personality completely changed after she was declawed (from a very social and loving girl who loved visitors, to trying to attack anyone who came to our home). To this day she is still an attack cat. She even bites me on a regular basis, hardly what I would call a convenience (love her anyway though). I have NEVER seen a declawed cat climb a tree, although I have seen them try and fail. It is crucial for a cat who winds up outside to be able to climb a tree to escape other animals and children who are threat to them. >From observing my own cats/foster cats, I know that front claws make a big difference when climbing, including cat trees and scratching posts. The declawed cats can't do it. I also believe that the front claws/tips of the toes do help the cats balance in tricky situations. The importance of this should not be minimized... my mother-in-law's kitten broke his leg shortly after he was declawed. He fell off of a dresser and caught his leg on something on the way down. Just recently someone donated a cat tree to us. Her cat was no longer able to use it after it was declawed, and she made the decision to give it away after the cat fell from the top level. As for the belief that a cat's front claws aren't important outside, I have observed feral cat colonies, and strays for a long time now. Many cats use a swat with their front claws as a warning to wandering dogs, which can mean the difference between the dog leaving the cat alone, or an all out chase leading to possible death of the cat. The practice that I most disagree with (to put it lightly), is veterinarians who declaw a kitten but who won't spay or neuter it at the same time, because they either don't know how to do early age neutering or think it is bad. These cats are winding up on the streets! The mating process is brutal, both to males who fight over a female in heat, and females who "tease" the males at the beginning of the heat cycle but then drive them off until they are ready. Male and female cats get beaten up during the process, why risk putting declawed cats through the mating process? Please don't declaw a kitten if you're not going to spay/neuter it at the same time. By the way, we advocate for indoor only cats, and so does the ASPCA, most humane societies and rescue groups. These groups as a whole are also are very against declawing. Think about it. Could we possibly know something that veterinarians don't: declawing doesn't save lives... On that note, here are the statistics on reasons why cats are turned in to shelters: From the National Council on Pet Population Study, The Top Ten Reasons for Pet Relinquishment to Shelters in the United States ( ) 1 Too many in house 2 Allergies 3 Moving 4 Cost of pet maintenance 5 Landlord issues 6 No homes for littermates 7 House soiling 8 Personal problems 9 Inadequate facilities 10 Doesn't get along with other pets More food for thought. What if we started routinely "de-teething" dogs to prevent bites and damage to furniture? Would that be acceptable (hope not)?!? Most veterinarians in my city do not even discuss alternatives to declawing (scratching posts sprinkled with catnip, trimming nails). It is a routine surgery, with basically no education to the client. Many people are even being mislead about the amount and length of pain their cat will experience. I hope that Dr. Mike can offer some hope for the people out there who are considering declawing and want to know the whole truth behind it. The ASPCA calls it mutilation, in many countries declawing is not practiced or it is outlawed, Cat Fanciers Association believes it CAN cause behavioral problems, and under every breed description they make it a point to say that they disapprove of declawing or tendonectomy surgery and that scratching posts are necessary for a long and healthy life. You'd be surprised at how willing people are to go out and get a scratching post and trim nails if necessary when they hear this. Thanks again for the wonderful site, and for maybe allowing me to pass on the information to the many people who visit it.

Spay/Neuter Saves Lives

Jessica Orlando Home for the Cats, Animal Rescue and Pet Adoption 6/2/2002

Getting medication into your cat

I just wanted to let you know that I have been reviewing your site to try found a possible cause for my kitty's diarrhea problems as well as get information regarding Metronidazole. I saw on their someone was having problems with giving this pill to their cat and wanted to offer this advice. I was first given the medicine in a liquid form that was made to taste like fish, unfortunately my kitty apparently does not like seafood and this made medicine time horrible. I then got it in a pill and had problems with that. Tried several foods, cream cheese, cheese wiz and treats but to no avail. I foundly bought the pounce soft treats for hairball treatment. All you have to do is slice open the side of the treat (try not to break the treat) then slide in the pill (my presciption was 1/8 of a tablet) and feed to kitty. Since my kitty eats this without putting it down he wasn't able to taste the bitterness of the pill and I was able to stop worrying about how to give him his medicine. I just wanted to let you know that I have been reviewing your site to try found a possible cause for my kitty's diarrhea problems as well as get information regarding Metronidazole. I saw on their someone was having problems with giving this pill to their cat and wanted to offer this advice. I was first given the medicine in a liquid form that was made to taste like fish, unfortunately my kitty apparently does not like seafood and this made medicine time horrible. I then got it in a pill and had problems with that. Tried several foods, cream cheese, cheese wiz and treats but to no avail. I foundly bought the pounce soft treats for hairball treatment. All you have to do is slice open the side of the treat (try not to break the treat) then slide in the pill (my presciption was 1/8 of a tablet) and feed to kitty. Since my kitty eats this without putting it down he wasn't able to taste the bitterness of the pill and I was able to stop worrying about how to give him his medicine.

Hope this offers some assistance to your readers.


Programmed feeding time

I was reading some of the information on your website because I take care of my friend's diabetic cat when she goes out of town. I noticed that several people have a problem regulating the times that their cats eat because they aren't home all day. I suggest that they consider buying a battery operated food dish that can be programmed to open at specific times. This has worked very well for my friend's cat. I know they can be purchased at PetSmart and probably many other pet supply companies. I hope this idea helps someone.


Catproofing Electrical Cords

Hi, I am not a subscriber (yet), but will probably become one in the near future. I thoroughly enjoy perusing your site, I have found some valuable information.

I just read the reader suggestion on catproofing electrical cords, and would like to provide my solution to the same problem. I have an 11 YO cat who LOVES to gnaw on any type of covered/insulated cord; electrical, cable, you name it. I simply wrapped each cord in black electrical tape. If the smell of the tape does not deter the cat, the taste and feel of it will. Thanks again for a great site!

Lisa W.

Raisin Toxicity

I want to express the need for raisin toxicity awareness.

As I type this message 2 of my labs are in the hospital with suspected raisin toxicity. Ones in critical condition and has a 50/50 chance (she's 9 years old) and the other one's prognosis looks better due to her age (18 months).

My neighbor thought he would be nice and give them a spoonful of the run off from some wine he's making. The ingredients included yeast, RAISINS and oranges.

Please pray for our dogs and make viewers more aware of this potentially deadly problem.

Thanks Brenda

Stopping a puppy from pulling on you, your clothes, etc.

I've had dogs all my life and have always run into the problem in teaching a puppy not to grab my legs and clothes during the time when it likes to chew on everything. I've found a simple and kind way of doing that with virtually immediate results! 1. When the puppy bites/grabs you or your clothes, hold firmly, but gently, the top part of his/her mouth for 3 to 5 seconds until the dog starts to want to pull away while saying No in a firm low voice. 2. Then immediately give the dog something it should chew on (a bone, toy, etc.) and praise him/her. That's it! So simple yet so effective! Try this technique and you will be amazed of how quickly your dog will stop biting.

TR 10/26/2001

Separation Anxiety Booklet


I am a second year pharmacy student doing some research on separation anxiety and stumbled upon your site. I wanted to let you know I have found your site very helpful on this topic and many other topics in general.

I was very interested in this booklet that was mentioned.

"A good booklet on this problem, "The Dog That Cannot Be Left Alone" by Victoria Voith, DVM, is distributed by Cycle. Your vet can get this booklet and others, by writing the Cycle Pet Care Center, P.O. Box 9001, Chicago, Il 60604-9001. It is not necessary that your vet sell Cycle foods-we do not. I am not sure the address is still valid -- hopefully it is."

I managed to find a link to it through Cycle Food's parent company, Heinz.

This link takes you to the Pet Library of the Pet Care Center. A menu there takes you right to the article. I thought you might want to include this link with the name of the article.

Thank you for a very worthwhile site.


Warming IV Fluid bags on the top of cloths dryers (never inside)

I've read several letters to you regarding giving cats Sub-Q's. And the Dr has mentioned warming up the fluids by either running under warm water or my micro waving the solution. My tip for your readers is to have them set the bag of fluid on top of the dryer, along with a towel. Run the dryer for however long, (usually 15 to 30 minutes for a full bag). Then wrap the cat in the warm towel and administer the warm fluids. My husband and I have been doing this for about a year now and our cat Smokey actually enjoys her warm experience.

Keep up your awesome website. And thank you all for your training and knowledge.



Physical therapy to keep mobile with degenerative spinal disease

Dear Dr. Mike:

I have read some of your letters on the internet and found them helpful. I recently lost my German Shepherd, Mandy, to cancer (apparently). She had also suffered from DM (again, apparently). I thought perhaps my experiences might help you and/or others who are in the field to learn more about DM.

Mandy first exhibited noticeable trouble with her rear legs around the age of 9. But probably since such problems are so commonplace in her breed and she wasnt doing too badly, nothing in particular was diagnosed and treatment didn't go beyond Rimadyl, which did help significantly. However, when she was 11 I left on a short trip (4 days) and did not have her sitters administer the Rimadyl. She had significant trouble getting around upon my return. Upset, I took her in once again to try to determine the cause. Our vet referred us to Dr. Chauvet, a neurologist at UWisconsin. She did a simple test (pulling up on Mandy's tail) which caused Mandy more discomfort than was normal. She suspected bulging discs. A subsequent MRI confirmed the diagnosis and Mandy had surgery to relieve the pressure a month later. After recovering from the surgery Mandy was no longer in any pain (and, interestingly, two toes on her left rear foot which had been practically inseparable her whole life were suddenly "normal", too). But her stability while walking was not really improved.

A few months later she was tested at UW and in lieu of not finding anything "else" Dr. Chauvet considered DM to be the likely cause. I was distraught due to my knowledge of the lack of hope for its victims. But our vet suggested taking her to TOPS Vet rehab in Grayslake (IL) who had a pool treadmill and offered other treatments. I took Mandy to TOPS for the remainder (17 months) of her life. They did some occasional massage and acupunture, but to me the key treatment was the pool therapy. During this time I also gave her Selenium, vitamin B, C and E per Dr. Chauvet's recommendation. Mandy never recovered "normal" locomotion, but she was able to walk, unassisted, for the rest of her life. Her ability to walk (to me, a layman) did not deteriorate beyond what I would have expected age alone to have done. She did develop some problems with controlling bowel movements, but not till very late in her life. Whether Mandy a) had a "mild" case of DM, b) didn't have DM, but was the victim of some lasting damage from a possible lifetime of a bulging disk in her lower back or c) was able to stave off the worst effects of DM through TOPS' therapy, I don't know and never really will. But I share my story with you in the hope that it can assist you and others who try to address the needs of dogs diagnosed with DM.

thanks, Alan

Cats licking people

Not a comment on the site per se, but a comment on one of Dr. Richards's answers. I'm not a subscriber, but do have some information on a question asked of him about cats licking people ( behavior).

My year and a half old kitty was one of a litter abandoned at or near birth (either her mother did not survive, the litter was abandoned, etc.). The entire litter was bottle fed nearly from birth till 6 weeks of age. For this reason, she is an especially loving and outgoing cat, affectionate as she can be, and loves to lick me, my friends, anyone. She licks fingers, toes, legs, heads, anything she can get her tongue on. I thought it was fairly isolated until I spoke with a couple friends who had raised cats with similar circumstances (being bottle fed from birth) -- all had similar licking characteristics.

She, like the cat in the original letter, as well as those of my friends, were very dog-like in their behavoir -- chasing tennis balls, being generally vocal, engaging in serious play time, being VERY sociable, loving new people and people in general.

Interesting, and thought I'd pass it on as another possible cause for licking humans in cats.

Blue skies, Catherine

Phenobarbitol warning

After her system got used to the pheno, Spot is great.....very normal seeming.

Two words of warning to your readers, however, first, the effects of pheno at first can be fairly radical. Spot could not stand on her own for at least a day, she fell face first into her water bowl and also fell down (thankfully carpeted) stairs. Owners must be vigilant when first administering this drug as the risk of falling is ever present. Second, although I want to be satisfied that everything is just fine....there is a looming issue somewhere in Spot's body and we need to continue to find out the cause of those seizures. I fear the Pheno is giving us false assurance.


Treatment of Pressure Sores

Hi Dr. Richards. I am a new subscriber to vetifo. and am enjoying it immensely. My education is medical and I was a certified cat breeder for years and have therefore amassed (hopefully) a lot of veterinary knowledge through my care of cats and dogs over the years. I have adopted retired greyhounds for years and have been presented with all sorts of problems relating to their previous traumatic environment. Thanks to your GI info. my vet and I were able to accurately diagnose a clostridium overgrowth in my new family member Ramses, a huge blue-ticked and white three year old greyhound who has suffered from chronic diarrhea due to a cruel cage environment, obvious stress, no meds or love and frequent changes in diet. He is finally coming around on a course of Tylan, strict diet with both oat bran and flax seed oil added and the use of Probiotic 8. Probiotic 8 comes in capsule form and is probably the number one source of 'good bacteria' all of the yogurt cultures in concentrated form available on the market today. It can be found in any health food store. A bit pricey, but well worth it, given the fact that it helps restore the good flora so effectively. You might want to share that tidbit with folks on the net. Ramses also is covered with the predictable pressure cage sores from being confined for all of his life in filthy hard conditions. I have found that the application of jojoba oil on the affected areas has resulted in the fastest restoration of hair growth and normal skin condition. I've never seen better results in such a short period of time. You might want to use that tidbit too. Jojoba oil is available in any health food store and is completely safe for topical application. Of all of the oils produced, it chemically is the closest to the oil produced in skin. Anyway, I'm sure all write with lots of questions in the future. You are doing a great service for conscientious pet owners who want to do the best for their animals. Sincerely Tracey

Compounding Pharmacy

Hi Mike,

I wondered if you'd ever seen this product: a chewable tablet for medicating cats from a compounding pharmacist. The photo really got my attention (see below)! I especially like the idea for metronidazole which in flavored liquid form caused much foaming at the mouth: they told me that they are able to make it in such a way that it doesn't dissolve in the mouth. The formulations are listed below, which I cut from their website. This pharmacy by the way, has managed to reproduce an old Lilly formula for all-bovine PZI -- they get the crystals and manufacture it themselves -- the only source in the US -- see my PZI page at for (much) more info. Also, I wanted to share that we've had good success with Maya's chronic gingivitus using Coenzyme-Q. I put the capsule contents in her milk or yogurt, and the sores in her mouth, and the redness around her (few remaining) teeth is much improved. Altho these vet chews don't come in formulations we need, she's not much of a chewer at this point, anyway! I hope this is of interest, and not pestiferous -- no need to reply. Thanks, as always. Laura

Book recommendation for readers with problem cats

Hi Dr. Mike. I looked at your site for help with my new female cat with aggression problems. I saw that you provided the web address of Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine behavior consulting service. Another less costly alternative is the book by Tuft's Dr. Dodman: "The Cat Who Cried for Help: Attitudes, Emotions, and the Psychology of Cats." It suggests separating feuding cats with gradual positive reintroductions, and medication if necessary. It costs about $12.00 and covers other common problem behaviors as well, including inappropriate elimination. I think he is also the author of a book on dog behavior.

I hope this helps...


Castor oil

Hi Dr. Mike, I wrote you a few months back about my Schnauzer who had had a toxic reaction to zinc supplements that were intended to help alleviate a chronic liver ailment that had been going on for months. We had tried antibiotic regimes, acupuncture, milk thistle, vitamin supplements, and on and on. I thought I would follow up with you and let you know what has finally turned the corner for us -- castor oil poultice packs. We've gone from a high alk phos of 2,500 to an acceptable 330. ALT is still high, but is down from 1,132 to 707. AST went from 337 to 56, and GGT from 332 to 27.

Here's the routine: Using natural unbleached wool flannel, fold at least once to make a pack of appropriate size. My vet shaved Ruckus in the area to apply the pack, so there is optimum absorption capability and then I also knew what size pack to make. Saturate the flannel with castor oil so that it is totally saturated but not dripping. Position pack over abdomen and cover with a piece of plastic wrap and a heating pad. I use a heated gel pack, since a regular heating pad is so large. Leave on for an hour. Do this daily for four days and after treatment on the fourth day, give the dog one teaspoon olive oil by mouth. Then stop the poultices for three days. Do this rotation for at least a month before re-testing. Natural health food stores often will carry the wool flannel with instructions on them for the castor oil pack -- this is apparently a fairly common holistic healing approach for humans. The castor oil absorbs through the skin and into the 'innards', and is healing and cleansing. My dog loves these, too -- gets to lay on his back in my arms, with this soothing, warm stuff on his belly and abdomen -- and he always falls deeply asleep during the hour. When I'm preparing the pack, he dances and gets all excited, because he knows what's coming, and enjoys it thoroughly. For the first time since April (it is now Dec 1st), Ruckus's liver enzymes are in the 'acceptable' and almost-normal range, so I am a firm, firm believer in this approach. I am still giving him Milk Thistle drops, but that's been part of his life since June, so I don't think that has made the difference. I will be continuing the packs for another 2 months, just to make sure the liver is thoroughly healed. Thought you might want to pass this on to clients that are having trouble with chronic liver inflammation. Best wishes, Liz

The FDA Animal Medication Site

Dear Dr. Mike:

I am a new subscriber. I think it is very important to alert your readers to the above Web site for the FDA concerning animal medications. It is an excellent way to alert the FDA about any problems experienced by pet owners related to medications prescribed for their pets. I use it and it works. You just call the telephone number and report any problems which brings me to the second reason why I am writing to you. I have two dogs on Anipryl and it is very important to alert your readers that Anipryl is a "MAO" drug and cannot be used in conjunction with MANY over the counter medications such as Robutussin and Travist-D. Please be sure to alert your readers who are using Anipryl to read the labels of all over-the counter medications for drug interactions reactions involving "MAO" drugs. If an over the counter drug warns against "MAO" interactions and a pet is on Anipryl they cannot use this over the counter medication. I know you know this but many many pet owners who use Anipryl do not because it is not on the Anipryl package, only the insert. Thank you for listening to my concerns. James

Glucose testing cat at home by human lancet device

Thank you Dr. Mike, for helping to get the word out to vets & their clients with diabetic animals that this is a viable option in the management of diabetes. While I am not a subscriber, I did hear that you had addressed this latest tool that is being embraced more frequently by loving pet owners to help fight this disease.

Myself, I have a diabetic cat and do a prick on the outside edge of his ear, between the vein and the edge. I use a regular human lancet device and usually have no problem getting a big enough drop for my Bayer Elite glucometer to sip up. I did try another type of meter but since it didn't sip up the blood from the edge of the ear, I frustrated myself into almost quitting before finding out about the capillary action of these great Elite meters. I do have to warm his ear thoroughly before the prick and do it with a sock filled with uncooked regular rice heated for a minute in the microwave. He also gets a face and chin massage which gets him purring and he doesn't even feel the prick. At this point the injections are actually more intrusive to him than the ear pricks.

I test before each shot and thank goodness I do - he was 121 preshot today and with no difference in last nights insulin dose or food intake or activity level. This has happened several times and I am so thankful that I figured out hometesting or we would have had a lot more hypos than the one we had when I was shooting in the dark.

The biggest problem now is that so many vets don't know about it or think you have to take venous blood and so many patients never know that this is available to them. I hope more outspoken vets like you will publish this important information so that all diabetics at least get a shot at excellent home management.

Best Regards, Gracie

Glucose testing at home

Dear Dr Mike, It's thrilling to hear that 50% of your cat owners are able to glucose test -- please, please, keep spreading the word. Vets here in Boston are wary of home testing and most feel that their clients, who are freaked by the idea of injections (at first) would never be able to handle home-testing, plus, "ear blood" gives readings that are "not accurate enough". However, for new clients, you might let them know that they can get sensor strips that can "sip" the blood using capillary action, making a pipette unnecessary. Accu-Chek "Comfort strips" and the Bayer Dex and Elite XL are this type. I'm not positive, but I think newer Accu-chek meters can use either the old "pad" type sensor or the newer "comfort strip". Also, some of the lancet devices take quite a bit of getting used to, but we don't have problems with the blood not beading up. Usually, newbies don't use enough pressure, and with those that allow different settings, we generally have to set them to their highest setting, at least at first. You don't have to be accurate if the ear is toasty warm. I use the Bayer Dex meter with Maya (see attached photos). I like not dealing with separate strips -- it comes as a cartridge of 10 that goes into the meter. I like the one-handed operation -- one hand for the cat, one to ready the sensor. It has a 100 reading memory, and software for analyzing and charting the resulting readings, which not everyone would be interested in -- but you could download it to your vet. We've completed almost 1700 tests since last July. I test her now twice a day, at each injection. We use a variable amount of dilute R, depending on the reading, and a constant amount of Humulin U which keeps her bg's between 200 and 85 when she's in her "normal" phase, like now. She's just passed her 1 year anniversary since diagnosis, and she seems very well. We experience big changes in effectiveness of the insulin for a month or two at a time, when the usual amounts of insulin seem to have very little effect all of a sudden, and her readings will be very high. I've never found out why. I adjust dose to compensate (although with trepidation), and eventually she will return to what I optimistically call "normal". I feel that it would be impossible to regulate her without testing at home. In other news, there is now a pharmacy that is compounding all-beef PZI (as opposed to Humulin Regular PZI), in case you have a client who's interested. It's BCP Pharmacy, in Texas. 1-800-481-1729, or BCPVETPHARM.COM. The Blue Ridge Pharmaceuticals product is 10% pork, 90% beef. Prior to this, you had to order from the UK to get the all-beef product. (Two cows, standing in a field. One cow says to the other, 'Say, are you worried about this mad-cow disease?' The other says, 'Why should I worry, I'm a helicopter!') Have you heard about the research that Mark Peterson is doing at Cornell on low-carb diets for diabetics? His approach seems to jive with our experience; once we took Maya off cereal products, her bg's have been easier to control, altho we still need that touch of R in addition to the Ultralente. Other cats seem to have some insulin of their own (my theory), have flatter curves, and seem to be able to handle cereals. Without any food or insulin at all Maya's bg's will rise into the high 400's. Hope you're doing well, congratz on bringing your daughter this far! Thanks as always for your invaluable site and newsletter. Laura

Getting your cat to eat a special diet Our cat Chessie was diagnosed with Chronic Renal Failure 2 weeks ago. Our vet prescribed Science Diet k/d. The only way that I can get him to eat it is to put it in the blender with water (1-5 1/2 oz can + 1/2 cup of water) to make it the consistency of baby food. This also make it easier to force feed when necessary using a oral syringe.

I don't know if this just our cats preference or if it will help someone else's cat. For someone who is out of ideas to get their cat eating, it is worth a try.


Tips for tear stains

Thought this might help others with the problem of tear staining. I am not a Vet nor do I represent any pet supply company, I am merely an accountant with 2 Shih Tzu and a good tip for those who need it.

One of my Shih Tzu has tear staining. It began as a rosy colored stain (which he had as a puppy) on his white face and was very disturbing to me. I spent lots of dollars at the vet's office to no avail, trying different ointments, medicines etc.. #1 thing is to insure that what you are feeding (food and treats) don't include anything that can color the tears. Example: I have always fed my pets IAM's dog food and up until I had this tear staining problem I always endorsed this food. It is a great food but not for dog's with tear stains, it contains beet pulp and that enhances the coloration in the tears. 3 foods I have found that you can use successfully are Purina Puppy Chow (the reg blend) Science Diet Growth, and Science Diet Maintenance. none of these will add to your problem. #2 you want to get rid of the stains that you already have. I have tried many products, but the one that works best is also the safest. It is called "Absolutely All Natural Grooming Aid" it contains only di-ionized water and vegetable protein, you can get some by calling 800-772-2559. It will take several weeks of using it daily with disposable cotton pads or sterile gauze, saturate the stain with the product and gently absorb and wipe away with another clean pad. The beauty here is even if you accidentally get some in the eye it is harmless. It took about 4 weeks for me to see a significant difference, and in 12 weeks the stains were virtually gone. I continue to use it as a safe way to clean the eye area. NO MORE is also good for stains elsewhere on the dogs body.


Medicating cats


There was a question about Benadryl for cats from a lady that had trouble giving the liquid form to hers. I had to buy some about a week or two ago. I looked at the ingredient list and it mentioned grape and bubble gum flavors. I can't imagine a cat would like this. I purchased the plain tablet form and tasted it. It didn't have a bitter taste so I mixed it with some Gerber strained ham baby food and my kitty licked it up easily. It helped her a lot with her symptoms. Just wanted to share my experience with you. I found your website today and I really enjoy it. It's very helpful. Thanks!

Best Wishes, Mary

Avoiding Food Fights...

I have four large Golden Retrievers that spend alot of time in the kitchen with us. Previously when I fed them, they would stand protectively over their food bowl, and gobble the food down so quickly sometimes they choked. They also growled at each other as if to warn the other dogs to stay away. This sounded like a full battle was about to ensue. Well, as a solution, I taught them to lie down when they eat. And they must all wait until everyone else is finished before standing. They eat slower and stopped the growling and we now enjoy eating our own meals in the kitchen with them.

Deter cats urinating in unacceptable places

I have found that my cats, and I have 8, do not like the smell of fabric softener at all. I use this as a tool to deter urinating in areas that have previously been marked. It works like a charm. I have never had a re-occurrence. All I do is place a sheet on the area for as long as it's good.



I just wanted to share a sunscreen that works great for dogs with mild discoid lupus. Dermatone makes a chapstick type sunscreen which comes in a little jar (don't use the cream for dogs). This stuff stays on dog's noses really well! Its what ski instructors use on their faces to prevent frostbite. Goes on like bear grease and stays on!

Best wishes, Kathy Declawing

Halley and Comet, brother and sister both have six toes on their front feet (I know this is referred to as "polydactyl"). I noticed that one had an extra digit that had not fully developed (the claw did not split into two and could not retract) and I decided to have just that one removed when they were spayed and neutered. I do not believe in declawing cats, but felt it was best to have just this one done. Since they were little, I have been clipping their claws, being very careful not to cut them too short, and teaching them to scratch on "their" furniture not ours. I am happy to say that I have not lost any furniture nor have the cats had to suffer any undo pain. The process has required both myself and my boyfriend to be very patient, but we are happy that we did not declaw Halley and Comet. For any of your reader that are contemplating having a cat declawed, my advice would be not to do it. Take the time to teach your cat where you would like for them to scratch and where not to scratch. Animals are like children. They need love, understanding and education. Please pass this along to your readers who are searching for advise on declawing their cat and alternate options.


Flea Control Tip

We have 3 cats (indoor only) and 3 dogs (in & out) and as you can guess fleas are a real problem in the summer. The best results we have had is to annually (in the spring) sprinkle *20 Mule Team Borax* on the carpet, let it stand for a day or so (so it can get in the nap) then vacuum it up.

Flea control Tip

If you use a flea collar on your Dog, don't throw the trimmed piece away; slip it inside your vacuum cleaner bag to kill the fleas that are picked up.


Feral cats - more socialization tips

Dear Doctor and Readers -

I agree wholeheartedly with Christine - Sleep with your feral cat from day one, nap with it, lay close to it when it rests on the floor - on your back - and look straight at it breifly and close your eyes and sigh. You don't have to touch it, unless it wants you to, for this to work.

Show no fear (such as pulling away when it bites you) or any other defensive action. You heard right. If you struggle, you will be instinctively clawed and chewed. Show no aggressive action (such as tossing or smacking or yelling or staring at it if it is "bad"). If you are afraid or mean, the cat will become nervous and freak on you. If you dislike the cat, it will sense this and you will eventually be "food".

Actively seek as much interaction as the cat will accept but find the cat's limit and don't try to be a hero. Don't force the cat to interact with other pets too soon, especially while sleeping. Sleep it in the bed alone with you for a while.

BE CONSISTENT!. Treat all other animals and humans in the home this way so there is no confusion in the cat's mind. Don't walk around with an attitude. Cats OBSERVE!

It will adopt you as it's parent (very common with males and young cats) or as a colony peer. This is virtually always successful except in the following cases - cats which are medically, organically sick and so have disturbed thought processes (pain, hypothryoid, rabies etc.) or cats which are mentally ill because of environmental stress (chronic fear, mistreatment, chronic hunger, attacks by other animals, extreme exposure to the elements etc.) OR congenital brain dysfunction (cats can be bipolar, schizophrenic, whatever, too) - and so have disturbed thought processes.

Don't beat yourself up if you fail to gentle a feral - if you honestly did your best. You can't see in it's mind or in it's past. Gentling can take a long time, too, so be patient. However, don't blame the cat if you were lazy. It was only acting how Nature told it. Sounds pretty human, huh? Scientists have determined through genetic mapping that cats are our closest relatives other than apes!

All the advice I give in this submission is gleaned purely from personal experience with many cats - and, hopefully, many more!

Have fun with your Puttycats! Bridget Nasty snacks

Our friend Gudi has this tip -

"Here's a hint for Copography - for some dogs it works if alphlpha pellets are mixed with kibble. I have a few Dobe breeder friends who had success with that, thank doG I never had to use them..."

Gudi's elegant Doberman Pincher's can be seen at her Altacrest home page. She's on the DPCA Breeder Referral Committee and will be glad to help people interested in Dobe Puppies find a breeder close to home. Floppy Ears in German Shepard Pups

Debi say's..

If the puppy is under 8 months of age, especially if it is a big-boned male, and if the ear stands on its own occasionally, it will more than likely remain erect on its own in time. The ears of a German Shepard Dog can be taped by a vet (7-8 mos of age) in the same manner as a cropped Dobe's--I do not have this done myself, but it is not an uncommon practice. My mentor in Germany, who has been breeding GSDs for 60+ years, recommends a calcium injection. Above all, do not fondle, rub, or play with the baby's ears as this can soften and damage the forming cartilage. Hope this helps!

Debi's mentors are Erika and Artur Lauer of Germany (vom Lauerhof Schaefferhunde). Artur has been breeding and training (over 1300 SchHIIIs) Shepherds in Germany for 60+ years now. With Artur's guidance, Debi's breeding program is off to a solid start.

Need to socialize those wild cats? Christine's adopted feral cats didn't stay wild long...

I don't know if what worked for me will work for others when introducing ferals, but I'll pass it on. I assume that two of my cats qualify as ferals. When I got them (a few years apart) they were each between 9-12 months old and had been hanging around the hospital grounds where I work. They'd eat food left out by kindhearted people, but had never been touched. One would come out of the bushes long enough to bat at a "cat dancer" toy, and the other seemed more outgoing and right at the end let me pet her as I put out food. (I took them because they were being trapped and taken to the shelter, and I asked for these two because I liked them.) I had noticed that both of these cats snuggled with their litter mates, and I knew that new cats should be kept apart from my resident cats for a while to determine if they had diseases, so I slept with each of them in a back room for 5-7 days. Maybe they were so used to snuggling, so lonely, and so curious that they just had to approach me in that confined room, but they did. One is now pretty darned outgoing and lets my husband and I love on her, and even seeks love by jumping in our laps. She's very talkative and if you approach her she'll make responsive noises. She purrs loudly, sometimes drools when she's being petted, and loves to squirm around in your lap to present different parts to be rubbed. She also likes to "nibble" on me. She's FIV+ but healthy so far and has loads of personality. She has made good friends with the other cats, though she was a domineering character at first. She has made all this progress in a year. She's the first one to meet us at the door when we come home. The other is often aloof, but watches me almost all the time, and at certain times every day I can tell that she wants to be loved so I'll get on the floor, put my back to her, and she'll call out to me and rub up against me and initiate a serious love session: she almost looks blissed out from my touch. She also has a thing about jumping up on my legs when I'm stretched out on a recliner with a throw blanket across by legs. She can stay there for hours, but sometimes will hurry away if I try to pull her into my lap. She obviously loves me, and gets jealous of other cats, but has to be loved according to her rules. She lets my husband touch her when he feeds her, and a few other times when she's resting so comfortably she doesn't run off. She's quite strange, and sometimes I'll see her looking at me with "the look" but if there are too many other cats around, she won't approach. She is private. One time she was so mad at other cats being near me when she was giving me signs (she approached me only to find some other cat at her favorite spot) so she chased that cat off and marked me with urine! Needless to say, I watch her signs even more closely now and head these things off. In general, I'd say they love us, and they let me brush their teeth, cut their nails, and all that, so I don't think of them being much different that my other cats. I don't know if my success was due to sleeping with them, their age, or what, but for some reason we were able to bridge the gap. I'm pretty sure I was the first to touch them so I guess they qualify as ferals. Kathleen 's Rimadyl success story

I have a 13 yr. old mixed brittany/cocker who has been having alot of left hip problems. Casey had been on the asprin and the anti-inflammatory medication, and even that the cortisone shots. The rimadyl has worked wonders in the two months he has been on it. It got to the point, again, where Casey couldn't walk up the back deck steps to get into the house. Now, Casey does real well getting up those steps, there are three of them. He is also doing some of the back scratching he used to do. We call it the "Funky Chicken";. He will lay on his back, feet up in the air, and rub back and forth. He was unable to do it for the longest time, but is back at it, and quite happy, I might add. I am thrilled with the results of the drug, and am happy to get to the vet's to get some more when we get low.

Overcoming Disability

Dear Dr. Mike: I have written to you before with a problem and I appreciate your reply. Now I would just like to comment on disabilities in animals. I have two cats that are paralyzed in their rear legs and hip areas due to injuries received when they were kittens. Hope (4 yrs. old) suffered an unknown spinal injury when she was twelve weeks old and Faith (2 yrs. old) was shot at a dumpster where she lived when she was 16 weeks old. My husband and I feel privileged to be raising these two cats. They are an inspiration to us. They have no control of their bladder, and we express their bladders two times a day which only takes a few minutes of our time. We ordered a K-9 cart for mobility and they use that for walks up our neighborhood streets. I just want to say to your readers, that it is not impossible for cats with this type of injuryto live normal, happy lives if you are willing to work with them. We have a ramp in our home that leads to a window sill so that Hope and Faith can have access to looking out of the windows. They are extremely strong in their front leg/chest area. They have been a blessing to us!! I hope that anyone who happens upon a situation like this with an animal will give it a chance. They can overcome more than we realize. Teresa

Allergic to Cats? This tip from Jerry should help.

I am a 44 year old asthma sufferer with allergies to cats, and I have 4 cats living with my wife and me.

How do I do this, you ask? Weekly wipedowns with distilled water. The distilled water bonds with the saliva allergens, effectively neutralizing them. This might sound far-fetched, but if you have allergies to cats and do this, you can "smell" the difference!!!

Recently I have started spraying distilled water around the house, and I can tell a major difference in the air quality, so I've been thinking of performing a larger-scale experiment using a household humidifier instead of a spray bottle.

I thought this information might be worth adding to your web page, and so I hope you see fit to do so.

Sincerely, Jerry Last edited 12/31/07


Michael Richards, D.V.M. co-owns a small animal general veterinary practice in rural tidewater Virginia. Dr. Richards graduated from Iowa State University's College of Veterinary Medicine in 1979, and has been in private practice ever since. Dr. Richards has been the director of the PetCare Forum...