The Animal Doctor by Dr. Michael W. Fox

A Cat for a Cat Is Good Medicine

DEAR DR. FOX: I would like to thank you for your reply to my questions about our cat, Dusty, crying to go outside all the time. I followed your advice to get another cat. I tried to adopt a young adult, but I found that the shelters in my area don’t seem to share your opinion about cats living together. I was told repeatedly that every cat I inquired about would not be comfortable sharing a home with another cat.

Long story short, I applied for any kitten from the local shelter, and was matched with a 3-month-old female tabby whom we have named Abigail Road. Dusty was so mad! She howled at the scent on the carrier, at the door to the room where Abby was being sequestered, at us, and at the swapped bedding we brought to her. Upon introduction, she howled at Abby herself. I was worried. But what Dusty immediately stopped doing was begging to go outside all the time. She was alert and focused on the invader.

After a few days of supervised interactions, she stopped crying and hissing, started stalking Abby instead, and then they quickly transitioned to play. Soon I hope to find them curled up together, but in the meantime, they gallop around the house, wrestle, eat side by side and have even both been in my lap at the same time (briefly).

Abby is a wonderful fit for our household, and the humans are again able to relax in the living room. Dusty still gets outside time, and Abby will start being trained with a harness soon, but it is so nice for us not to have the constant harassment. Not to mention, to see that Dusty is happier now and that Abby is out of the shelter -- truly a win-win-win.

The only real challenge is that now, I have two kitties that want to sleep on my desk as I work from home. I’m running out of space! -- M.M., Port Townsend, Washington

DEAR M.M.: Thanks for the update, and for sharing your experience with these totally ridiculous “one-cat-one-home” policies that some animal shelters practice. As I emphasize in my book “Cat Body, Cat Mind,” most cats do quickly learn to enjoy each other’s company, as you so clearly witnessed. Two cats living together are generally happier and healthier than those who never have any contact with their own kind. Your cats are stimulating each other and getting lots of exercise, which will help prevent obesity and other chronic health problems so common in live-alone, kibble-fed cats.

Having two or more cats in a home is the answer to help reduce the high number of cats waiting for adoption in shelters, many of which eventually “dump” the “unadoptable” ones outdoors, euthanize them or engage in the harmful practice of TNR -- trap, neuter and release.

All animal shelters should provide information on how to introduce a new cat into the home. I provide some helpful information on the topic on my website (drfoxonehealth.com).

DEAR DR. FOX: Regarding your proposal of an “Environmental U.N”: It is difficult for people to receive the good news of the accomplishments of the United Nations these days. I remember at the close of WWII, we rejoiced that a body of people from many countries would be created to talk and solve global problems, and that we would no longer have war! We need to maintain our global responsibilities and communications that benefit all people and create trust and cooperation. -- M.K., Trumbull, Connecticut

DEAR M.K.: Thanks for your words of support. I received several from readers, which is encouraging! Yes, I know what you are saying, having grown up in England during WWII. We urgently need a United Environmental Nations to, for example, stop Brazil from destroying the Amazon forest, and stop the United States from opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling. The U.S. must also cease rolling back environmental protections and anti-pollution regulations in service of an unsustainable economy that puts its citizens, wildlife and the rest of the world at risk.

TWO UTAH MINK FARMS QUARANTINED FOR CORONAVIRUS

Two of the largest mink farms in Utah are under quarantine after animals and employees at the farm tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. “There is no conclusive evidence that the animals played a role in spreading (the virus) to humans,” state veterinarian Dean Taylor said. (Full story: The Salt Lake Tribune, 8/17)

The era of trapping and raising animals for their fur should become a thing of the past. Progress has been made in the U.S. with awareness campaigns, but there is still a big demand for furs in markets around the world.

(Send all mail to animaldocfox@gmail.com or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns.

Visit Dr. Fox’s website at DrFoxOneHealth.com.)