DEAR DR. FOX: I have a great, healthy cat, Monty, who is more than 12 years old. I adopted him from the Humane Society 10 years ago. He was there for more than a year.
He has always used the litter box, but the problem is that he never covers his urine or feces. He turns around to leave the box and scratches as if he is covering, but nothing's covered. I have tried for years to teach him, with no success.
And there is, of course, the smell. Do you have any suggestions? -- J.A., Naples, Fla.
DEAR J.A.: Since your cat is probably set in his toilet behavior, I would accept this as a blessing insofar as he does at least evacuate only in the box. Besides, from the odor you know when his litter box needs cleaning.
I do worry about cats having to evacuate in covered boxes, even the costly ones fitted with an automatic cleaning system, because of the odor of urine and feces being trapped inside. Ironically, in a recent edition of the Humane Society of the United States' All Animals magazine, there is an article advising cat owners to not use covered or hooded boxes because they may develop an aversion because of the odor; on the next page is an advertisement for a hooded, self-cleaning litter box.
For your Monty, the issue could be an aversion to scented litter or clay or other clumping litter that sticks to his paws. He may like one of Purina's better products, Yesterday's News, consisting of recycled newspaper as pelleted cat litter, which neither clumps nor sticks easily to cats' paws.
SOME NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS TO CONSIDER
-- Support your local animal shelter/humane organization. Adopt an animal or do volunteer work.
-- Give your animal companion an annual veterinary checkup. If you need a veterinarian, look for a holistic one in your area. A searchable list can be found at holisticvetlist.com.
-- Become a "kitchen anarchist" and cook more meals at home, including for your animals. Look for the USDA Organically Certified food label, shop for GMO-free produce and support your local farmers markets.
-- For your health's sake and for the Earth's sake, go vegetarian. But remember: Cats are carnivores, so no corn or soy for them.
-- If you are not a vegan, for farm animals' sakes, buy only free-range produce, not from factory farms.
-- For wildlife's sake, find safer alternatives to using Roundup and other herbicides and petrochemical insecticides around and in your home.
CLAUDIA'S CANINE CUISINE DOG TREAT RECALL
Claudia's Canine Cuisine issued a voluntary product recall for its Dog Candy Fruit Hound Cake and Dog Candy Blueberry Hound Cake due to the potential for mold. Claudia's Canine Cuisine has not received any reports of illness associated with the affected products. If you suspect that your Claudia's Canine Cuisine product may have mold growth, return it to your closest PetSmart store for a full refund. If you have any questions about this voluntary withdrawal, call the company's customer service at 501-851-0002 or email Irma@claudiascaninecuisine.com.
(Send all mail to email@example.com or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Universal Uclick, 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 DrFoxVet.com.)