DEAR DR. FOX: Your comments about cat litter and trying newspaper brought me back to Japan, where I lived in 1961 and 1962.
While I was there, a pack of homeless dogs and a Siamese cat "adopted" me. I shredded newspaper for the cat, and while he would come and go, he preferred this "litter box."
I'm nearly 78 now and have severe arthritis, but I do miss having pets. If I provide walkways in my condo, do you think a cat would be happy? Should I get two cats or a dog and a cat? Any suggestions would be appreciated. -- J.D., Washington, D.C.
DEAR J.D.: I, too, have good memories of Japan, where I gave several lectures on animal behavior, protection and rights; I was also an honored guest of one of their veterinary associations for animal behavior and ethology.
Clearly, you are an animal person and would both enjoy and benefit from having an animal companion. You must first check to see if there are any restrictions relating to the condo where you live, then consider your age -- a young animal might outlive you. You must also consider your physical limitations.
Two indoor, older cats might be your best choice. The adoption advisor at your local animal shelter may be the ideal professional to help you evaluate the possibility of fulfilling your heart's desire.
FLEA AND TICK DISEASE LOOKOUT
Three dogs and one cat have tested positive for plague in New Mexico, according to state health officials. Humans generally contract plague from infected fleas, but direct transmission from pets can occur. Last year, four people in New Mexico were diagnosed with plague, and one died from the infection.
Five people of the 50 diagnosed with Powassan virus infection have died. Deer ticks transmit this disease; unlike Lyme disease, which takes several hours to infect the body after the tick becomes attached and starts feeding, the virus transmission is immediate.
For safe and effective methods of tick and flea control, check my special reports at DrFoxVet.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.
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DEAR DR. FOX: I have had my Chihuahua-rat terrier mix on the quinoa and lamb recipe I got from you several months ago. The lamb I've been buying lately is from another company. My dog will not always eat it when I give it to him, and when he does, he throws up some later in the day. I am concerned because he has lost some weight and looks thin. Is there another recipe you could suggest? -- J.F., Winston-Salem, North Carolina
DEAR J.F.: Is this lamb graded for human consumption? If it is lamb byproduct, it could contain sulfate preservatives, which are not good for dogs or cats.
I advise rotating the kind of primary protein in your dog's diet every five to seven days and see how the dog does appetite- and weight-wise, as well as in terms of preference or having digestive problems. These alternatives include organic, free-range turkey, chicken, duck, lamb, pork and beef; eggs, cottage cheese, peas and lentils; and white fish and wild salmon.
Be sure to feed your dog three small meals a day after some exercise and outdoor activity. If his appetite remains poor and he continues to throw up, waste no time and consult with a veterinarian because he could have a health issue such as kidney or pancreatic disease.