DEAR DR. FOX: I appreciated what you wrote about big-game trophy hunters and other killers of wild animals. I want to encourage readers to remember the billions of animals suffering in factory farms before we eat them or gather their eggs and milk products.
I live in California, where there is trapping, poisoning and shooting of coyotes and mountain lions to "protect" sheep and cattle ranches. Eagles and bobcats get caught, as do peoples' dogs.
Can't this cruelty and extermination of beautiful and rare species be stopped? -- F.M., Ojai, California
DEAR F.M.: Many dogs die when they eat poisoned bait or are caught in traps, especially the Conibear trap, which is difficult to pry open by hand to stop the dog from being strangled to death. There are many people, including myself, who embrace your concerns.
Sport hunters, trappers and professional exterminators -- such as state and federal wildlife "management" predator control agents -- know that there is always a time to justify killing, and a time to rise up against injustice, ignorance and cruelty. The latter's time, for Earth's sake and the good of all, is NOW! As the plants need the deer, the deer need the wolves and the rivers need the trees: "When the trees are gone, the sky will fall," a Hopi prophecy declares. We are seeing torrential rains falling like rivers from the sky, and the land is being washed into the sea.
For details about predator control issues in your state and what you can do to make change, contact projectcoyote.org. This organization, founded and directed by my daughter Camilla Fox, has links with nationwide and international efforts to save predator species who are the indicators and managers of healthy ecosystems.
DEAR DR. FOX: My cat's bowel movements smell extremely foul. This is nothing new. If he goes in the middle of the night, the smell can actually wake us up. We feed him two cans of Fancy Feast a day and maybe a handful of Purina Kitten Chow. He is 11 years old. Any suggestions on how we can curb that smell? -- B.R., Boyds, Maryland
DEAR B.R.: In our house, cat poop odor can be an issue, too -- especially to my wife's nose. Sometimes one of our cats forgets to bury his poop and comes racing out of the open litter box and goes crazy, cavorting around for a couple minutes. Such sweet release!
Be sure his feces can be buried in easy-to-push-around cat litter. Try feeding him a diet like we feed our cats, such as Orijen grain-free dry food or Stella & Chewy's freeze-dried food, or you can make my home-prepared cat food recipe. The recipe is posted to DrFoxVet.net
Veterinarians are trained to use their noses in the process of animal health evaluation, and smelly, soft cat poop can mean dysbiosis and the beginning of inflammatory bowel disease. Discuss these possibilities with your veterinarian.
DEAR DR. FOX: Last week, my daughters found a small female dog running along the road. They brought her home, and though she's extremely skinny, she isn't lost. I think she was dumped. We named her Leila, and she follows me everywhere! I can't go anywhere in our house without her under my feet. She has almost caused me to fall several times. She won't even go to the bathroom outside unless I'm the one to take her out.
Please tell me what to do. I'm going crazy here. -- D.M., Uniontown, Pennsylvania
DEAR D.M.: Many dogs who have suffered the terror of being abandoned or lost and put into a noisy animal shelter suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. You are seeing one manifestation: separation anxiety and the terror of being left alone. With time and a little valerian herb or veterinary-prescribed Valium or Xanax, she should improve.
She may be shy by nature, but spend time taking her out for short periods, working up to longer times, to see the world where you live and any nearby park or dog play area. Be patient -- she is in recovery, so walk carefully around her. Get her a full wellness examination, and have her checked for a microchip ID, since she could still be someone's beloved lost dog.
(Send all mail to firstname.lastname@example.org 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.net.)