DEAR DR. FOX: I've been feeding a stray cat for over a year. I may be moving in a couple of months, and I don't want to leave the cat, as I don't know anyone else who will care for it. The cat is very friendly and likes to hang out in my yard, but won't let me get close enough to pet it. I'd like to know how to capture the cat so it can be taken to a shelter and, hopefully, adopted. -- J.J., Alexandria, Virginia
DEAR J.J.: Call animal control or your local animal shelter, and it should come and set up a humane trap to get the cat.
Since the cat is friendly and well-nourished, he may be adoptable after neutering, vaccinations and blood tests for feline viral diseases. It is best not to feed stray, free-roaming and feral cats without luring them into a humane trap; otherwise, you could be inadvertently contributing to their multiplication and to the spread of disease.
One veterinary colleague tells me that he had a client come in with her indoor-outdoor cat who got feline leukemia from a feral cat her neighbor had been feeding for many months and who often came onto her property.
DEAR DR. FOX: I saw your article about how animals show affection, and the stories reminded me of an event with one of our cats, Maggie.
Maggie is a 16-year-old indoor cat, but since we live in a big house in the middle of nowhere, there's plenty of entertainment.
Several years ago, my partner, Jack, and I were exchanging Christmas presents in the living room. I was sitting on a footstool by the coffee table; he was in a chair facing me and Maggie was on the table, watching. I would hand Jack a present, and he would open it. He would hand me one, and I would open it. After a couple rounds of this, Maggie got down and left the room. A few minutes later, Jack looked down at my stool and said, "Um, I think you have another present."
Sure enough, Maggie had reappeared and deposited a very dead mouse on the floor beside the stool. This thing had been dead for at least three months! I thanked her profusely, even as I deposited it in the trash.
I don't know about love, but it sure shows that cats aren't as dumb as we think. -- E.J., Westminster, Maryland
DEAR E.J.: Thanks for this delightful insight into feline behavior. Cats are highly observant animals, capable of mirroring behavior through observational learning -- copycats, indeed!
DEAR DR. FOX: My 3-year-old collie has been diagnosed with endocrine pancreatic insufficiency, something I had never heard of before. She is currently on famotidine, amoxicillin, Tylosine Powder, B-12 shots and PancrePlus Powder. The hope and plan is to reduce to just the PancrePlus once things are under control.
Do you know of any foods or treats that would be good for her? Also, are there any other treatments you are aware of? -- G.L., Moorhead, Minnesota
DEAR G.L.: This digestive enzyme deficiency is probably caused by a combination of canine genetics and a high-carbohydrate diet, which makes demands on the pancreas to produce digestive enzymes, all compounded by diet-induced changes in the dog's digestive tract's bacterial population, the "microbiome." Some breeds are affected worse than others.
Try my home-prepared recipe on my website (DrFoxVet.net), and purchase freeze-dried all-meat dog treats. Stick with the veterinary treatment protocol and medications, and your dog should recover soon. For more details about canine diet and health, see the book "Canine Nutrigenomics" by Dr. W. Jean Dodds and Diana R. Laverdure.
(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.)