DEAR DR. FOX: First of all, I wish to say how much my wife and I like your column. Secondly, we wish to convey a message about a happening with two of our cats.
We had two male cats, both black: one 17 years old and the other 2 years old. They were best buddies, hung out together, ate together and played together.
Our 17-year-old developed kidney disease a few months ago, and passed away about two weeks ago. We wrapped him in a small blanket, and had him in our house for two or three days until the weather cleared here so I could dig a grave in our backyard where we could bury him. When the time came, a very amazing thing happened: Our 2-year-old cat instinctively knew what was happening when I picked up our deceased cat to take him outside to bury him. He led us across the yard to the gravesite, watched the burial and watched me fill the grave with dirt, then watched over the spot for several hours.
My wife and I were amazed at the love our cat showed for his buddy and how he knew what was happening. -- H.H. and C.H., Norman, Oklahoma
DEAR H.H. and C.H.: It is thanks to readers of my long-running newspaper column who share some of their experiences about their animal companions that we can truly advance our understanding and appreciation of our fellow creatures, and slay the naysayers who deny them consciousness and basic rights.
I would like to hear from other readers about their animals’ reactions to the death of another animal or person in the family. In my experience with dogs, it is good to let survivors examine the deceased. However, once, one of our dogs became very upset when we placed the body of a beloved dog in the grave we had dug in our backyard; she began crying and digging frantically to retrieve the body. So I do not advise that they be allowed to witness the actual burial.
DEAR DR. FOX: My kitty, Tony, nearly 2 years old, was a rescue. Apparently Tony climbed up in a car motor to stay warm when he was about 2 months old. He sustained an injury and required surgery to close his wound. I got him from a friend who rescues and fosters cats.
Since I brought him home, he has had recurring mouth sores that look painful, but don’t seem to bother him. I’ve taken him to four different vets, who have given him antibiotic shots. I do not give Tony any seafood and he eats out of ceramic bowls, and yet he continues to have this recurring problem. A week ago, Tony started limping and holding up his left paw. I took him to another vet, who thought it might be infected. The vet thought another antibiotic might help the paw as well as calming his mouth sores.
I have spent so much money on vet bills, and wonder if there is a “cure” for his problem, or if, as my cat rescue friend says, “some cats just have this in them.” Can this be true? Can you make any suggestions to help Tony? -- C.C. Fort Myers, Florida
DEAR C.C.: Your poor cat probably has one or more virus infections going on, such as herpes, and should be tested for FIV, feline immunodeficiency virus. Advances in developing anti-viral drugs and vaccines are slow and what may be available is costly.
Try my home-prepared diet (posted on drfoxvet.net), introducing slowly since most cats are finicky with anything new. A few drops of fish oil in the food may help since it is anti-inflammatory. Avoid giving much, if any, dry cat food. The supplement Lysine, 250-500 mg twice daily by mouth (or mixed in the food), may also help. Ask your veterinarian to try VetzLife’s oral care gel on your cat.
MEDICAL MARIJUANA FOR PETS PROPOSED IN NEW YORK
A bill introduced in the New York State Assembly would allow veterinarians to prescribe marijuana, but the bill has not attracted a sponsor in the Senate, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been cautious about expanding the state’s marijuana laws for humans. Similar proposals to legalize veterinary medical marijuana are under consideration in California and Nevada.
(Send all mail to firstname.lastname@example.org 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 DrFoxVet.net.)