PETCO announced on Nov. 13 that it is making a commitment not to sell dog and cat food and treats with artificial colors, flavors or preservatives -- making it the first and only major retailer of pet food to take a stand against such ingredients. The company will start removing products that don’t meet its new standards in January, and complete the process by May. Learn more at petco.com/betternutrition.
I agree with Susan Thixton, pet food industry monitor and advocate of good nutrition for companion animals, who says: “This is a long-overdue small step in the right direction. Hopefully it will encourage the pet food industry to take the next big step with manufactured cat and dog foods and treats, and use more human food-grade ingredients rather than those condemned for human consumption.”
DEAR DR. FOX: There is a subject that I would like to see you address: the declawing of cats.
I am a dog person who has been “adopted” by several cats through the years, and I’ve learned to live with my cat allergies. When they show up, I take them to the veterinarian to get them shots and neutered, then they return to my home. Some are inside, some are outside, etc.
I have a friend who wants a cat (for indoors) and I offered a sweet, young cat; but when she said she was going to have it declawed, I declined to offer it to her. I don’t think any piece of furniture is worth putting a little animal through that. I find it very inhumane. Am I wrong?
Scratching posts and the like, treated with spray catnip occasionally, work for me. -- V.N., Saluda, North Carolina
DEAR V.N.: Some readers think I do not love or respect cats because I am vehemently opposed to the widespread practice of trapping, neutering, vaccinating against rabies and releasing them (TNVR) to fend for themselves. But I have great affection and respect for cats, and that includes rescuing strays and opposing declawing at every opportunity. I am no less opposed to the routine declawing of cats by veterinarians who are pandering to clients, and who do not first insist on trying the kinds of alternatives that you suggest.
Many cats suffer their entire lives from various adverse consequences of this mutilation. People who truly love and respect their cats, and who understand their needs, would never dream of having their claws removed. Some indoor cats, like mine, do need to have their claws trimmed routinely if they overgrow, and it is a good practice when petting cats to get them used to having their paws massaged. They come to enjoy this, and in my experience, it makes nail-trimming a breeze. Fractious cats can simply be restrained on one’s lap wrapped in a towel.
(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.)