DEAR DR. FOX: I have two indoor cats and have inherited my former neighbor's outside cat, Mickey, who is about 5. I feed him, and I have a small heated shelter for him on our porch.
My husband and I tried to bring him inside and get him used to our indoor cats, but they have not gotten along. Now he is trying to come back in, and it is breaking our hearts. I know he should go to the vet before I really introduce him to our cats, but I cannot pick him up, and he attacks if he feels threatened; he has done it to me inside and outside our house.
I suggested maybe we should have Mickey put down, but my husband does not agree. I am really torn as to what would be best. Any suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated. -- E.H.K., West Palm Beach, Florida
DEAR E.H.K.: You and your husband are what my wife and I know only too well: captives of your own compassion!
You will have to trap Mickey. Then the veterinarian should first do a blood test. If it comes back positive for feline immune-deficiency virus and/or feline leukemia virus, the humane decision would be euthanasia. This would also protect your other cats.
If he is OK, then Mickey needs to be neutered if that has not already been done. That will make him easier to handle. Vaccinations are also necessary, and the veterinarian should check for fleas, ringworm, ear mites and internal parasites.
If all works out well for you and Mickey, follow the steps posted on my website on introducing a new cat into a family with cats, or continue to care for him outdoors. (If he stays outdoors, putting a collar with a bell on him would help limit his predation abilities and save some wildlife.)
DEAR DR. FOX: A few times since your column began appearing our paper, you have mentioned your "home-prepared cat food recipe," which you direct us to find on your website.
You write a newspaper column, Dr. Fox. Your objective is to get readers to affix their eyeballs on your column. My eyeballs are affixed thusly. I would love to have your cat food formulation, but for crying out loud, Doc, put it where you wanted my eyeballs to be: right in front of me on the page. -- D.L.H., Bartlesville, Oklahoma
DEAR D.L.H.: Thank you for reading my column every week! Please understand that there is limited space in my column, and the recipe, which includes essential feeding advice, would take up more than a whole one. There are many issues to cover every week, and so listing my recipe is not feasible.
If you do not use a computer, ask someone who does to print out my basic cat food recipe from my website. Or ask someone at your local library for assistance.
NEW LAW FORBIDS CALIFORNIA PET STORES TO SELL FROM BREEDERS
A state law that took effect New Year's Day restricts California pet stores to selling dogs, cats and rabbits obtained from shelters or rescue nonprofits. The first of its kind in the nation, the law allows only individuals to buy from breeders. (From CNN.com, Dec. 30.)
(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. You can find past columns at www.uexpress.com/animal-doctor.)