DEAR DR. FOX: My cat Sonu died three weeks past. He was only 3 years old. My Sonu was freely roaming, and two dogs attacked him. Then after three days, he died.
If a cat has nine lives, can my cat again come to me? I can't stop crying. I want him back. -- D.P., Pune, India
DEAR D.P.: I am so saddened to hear about your cat's tragic death after being attacked and killed by free-roaming dogs. This is one of the risks of letting cats roam outside their homes, although I know it can be difficult to keep cats indoors. Many cats enjoy spending time in safe outdoor enclosures; at the very least, secure all your doors and keep screens on all your windows when you adopt another cat -- which I advise you to do. This could help you with your grief and provide an outlet for the love you had for Sonu, which I believe would be his wish.
Some people believe that animals have a "group soul," and would say any cat or kitten you adopt in the future will come from that same spiritual Source as Sonu -- and is therefore related to the spirit of your former cat. You may find a cat or kitten who looks and behaves like Sonu, which may reinforce a belief in reincarnation (which is biologically unproven). Many years ago, our Siamese cat Lily got outdoors. After many weeks, an emaciated Siamese came to our home and we took her in, believing her to be Lily. Two weeks later, an emaciated Lily appeared on our doorstep! So we ended up with two look-alike -- and behave-alike -- cats.
The belief that they have nine lives comes from many cats' remarkable ability to avoid being killed, as by traffic and larger animals, and from their ability to land on all fours and sustain minimal injury when they fall from heights that would kill us. Also, when very ill or injured, they may seem to be on death's door, but then they seek seclusion to let their natural healing processes work -- sometimes bouncing back fully recovered.
This is why they have a "nine lives" reputation, but they only have one life. However, on rare occasion, deceased cats will visit their human loved ones in spirit, as I detail on my website: drfoxonehealth.com/post/animal-spirits-companion-animal-communications-after-death.
Do not blame yourself for Sonu's death. Embrace your grief as the noble price of love, and celebrate the good times you had together. Then pass that love on to another cat that you bring into your home and heart. Perhaps go out and volunteer at a local animal shelter in honor of his memory and all he gave to you.
RABBIT PLAGUE WARNING FOR OWNERS, HUNTERS AND BREEDERS
There is a deadly calicivirus disease, rabbit hemorrhagic disease (virus RHDV2), that is decimating rabbits and hares both wild and domestic across North America. Between July 2019 and April 2021, RHDV2 has been detected in rabbits in Washington state, New York City, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Colorado, Nevada, California, Utah and Oregon.
Health officials say domestic rabbits should be kept indoors and not allowed to roam in yards; rabbits shouldn't be transported, and those that are should be quarantined for 30 days. Hunters should avoid areas where RHDV2 has been found. Flies, fleas, and mosquitoes can carry the virus between rabbits. Predators and scavengers can also spread the virus by shedding it in their feces. A vaccine has been developed in Europe, but is not as yet approved by the FDA for use in the U.S.
A USDA report states that effects of this outbreak "would be felt in the pet rabbit industry; 4-H, National FFA Organization and other hobby groups; exhibitions; laboratories; and the meat, pelt and hunting sectors. ... Viable virus has been found in decaying tissue after 90 days outdoors, potentially serving as a reservoir.”
For more details, see www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/downloads/rhdv2.pdf.
ANOTHER PET FOOD RECALL
J.M. Smucker is recalling two lots of Meow Mix dry cat food due to potential salmonella contamination. The food was distributed in 30-pound bags and sold at Walmart stores in Illinois, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Dry kibble is the most frequently recalled type of manufactured pet food. According to Susan Thixton’s analysis of FDA data, kibble accounts for roughly two-thirds of all pet food recalled since 2012. For more details, visit truthaboutpetfood.com/is-kibble-1.
(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 DrFoxOneHealth.com.)