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Ask the Doctor: October 2022

Grooming the hand that feeds him Q: I know that cats engage in allo-grooming — licking and gently biting each other to smooth and clean their colleagues’ fur and dig out foreign particles. But why does my cat groom me? One of my cats wakes me up two or three times during the night to groom […]

The cat attacks me “out of nowhere”

Sometimes my cat seems perfectly relaxed but then bites or scratches me out of nowhere — and it really hurts! What is that about? Morrigan Hawke Taos, New Mexico Dear Ms.  Hawke, Your cat is not lashing out at you out of nowhere. Cats often use their teeth or claws on people when they are […]

Cat is awfully thirsty

My cat seems to be drinking significantly more water than usual. I know we’re getting into the summer months but still, she has not drank so much before. Could something else be going on besides the heat? Isaac Kamidulin Scottsdale, Arizona Dear Ms. Kamidulin, Yes. There are three main reasons cats start drinking more, according […]

Dear Doctor: Cat hates belly rubs

Q. My cat likes to roll over and expose her belly. But when I try to respond by stroking it, she scratches and bites. What am I doing wrong? Leland Morse Brookline, Massachusetts Dear Mr. Morse, A. What you’re doing wrong is trying to stroke your cat’s belly. She is not presenting it to you […]

Dear Doctor: New diet not agreeing with cat

Q. We needed to switch our cat to a different diet to help manage her heart disease, but I can see after only a couple of days that it’s making her sick. Her stomach is gurgling, and she has diarrhea. How are we supposed to slow the course of her disease with food when the […]

Dear Doctor: Feline acne

Q. My cat has developed small black dots on his chin and around his mouth. They don’t seem to be bothering him, but I’m wondering if they’re something I should be concerned about. Can you let me know if I need to take any action? Rosa York New York, NY Dear Ms. York, A. It […]
More toes here than cats typically have.

Dear Doctor: Poly what?

Q. How many toes is a cat supposed to have? A cat I just adopted from the shelter seems to have an awful lot...

Dear Doctor: Timing the weaning

Q. We have taken in a cat off the street who turned out to be pregnant. That’s okay with us. She just gave birth...

Dear Doctor: Mast Cell Tumors

Q. During a routine check-up, my cat was diagnosed with mast cell tumors on her skin. How worried should I be? Danielle Castellani Hoboken, New Jersey Dear...

Dear Doctor: Helping a Cat in Mourning

Q. We had the same two cats for 19 years. They were from different litters but were the best of friends. One of them...


Q. My cat has started seeing a new doctor at the clinic I take her to, but I noticed on her diploma hanging on...
Tim Watters’ three cats, Nemo, Muzzy, and Choo-Choo, are fine outside as long as they’re not too close to the mosquito repellent diffuser.

Q. Is the mosquito repellent toxic to cats?

Q. I have found conflicting information about the safety of Thermacell mosquito repellent devices for cats. It sounds like the active ingredient, allethrin, is...