Home Ask the Doctor

Ask the Doctor

Can an old cat withstand the anesthesia?

Q: I have a 14-year-old cat who needs surgery. But at that age, will she be able to tolerate the anesthesia?

He can’t learn to read music, but you can still teach him a lot of other fun tricks. 

Cat’s got rhythm

Q: My wife and I have noticed that when we put on soft classical numbers, our cat seems to settle in and become calmer. Are we imagining this, or might she actually be responding to the music?

Worried about dehydration

Q: I’m worried my cat is not drinking enough water. I never see her at the water bowl. She is on dry food. Should I try to switch her to canned food or other moist cat food that contains more water than dry?

cat depression

Mental illness in cats

Q: Is it possible for cats to have mental illness, or is it always just a matter of behavioral issues?

Dear Doctor February 2024

Claritin for cats?

Dear Doctor January 2024

Distended abdomen

Checking the urine

Q: My veterinarian is suggesting my cat have a urinalysis. He has suggested it in the past, but I have opted not to go ahead with it. Now that my cat is 10 he’s saying it really would be a good idea. What do you think? One reason I am concerned is that I don’t know how I would “catch” the urine.

Hairball concerns

Q: How alarmed should I get when my cat throws up a hairball? Chris Seeter Cedar Rapids, Iowa Dear Ms. Seeter, A: Not very. The momentary hacking, gagging,...

Ignore the “best by” date?

Q: I know that if a cat food has passed its expiration date it’s best to throw it out, but what about a “best by” date? That doesn’t seem as bad.

Can a child with asthma live with a cat?

Q: My sister wants to get a cat, but her young daughter has asthma. Won’t that just make it harder for my niece to breathe?

Dear Doctor: Broken “wrist”

Q: My cat was walking funny — kind of flatfootedly— and the vet took some x-rays and said she has something called carpal hyperextension and needs an operation. But couldn’t she just heal with a brace? I saw braces advertised for this condition online.

Sedation for dental work rather than anesthesia?

Q: Is it possible to do dental work on a cat’s teeth without full anesthesia, using a sedative gas mask or other means of...