Home Ask the Doctor

Ask the Doctor

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 sedation? I’m asking because a friend’s cat died under anesthesia during a teeth cleaning.

Fence on top of a fence to keep the cat in the yard

I would like to be able to let my cat go into the backyard, but no further. I have seen on the Internet that it is possible to install a “cat fence” on top of a regular wooden fence to prevent a cat from climbing over. Some are made of mesh; others, of different materials that you roll out. Some are installed at a right angle to the fence and face into the yard kind of like an overhang so the cat absolutely cannot scale over it. What is your opinion of these fence extensions? Are they effective? Can they be harmful to the cat?

Toy safety

Q: My cat, Penny, has a wand toy with a small bell and some feathers at the end of a barely visible string. I...

Are male cats friendlier?

Q: I’ve sometimes heard that male cats are friendlier than females. Is that true? Amos Butterfield Weaver, Alabama Dear Mr. Butterfield, A: The notion that male cats are...

Need money for surgery

Q: My cat needs major surgery on her mouth to the tune of $4,000. No point in berating me for not having pet health...

Photographing a black cat

Q: A lot of times, photos of my black cat come out looking like two eyes and nothing else. Is there any way to...

Litterbox woes

Q: I put a plastic liner under the litterbox. It spread beyond the box’s edges a few inches in each direction in order to...

How does she know I’m pregnant?

Q: I am just entering my second trimester of pregnancy and not showing yet, but I’m sure my cat knows. How can that be? Tamsin...