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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 died several weeks ago, and the remaining cat definitely seems to be experiencing deep grief and distress. She follows me around constantly, wanting to be petted, and she seems to require […]


Q. My cat has started seeing a new doctor at the clinic I take her to, but I noticed on her diploma hanging on the wall that she is a VMD instead of a DVM. Does that mean she is not actually a veterinarian? Patrick McCarthy Doylestown, Tennessee Dear Mr McCarthy, A. VMD is a […]
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 toxic to felines if ingested or absorbed through the skin, but the device I’m talking about diffuses it into the air outdoors. If I have one of these devices on my […]

Dear Doctor: How often for blood work?

Q. I know I should take my cat to the veterinarian every year for a wellness exam, but does he really need blood work and a urinalysis at each of those visits? Together they run at least $200. Martha Fierstein Rhinebeck, New York Dear Ms. Fierstein, A. First, it’s important to point out that the […]

Dear Doctor: Silent Meow

Q. Sometimes my cat meows at me, but no sound comes out. What is the significance of a silent meow? Lorraine SchneiderOmaha, Nebraska Dear Ms. Schneider, A. To tell you the truth, no one really knows why cats sometimes meow silently, although a number of theories exist. Some believe it means a cat is feeling […]
Why do they always seem to know who they can make sick?

Dear Doctor: Sidling up to people who are allergic to them

Q. You often hear people who are allergic to felines saying that when they go to the home of someone who has a cat, the cat won’t leave them alone and keeps coming over to them and rubbing against them. Why do cats want to make contact with the very people who are allergic to […]

Dear Doctor: A clowder of cats?

Q. I just read that a group of cats is called a clowder. Where does that term come from? Susan MaleMadison, New Jersey Dear Ms. Male, A. “Clowder” is an early 19th-century variant of the word “clutter,” which comes from the Old English word “clott,” meaning lump. If you think that doesn’t sound so good, […]

Dear Doctor: When rough play is too rough

Q. My cat likes to play rough and sometimes scratches me in a tussle. My wife says the scratches are not safe and I should stop encouraging such play. I think she’s overreacting. Can you help us put this matter to rest? Otis Curtin Mobile, Alabama Dear Mr. Curtin, A. Yes, we can. Stop encouraging […]

Dear Doctor: Cat leaks urine while sleeping

Q. My 10-year-old cat has begun to leak urine while sleeping and sometimes when she is awake but close to dozing. This did not happen when she was younger. It’s not like a full release of urine, just a dribble. She is not at all bothered by it and in fact is totally unaware when […]

Dear Doctor: Why Kneading?

Q. I know my cat feels good when she kneads on my chest because she purrs gently and also does it rhythmically and calmly....

Dear Doctor: Watery Eyes

Q. Why have my cat’s eyes been watery lately? Angie Slomanson Carlisle, Massachusetts Dear Ms. Slomanson, A. If your cat’s eyes have a watery discharge, it’s quite possible...
Black cat

Dear Doctor: Adjusting feral cats to life in your home

Q. I adopted three feral cats from a shelter when no one else would — a mother and two of her kittens. The littermates,...