Dear Doctor: When the diagnosis is 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 A. Dear Ms. Castellani, While a diagnosis of mast cell tumors on the skin is of concern, it’s not super-high on the list of physical ailments to worry about. […]
When’s the last time your cat gave a luxurious stretch and yawn?

Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome

Aging cats often start vocalizing a lot more, change how and even whether they interact with people, and start soiling the house. The shifts can come gradually and seem like responses to aches and pains, so people frequently assume they are just signs of a cat growing old. But, says the American Association of Feline […]
The official recommendation for how long a cat should fast before undergoing anesthesia may differ from what the veterinarian tells you. Listen to the doctor.

How Long Should Your Cat Fast Before Anesthesia?

For healthy adult cats about to undergo an operation, the American Animal Hospital Association now recommends a 4- to 6-hour fast prior to anesthesia. The organization suggests even shorter pre-surgical fasts for cats younger than 2 months of age and cats with diabetes, who need to eat their food at specific times to pair with […]
A cat with asthma who learns to use an inhaler can often enjoy significant relief from symptoms.

For Cats with Asthma, Inhalers

We often think of cats as exacerbating breathing problems in people with asthma. But cats, too, can suffer from the wheezing and coughing that come with the disease, known in the veterinary world as “feline asthma” or “chronic bronchitis.” At least 1 percent of cats are affected, with estimates as high as 5 percent. Some […]
Spaying or neutering can result in an increased appetite.

Does Spaying or Neutering Really Lead to Weight Gain?

If you’ve recently had your cat spayed or neutered and it looks like your pet has put on a few, you’re probably not imagining it. Spaying and neutering don’t cause weight gain, but they do create physiological changes that could predispose a cat to packing on extra pounds. The risk for weight gain appears highest […]
This cat has acute glaucoma.

Recognizing Glaucoma

Does your cat have progressive cloudiness in one or both eyes? Has the white of an eye stayed red? Has one or both eyes enlarged, perhaps to the point of bulging? Or does the cat keep squinting, with his eye teary? Get him to the doctor without delay. He might have glaucoma, and the sooner […]
If a cat stops using his favorite scratching post, it may mean he’s in pain.

Old Cats: Three Vet Visits Yearly

If your cat is older than 15, you should be taking him to the veterinarian for a wellness exam not twice a year but three times, or every 4 months. That’s the latest advice from the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), a cat-centric veterinary organization that has just come out with new guidelines for […]
Some — not all —cats are pretty chill about taking a pill.

Take Your Medicine

Few words fill cat owners with more dread than “She needs a daily pill.” Not always the most compliant companions, cats spit pills out. They run from the room when the vial of pills appears. They refuse to open their mouths. Some owners give up — a bad idea because if a veterinarian prescribes a […]

Constipation: Don’t Just Assume It Will Correct Itself

Most cats defecate once a day; some cats, twice daily. It wouldn’t be unusual to skip a day, but you should be concerned if there has been no stool production after two days, says Tufts veterinary internist Michael Stone, DVM. Infrequent or difficult evacuation of dry, hard feces are “red flags to which owners must […]

Dear Doctor: Pillow foot

Q. Two of my cat’s feet have become kind of puffy, or swollen, and it looks like he’s uncomfortable walking. I should probably take him to his veterinarian, but I am dreading it. My cat hates going to the clinic. How serious is this, and can I treat it at home? Priscilla Loving Brooklyn, New […]
Even though it doesn’t look right, it may not affect his vision. Take the cat in for a professional evaluation.

An Eye Condition That Looks Like a Cataract — But Isn’t

A bluish-gray tint is making your cat’s eye look cloudy, or even opaque. You worry that it’s a cataract but are afraid to find out because cataract surgery is expensive. However, chances are your cat’s eyesight is fine. Most cloudy eyes that develop in middle-aged and older cats are the result of a harmless condition […]
Cavities aren’t an issue, but there are other essential reasons to brush a cat’s teeth.

The Most Common Disease of Cats

Gum disease is the most common disease to affect pet cats. It may not sound like a big deal. But gum disease, known medically...