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My Pet World: Cat needs immediate help

October 26, 2010|By Steve Dale

Q: About three weeks ago, stray dogs attacked our cat. We took our cat to the animal ER. They indicated his kidneys were failing. He also had broken ribs, a badly cut tongue and his lungs were filled with blood. He's been home for a week and half, and he's barely eating or drinking. The doctor said it's possible that if he begins to eat and drink normally, his kidneys could come back. But the way it looks now, he may starve to death. What do you think?

— M.M., via e-mail

A: I implore you: Get your cat to your veterinarian today! Cats can become very ill even under the best of circumstances when they are not eating or drinking. "It sounds as if a feeding tube might be sensible — it's not heroic, just the right thing to do," says Dr. Jane Brunt, a feline veterinarian in Baltimore and executive director of the CATalyst Council. She adds, "Your cat probably also requires pain medication. There's no indication whether kidney issues were present before the dogs attacked, but that condition may indicate a special diet."

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Q: I enjoy your column, but can't believe your responses concerning indoor-outdoor cats. I've had several cats who go outdoors whenever they want. The oldest lived in good health until he was 16. Two others lived until 14 years old. Cats deserve to be outdoors to get fresh air.

— H.S., via e-mail

A: Cats are domestic animals, and they deserve responsible owners. I am glad your cats lived to ripe old ages, but they may have been treated for abscesses from attacks from other cats, or who knows what over the years. You never know what can happen if our pets are unsupervised, or what the repercussions may be. (See the question above this one.)

Of course, cars are the most dangerous predator of all. In the cold, indoor-oudoor cats will seek warmth by slinking under car hoods. Cats can be mangled or die when the engine starts. Other cats may lap up many sweet-tasting and toxic antifreezes.

The list of hazards is a long one. And outdoor cats are hazards, as well, particularly to songbirds, innocent neighbors' gardens and homes with indoor cats who may begin to spray at the site and smell of your wandering outdoor cats.

I do agree about fresh air being a good idea. A trend in large cities is a fully enclosed patio known as "catio." Cat fencing is available for yards to keep cats in and protect them from predators. You can also take cats for a walk on harness and leash or in a cat stroller.

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