I'm Sam Litzinger with Dr. Gary Weitzman of the San Diego Humane Society. We're interested in your animal-related questions and stories. 877-610-3647 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Again, our telephone number is 1 -- if you need that 1 -- 877-610-3647 or email email@example.com. You can play our animal of the day quiz or The Animal House Facebook page. You can visit facebook.com and search for "The Animal House," and there we shall be. Let's take a telephone call from Leslie. Leslie, glad to have you with us in "The Animal House." Question for Dr. Gary?
Yeah, I'm calling because I got cat from a shelter about a year ago.
And her name is Stella. And we noticed she was really playful. She's about three years old and we would see her chase her tail and stuff. And so she seemed to have a lot of energy. And my husband thought we should get another cat so she can play with this cat.
About three weeks ago – and got Tommy. And he's a kitten, about four months old, and we adopted him. Now, one thing about Stella, the cat we had, is she had been declawed previously.
And so we adopted Tommy and we followed, you know, kept them separated and then introduced them after about a week. And let them sniff under the door and all that.
Well, the problem is Tommy's so full of energy. And he immediately wants to jump on her.
Oh, of course, yeah.
Try to go after her. And she doesn't like that at all. And she, you know, of course growls and hisses. And we, you know, spray them with water 'cause I read that was, you know, something to do.
Yeah, I wish people would stop writing that everywhere, because everyone's shaking cans of pennies at puppies and spraying cats with water. And it's just kind of maddening. And it doesn't do anything, but…
…anger the animal that you're doing it to. It does get their attention, but it can increase stress, too.
My mom said, oh, just let them stay together. They'll eventually work it out. And I don't know. I kind of worry because she's declawed.
Mm-hmm. No. Don't worry about the declawed aspect. I mean, keep the little guy's nails cut. Obviously don't declaw the kitten. Nobody should be declawing anything.
I know. No, I know. I know.
I know. Yeah, obviously you went to a shelter so you're a very good person. So you would never declaw a cat. We always tell people to give cats two to four months, unless it's a blood bath. And sometimes, very sadly, it can be. You know it can be a really bad match between the existing cat or cats and a newcomer. And it's been three weeks. You've got another really six to nine weeks before I'd be worried about the interaction not working out.
And I bet it'll work out. Cats get really annoyed by kittens and their energy. The safety net for an adult existing animal, whether it’s a dog or a cat, is their own, you know, private hotel room. So I would make sure Stella has her own place to go. You're already doing it. You're separating them. And yeah, definitely, your mother's right, too. Let's get them together the way you've been doing it. You can sort of supervise and you can break them up if it gets to be too outrageous. Just (word?) it and try to get, you know, more and more together activity as time goes by. And I think it'll work itself out. And as the kitten gets older, he'll be less crazy. And that will be very much appreciated by Stella, I'm sure.
Okay. But stop spraying the kitten. That's not good.
Don't spray, yeah, no good. Doesn't do anything but get water on your new sofa. (laugh)
Okay. All right.
Really. And also get that kitten tired. Lots of play, you know, lots of things for him to play with and toys and treats and all that.
Unfortunately, that will take 24 hours a day for you.
Yes. You have to quit your job.
Yeah, I know. He's full of energy.
Thanks very much.
Okay. Thank you.
1-877-610-3647. Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Let's take a telephone call from George. George, glad to have you with us in "The Animal House." Question for Dr. Gary?
Yeah, I have about an eight year old large Pomeranian. She's about 16, 17 pounds. She's kind of a throw back. We got her from a Pom posse. She was severely abused, has a bad back and a displaced hip. Just after we got her, she got totally paralyzed after she jumped up to greet me one day.
Oh, no. Really?
And Dr. Aimarosa (PH) was able to bring her back.
Wow, that's a close call.
What's her name, by the way, George?
Diamond. Yeah, and she is, isn't she?
She's a gorgeous dog. People stop me on the road all the time and tell me what a beautiful dog she is.
Oh, okay. Did…
But my problem is this, she's not real social with other animals. And my wife unfortunately passed away about eight months ago.
And even though she and the dog were not close, they were, you know, companions in the house and there was someone there for her. Everybody's been telling me that I need to get her a companion. And I'd really like to get your opinion on that.
You know, it depends. That's unfortunately the truth. It depends on really what Diamond thinks. And she could have been very bonded to your wife, but if you didn't have that sense then it's only the fact that the household has changed. Not necessarily the person that's no longer there, unfortunately. You mentioned she's kind of antisocial. And I assume you mean with both people and dogs?
No, no. People she loves. She'll go to anyone.
She loves people, but not dogs.
Yeah, not dogs.
Yeah, this is not gonna be a dog that's gonna do well having another dog in her house.
You know, you could try to fight that, fight against reality a little bit. We all do. And maybe try to opt for a puppy which is the most annoying thing in the world to an adult dog. You know, they're very cute, but they're very annoying to adults. But I don't think it's gonna work. I think for you and for Diamond, getting another dog isn't necessarily the answer here. I think it's really tincture of time. And you said it's been about eight months. Are you seeing…
Yeah, she's doing fine. She does (unintelligible) …
She doesn't whine and she doesn't whimper. She seems to be happy.
Yeah, okay. And…
She doesn't like -- all the other dogs we've had, used to wait for me by the door when I got home. She's laying on her pillow, like, you know, the princess.
Just waiting for me to come home.
But I think for her it's gonna be all about you and her. And maybe other people that you bring into your house, you know, friends that you have over. Getting her out to let socialization happen on her terms. You know, going for walks with her, letting her see other people.
Yeah, that's probably gonna be it. But honestly, if she's not really keen on other dogs, bringing them into the house permanently is not gonna be the answer.
Okay. I appreciate it.
You're the one, George. You're the one.
Thanks very much.
Thank you very much. Our telephone number is 877-610-3647. Our email address is email@example.com. Let's take a telephone call from Luan (PH). Luan, glad to have you with us in "The Animal House." Question for Dr. Gary?
This is Luan Luan, how are you?
I had a question for you about my cat. He's 12 years old. His name is Jack. He's been looking a little chubby lately.
In the abdomen area. He's been refusing his dry food and only eating his wet food. Hasn't been drinking very much water. And his behavior has changed recently.
He's doing a lot of laying around as opposed to, you know, being his more usual active self.
The vet said that he wasn't chubby, in fact it was fluid retention.
And they did do an ultrasound, and found an abdominal mass. She's thinking it's in the pancreas area.
And, you know, I just wanted to get your assessment on things because I was given some pain medication and, you know, told to make him comfortable.
Just out of curiosity, what…
Did the vet give you any specific recommendations or ideas on this? 'Cause I guess we're trying to determine how serious this is, Gary.
Right. Well, it's serious. In this case what it sounds like your vet found was a pancreatic tumor. We know those are pretty serious, but they're not always inoperable. But it's not a great sign, you know, to have the fluid accumulate. I would say, you know, rather than having you just wait it out if you have questions, I would say if you've got access to an oncologist -- and there's a lot of them out there in veterinary hospitals -- have a consult.
You know, get the copy of the ultrasound. You know, bring it. Have them review it and just go over options with you. I'm not a big fan of going to the end of every conceivable treatment, nor is any veterinarian you're gonna find. We're gonna wanna sit down with you and talk very practically about what you can gain from going through a treatment or not. Or better yet, if there's any treatment available. And in this case, with Jack, I think that if there's a treatment, obviously you wanna pursue it, you know, to the extent that you can, you know, financially and what's best for him.
But if there's not, then absolutely, making him comfortable, making sure that his last whatever they are, are good for him. That's gonna be your first priority. So I would say, honestly, if you need a referral to an oncologist, your vet should be able to do that. If not, pop me an email or call me at the League and I can find somebody in your area you can talk to. And don't be worried that it's gonna be $16,000. It could be a lot, you know, to do treatment, but what's most important -- and everybody should hear this -- is having that conversation with a specialist first.
And honestly, what's right might be to do nothing, but I think that bears a good conversation with a specialist.
Thank you so much.
Yeah, thanks, Luan.
Sure. Good luck with him.
Yeah, good luck. That's a tough situation.
'Cause I was similar, I mean, relating to Ella the Beagle, because finally in the end the vet said, look, let's really talk about this. And, you know, the options were laid out. And then you know what's going on and you can make a decision.
Yeah, you need that conversation.
But you have to have that conversation.
1-877-610-3647 is our telephone number. Animalhouse@wamu.org is our email address. Let's take a telephone call from Stephanie. Stephanie, glad to have you with us in "The Animal House." Question for Dr. Gary?
Yes, please. I'm used to being staff for cats. And I had two that were about 13 years old.
One passed with cancer last summer. And the other one had never been alone.
So I went to the pound and I found a really cute little kitten about a year old and brought it home. I was kind of conflicted about one of two cats to get and my conscious got the better of me, and I brought the second one home.
(laugh) Oh, no. Okay. We love that. Excellent.
That's not uncommon, Stephanie. That happens a lot.
…the devil made me do it.
So what -- is there a problem now?
Yes, there is. The 13-year-old bonded pretty well with the first cat that I brought in. The last one in was kind of on its own and bonded with me, but the two of them were fairly close. The 13-year-old and Natasha, the first one in, were fairly close.
It comes Christmas, I decide I need to take some of these guys, you know, separate them, go to Nashville to visit family. And so I took the 13-year-old and Natasha, the first adoptee with me. As I get them there, my son's reaching in the car and I'm telling him, look, that's a kitten you're reaching for. You've gotta grab it front feet and hind feet or she's gonna reach up and slash you.
He says, no, Mom. I've got it by the scruff. I'm, you know, military, got it under control.
She got loose.
By the way, the scruff's not the best place. We should tell everybody out there when you grab a cat…
Don't do this at home.
…or a kitten, but go ahead. She got loose in the car?
Oh, no. Okay.
I was parked outside at midnight out in front of his house and she got loose and tried to go over the fence, tried to go through the front door, went around the other side of the house into a wooded area. She was loose for two days and we caught her in a live trap.
Okay. Oh, that's great. That's great that you got her. Good.
As I found the cat in the trap, the trap was bouncing off the ground. It was about three feet long and about 12 inches tall. We brought it back in his house, opened it up. She didn't fight with the 13-year-old, but every night she tried going through the window to get out. So I took her to a local vet and asked him to give her a shot to kind of calm her down. And I'm wondering -- she didn't fight with the 13-year-old, but I'm wondering -- she's just really not calming down after a couple of days -- if I got the right cat.
So I had checked with the neighbors, nobody was missing one. It was the same identical color.
Oh, my. We have heard this story before, too.
You know, we -- I was thinking as you were saying this, Stephanie, we've had this exact story before. And it turned out it was a different cat.
It was a different cat.
So, okay, what was -- do you remember if we had good advice that last time around? How do…
Microchip. Microchip is always the good advice, but…
Well, you microchip. Well, probably the cat was not microchipped, right, Stephanie?
Not microchipped. And these were kittens so they were on their own or kind of like, you're my staff. I don't have to come when you call me.
So name recognition wasn't there.
Do you really think this isn't your kitten? Does it seem completely different and any physical differences that you can actually confirm?
Okay. Guys, I've had it home in Virginia since the 1st of January.
Oh, a few months, okay.
When she first got home here she tried going out the windows here for the first three days. She only comes out at night. She hides all day long during the day. When I see her at night, she runs like heck. She's even bounced off the windows a couple of times.
Good heavens. You have a feral cat.
Well, actually the second adoptee was the feral. This was a housecat. The gray one was supposed to be.
No, no. I know. But I think the cat that -- well, it certainly…
You think I kidnapped a feral?
I do. So I guess the question really is, can you live with having this kitten, now probably a cat, at home with you and Natasha? Obviously we're not gonna get you a solution on the air necessarily today, but I do want you to think very strongly about getting in some professional help. I think you need a trainer to come, a behavior person to come over, assess what's going on. And honestly, don’t be afraid of doing that. You don't necessarily have to do six months worth of work, but you need someone that can just say, here's the treatment plan. I'll help you with this if you can afford it. I'll let you do it on your own if you can't, but here is your treatment plan.
Someone has to see the cats together and know what you're dealing with, but I do think you brought back a feral cat. And now just to make the best of it, you know, you're a good person to do this, but I think I would try to get somebody, a good cat behaviorist, in to really help you assess the situation at home.
Wow. When can animals be microchipped, please?
Oh, we do it as early as two months. We like to wait until they're spade and neutered, if you can do it.
Well, but that's a little reminder.
Boy, that way you would be sure, I guess. Thanks, Gary.
This is Dr. Gary Weitzman with an "Animal House" pet care tip. Summer's here and this is the most popular time of year to get a new pup or kitten for your family. So if you're in the market for a new canine or feline friend, check first at your local animal shelter. That's the best place to start. What many people don’t know is that often a quarter to even a third of a shelter's animals are purebred, sometimes even more.
So even if you don't find that Chinese Crested you've always wanted or the Persian you had as a kid, state your preferences to your adoption coordinator. Many times they'll stay on the lookout for exactly what you're looking for. Or simply try to find a place in your heart for someone else. No matter what, you'll find your perfect new best friend and you'll save a life at the same time. For "The Animal House," I’m Dr. Gary Weitzman.
We're just about ready to close the curtain on this edition of "The Animal House." First, here's the answer to our Animal of the Day quiz. Earlier we asked if you knew the role an Australian Cattle Dog usually plays in the hierarchy of domestic canines. The answer is, it's a working dog. That breed is also among the 10 most intelligent dogs. That's according to psychologist and researcher Stanley Coren's book, "The Intelligence of Dogs."
Thanks to our guests, Dr. Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and Kathryn Bowers, Benedict Carey, Dr. Barney Long and Bob Owen for their contributions today. We also thank Bob James, Mark James and Acoustic Alchemy for their music today. Special thanks to Dr. Gary Weitzman for his work. And thanks to you for joining us in "The Animal House." I'm Sam Litzinger.
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