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My Pet World: Cat loudly demands food, but needs empty stomach before surgery

Cathy M. Rosenthal, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Fran,

A friend asked me to take a cat that was formerly homeless because her other cats were fighting with him. That cat is now a year old. This week I planned to take him for vet care. He had to fast from 9 p.m. until we saw the vet at 7 a.m. He wanted food and kept me awake nearly all night. When it was time to leave for the vet’s office, he hid where I couldn't get to him. As I prepared to go, he again demanded my attention because he was hungry. He was completely out of control.

I phoned the vet and rescheduled the appointment. I know that fasting is necessary in prep for anesthesia, but this is hard to deal with. He settled down as soon as I fed him.

I live alone and am 75 years old. Your insight on how to deal with this would be very helpful.

— Fran, Montana

Dear Fran,

Cats can be very demanding when they’re hungry. But fasting is essential to ensure your cat has an empty stomach before surgery. Anesthesia can make him vomit, which is not just messy for the vet techs to clean up, but dangerous as he can choke or asphyxiate on the vomit.

If he can't eat after 9:00 p.m., feed him at 8:45 p.m. You might have to rearrange his eating schedule a few days beforehand to ensure he is hungry at 8:45 p.m. and then take him to the vet's office at 7 a.m. as planned.

Another approach is to arrange for him to spend the night at the vet’s office the night before. There might be an additional charge, but it’s worth it if you want to sleep. If that’s not in your budget, you can leave him in another room and turn on some white noise for him (and for you in your room as well). Drugstore ear plugs for you also can help mute his demands.

Don't feel bad about any of these choices. He doesn't understand what you are doing is for the best and that he will eat again very soon. All will be forgiven once he returns home and returns to his routine.

Dear Cathy

Several years ago, my family adopted an outdoor kitten. We trapped her and had her spayed, fed her, and now, six years later, she lets us pet her and enjoys spending some time in our house. We live in Tucson, so I try to coax her inside whenever temperatures are extreme. Here's the problem: She will not use a litter box. I have tried providing one for her outdoors (for odor control — I can tell she uses our yard as it smells strong when the rains come!) and indoors, to no avail. A couple times, I found her sleeping in the litter box. Do you have any recommendations?

— Janet, Tucson, Arizona

 

Dear Janet,

Try mixing some of your outdoor soil with the litter so there is a whiff of what she is used to smelling outside. Then sprinkle some litter box attractant (available at pet stores) on the litter to lure her to use it. I also would provide her with a comfortable bed in a cozy place since she seems to like to sleep in small rectangular spaces. I usually tuck cat beds under end tables or beds, so they have a place to hide, out of the way of traffic. Make sure the litter box is in a quiet area too.

Dear Cathy,

As a long-time cat mom, I recommend Nature's Miracle for urine. I started with the spray bottle, but now I buy it by the jug. It will cost more than baking soda (to eliminate odor), but it really works. However, the baking soda might work as psychological warfare with the dog owner who lets her dog pee in the street in the same spot every day. Sprinkle some baking soda on this spot, and the owner might wonder what that "white stuff" is and, not wanting her dog to be poisoned, will move on.

— Vicki, Douglaston, New York

Dear Vicki,

I had been thinking of ways you could deter the dog from going in the same spot daily when the solution really was to find ways to deter the owner from walking over to that spot. Indeed, seeing a white blotch of powder in the middle of the street would make any dog owner walk around it, so the dog isn't walking through this unknown (albeit safe) substance. This is cunning and humane. I like it! Thank you for sharing.

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(Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, author, columnist and pet expert who has more than 25 years in the animal welfare field. Send your pet questions, stories and tips to cathy@petpundit.com. Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal.)

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