Dear Dr. Fox: I have a 3-year-old female cat named Bijoux. She weighs 16 pounds, very overweight, yes, I know. She is constantly hungry. I have been feeding her Meow Mix Tender Centers.
My vet did a blood test on her, and her triglycerides came back at 1,044. I was told that this was serious and could lead to many complications.
What can I do to help my cat? L.M., West Palm Beach, Fla.
Dear L.M.: This is a very common problem with cats on dry kibble — they can become food addicts, refuse to eat other kinds of cat food and wind up with various health complications. These include metabolic syndrome, obesity, diabetes, arthritis, fatty liver disease, high blood pressure and heart problems.
The kind of manufactured food you are giving her is in the “junk food” category. You should transition her to a canned cat food such as Halo, Wellness or Friskies, grain-free, or, ideally, my home-prepared diet or the Honest Kitchen’s freeze-dried cat food.
Try different varieties of moist, grain- and soy-free cat foods. Feed her a heaped teaspoon only, on a regular schedule, six to eight times a day. Weigh her every three to four weeks, and if she is not losing weight, make it a level teaspoon.
Most cats do best having several small meals daily on a clean plate, well-washed to remove any odor of old food. Avoid all dry and semi-moist cat foods.
Dear Dr. Fox: Fall is here and mice are getting in. Exterminators want to use poison baits. Are there alternatives? G.V., Houston
Dear G.V.: Adopt two kittens from your local shelter (if you have no cats currently) and keep them indoors, of course. Their scent will deter mice, and they may be good chasers and catchers.
Essential oil of peppermint in handfuls of absorbent kitty litter can be a deterrent, distributed where mice may travel in your home. Or try putting the same in old socks, if the mice are in the attic or ceiling.
Avoid using poisons, especially outdoors. They get into the larger ecosystem and poison raptors, foxes, stray cats and other wild carnivores that may eat the bait or poisoned mice that may not die inside your home. One’s own pet could also be poisoned inside.
There are humane traps for use in-home, and the mice can be trapped and released to fend for themselves in a local parkland or field. Glue traps are wholly inhumane, and wire-snap traps do not always quickly kill.