Owner wants less face time with kitty

Dear Dr. Fox: My 8-year-old Himalayan cat, Sweetness, is a real delight. However, every time she comes to lie down next to me she always puts her butt in my face. Can you tell me why she does this?...

Dear Dr. Fox: My 8-year-old Himalayan cat, Sweetness, is a real delight. However, every time she comes to lie down next to me she always puts her butt in my face. Can you tell me why she does this?

She was also throwing up a lot, and I took her to the vet. They put her on prednisone, 5 milligrams daily, for two weeks. This is the same Prednisone I had been on. Could this hurt her? - J.L., Minneapolis

Dear J.L.: I must admit I have reached the point of despair reading letters about cats and dogs with various health problems all being given Prednisone. This corticosteroid medication may be expedient and cost containing, often making symptoms magically disappear - but it does not cure the problem.

Repeated treatments can create new and difficult-to-treat health problems from herpes flare-ups in cats to Cushing's disease in dogs.

You need to find out why your cat is throwing up, not mask the symptoms with this kind of drug. It is often these same veterinary clinics that are selling biologically inappropriate manufactured pet foods to their clients (high-cereal-content dry foods for cats), along with pet health insurance schemes and the overprescribing of vaccinations and potentially harmful anti-flea/tick drugs.


Your cat's in-your-face antics should be accepted with gratitude and good humor. It's a friendly feline social display derived from the tail-up greeting and butt presentation of kittens to their mothers.

Dear Dr. Fox: I am trying to determine whether my small-breed dog has a food or environmental allergy. Can you tell me how soon after eating an offending food a dog would exhibit symptoms?

He has hot spots caused by itching. He does not have any digestive or bowel problems. He is on a home-cooked diet in which I use a variety of proteins. The carbs I give him have no gluten. The only treats he gets are bison-meat chunks with no added ingredients. There is no corn or wheat in his diet. - S.G., St. Paul

Dear S.G.: From your list of various animal-protein types (lamb, salmon, egg, chicken liver, etc.), vegetables and low- or zero-gluten grains, you are on the right track when it comes to finding which foods that may be triggering allergic reactions in your dog.

You have taken the first step - knowing the ingredients and sources. Next, you must feed a combination of only one animal-protein source, one type of grain and one type of vegetable for five to seven days to see if your dog has an adverse reaction.

Then switch to another combination, adopting a "rotation diet," giving the dog different food-ingredient combinations every few days. Be sure to check if any of the supplements (multivitamins, multiminerals and essential fatty acids) that you are hopefully including (as per my basic recipe on my Web site, ) are not causing any adverse reactions. You do this by giving none for a week, then adding to the diet.

A daily supplement of probiotics or plain organic yogurt that contains live, beneficial bacteria can help many dogs and cats with allergies. Probiotics can also help with chronic ear problems, digestive upsets, urinary-tract infections and allergies.

Dear Dr. Fox: We have a 10-year-old golden retriever. For quite a few years now (we also have cats), she has been eating cat feces and litter out of the litter box. Is there something we can do to stop it? We clean out the litter box as much as possible, but sometimes she beats us to it. Is this addition to her diet harming her? - L., Virginia Beach, Va.


Dear L.: Healthy cat poop should not harm your dog. She could simply be cleaning up, just as she would her own puppies. Or she could be lacking certain nutrients, digestive enzymes and beneficial probiotic bacteria present in all healthy animal feces.

See to her diet as needed, and avoid using clumping litter that could cause complications if swallowed by your dog. A tablespoon of raw, plain live yogurt daily is all that your dog may need - this is a popular and effective cure for many dogs that are coprophagic (poop eaters).

Dogs who are given regular dog food (a scoop of dry kibble day in and day out) and no human food or treats often develop nutritional-deficiency diseases as documented in the new book "Not Fit for a Dog: The Truth About Manufactured Dog and Cat Food."

Many dogs become poop eaters in order to make up for these deficiencies. Skin problems are common from such junk convenience, causing too many prescriptions for problem-causing Prednisone. Dogs also become obese because of carbohydrate excess and then suffer when put on low-calorie, weight-reducing diets that are high in fiber and deficient in nutrients, leaving them constantly hungry.

Dear Dr. Fox: My dog, a 22-pound mutt, had many ear infections until I tried a suggestion offered by a friend's vet, which has totally cleared up the ear infections. He suggested we give our dog a 4-ounce cup of YoBaby yogurt daily.

That was a bit expensive for us, so we switched to a 24-ounce size of vanilla yogurt offered by our local Publix supermarket, giving the dog one 4-ounce cup twice a week, Wednesday and Saturday. That was the cure!

A larger dog might need the 4-ounce cup more often, but experimentation would be necessary. Tell your readers this really works; it did for our friend, too. - J.F., Naples, Fla.

Dear J.F.: Thanks for confirming one of my favorite remedies for many conditions. But skip the vanilla with sugar. Plain nonpasteurized yogurt full of beneficial probiotic bacteria is a cure for many ills.


Food-borne illnesses

The high incidence of bacterial food poisoning (one in four people annually, 5,000 deaths and 300,000 hospitalizations, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) is a serious public health issue.

Some of these illnesses can be passed on from cats and dogs to human family members. The government's response to kill harmful bacteria on meat and other produce using irradiation should be questioned on the grounds of safety and nutritional value.

Cats in Australia who were fed an imported cat food that Australian health authorities subjected to atomic radiation developed serious brain damage, and there were many fatalities owing to incurable neurological impairment. For more details, see my report posted at .

Send your questions to Dr. Fox in care of The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns

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