Dear Dr. Fox: My 18-year-old female cat recently had a stroke. After a month of nurturing, she has made a nice recovery. But now, she uses her litter box to urinate, but defecates on the rug in my sunroom. I change the litter regularly, and when she went in front of me in the sunroom once, I showed her that it upsets me. After that episode, she used the litter box for two days, but is now back to urinating in the litter box and pooping on the sunroom rug. Help. D.M., Tom's River, New Jersey
Dear D.M.: Your cat is old, and I would let her defecate on the rug in the sunroom, at least it is confined to one spot in your home. Place a large pee-pad on the area and smear some feces on the surface to encourage her to use that spot.
She may be constipated and experiencing pain when in the litter box. Add a few drops of olive oil to her food. An abdominal massage, as per my book "The Healing Touch for Cats," may also help.
Dear Dr. Fox: In a recent column about a dog with itching problems, but no fleas, you did not mention what you advised another reader a few years ago. I read that column, which was about the same thing my German shepherd had, and you recommended local honey in the dog's diet. It totally took care of the problem -- no more itching. So I wanted to mention that again, as it really works. S.B. Trenton, New Jersey
Dear S.B.: Thanks for this timely reminder. Local bee pollen or honey, one teaspoon per 40 pounds of body weight daily, in the food can help many dogs with seasonal allergies.
Nonprofit, veterinarian offer help
for seniors, low-income pet owners
The nonprofit Pets for the Elderly helps older people around the country get pets by subsidizing adoption fees, and the group recently began helping with food, grooming and routine veterinary care costs. Pets have been shown to motivate seniors to exercise and take medications as prescribed, said Susan Kurowski, the group's executive director.
Dr. Marie Louderback, a veterinarian in Minnesota, has begun making discounted veterinary visits to assisted living facilities and low-income homes. Her organization, Minnesota Supporting Companion Animals for Seniors and the Disabled (MnSCASD.org), accepts donations to support and expand her practice. We need more charity organizations like this across the country in these challenging times.