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Aging cats still could find a home
Dear Dr. Spiegel, I sure hope that you can help me. I am taking care of three cats - one indoor female and two outdoor males, ages 12, 10, and six. My daughter moved and couldn't take her cats because the landlord didn't want animals. She pays for their food and visits to the vet. One of the males had a broken leg which cost close to $1000 to fix and care for. They are all loveable and very much attached to me, and I them. My problem is I will be moving soon and cannot take the cats. My daughter and I cannot talk about their future without getting upset. We cannot just leave them, and she doesn't want to part with them. So we've decided it's best to put them to sleep. We just don't know what else to do. This may sound cruel to you, but we will have piece of mind knowing they won't be hurting or face another winter like last year. Please, and I beg you, is there any way I can be assured that these cats will be put to sleep and cremated and not used for experiments or dissected. Please is there anything else we can do? Desperate Mother & Daughter Elsmere
Dear Desperate, After a thousand dollars in vet bills, I would hope that you have formed a good relationship with your veterinarian and can trust his or her integrity. Most veterinarians are particularly caring and compassionate people. However, if you are still uncertain, assuring the outcome you have chosen for your cats is as simple as remaining in the room with them when they are put down. The procedure is quick and painless, though I would expect your conscience might suffer considerably more than the cats. While you may feel that no one could possibly love these cats as much, or care for them as well, as you, you'd be surprised how many people are out there who share that same love and concern for their own animals and others. Placing your cats in another home can require a good bit of work, but you benefit by the control you can have in choosing who will assume the responsibility of their care. Placing them in a shelter is certainly a simpler solution, however, you lose the ability to guide their adoption. And while many shelters will euthanize animals that they are unable to place, others like the Delaware Humane Association are "no-kill" shelters, limiting the numbers of animals they accept, but keeping them until they are adopted out. Why not get a place where you and your daughter can live with these cats. There are always ways when the will is there!
Dear Dr. Spiegel, I have a female terrier that looks like the dog that was on the R.C.A. commercials years ago. Her name is Suzie. When she has an itch in her behind and tail, she rubs it on our rug; and when I take her out on our front porch she rubs and cries badly and pushes her rear to our metal railing. I have taken her to two vets for treatment, which has cost $40 and $43. I cannot afford that, being on social security. Can you tell me what to do? I hope so. Thank You, S.W., Wilmington
Dear S.W., From your description, Suzie rubbing behavior, often called "scooting" is a classic indication of anal sac disease. Although these dogs are in a bit of discomfort, anyone who's seen this will concur that it's a pretty amusing sight! It's a fairly common problem in small dogs, and quite rare in large and giant breeds. Treating this problem is usually as simple as putting on a rubber exam glove and gently putting pressure on the sacs until their content is extruded. It is something that you will probably need to do about once a month, and it is something that your veterinarian can show you how to do at home. The next time I'm on a housecall in your neck of the woods, I'd be happy to stop by and show you how to do this on your own.