Cats get chatty when owner returns home
Q: When I travel for business, my 12-year-old niece visits twice a day to feed and play with my three cats. I'll bet the cats receive as much or more attention when I'm gone, yet they "lecture" me for hours on my first day back. All I hear is "Meow, meow, meow...." Are they saying they miss me, or that they prefer my niece and are sorry I came home?
A: Cats do respond to changes in their routine. Just as some people are particularly vocal, so are some cats (especially the Oriental breeds, though many individual cats like to "talk"). As for what your cats are saying, I'm not sure. Maybe they're not even "discussing" what you think they are. It could be they're offering their views on the Stanley Cup playoffs or nuclear events in North Korea.
Q: We've always loved dogs and have three rescues. But we can only afford so much. Heartworm pills are too expensive. Besides, I don't know anyone whose dog has had heartworm where we live. Convince me and I might change my mind and buy the pills.
C.T. Minneapolis, Minn.
A: Wherever there are mosquitoes, there's heartworm disease. While it's true that the odds are greater of heartworm in some regions than others, your area has a high prevalence. Check out the heartworm prevalence maps from the American Heartworm Society (under Veterinary Resources): www. heartwormsociety.org/veterinary-resources/incidence-maps.html.
Sheldon Rubin, a Chicago-based board member of the American Heartworm Society, notes that most heartworm meds also prevent intestinal parasites and some even prevent fleas (isn't that good bang for your buck?).
If a dog gets a diagnosis of heartworm, the choice is to treat or the dog may die, or at least suffer. Treatment is expensive and arduous for the dog. What's more, the only drug used to treat heartworm may or may not be so easy to obtain (because of manufacturing issues).
I do appreciate what you're saying, and the fact that you saved your dogs' lives is extraordinary. To save money, consider using food coupons (your food and dog food), offering mini-carrots as snacks (and fewer manufactured treats) and using homemade dog toys. Not offering a heartworm medicine is downright risky.
BY STEVE DALE
Source: Montreal Gazette