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Obesity is misery for cat

Q: We adopted Kiki from the city shelter. She’s about 7 years old and was obese. Jaundice was noticed, and she was to be euthanized. She stopped eating and was diagnosed with hepatic lipidosis. She’s doing better now. It nauseated her to walk to the litter box, so she just squatted where she was lying. She’s able to walk around now, but continues to squat in her/my bed to urinate.

Dr. Nichol: Obesity is a miserable problem for cats; their liver cells get infiltrated with fat, potentially leading to big trouble. Even a couple of days without eating can cause a rotund cat to slip into rapid onset liver failure. Hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease) can also lead to brain dysfunction, with behavior changes like house soiling.

Many porky pussycats also suffer from joint pain, making it hard for them to climb into their pans. This will get easier for Kiki as her weight approaches a healthy 10 pounds. In the meantime I recommend a glucosamine supplement like Cosequin.

To set Kiki up for success, provide a couple of big pans with premium-quality clumping litter and no cover or liner. Plastic sweater boxes work well. Cut down one part of a side and build a ramp to make it easy for her. Adding Cat Attract may also help. Scoop the pans at least twice daily.

After meals lure Kiki to a litter pan with a high-value treat. Say a consistent verbal cue, like “target,” as she climbs in and takes the bait. If she eliminates, nominate her for president. Repeat hundreds of times, so she’ll make a dash for the pan on command.

Hepatic lipidosis may dog your cat her entire life. Have her serum chemistries checked periodically and feed a prescription, low protein diet. Novifit, a SAM-e supplement, may be essential to her longevity.

Dog behavior help

A dog who plays nice, respects authority and understands that the restroom is outside is priceless. I’ll address out-of-control behaviors as well as the dangerous in my seminar at the Animal Humane Adoption Center, 9132 Montgomery NE, from 6 to 9 p.m. Monday, May 14. Cost: $40. To register go to facebook.com/drjeffnichol and click Events and then Join, or call 792-5131. Bring plenty of questions.

Dr. Jeff Nichol provides medical care for pets at the Petroglyph Animal Hospital in Albuquerque (898-8874). He treats behavior disorders at the Veterinary Specialty Centers in Albuquerque and in Santa Fe (505-792-5131). Questions? For answers, Like my Facebook page at facebook.com/drjeffnichol or by U.S. post to 6633 Caminito Coors NW, Albuquerque, NM 87120.

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