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Patience at heart of meds and cats

Q: Our veterinarian provided us with eyedrops for our cat. She demonstrated how to apply them. She did it so quickly that the cat did not know what was about to happen. However, we cannot apply the drops without a big two-person struggle.

Dr. Nichol: Your cat feels overwhelmed and trapped. The solution is to teach him that eyedrops are a predictor of great things. He will earn exceptionally tasty food in exchange for his cooperation. I suggest Boniva fish flakes (available at pet supply retailers like Long Leash on Life).

Start by handing him tiny bits of Boniva with the medication bottle sitting next to him. After about 30 seconds, put the eyedrops and the treats away. Repeat this, moving the bottle a little closer each time, as often as every 20 to 30 minutes. When your cat no longer cares that you’re holding the dreaded potion next to his eye, you can enlist the aid of a willing accomplice.

As your helper proffers succulent tidbits, you will tilt your kitty’s face toward the ceiling. Proceed with patience, forking over the goods only when he willingly gazes up at the bottle that’s poised above his open eye. When you’re feeling lucky, release a drop and remain calm and quiet as your cool cat accepts another treat.

I can’t say how long all of this will take, but be assured that progress will accelerate if you take your time at the beginning. When pushed, scared cats dig in their heels and fight hard – a most stressful and unproductive mindset for a patient. You are the leader. If you need one-on-one help you are welcome to contact my office.

Q: I read that frozen grapes are a good summer snack for dogs. I’ve been giving them to my dog and she loves them! But the other night I saw on the TV show “Dogs 101” that they might cause liver disease.

Dr. Nichol: Grapes and raisins are poisonous to the kidneys of many, but not all, dogs and some cats. Kidney failure can be rapid in onset and is life threatening in some cases.

If the fruit of the vine were to damage your dog’s kidneys, she may vomit and have diminished activity along with abdominal pain and failure to produce urine. Chronic signs would include gradual weight loss and diarrhea.

Your dog’s history of grape eating with apparent impunity suggests that she may be immune to the risk, but you could be gambling. I suggest asking your veterinarian to submit a blood and urine sample to check her kidney health. I would also encourage you to change her treat menu – just in case.

Bad kitty!

It can be hard to love a cat who declares war on your home or body. I’ll address aggression, house soiling, destructiveness, and any other inappropriate behavior that damages your feline relationships in my seminar at the Animal Humane Adoption Center, 9132 Montgomery NE. The class will run from 6 to 9 p.m. Monday, July 11. Cost: $40. Visit www. or call 792-5131 to register. Bring plenty of questions. I’ll give individual help.

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). Contact Dr. Nichol on his website (click Submit a Question?) or 6633 Caminito Coors NW, Albuquerque, NM 87120. Find me on Facebook.

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