Ask the Vet with Dr. Kris

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We’re super excited to introduce a new regular feature on The Conscious Cat: Ask the Vet with Dr. Kris!

Dr. Kristopher Chandroo is a veterinarian, scientist, photographer, animal welfare advocate, and creator of Stress to Success (STS): The Essential Guide to Medicating Your Feisty, Grumpy or Reluctant Cat.  Dr. Kris wants  your cats to be twenty years old. And counting! And he wants to provide medication and therapy to them in a way that respects the bond between cat and human.

Dr. Kris practices at at Orleans Veterinary Hospital in Ottawa, Canada. Since 1997, he has organized original studies, presentations, and publications that helped change what we think about consciousness and pain perception in aquatic animals. In 2002, Dr. Kris received the Humane Society of the United States travel award, which permitted him to discuss his pain research at the ISAE International Congress. He’s now putting his research and filmmaking skills towards cat specific issues.

“I believe there is a change coming,” Dr. Kris told me. “A change of how we think about cats, and how my profession works with cats and the people who love them. I know this is true because every year, I see more people joined at the hip with their felines. I witness the horrible pain when they lose them. And the amazing relationship they have in between.”

You can learn more about Dr. Kris on his website, http://www.IWillHelpYourCat.com.

I’ve been in touch with Dr. Kris via email for the past couple of years, and had the pleasure of meeting him in person at last year’s American Association of Feline Practitioners conference in Washington, DC. That’s when we started to talk about a collaboration so you could get to know Dr. Kris, and get answers to your cat health questions directly from him.

“I’m just one vet, trying to figure out this thing called life,” said Dr. Kris, “and I’ve got these furry creatures all around me who seem to have things worked out. They know who they are, and the more we respect them as individuals, the better our treatments and plans will go. And I’m happy to share this journey with you.”

Dr.Kris

Leave your questions for Dr. Kris in a comment

Once a month, we’ll post a reminder for you to post your questions for Dr. Kris. He’ll answer as many of them as he can, and I’ll publish his answers in a subsequent post. We’re kicking this new feature off today – so go ahead and leave your questions!

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34 Comments on Ask the Vet with Dr. Kris

  1. Connie Goeden
    March 7, 2017 at 10:43 am (4 months ago)

    Dr. Kris, I have an outdoor cat that I took in 2 years ago and he really does not like to be inside. He has FIV, so I really need to keep him in, but he is miserable if he cannot go out. My compromise was to just keep him in at night and part of the day. When I don’t let him out, he shows his displeasure by peeing on things. How can I train him to do something else to let me know when he wants out?

    Reply
  2. Suzanne Walker
    February 5, 2017 at 9:11 am (5 months ago)

    Dr Kris, never had this in 30+ yrs experience with cats. I have a Persian n male, 3 yrs old, sweet, easy going, loving to all, even our yappy Yorkie. All are spay/neut.
    7 months ago I adopted a 3 month seal PT Himalayan male, recently neutered. Now the male Persian mounts, no other word for it, the Himalayan and his hips do little jerks. Himalayan doesn’t retaliate, just lays there. Sometimes Persian starts by biting, not hard, the Himalayan’s neck.
    My husband says ” very disturbing” . As long as Elvis isn’t hurt, I leave them.

    Reply
  3. Laura
    February 2, 2017 at 7:42 pm (5 months ago)

    Hi Dr Kris! I adopted a beautiful tortie girl 5 weeks ago, aged 3.5 years. She is very loving and was previously homed, not a stray. I am feeding her ZiwiPeak wet food 3 times a day (first thing in the morning, when I get home from work and later in the evening before bed). She has a small amount of dry food available but will only eat a few at a time if I encourage her or during the day when she’s alone. In the evenings she seems to constantly want more food, meowing whenever I get up (especially if I go to the kitchen where she is fed, obviously). I’m feeding her as guided on the can, and she often leaves some food from her second meal. I also introduced some poached chicken but she vomited a couple of times while eating that (though this was hours after eating, early in the morning), so I have been holding off giving it to her again to see if she is sick at all without the chicken. She doesn’t jump on the counter and only occasionally begs for food off our plates (we never give her anything), and will typically just watch from afar when I’m preparing human meals. I am able to get her to sit while waiting for meals now.

    I get the feeling she isn’t liking being left alone during the day and is trying to make up for it by being needy at night. I give her lots of attention and try to play with her, but she just isn’t really interested in playing much at night until after the third meal. I tried a treat ball but as she doesn’t really like dry food much she isn’t keen on that. My vet suggested feeding her more regularly but that is obviously difficult while at work (she didn’t like the automated feeder I got her), and trying a limited diet if she is vomiting regularly, before any further tests etc. I’m really worried about her, I just want her to be happy in her new home and do the best for her wellbeing. Is it likely she is still just settling in?

    Reply
  4. Lucia
    February 2, 2017 at 3:40 pm (5 months ago)

    Hello Doctor Kris, I have a 2 year old female cat, she’s generally very healthy but lately almost every time she drinks water the water seems “to go down to wrong way”. She makes noises like she’s coughing up a hairball for around 20-30 seconds and then everything goes back to normal… is this normal? This used to happen occasionally when she would drink from the water fountain, but now it also happens when drinking from a bowl. We had a vet check her today and found nothing wrong 🙁

    I gave her hairball medicine just in case. She’s using her litter box normally and eating normally as well… sometimes when she eats she will try to expell the food out, like a piece got stuck in her throat or something. It seems water is the main irritant though 🙁

    Thanks for your advice!

    PS: all her vaccines are up to date.

    Reply
    • Lucia
      February 6, 2017 at 12:35 pm (5 months ago)

      Dr. Kris, I write to you with an update. Since my comment my cat still hacks (I have a video of her doing this, I wish I could send it to you) when she drinks water. There was a day when she did it 2-3 without actually drinking water, so we worried a took her to the vet again. The vet said he heard a noise inside her throat and took xrays, we found out that her heart might be a little bit bigger on one side. We are waiting for another vet who is a specialist to do a ultrasound. I live in Turkey so forgive me if I don’t use medical terms.

      When I play with her (I make her chase a ball around the house) she never shows any distress, actually I get tired first. I have played with her this week and nothing has changed in that regard. A couple of months ago the doctor saw redness at the back of the throat and said it was gingivitis, we gave her medicine once and it went away.

      We’re still waiting for more results, but if you could tell us what to watch out for I’d appreciate it… thank you!

      Reply
  5. Peggy Zamboni
    February 2, 2017 at 3:30 pm (5 months ago)

    I recently read some conflicting opinions on the need for certain vaccinations for cats (other than rabies). What is your opinion on how often vaccines should be given and at what age they can be stopped?

    Reply
  6. Sheila Tabone
    February 2, 2017 at 3:17 pm (5 months ago)

    I have 7 indoor cats; healthy, get along for most part, and use the litter box. I have a pair of orange and white, 7 yr old sisters that do slightly bully the others. One sister, Libby, is licking off her fur and it seems to be getting worse. First it was just on her tummy, then the underside of her tail, and now one of her arms. Is there anything I can do to help this?

    Reply
    • Gladys gauci
      February 4, 2017 at 5:43 am (5 months ago)

      Hi
      I have a 10yr old cat that seems to have taken up not urinating in kitty litter trays even though they are clean. How can I stop this behaviour. He is always urinating on their bed I changed the mattress but that has not helped he is doing the same thing to the new mattress.
      Is there something I can spray on the matress to put him off using it.
      Is there anything that is chemical free that i can use?
      Thanks

      Reply
  7. Amanda Becher
    February 2, 2017 at 12:15 am (5 months ago)

    Hello Dr. Kris! I’d be ever grateful if you could help me with my question. Six months ago I rescued an 8 week old kitten from a gas station parking lot. She has been having a grand Mal seizure occasionally, the first on Nov. 24th, then one 6 weeks later, and a less severe seizure last week. When I brought her home she was seen by a vet and de-wormed. Her stool has been mostly loose and very smelly since being wormed. The same vet saw her after the first seizure and ran tests which were normal. He thought maybe she was getting too much fat in her diet so recommended low fat canned food but she’s since had the other two seizures. I found a blog that suggested grain and gluten in her canned food could be causing intestinal inflammation and her seizures, so recommended changing foods and supplementing with natural healthy omega fats. Since she was a stray it’s unknown if she had head teams but didn’t seem to have a head injury when found. Have you experienced the seizure reaction in cats due to grains and gluten in their food? I’ve since switched all my cats to grain-free, gluten-free and carrageenan-free food and have made coconut oil available for my cats to nibble at their option. The kitten’s stool seems improved already. I am very concerned to stop the root cause of her seizures because I also read that the more seizures she has, the more likely she will be to have them in the future. Thank you for any insights or advice you may offer!

    Reply
  8. Kellie Smith
    February 1, 2017 at 10:47 pm (5 months ago)

    Dr. Kris,

    I was wondering if you could provide any resources I can read myself or give me some tips on how to avoid FIC/Bladder issues/Crystals etc. We lost our Maine Coon Henry last June after a week in the hospital at Iowa State Veterinary to FIC. He was fully blocked, successfully unblocked, peed well, but then his bladder/urethra would not stop spasming (trying not to cry while I write this).
    We have always served good quality wet food, access to plenty of water in bowls, fountains, extra litter boxes etc. We did ‘everything right’ with the exception of play time outside since we do not have a backyard.

    I am aware FIC is predominately in young male indoor cats, and our vets told us the research does not really say anything conclusive about what really causes this.

    I am also curious if there is a geographical factor in the occurrence of FIC in cats. We moved from Kingston, ON to Ames, Iowa. Within 10 months of living in Iowa Henry developed FIC. The water here is hard and I noticed build up on all our faucets. I changed our remaining/surviving cat’s water over to distilled because I am paranoid it will happen to her too.

    We want to get another male cat eventually and I want to be sure I am providing the best care for our female and future cat.

    Any information is greatly appreciated and thank you for taking questions!
    I hope this question make sense, if you need more info I would be happy to provide further detail. Kellie.smith010@gmail.com

    Thanks!

    Reply
  9. Kelley
    February 1, 2017 at 9:17 pm (5 months ago)

    Hi Dr Kris,

    I have 2 cats with uncontrollable diarrhea. The other cats in the household are fine. We have tried the following: Flagyl (Lots), pumpkin, yogurt, fortiflora, convenia, steroids, currently trying a limited ingredient diet. Of course they have had fecals which are negative. Their bloodwork is normal. Our vet is at a loss as to what else to try. They frequently don’t make the litterbox so I am constantly mopping with bleach, washing their and my bed linens, and bleaching surfaces they sit on. To make matters worse, one is not possible to examine without being under anaesthesia, so I hate to have him to the vet too much. (He is not feral, gets along with our other cats, gets along with people, but will BITE the vet very, very hard.) I felt so bad the first time it happened I sat outside in the car and cried for half an hour. So, I hate to have him to the vet too often because I don’t want him under anaesthesia very often. They are both about 9 years old and I’ve had them since they were kittens.

    Reply
  10. Lisa B
    February 1, 2017 at 5:41 pm (5 months ago)

    Hello!

    I would like to recommend Dr. Kris’s video course Stress to Success. We recently learned we’d need to give our cat daily meds and possibly fluids so I made the purchase. For our budget $47 is a lot of money but it is the best $47 I’ve spent in a long time and for all the information provided, $47 is extremely reasonable.

    Best regards, Lisa

    Reply
  11. Samantha Bell
    February 1, 2017 at 4:24 pm (5 months ago)

    Hello!

    I am fostering a senior cat in kidney failure. He gets sub-q LRS every 3 days, and is doing great. However, he refuses to eat any of the Rx kidney diet canned foods. He likes non-Rx, pate-style wet food. Are there certain brands/ flavors of non-Rx wet food that are friendlier on the kidneys than others? Thank you for your time!

    Reply
    • Debbie
      February 2, 2017 at 4:38 am (5 months ago)

      I would like to know the answer to this question, too.

      Reply
  12. Jodine Cognato
    February 1, 2017 at 1:44 pm (5 months ago)

    We took our orange tabby male cat to the vets for what was diagnosed as stress cystitis and high urine Ph. When we got him home, one of our other three cats reacted to him with extreme fear – hissing, growling, screaming. They used to be best buddies. How can we help to restore the peace? This has gone on for nearly 3 weeks.

    Reply
    • betty ann beam
      February 1, 2017 at 2:19 pm (5 months ago)

      What is the optimal protein% for scanned food diet? I aim for a mean average of 10% per day of grain free proteins consisting of chicken, duck, turkey, pork and rabbit on a rotation. I supplement with a high protein dry food in an 8 (canned) to 1 (dry) ratio.

      Reply
  13. Patricia P
    February 1, 2017 at 12:50 pm (5 months ago)

    Hi Dr. Kris, I took in a beautiful little feral cat. She’s been spayed, checked out and chipped. I notice from time to time she has a rolling sort of hack (cough like) and sneezes. My vet checked her out and they gave her a shot for it so we assumed it was a cold. She has little bouts with this hack from time to time. What do you recommend? she’s about 2 yrs old now.

    Reply
  14. Brittany
    February 1, 2017 at 12:41 pm (5 months ago)

    Hi there!
    I recently scheduled my cat for her dental cleaning (this will be her first and she’s a 5 year old Himalayan/Ragdoll mix that we got from the Humane Society) and she got her pre dental blood work done. Her tests came back with a high level of SDMA at 16 (normal levels range from 0-14) and the doctor wants to do a urine test to confirm, since the SDMA test is somewhat new in the testing world. We’re bringing her in soon to get that done and they plan on doing a Cysto to extract the urine directly from her bladder– First, I was wondering if this procedure is safe for her or if it’s especially painful. Second, I’m very nervous to go through with the dental cleaning and anesthesia if she has low kidney function. Do you have any suggestions or comments or am I just worrying to much?

    Reply
  15. lucy b.
    February 1, 2017 at 12:25 pm (5 months ago)

    Dr. Kris, my 5 yr. old kitty has a coughing episode once every day or so. He has spots on his lungs that no vet has been able to diagnose except for saying it’s asthmatic or bronchial in origin.The medicine recommended for both are very strong with dangerous side effects. I’ve already lost a kitty at age 5 from asthma who’d been on prednisone for 2.5 years. I’m frightened those meds will weaken my kitty’s organs and might be “overkill” for his coughing episodes. Do you have any ideas you could share? Thank you.

    Reply
  16. Robin L. Coxon
    February 1, 2017 at 10:53 am (5 months ago)

    We have two cats, a long hair and a short hair, they have been chewing and scratching themselves. We’ve checked for fleas but found none. The short haired one has even chewed so bad he has bare spots. Both are inside cats. Can you provide suggestions as to how or what we can do to help them stop this?

    Reply
  17. Jenny
    February 1, 2017 at 10:37 am (5 months ago)

    I’ve had cats for 35 years and learned many things from them, including their ability to hide pain. My female cat, a Himalayan, is almost 14. In the last 6 months I’ve noticed her walking more stiffly and an inability to jump up on furniture she used to reach with ease. Occasionally she will cry out if I touch certain places on her hindquarters.
    My vet’s x-rays showed arthritis from the base of her tail to halfway up her spine. I now have Buprenex to use as needed, but I’m wondering if there are alternatives to the pain medication. I recently started treating her for high blood pressure; however, a blood test showed she is otherwise healthy with scores within normal range in every category.

    Reply
    • Louise
      February 1, 2017 at 12:39 pm (5 months ago)

      My cat will be 20 next month, she has had back problems for the last 5 yrs….We did laser, and acupuncture. She hated acupuncture and tolerated it for a short time. Laser she stopped about a month ago as she started getting to agressive toward the techs. We now have tried the pain meds, and gabapentin, and found it sedated her too much and she still wanted to jump resulting in falls, and worse back pain. Her cat tree is close to my bed now so she has easy access to the bed and floor, and tried the steps but she won’t use them. We now have her on prednisone and she is getting much better. We would rather have her comfortable with it and have her cked every 3 months for side effects, which aren’t present in a cat her age.

      Reply
  18. betty ann beam
    February 1, 2017 at 10:34 am (5 months ago)

    What is the ideal protein % for canned food. I try to maintain a mean average of 10% from grain free, carrageenan free food. I also supplement with dry, grain free high protein food. My 3 adult cats are on an 8 canned to 1 dry ratio.

    Reply
  19. Jerry Still
    February 1, 2017 at 10:28 am (5 months ago)

    Dr Kris I have recently inherited a15 year old female and i am trying to learn about cat diets.She will eat major brand can food but I have read that the grains are not good for her.Have tried grain free but she will not eat.How bad are the grains for her and what about freeze dried food. Thanks for what you do!

    Reply
  20. Janine
    February 1, 2017 at 9:51 am (5 months ago)

    I’m glad to see Dr Kris here and look forward to what he has to bring to the cat community here. My question is about cats with pancreatitis. My oldest was just diagnosed with it, but my vet really didn’t explain what I he will be going through in the future. What should I be looking for from here on out and what is the life span of a cat once it has been diagnosed? Also, over the last year or so he has started eating the vomit from my other cats if I don’t get to it quick enough. Would this have anything to do with this strange behavior? He is 14 years old and never did that before.

    Reply
  21. Pam Jones
    February 1, 2017 at 8:48 am (5 months ago)

    I adopted a second cat from a rescue. She started sneezing a lot when I brought her home and my other cat (16 years old) became hoarse. They were both treated with an antibiotic from the vet and seemed to get better. However, my young cat does sneeze several times a day, every day with no other symptoms. This has been about 3 months. The vet said some young cats develop an upper respiratory infection when young and almost always have it. Is this true? Should I be concerned or treat her in some way?

    Reply
  22. Meltem Safak
    February 1, 2017 at 8:32 am (5 months ago)

    Hi, I live in Turkey with my 12 years old persian an 6 years old scottish fold. My 12 years old persian cat tent to have mild food allergy and feline acne nowadays… Before, she wasnt an allergic cat and eating hills ideal balance dry cat food and brit care branded natural and high quality wet cat food. But since 6 months every time I give her wet cat food, her feline acne comes back…her vet sees her and give convenia shot once, and she take 2 months long probiotic immune system vitamins..but unfortunately the acne gets better but wont go completely.. her blood test results are fine, only her immune system values are very low…I want to ask Dr Kris how should I feed a 12 year old sensitive persian cat? Shouldnt I give her wet food any? Again unfortunately there is no raw cat food or barf cat food products in Turkey.. only dry kibble and wet can cat food…Do older cats more tent to feline acne? I’m so desperate because here in Turkey veterinery care doesnt improved like USA or Canada… And also the drugs and pet product are very limited too…

    Reply
  23. Marie
    February 1, 2017 at 8:28 am (5 months ago)

    So very glad to have a devoted Vet to ask questions.

    Reply
  24. Ramona Hensrude
    February 1, 2017 at 4:40 am (5 months ago)

    I have two cats diagnosed with IBD. I like our internal medicine vet. They are getting prednisolone at 1/2 tab every other day. One cat is 17. The other is 7. The younger cat had been on a commercial raw chicken diet. He would not eat other types. He was eating this for at least three years before he started vomiting. The older cat has always been finicky about canned food. It seems the more expensive, the less she will eat it. I finally found Royal Canin Sensitive Stomach canned that they both eat. I don’t like the ingredient list (incl pork).
    Our vet first suggested a limited ingredient canned but neither cat would eat what I bought (duck, rabbit, venison). Is this fairly typical with IBD? What more should we be doing? Neither cat is vomiting unless we miss a dose of the pill. Both cats also get duck and green pea dry food Natural Balance. Both cats also get a special treat of dehydrated chicken treats each night. The older cat goes crazy for these. Also, the older cat has kidney disease although it seems to be stable. She does drink a lot of water.

    Reply
  25. Vanessa
    February 1, 2017 at 4:15 am (5 months ago)

    Hi there, I am so glad Dr Kris understands feline lovers and is on board! Dr Kris, please can you advise me on alternative treatments for my Tonkinese who is 12.5 years old with Inflammatory bowel disease? He waxes and wanes and is on a low dose of prednisolone for the last 6 months, and I really want him to wean off that completely. Is there anything I can add to his supplements or daily regime as part of homeopathy? I have tried a good quality, grain free canned diet, thiamine supplements, probiotics and aromatherapy DIGEZE oil massages. He still very occasionally vomits and it breaks my heart every time. He is my loyal companion and confidante. Please advise. Is there a way I can consult you on line? Thank you so much.

    Reply
  26. Kaia Denham
    February 1, 2017 at 2:05 am (5 months ago)

    So glad you have added Dr. Kris as a regular. I’ve been a fan for a long time and subscribe to his blog.

    Reply
  27. Casey
    February 1, 2017 at 1:55 am (5 months ago)

    As a vet, has Dr. Kris heard anything about when the new treatment for FIP might become available?

    Reply
  28. Sam
    February 1, 2017 at 1:32 am (5 months ago)

    So tonight, when I was feeding my cat, I gave her soft food. She’s prone to getting UTI’s, so our vet told us to feed her hard food in the morning with water added, and soft food at night with water added. She loves feeding time- she’s very food motivated. But for some reason, tonight, I fed her some soft food, and she’s turning her nose up at it. Whenever I walk by her tonight, she clutches my leg with her front paws, and meows up at me.
    She’s very vocal tonight, and I know she’s hungry. I gave her a couple of pieces of hard food to see if she would eat that, and when I did, she chowed down on that.
    Could there be a possibility that she’s tired of soft food now? Or she just doesn’t like the taste?

    Reply
    • Kellie Smith
      February 1, 2017 at 10:52 pm (5 months ago)

      I am not an expert but sometimes my cats just get bored with their food. The Brand Weruva is by far the brand my cats love the most! They have lots of flavors and I try to change it up. This brand is VERY high quality and human grade food. I would eat it if I had to lol I get it on amazon. Tuna/Mackerel is their fave!

      Reply

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