Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: February 9, 2023 by Crystal Uys


This post contains affiliate links*

Welcome to our regular “Ask the Cat Doc With Dr. Lynn Bahr” segment! Once a month, Dr. Bahr answers as many of your questions as she can, and you can leave new questions for her in a comment.

Dr. Bahr graduated from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine in 1991. Unlike most veterinarians, she did not grow up knowing that she would become a veterinarian. “It was a cat who got me interested in the practice and I am forever grateful to him,” said Dr. Bahr. Over the course of her veterinary career, Dr. Bahr found that the lifestyle of cats has changed dramatically. As the lifestyle of cats has changed, so did Dr. Bahr’s client education. In addition to finding medical solutions, she also encourages owners to enrich their home environments so that their cats can live long, happy, and healthy lives.

This new understanding led Dr. Bahr to combine her passion for strengthening the human-animal bond with her veterinary background and knowledge of what animals need and want to start her own solution-based cat product company, Dezi & Roo, inspired by two cats of the same names.

For more information about Dezi & Roo and their unique and innovative cat toys, please visit Dezi and Roo on Etsy.

Do you have a question for Dr. Bahr?
Leave it in a comment!

Flea control for feral cats

Hi. I care for a small group of cats in my neighborhood. I feed them and make sure water is available. I’m also in the process in doing TNR for them. My question had to do with a flea treatment. I’ve been told and have read that adding brewer’s yeast could help in repelling fleas by adding it to their food; however, when I’ve looked for pet brands, garlic or garlic flavoring is added. These are usually products marketed for both cats and dogs. Isn’t the garlic toxic for cats? The reason I read that brewer’s yeast is effective is that fleas don’t like the taste of the pet’s blood. I’m assuming it’s because of the garlic? I’m just trying a fairly inexpensive flea treatment that I can add to their food, since these kitties pretty much run the other way when they see me. – Abby

Hi Abby,

Thank you for taking care of the cats in your neighborhood. They are so lucky to have someone like you looking out for them.

Fleas are more of a problem for weak, old, undernourished, sick and injured animals than for healthy ones. The best thing you can do for your colony of cats is to keep them well fed and safe from the elements. Controlling fleas on animals you can’t touch or medicate is difficult but I have some suggestions to help. If you are in a position to treat the environment, I would recommend using “food grade” diatomaceous earth and beneficial nematodes as two possible options. They are relatively inexpensive and not difficult to apply and safe for the cats.

You asked about treating the cats with brewer’s yeast and I agree that anything with garlic should NOT be used. However, you can easily purchase cheap unprocessed brewer’s yeast – just google it and you will see many to choose from that are pure without additives. I would suggest you look for non-GMO and debittered, since some cats don’t’ like the bitter taste. While this is a more natural approach to battling fleas than using prescription flea medication, it is also much less effective and only repels them and doesn’t eliminate them.

Your benevolence is admirable and you are helping make this world a better place by taking care of your community cats. Thank you for your service.

Which food is best for weight loss?

My cat’s weight is 15.6 lbs; neutered; domestic indoor cat.He’s 10 yrs & 10 months old.Is wet food or dry food or combination of both better for weight loss??Any specific brand?? – Ois

Hi Ois,

Ingrid and I have written about this issue many times since it is a common topic cat owners like you ask about. I appreciate your questions and the opportunity to help guide feline lovers on the best way to feed their babies properly. If you have the time, look back at all of the previous articles that are chock full of useful information just in case I forget to address all of the issues in this response. Here is one to get you started: Is Your Cat Fat or Fluffy?

We know that most canned foods are lower in calories, higher in protein, and contain lots of moisture when compared with dry. Feeding canned food frequently, while limiting dry as snacks only, is the purrfect way to fulfill your cat’s nutritional needs while helping them lose weight. Combined with regular exercise, your cat will stay fit and trim.

Assuming your cat does not have any food aversions or allergies and is otherwise healthy, the short version is to rotate foods, brands, flavors, and textures. Well rounded cats eat a little bit of different types of food made by reputable companies. I would not limit my cat’s diet to one brand or one flavor or one texture and, instead, I recommend feeding as much of a variety as possible.

Does your cat receive regular veterinary care? Has your veterinarian assessed your cat’s weight using BCS (body condition score) or MCS (muscle condition score)? This is important information that will help you assess whether or not your cat’s weight is appropriate. You can figure it out yourself with Ingrid’s Quick and Easy Guide.

The use of food puzzles is something to consider too. It will give your cat a way to work for his treats. You can also toss treats across the room and allow him to chase after them. There are many tricks you can employ to help you add exercise into the current feeding regime.

I am sure I have left out a lot of other valuable information and encourage you to check out previous articles on this important topic. Thank you for bringing it up and for caring so much about your cats.

What makes cats so susceptible to cancer?

Dear Dr. Bahr within the last 3 months, I have lost 3 senior cats, all 15 years old, to cancer. One for Skin Cancer, one for Jaw Cancer, and one for Intestinal Cancer. What makes cats so susceptible to cancer? Thank you so much! – Penny

Hi Penny,

I am so sorry for your recent losses and send you my deepest condolences.

Are cats more susceptible to cancer? While it does feel like that way, especially to you, having lost three of your babies to it, we don’t really know that to be true. It is a truly heartbreaking disease that takes the lives of too many of our beloved pets and, like you, we wish this were not the case. Hopefully, advances in medicine will change the landscape of dealing with cancer much easier and successful in the near future and I can’t wait to see that happen.

*FTC Disclosure: The Conscious Cat is a participant in Etsy’s affiliate program. This means that if you decide to purchase through any of our links, we get a small commission. We only spread the word about products and services we’ve either used or would use ourselves.

About the author