Why do cats do that?

We're all for pets at Live in the D and we invite  the veterinarian with our friends at the Michigan Humane Society to come on the show and answer our viewer questions about their pets. Dr. Kelley Meyers joined host Kim DeGiulio to discuss some popular pet issues and get some answers.

Q.  Rebecca says her cat, Kosmo, is 2 years old and never had problems with not using the litter box until now. Could it be because his human came home smelling like one of the friendly stray neighborhood cats?

A. "It certainly could be that," said Meyers, pointing out that if there was a strong urine scent that could be it. However, if nothing changed, there's the same litter and the box is in the same place, it could be a symptom of a medical issue. Meyers recommends taking Kosmo in to see a vet to make sure he doesn't have a UTI or something else. 

Q. Marge was wondering why her dog, Olivia, eats grass?

A. Meyers mentioned this is a popular question she gets asked a lot. Dogs are omnivores, meaning they eat both meat and plants. In nature, dogs will frequently graze on grass, it's just something that they do. Olivia could be munching on some grass because she is bored or that she is a bit hungry, it is not usually a health issue. As long as your lawn wasn't recently treated with chemicals, your dog should be fine. 

Q.  Cecilia says her cat, Tango, will soon be 7 and is perfectly healthy. When she adopted him, however, she was told he had distemper as a kitten and she wants to know if this will shorten his lifespan. 

A. Distemper is actually caused by a disease called panleukopenia, which means there is a problem with the white blood cells in the body. The good news is they can recover from this completely unless they got infected before they were born, in which case they typically suffer from some vision issues. Chances are, Tango is fine and shouldn't face any issues because of his distemper.

Q. John says his cat, Jitterbug, has nails that get so sharp, and getting them trimmed at the vet is expensive. He wants to know how he can trim her nails himself.  

A. Meyers recommends having your veterinarian show you how to trim their nails. The process involves using a towel to wrap around the cat, making it into a kitty "burrito" with only their head sticking out. Then, take one paw out at a time and press out the center pad to get the nails to come out, and use a cat nail trimmer to cut them. Cut the nails right as they start to taper and hook. Do not cut where the nail is pink, as that is where the blood is flowing. Meyers recommends you cut them every 4 to 6 weeks.



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