It is 2015, and yet we still get requests from clients to declaw their cats. Although illegal in most of Europe and Australia, declawing is not (yet) illegal in the United States. There are even a few American veterinary schools that now refuse to teach their students how to perform declaws. When push comes to shove, most veterinarians still perform the surgery (myself included). Most of us see it as a necessary evil: a last-ditch, salvage measure only performed in dire circumstances where the alternative is euthanasia, or the cat being turned into the shelter.
I used the same kitty litter for the past 15 years. That same clay-based, clumping litter served me well through four cats and five different homes. I had a healthy relationship with my kitty litter and no desire to change. And then came Pudge. Pudge is the cat who creates a sandstorm of kitty litter every single time he enters the litter pan. Pudge, he of the super furry feet, tracks kitty litter throughout the entire house. I’ve tried a variety of methods to contain the litter: a deep pan, a rubbery mat to catch any litter that exits the pan, obsessive vacuuming and sweeping. Now, my home is under complete renovation. I am living with my husband, son, cat and dog in 500 square feet of space. And the kitty litter was everywhere. I had to make a change.
This post could also be titled: Why I Became a Vegetarian at the Ripe Old Age of 35. Fair warning: I will be on my soapbox a bit in this post. My goal is not to guilt, convert or shame anyone into changing their own eating habits. Food is one of the most wonderful joys in life (I’m Italian, remember), but our food system in America is broken. Impoverished Americans live in “food deserts” without access to any fresh fruit or vegetables, obesity and its associated complications are crippling our health care system and most Americans don’t know where their food comes from, or how to interpret a food label.
I was so excited to see a blurb in a recent issue of Good Housekeeping magazine, discussing one of my great veterinary crusades: pet obesity. The cat in this photo is obese, but my guess is that many clients would think he’s only “chubby” or “plump”. Let’s call a fat cat a fat cat! Obesity is a disease, just like diabetes or kidney failure. It is not a cosmetic problem, but a serious medical problem.
There is some good advice in this snippet. How do you know if Fluffy or Fido is overweight or obese? And what can be done about it?