NORMAN — Dear Dr. Fox: I’m worried about our 17-year-old orange female tabby cat, Gabrielle. She’s always been in good health, but over the last few years, she’s lost four or five pounds, down from 13.
And most worrisome, she’s started throwing up just about every night. Her episodes are preceded by cries of pain — little whimpers and, once in a while, a loud cry. Then her whole body will convulse and she’ll throw up brown water.
During the day, she seems to be fine, eating normally and relaxing out in the sun or resting. But these bouts of vomiting are very distressing, especially since she’s started sleeping in my bedroom, waking me up with her cries.
— R.C., Annapolis, Minn.
Dear R.C.: I appreciate your writing to me, but, like other readers who write about their animals who are clearly suffering and in declining health, your animal companion should be examined and treated by a veterinarian without further delay.
Your old cat could be diabetic or have deteriorating kidney function and thyroid disease; she could have a fur ball in her stomach or even cancer.
Diagnosis and appropriate treatment or palliative care is called for, and you know that you owe old Gabrielle no less. A vet who does home visits might be best for a start if she is not a good traveler.
Dear Dr. Fox: I have a male cat that I picked up off the sidewalk with his sister three years ago when they were about four weeks old. I took them to the vet for exams and got rid of their fleas. They were healthy kittens.
When they were about 4 months old, I took them to a vet-recommended cat rescue organization that would spay/neuter them for less money. The organization seemed OK, so I left them there. Mistakenly thinking they were both females, I named them Sue and Ellen.