Comment on Taming Feral Cats

Congratulations Barb!  You have made great progress with the kittens.  I also want to thank you for your diligence in catching the last kitten.  This kitten will watch the others for clues about the new environment so it is extremely important to proceed slowly.  Let the other kittens continue to smell her cage and remember their sister.  In my opinion, cats do remember each other even after months of separation. When they are lying next to each other or purring when they meet, it is time to let her out.  Lock the other kittens in their cage while she is exploring the new room.  Once she is comfortable, let one out at a time if possible to make sure she isn’t overwhelmed.  As for your last question, she will learn from the other kittens about humans so her adjustment phase is should be shorter. Again, I want to thank you for dedicating so much time and effort to these kittens.   

Comment on Taming Feral Cats

Update on feral kittens.Now they are out of the cage, in their own room.One comes to eat when I am in the room the others watch me. None are approaching me.But they don’t run and hide now.When I move around too much they run back to the cage. While there they will let me pick them up and pet them.I trapped the last kitten of the litter.I had her spayed yesterday.I left her in a room to herself over night. Today i put her in the room with her litter mates, I thought it would help her be less afraid.The male thats comes out to eat and seems to be the most inquisitive, kept going over to the cage and smelling it. Do you think they recognize each other after being separated about 5 weeks? How long do you think I should wait before letting her out with the rest?
I am hoping she’ll catch up with the rest of them.They are about four to four and a half months old now.Thanks Barb

Sustainable Fish

Many people enjoy eating fish.  As world human populations grow, we put ever increasing stress on the fish in our oceans.  During my recent visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, I learned several important items.  In the U.S. we import 80% of our fish.  Second, there is a website that provides great information about the types and sources of fish that are sustainable versus those who are threatened.  Please visit for more information.  The website provides guidance on what types of fish are the Best Choices, Good Alternatives and those to be Avoided.  Third, look for the Marine Stewardship Council blue eco-label in stores and restaurants.  

Here is one example;  Dungeness & Stone Crabs are considered Best Choices.  Good Alternatives are US Crabs and Snow Crabs from Canada.  To Be Avoided are the Red King Crabs from Russia.  Red Snapper from the US is also to be avoided.  It is an interesting list and helped me a great deal in focusing on what I can do to help seafood sustainability.

Source;  Monterey Bay Aquarium, Seafood Watch, National Seafood Guide, Spring 2013


Genetic Superiority – Mutts vs. Purebreds

Like many veterinarians, I have long believed mutts have fewer health problems than purebreds.  The common sense basis for that belief is that the genetic pool is larger and thus should lead to fewer issues of the type observed due to inbreeding.  Well, a new study by the University of California Davis suggests this may not be true.

The June 1st Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association published the study.  Through examining 90,000 medical records of dogs between 1995 and 2010, it was learned that mixed-breed dogs succumb to 13 genetically based conditions at about the same rate as purebreds. 

According to the study, the chances of mixed-breed dogs and purebreds getting the following diseases are equal:  epilepsy, Addison’s, Cushing’s, hip dysplasia, mast cell tumors, osteosarcoma, lymphoma, lens luxation and 4 types of heart problems.  Purebreds are more likely to suffer from the following diseases: atopy/allergies, bloat, cataracts, elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, liver shunts and disc disease. Mixed-breed dogs have a great chance of cruciate rupture.  

Although the study looked at 90,000 records, we have to recall this is still a select population of pets seen at the teaching hospital.  Nonetheless, this is an impressive study based upon the sheer size of records examined.   

To learn more please see this link;

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Last week, my husband and I had the chance to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  Wow!  The aquarium is located right on the water with wonderful views of the bay.  Once inside, we headed to the kelp forest exhibit.  The large central tank is three stories tall giving the kelp plenty of room to grow.  I was most excited to note the fish displayed normal behavior.  Many smaller tanks containing a variety of animals surrounded the large one, highlighting the smaller species who call these waters home. 

Next, we wandered through a jelly fish exhibit.  It rivals any art museum for sheer beauty.  Then we headed to view the popular sea otters.  The Monterey Bay Aquarium is working hard to rescue and rehabilitate sea otters with the hope of saving this endangered species.  Last, we toured the open sea exhibit.  The large central tank made me feel like I was out at sea, miles from land.  Although I enjoyed seeing the large sharks and tuna, what surprised me most were the schooling fish.  The aquarium had several exhibits that  showcased these smaller fish.  There was one circular exhibit built into the ceiling filled with small bait fish.  The fish swam in one direction around the tube.  I couldn’t help but wonder if they every change direction?   

When I go to a zoo or aquarium, I look at many things including the cleanliness of the facility, the size of enclosures, condition of the animals and how they behave.  I am happy to report that I did not see any unnatural behaviors in any of the animals.  I highly recommend a trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  I can’t wait to go back for a longer visit! 

Here is a link to their website:


Melanosis in Cats

    Melanosis is a condition found in the iris of cats.  Pigment containing cells called melanocytes proliferate causing black spots to appear.  They look like freckles.   If the melanocytes continue to grow, the form larger lesions called nevi.  If multiple nevi form, the condition is called melanosis.  If the disease does not progress any further, the cat will be fine although the color of it’s iris will look different.  Unfortunately, melanosis can convert from benign to malignant requiring immediate enucleation of the affected eye to save the cat.  The problem with melanosis is detecting when the condition is changing from benign to metastatic without being able to take a biopsy sample. 

    Many people confuse melanosis with another pigmented syndrome called lentigo simplex.  The color orange in cats is the result of a genetic mutation on the X chromosome from black/brown to orange.  As orange cats age, the genetic mutation will sometimes mutate back to its original black/brown color causing pigmented spots.  The reverse mutation occurs most commonly on the ears, eyelids, nose and lips of orange cats.  Males and females are both affected.        

Comment on Taming Feral Cats

Thank you for adopting these feral kittens.  Your adults will help the kittens learn about humans.  I would caution you about trying to pick up the kittens and force socialization before they are ready.  Picking them up causes severe fear in feral kittens.  I would recommend sitting on the ground and letting them jump on your lap.  Once they are comfortable, lift their front legs off the ground an inch and slowly progress from there until you can pick them up.  Never force them into a situation where they feel the need to bite in order to escape.  As for food, I would recommend leaving dry food available at all times and then giving them some canned food while you are home.  I leave a small amount of canned food out for mine before I go to work.  My cats will eat all of it within the next hour then have the dry for later.  Again, thanks for taking in these kittens and your other cats.  Good luck!

Comment on Taming Feral Cats

Trapped 3 feral kittens 11 weeks old.Kept them in cage 1 week before shots/spayed.1 week after all kittens will eat in front of me (in the cage).and allow me to pick them up and pet them.The male is the biggest already tame, he growls at the others when they are eating. One girl hisses when i go to pick her up.The other girl hisses every time I come near the cage and doesn’t tolerate being held long.She bit me once and I seperated her from the others one night. The boy has been sticking is head out when the door is open.I have two other cats who come in the ferals room and they don’t seem to mind them. Last night I left the cage doors open but the door shut. I feel like they are not getting enough exersize in the cage.I plan to let them loose in the room for about a week before letting my other two have contact with them. I don’t have a lot of time to spend with them three days a week. I was wondering if I should still not leave wet food in room when I leave. And will my other two help with the taming. Thease are my first ferals.