Q: We moved into a new house about five months ago, and our female cat seemed to have no problems adjusting to her new home until just recently. She has started to urinate (spray?) in several places. A friend suggested putting her food dishes down where she goes, which I did. She stopped for a little while but then started in nearby places. She has always been an indoor cat, and we've never had any problems. What should I do next? Could she be having a bladder problem? She still uses her litter box, which I keep clean. What do you suggest?
Wendy Rosenfield, Garden Grove
A: Cats are generally very territorial and become upset if their domain is threatened by the intrusion of any other cat. Your cat, even though a female, may be re-establishing her territory by marking or spraying certain areas of your home. It may be that there was a cat previously living in the house and she is now detecting its scent, or you may notice that neighborhood cats are coming around to the doors or windows to check out the new neighbors, and she is responding by spraying.
You will need to make an effort to keep the stray cats from coming around the windows and doors and prevent them from marking the outside of the house. In some cases, keeping the blinds or curtains closed will help reduce the problem, since your cat will not see the snoopers.
You may want to have your cat checked by your veterinarian to rule out the possibility of a urine infection. Your cat may also be put on hormonal medication such as Ovaban or even a mild sedative to reduce her anxiety. The use of deodorizers can reduce any scents that are still present.
Q: I recently had a disagreement with my vet over the treatment of my hospitalized dog. I felt that several things were done without my permission, and I was charged for them. I took my dog to another vet locally and he continued the care of my pet. What do you think I should do concerning the problem with my other vet? Is there someone I can complain to? My dog is doing well now, and I am happy with the care he is receiving.
A: Since you have a complaint about the type of treatment your pet received, I suggest that you first talk it over with your veterinarian and discuss why and what was done. Most problems that occur are over misunderstandings of what was agreed upon. I'm sure that if you explain your complaint to the doctor and listen to his explanation, some sort of compromise can be reached. If you do not feel any resolution is possible from this discussion, you should contact the Southern California Veterinary Medical Assn. and ask for a grievance form to be sent to you. The complaint will be forwarded to a committee that will investigate both sides of the problem.
Got a question about your pet? Write to: Dr. Glenn Ericson, Ask the Vet, Orange County Life, The Times, 1375 Sunflower Ave., Costa Mesa, Calif. 92626.