Q: About a year ago, I lost my female Persian to kidney failure, which may have been caused by feline leukemia virus. She was only 10 years old and had been in good health all of her life. I was quite upset by her death and am now concerned about my other cat, a 6-year-old female shorthair. Is there any possibility that she may also become ill with kidney disease, and what can I do to prevent this from happening? Should I change her diet? How will I know if she is drinking enough water? Is there any preventive medicine that I can give her? I am really worried about her since she has become very affectionate toward me since Millie died.
Marion Russell, Santa Ana
A: I am sorry to hear about the loss of your pet and can understand your concerns about the other cat. Fortunately, kidney disease is, by itself, not contagious and should have no direct effect on your other cat. However, it would be very wise to have your cat tested for feline leukemia virus and to have a general screening blood profile done on a regular basis, possibly yearly, when she gets her vaccinations.
If your cat tests negative for the leukemia virus, get her vaccinated to help protect her against this insidious killer. Your veterinarian may want to start your cat on a special diet, such as Prescription K/D diet, in order to reduce any potential dietary causes of kidney problems. Of course, plenty of fresh water and exercise is always good, as is keeping her weight under control. Be careful to avoid toxic compounds, such as antifreeze, which can quickly destroy the kidneys. You should know, however, that there is nothing you can do to prevent malignant tumors or kidney degeneration from aging. I hope you have many happy years with your cat.
Q: I have a very pretty calico shorthair cat who is almost 1 year old. I am thinking of letting her have kittens by breeding her to a purebred cat, such as a Siamese. Would it be possible to register these kittens as part Siamese? Where do I find information on purebred Siamese cats in order to find a male to mate her with?
Cindy Manchester, Orange
A: The kittens would not qualify for registration by any breed standards. Also, breeding your cat may not be such a wise idea, considering all the unwanted cats that are in the county these days. It would probably be better to have her spayed and not bring extra kittens into the world.
If you still want information on purebred cats, contact a group such as the Cat Fanciers' Assn.
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.