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At the Salem VA Medical Center in Salem, Virginia, an orange tabby cat named Tom brings comfort to the terminally ill veterans there.
According to the VA Medical Center, the cat, who spends most of his time in the hospice unit, seems to have a special sense when a patient or a family needs him.
He makes his daily “rounds” around the unit, stopping in to visit where it seems like he’s needed most.
The patients on the unit, like Air Force Veteran Skip Wyman, enjoy Tom’s company.
“He was in my room yesterday for about two hours,” Wyman said happily. “Then he walked out. I don’t know where he went. I haven’t seen him this morning yet. He’s around here somewhere.”
Click here to read the complete story.
Question: I have a question about my 2 year old indoor cat. He has a hairball caused by an earlier skin problem when he licked a couple of places on his lower back. I have been giving him hair ball medicine for about 5 days twice a day.
He will wretch a lot and something comes up in his mouth, I can tell, but he will not allow himself to spit it out, he swallows it back down. He is trying to cough it up, but has always acted scared of throwing up. Can you help me?
What can I do for him so that he has to spit it on out? He has stopped drinking water but still wants to play and acts well, other than may be constipated too. Thank you or anyone who can help.
Answer: Thanks for your inquiry. The pattern you are describing is very common for cats and generally there is nothing we can do to make a cat “spit out” the material. Keep in mind that this may indeed be wretching—meaning your cat is trying to vomit or throw up a hairball.
The other thing in this age cat that often causes a wretching/gagging motion is coughing. I know it sounds crazy but a cat who is coughing often looks like they are trying to “bring up a hairball”. My recommendation would be to take a short video of what your cat is doing and have your vet take a look. The recommended treatment will be very different depending on if your cat is truly trying to vomit or if he is coughing.
Dr. Donna Spector
Answers provided to pet owners by Dr. Donna Spector should be considered information and not specific advice. Answers are to be used for general information purposes only and not as a substitute for in-person evaluation or specific professional advice from your veterinarian. Communications on this site are very limited and should never be used in possible cases of emergency.
Halo, Purely for Pets will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on any information or content contained in a blog or article post. If you have consulted your veterinarian and if you are still concerned about your pet’s condition or if your pet has chronic, complicated or undiagnosed problems, Dr. Spector can offer consultations for you and your veterinarian via www.SpectorDVM.com.
We are thrilled to announce that Crixus, the Detroit pup we blogged about earlier this month, has received his new wheelchair and seems to love it! Pets for Patriots’ first LoveAnimals.org campaign is a resounding success — raising more than 100% of their goal to help Crixus and his United States Army veteran adoptive mom.
Because of his wheelchair, Crixus now has an easier time playing with his new dog sister Teeny and can even run to the car for car rides with her, too. According to his adoptive mom, “The two of them sit side-by-side, all happy to be on a ride.” Along with car rides and play time, Crixus is also now able to start leash walking with his family.
We are so grateful to LoveAnimals.org, Pets for Patriots, and all the generous donors who made this possible. In addition to exploring Michigan on the ground with his leash, Crixus somehow (no one knows how) was able to maneuver himself up onto the family couch the other day and appeared “very proud of himself.” Talk about tenacity and ingenuity!
Crixus also is settling in to the family and showing his personality. He gives face kisses and cuddles with his family. One morning his adopter woke up with his head on her shoulder, and when she turned to look at him, Crixus gave her a kiss! We absolutely agree with his adopter who wrote, “He just melts my heart.”
Everybody is aware by now of the importance (and legal necessity) of having smoke alarms in their homes – and we’ve heard those amazing stories of dogs (and even cats) who awaken their sleeping owners when they smell smoke in the house where smoke detectors are absent or they are not working because of dead batteries.
However, most of us are less aware of the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning in a house, which a pet cannot alert you to because it is an odorless deadly gas that comes from malfunctioning water heaters and similar equipment (or car exhaust fumes, which can accumulate quickly in a closed garage where a car is left running).
Not only do pets have no way to alert to CO2 danger, but they (and small children) are the most susceptible to its deadly effect because their bodies are so much smaller than those of adults and succumb more quickly to the deadly gas. The danger can increase in winter in cold climates where all windows are tightly closed.
Fire departments and other authorities regularly remind renters and homeowners to have carbon monoxide detectors in working order on every level of their homes – and their garage – but many people remain unaware of this common, avoidable danger.
I recall when I was a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician for many years that our training emphasized that in cases of suspected CO2 poisoning that we were forbidden to enter a dwelling without a protective mask because we could be felled ourselves; even in the time it would take us to extract a victim.
I was reminded of this important safety precaution of having working CO2 monitors throughout a home when I read about a recent carbon monoxide poisoning incident that left a Maryland woman fighting for her life and her dog dead, “Woman seriously hurt, dog dead due to carbon monoxide poisoning”. The woman’s daughter found her mother unconscious in the home just in time, according to fire officials, but it was too late for the family pet.
Please remember that an ounce of prevention is worth its weight in gold – for your two-legged and four-legged family members.
Tracie Hotchner is the author of THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know.
She is also a renowned pet radio host and producer, having spent 7 years on the Martha Stewart Channel of Sirius/XM with CAT CHAT® and even longer with her award-winning NPR radio show DOG TALK® (and Kitties, Too!) that continues to broadcast in the Hamptons and the Berkshires. Her most recent accomplishment is the pet talk radio network she has created on the Internet called The Radio Pet Lady Network.