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Published January 28, 2011, 12:00 AM

Cat info unclear to reader

Dear Dr. Fox: You can redeem yourself and restore your reputation by repudiating your longstanding support for allowing domestic cats to roam and feral cats treated with TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release), an irresponsible position. I urge you to contribute to ABC (American Bird Conservancy) and receive their literature.

By: Dr. Michael Fox, INFORUM

Dear Dr. Fox: You can redeem yourself and restore your reputation by repudiating your longstanding support for allowing domestic cats to roam and feral cats treated with TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release), an irresponsible position.

I urge you to contribute to ABC (American Bird Conservancy) and receive their literature. – H.N., Annapolis, Md.

Dear H.N.: You may wish to redeem yourself and check the archives of this syndicated column available on my website, www.twobitdog.com/DrFox.

I have, on many occasions, appealed to cat owners never to let their cats roam free for a host of reasons in addition to their predation on birds and small mammals. Along with many other veterinarians, cat lovers, conservationists and animal protectionists, I have also questioned the feel-good trapping/neutering/releasing (TNR) of free-roaming cats. I am encouraged that, “pending environmental review,” a superior court judge has ruled in favor of halting TNR in the city of Los Angeles.

My wife and I trapped and neutered two feral/stray cats recently, rescuing them from the harsh Minnesota winter with its killer cold. We released them into a spare room set up for them in our home, and they are two very happy cats with not one yowl ever to go outside.

Go to www.abcbirds.org/cats for a free brochure form the American Bird Conservancy on keeping cats indoors. They are a legitimate and respected organization, while your illegitimate diatribe may be forgiven because of the intensity of your concern.

Various human activities that should be curtailed continue to do far more harm than free-roaming cats. Deforestation, destruction of wetlands and other bird habitat, and agriculture with its genetically engineered and insecticide (nicotine-based) impregnated seeds have devastated wild bird species and populations wherever industrial farming methods are used. Birds help control insects and the spread of insect-born diseases, and we suffer the consequences when we ignore their ecological importance and intrinsic value and rights.


Dear Dr. Fox: We have a 3-month-old male Bernese mountain dog. According to what we have read, this breed has a relatively short life span (six to eight years). What are your recommendations for improving our dog’s longevity? – R.M., Virginia Beach, Va.

Dear R.M.: The same holistic health care principles hold for us as well as for our canine companions: good nutrition, regular exercise/outdoor activity, a stress-free home environment, basic training/education and good relationships including fun games, regular grooming and, if left alone all day, a companion animal or dog-walker to break the loneliness and monotony. For further details, my book “Dog Body, Dog Mind” will be helpful in avoiding health risks such as over-vaccination and hazardous anti-flea/tick treatments.

Generally, the bigger the dog, the shorter the life span; this aspect of genetics being influenced by the quality of care from birth on and even before birth, where certain so-called epigenetic factors (arising from non-genetic external influences) such as maternal diet and stress can affect the offspring.


Send your questions to Dr. Fox in care of The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns. Visit Dr. Fox’s website at www.twobitdog.com/DrFox.

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