Dear Christopher Cat:
Kojak, my diabetic grandcat, refuses to remain indoors, endlessly meowing and scratching the door until someone lets him out. Then he escapes from the backyard by digging under the fence.
He can remove any collar or harness ever designed, so he needs an implantable GPS microchip to track him. Can you recommend a good one?Christopher responds:
To the best of my knowledge, the perfect microchip tracker hasn't been invented yet, partly because the battery life would be too short.
But I have a better suggestion: a cat fence that even Kojak can't get through.
Most cat fences are made of a black, chew-resistant, polypropylene mesh that blends into the landscape. The fence extends about 6 inches underground, and the top slants or pivots inward, so cats can't dig under or climb over the fence.
These fences can be added to existing fences or walls, or they can be installed as free-standing fences. You also can add gates and barriers that prevent the cat from escaping by climbing a tree.
The fence kits are designed to be installed by the homeowner or another handy person. Visit purrfectfence.com
to see several options.
°°°Dear Daisy Dog:
Over the past year, our two Labradors developed medical problems that cost us $14,000. One dog required major orthopedic surgery, and the other needed cancer surgery and chemotherapy.
Fortunately, we're able to afford these treatments and occasionally assist other people, but we're concerned about families that struggle to pay for major, unexpected medical expenses for their beloved furry family members. What resources are available to help them?Daisy responds:
You've raised a sensitive topic, one that extends beyond veterinary medicine to human health care. Experts agree that unexpected medical bills were the leading cause of personal backruptcy in the U.S. before passage of the Affordable Care Act.
When four-legged family members suffer from unforeseen medical problems, pet health insurance can help soften the financial burden. Unfortunately, only 1 to 2 percent of American families with dogs and cats have pet insurance.
For those that do, families pay their pet health insurance premiums monthly, and if a medical problem develops, the insurance company reimburses all or most of the bill. Even so, deductibles and co-payments may present a challenge for some families.
Another option is a health credit card, the most popular of which is Care Credit. Families can use Care Credit for veterinary and human health care, and interest-free payments are available for new clients. Credit cards also are accepted by most animal hospitals.
Some veterinary practices help ease the bills of established clients through angel funds. Clients and employees donate to the angel fund, often to memorialize a beloved pet, and the staff distributes the money. These funds are limited though, so pet families shouldn't count on them.
Finally, families in need may find help through funds such as bigheartsfund.org, browndogfoundation.org, paws4acure.org, themagicbulletfund.org, the themosbyfoundation.org and thepetfund.com.Ask the Vet's Pets appears Friday in the print edition. The animal authors of the column live with Lee Pickett, V.M.D., who practices companion animal medicine. Contact them at www.askthevetspets.com.