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I am thinking of getting a kitten from a farm to keep my 6-year-old adult male cat company while I work. We live alone, and he looks so sad when I leave each morning. Please advise.

A -- He may enjoy the company. However, he may not. Imagine me telling you that my 17 year-old-son had to move into your apartment because you seemed to need company. He would soon wear on your patience as he upset your normal routines.

Your adult cat may be living in his idea of heaven and could get very upset by any newcomer. Frequently, that is expressed as upset litter habits. His sad look might actually be a sleepy one as he anticipates your departure and a long morning nap.

If adopted, the farm kitten should be thoroughly examined by your veterinarian for contagious and parasitic diseases before entry into your home. Then a gradual introduction period should occur, with each cat having its own area, food, water and litter boxes in the apartment.

Increasing periods of time can lessen the stress on both cats and owner. I encourage you to make the decision based on your needs, not the needs you think your cat may have.

W. James Brown, DVM


Q -- My dog developed very red skin all over her body, swelling of her back legs and ran a fever of 104 degrees. My veterinarian diagnosed her with vasculitis. What is vasculitis, and how could she have gotten it?

A -- Vasculitis is a term used to describe inflammation of blood vessels. This can occur because of conditions within the blood vessels or from surrounding tissue. Many parts of the body can be affected but most commonly the skin.

The pet can show signs of fever, listlessness, muscle pain, decreased appetite and redness of the skin, as you have described. The history of the pet is very important, as well as diagnostic testing to rule out other diseases.

Blood samples and possibly a skin biopsy are often useful for this purpose. Treatment depends on the condition of the pet and the underlying cause. I hope your dog is feeling better, and thanks for the question on this complex condition.

Kevin J. Kuhn, DVM
Prepared as a public service by the Niagara Frontier Veterinary Society. Send questions to Pets, P.O. Box 403, East Aurora, N.Y. 14052-0403. Sorry, personal replies cannot be provided.

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