Paw Prints

Question: My handsome, ginger kitty, Angus, has just discovered catnip and his reaction is hilarious! Is it safe to give? 

Answer: Catnip is great and Angus shares his love of the herb with lions, panthers, tigers and other large magnificent kitties! It is a safe, non-addictive plant that some kitties react to in a crazy and peculiar way. Not all cats respond to catnip, but lucky for Angus, he is genetically predisposed to react to nepetalactone, the oil found in the stems, leaves and seeds. The hallucinogenic response lasts for about 10 minutes and can make some kitties play aggressively while others act mellow and calm. I like infusing my cat’s toys with catnip fumes by placing them in a sealed jar filled with dry catnip leaves and shaking it around. 

Question: Can I feed my maltese, Poppy, dry cat food? 

Answer: I would certainly advise against it! While cat food may be delicious to Poppy, it is very high in protein, fat and calories. Eating a diet of cat food can lead your pooch to gain weight, develop pancreatitis (a painful inflammation of the pancreas) and other serious medical issues. If Poppy gets a few bites, she may become nauseous and have some diarrhea. Keep the cat food away from your pooch by placing it at a height only your kitties can reach. 

Please send your questions to Dr. Marina Shepelev at

Dr. Marina Shepelev is an associate veterinarian practicing medicine at Owego Veterinary Hospital. She welcomes weekly questions concerning your furry friends.

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