Ask Walter… Drinking problems
Dear Walter: I have a drinking problem. Lately, I can’t seem to get enough to drink. I’m sooo thirsty! My people keep refilling my water dish, but are starting to notice. Frankly, I’m not feeling like myself. I’ve always done my business outside, but now, I’m having trouble holding it, and I’m ashamed to say I’ve peed on the floor a few times, recently.
My people were very surprised and yelled at me, which kinda hurt my feelings. I really couldn’t help it! Now, they’re talking about rationing my water, and I’m scared — that would be terrible. What’s wrong with me?
Dear Sluice: I’m sorry to hear of your drinking problem, but the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, so good job. Now, to convince your people NOT to ration your water and to have you checked out! You could have a serious medical problem like diabetes, hypothyroidism, Cushing’s Disease, Addison’s disease, kidney disease or just a urinary tract infection — all of which can make you sicker and sicker if they remain undiagnosed and untreated.
You’ll need to give some blood (don’t worry, I’ve done it a bunch of times, it’s pinchy, but quick) and they’ll have you pee into a cup (weird). Once they figure out what’s wrong, they can try to help you feel better. Good luck!
Dear Walter: I’m a cat. I like things neat, and I like my water crystal clear and fresh — like on those commercials for fancy, bottled spring water. Better yet, straight from the faucet, while it’s running. That’s the best! I consider myself a water connoisseur of sorts. Unfortunately, I live with a big, floppy-eared bassett hound with drooly lips and saggy neck flaps.
When I say he STINKS, I mean literally — it’s gross. Worst part? I have to share a water dish with this slobbery, slovenly goon. He’s nice enough, but jeez, I have to tiptoe through the slimy puddles he leaves on the floor just to get NEAR our water dish. There are gooey bits of his dog food floating in the water! UGH. Disgusting!
I know you must be able to identify with my plight, as I understand dachshunds are very fastidious, with excellent senses of smell and taste, and you most definitely don’t have droopy, slobbery lips. How can I get our people to give me my own water bowl so we don’t have to share? I’m afraid I’m going to catch a disease.
— The Purist
Dear Purist: Wow, that is a problem, and I completely understand your predicament. In my 13 years, I’ve had to share a water bowl with some sloppy drinkers, too. And yes, I am a bit of a neatnik. Try using your feline super-special mind-bending skills on your people. And take every opportunity to prowl in typical cat style and drink from every vessel you find that contains clean water, including the sink. Worked for a few of my cat companions.
Wyatt used to sneak behind the fish tank to drink out of the bucket of fresh water stowed underneath — his own, private oasis. (He used to brag about it.) Maybe if you’re lucky, they’ll get you a crystal bowl or a cat fountain (where the dog can’t reach.) That’d be sweet! In the meantime, be thankful you don’t have to endure one of those automatic waterers with the big, upside-down jugs attached. They have one at my cousins’ house, and I refuse to use it — I’d rather die of thirst. That thing’s possessed. It BURPS!
Dear Walter: I live with a prissy cat who’s always complaining. I mean, about EVERYTHING. She’s such a fancy pants, it’s annoying. I enjoy getting nice, long, quenching drinks from our awesome, big water bowl. It holds, like a GALLON of water, which is excellent. So sometimes my ears get a little wet — I’m a bassett hound, it happens. It’s okay, ’cause I can just shake my head real hard and flap those puppies dry. Works for my lips, too — no sissy napkins needed!
Anyway, the cat’s always moaning about me being messy, but I can’t help it. I feel kinda bad, and I don’t mean to make her upset. I’ve tried sipping all dainty like she does, but I can’t get a good gulp that way. Cats are weird.
I know you have lots of experience living with cats, and you’re also a low-slung hound dog, so we have lots in common. How can I get our people to give the cat a water dish of her own so I can enjoy mine without getting the evil eye all the time?
— The Dribbler
Dear Dribbler: I think the cat’s working on a solution to your shared problem. Just a hunch. Stay houndy!
— Daverio is a veterinarian at Williamsport West Veterinary Hospital. Her column is published every other Sunday in the Lifestyle section. She can be reached at email@example.com.