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Dear Dr. Fox: Lately I have been having trouble getting my cat to eat.

When I first got her, I fed her Snappy cat food that she seemed to like. Then a few days later, I tried another brand. Since she liked that, too, I thought I'd let her have both of them - for variety.But a few days ago, when I fed her Snappy again, she refused to eat it. I Tried to make it tastier by adding milk. But she still wouldn't eat it. Can you tell me what's the problem? - L.M.

Dear L.M.: First, you should not put milk in your cat's food, because milk often causes diarrhea in cats who can't tolerate the high lactose content of cow's milk.

Secondly, it's not a good idea to switch brands of cat food since this can create a finicky cat who's either borderline anorexic or just wants to eat salmon or canned tuna.

Don't choose a rich, luxury snack for your cat because you want to impress and pamper her. It will only make her ill if eaten regularly. Buy your cat a commercial food that provides a complete and balanced diet. It should say so on the label.

Give your cat a choice between dry and moist food, feeding her the moist food twice a day. Leave the dry out for the cat to snack on in between.

Dear Dr. Fox: Were I to place three white geese in a pond on my property, would the noise of the geese be a nuisance to neighbors?

Would I find healthy geese at a pet store, at a farm, or should I raise them from eggs? I'd appreciate any help you can offer. - W.A.

Dear W.A.: Geese like plenty of grass and other vegetation around a pond so they can graze. Don't mow the grass around the pond, and also plant some reeds and rushes.

As to obtaining geese, buy a few duck and geese decoys and put them around the pond. Soon you may well attract wild ducks and geese, notably Canada geese. Try this method before buying domestic geese from a farm - they can be very noisy and disturb neighbors.

Wild birds need sanctuaries, and your pond could be a welcome refuge, if you decide against geese.

Dear Dr. Fox: The shelter in our county has started spaying and neutering puppies and kittens as young as 6 or 8 weeks of age. What problems, if any can this cause?

I'm asking because a friend of mine adopted a puppy that was neutered at 10 weeks. This seems very young to me. - M.M.

Dear M.M.: Yes, some animal shelters are neutering puppies and kittens at a very young age prior to adoption because that's one solution to the chronic pet-overpopulation problem. In other words, they've found that folks won't bring the animals back to be neutered at a later age!

The operation is safe and effective for male puppies and for female puppies and kittens. Furthermore, it may significantly reduce the incidence of breast cancer at a later age. But I personally don't advise having a male cat neutered until 6 months of age because early neutering may increase the likelihood of urinary system blockage later in life.

Send your questions to Dr. Fox in care of the Greensboro News & Record, P.O. Box 20848, Greensboro, N.C. 27420. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns.

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