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C2010-11

Dear Christopher Cat

Pyewacket, my 5-year-old Siamese, has a beautiful coat, but it’s getting darker with age. Should I be concerned?

Christopher Responds

Probably not. Siamese cats have a gene that causes the body to deposit more melanin pigment in hair over cooler skin –- the ears, nose and tail, called “points” on a Siamese -– than in hair over warmer skin, such as the trunk.

As we cats age, circulation of warm blood to the skin often diminishes. The skin cools a bit, and the hair darkens. That’s probably what’s happening to Pyewacket, but to be sure, you should schedule an exam with your veterinarian.

Something similar can happen after a cat is shaved for surgery. Although the hair that grows in over the shaved -– and therefore, relatively cool -– skin is darker, it usually blends in over time.

I assume you named Pyewacket for the spirited cat in Bell, Book and Candle. If so, you needn’t worry that the bewitching color change results from magic. It’s simply a matter of genetics and the effect of cool temperatures on hair color.

 

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