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Dear Christopher Cat

One of my five cats, a 12-year-old with a thick coat, occasionally pulls her hair out and sometimes swallows it. I brush her two or three times a week. Is there something more I can do? Is this normal behavior or the sign of an underlying problem?

Christopher Responds

I have a long, thick coat, and I do the same thing when the weather turns warm.

You can help by brushing your cat daily as she sheds her heavy winter coat.

Once each week, supplement the brushing by combing her with a fine-toothed flea comb. Fleas, a common cause of excessive grooming, leave behind tiny black specks of excrement, which you’ll see tangled in the hair on the comb.

If she has fleas, apply Frontline Plus or Advantage to her skin once a month. Continue the applications for at least several months to kill fleas that emerge from the protective cocoon-like pupae.

If your cat is pulling out more hair than usual -– or she grooms so much that some of her skin is bare –- she may have a medical problem. Make an appointment with her veterinarian if you have any question about this possibility.

 

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