September 2009 Issue

Fur Changes Can Spell Trouble

If her grooming habits have changed or she suddenly looks unkempt, she should be examined by her vet.

One of your favorite things about your cat is her sleek, shining fur. Lately, though, it seems like your cat has been having a bad fur day ó and she hasnít seemed very interested in grooming herself over the past week or so. Whatís going on? "A decline in grooming or a change in the catís fur are some of the subtle signs that your cat may be ill," says Jane Brunt, DVM, of the Cat Hospital At Towson in Baltimore, Maryland. In fact, you can view your catís fur as a barometer of her overall health and well-being. If you do notice a change, report it to your veterinarian so that you can take steps to start treatment quickly. Ilness Indicator. One of the most common fur changes in cats is the loss of hair. You might notice clumps of fur coming out when you pet her, or her fur might just start to look patchy and scraggly. Causes for hair loss ó called alopecia ó include skin parasites (fleas and mites) and internal parasites (tapeworms or roundworms). These culprits indirectly rob your catís body of vital nutrients.

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