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My Pet World: Poorly socialized puppy just needs time and training to be well-adjusted adult

Cathy M. Rosenthal, Tribune Content Agency on

It takes time to socialize an adult dog, but you can absolutely do it if you are patient and persistent with her training. Given time, she will learn to learn to trust you and your family. When dogs learn to trust, they become the most amazing companions. Please keep me posted on her progress.

Dear Cathy,

I have a 4-1/2 lb. female 16-year-old Persian cat who I have groomed every four months. For the last year, her fur has been taking longer to grow in some areas. The fur around her face, paws, tail, and butt all seems normal, but the fur appears to have stopped growing on the sides of her belly and ribs.

I am wondering if it’s a lack of minerals/vitamins. Her fur is not falling out; it’s just not growing. I’m not sure if that makes a difference. Otherwise, she is happy and healthy in every way. She eats, drinks, and uses the litter box.

She was at the vet a year ago for a complete checkup. The vet said she is great for her age. She’s also the only pet in the house and has no contact with other animals. Any thoughts?

— Vicki, Massapequa, New York

Dear Vicki,

Sometimes, a cat’s coat stops growing or grows slowly, depending on the time of year. Animals have four phases of annual hair growth. The anagen phase is when new hair grows. The catagen phase is when hair reaches its full length and stops growing. The Telogen phase is when the hair is neither growing nor shedding. And the exogen phase is when the hair sheds.

So, overall, it’s not abnormal for hair to stop growing for a while. But when hair grows inconsistently, especially when it hasn’t before, then it could be the symptom of an underlying health problem, like a thyroid problem or a hormonal imbalance or deficiency.


Since it has been a year, I recommend a visit to the vet and getting blood work to see if she has developed a health problem. Health problems can crop up quickly for senior pets, so consider bi-annual exams for any cat starting around 10 or 11 years old. At 16, she is a geriatric feline and things do start to slow down for them.

Going forward, ask your groomer to leave areas that are not growing alone to give them time to come back.




(Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, author, columnist and pet expert who has more than 25 years in the animal welfare field. Send your pet questions, stories and tips to Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal.)

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