Want to be featured in next month’s newsletter? Email our very own Dr. Chip at [email protected] and make sure you reference ‘Ask Dr. Chip’ in the subject line.

About Dr. Chip

Dr. Chip Coombs is Pets Plus Us’ Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO), and has practiced veterinary medicine since 1976, initially in the United Kingdom, then in Western Canada and, finally, in Toronto, where he owned a multi-veterinarian practice for 33 years.

Please note: This forum is not intended for life saving medical advice. If your pet is having a medical emergency, please contact your veterinarian or local veterinary emergency clinic.


Dear Dr. Chip,

I have a question regarding my cat. She is 6 years old and likes to eat hair so much so that she chases my hair on the ground! The issue I have is she is eating her belly hair to the point of her making it bald. Now I’m not sure if it’s a bad thing and how can I get her to stop? 

Thanks so much,



Hi Bells,

Your cat's fascination with hair and having a bare belly are coincidental only. Cats love to chase and seeing some hair tumble across a floor is just too tempting not to pursue. Being obsessed with a twist of hair for your cat could just as easily be flies or some other insect for another.

As for her licking her tummy bald, it is usually a manifestation of some form of anxiety or stress. It's not uncommon in cats and there are a number of potential causes. I've imbedded a link to an article that will more fully explain.

Hope this helps,

Dr. Chip


Hi Dr. Chip!

I have an outdoor cat, Wisper, she is a great cat. We put her in the garage in the night time, so she will not get hurt and her food is there as well, she goes outside during the day. Her back legs at the top of her foot are both skinned out on both sides as she climbs trees and is extremely active. So, I am kind of concerned if it’s ticks so I have been told it’s this time of year. 
Max my 1.5-year-old Shih Tzu, I bring him in the car every now and then he shakes like crazy. Also, even in the house he is shaking like crazy. I cuddled him at times, but I don’t know if he is nervous or cold, hope you can help me.

Thanks for your time,



Hi Arlene,

If I understand your concern about Wisper correctly, the skin is abraded on both sides of her feet. Being an outside cat with no supervision means the causes could be any one of a number of possibilities. Trauma or a skin infection would be my first thoughts and beyond that it would be necessary to see Whisper. If it is possible to take Whisper to your veterinarian, that would be prudent. You're quite right, it is tick season. However, ticks wouldn't cause the lesions you describe on Whisper's feet. Ticks attach, engorge with blood and then fall off and don't usually cause any skin lesions.

As for Max, the shaking is most likely a reflection of anxiety, but I could only speculate as to the cause without knowing much more background. Although certainly dogs (and people for that matter) will shake when they are cold, it would not usually be the cause inside your home, unless it is right after being outside on a cold winter day. When you take Whisper in to have her feet checked (assuming she allows you to pick her up), I would suggest you discuss Max in greater detail with your veterinarian, who can take an extensive history from you about the circumstances. This would hopefully allow a more specific analysis of the shaking and potential solutions if required.


Dr. Chip