Pet Q&A: Underweight cats | Troublesome dogs

Vet Stuart McMorrow answers your questions

My big grey cat is ten and he’s always been quite heavy, which I think is due to his breed. But recently he has lost a lot of weight, although he’s still eating, drinking, playing and using his scratching post. His tail is less bushy too.

There are a number of medical conditions that could be causing your cat to lose weight despite a good appetite, so you need to take him to a vet to find out what is wrong. Certain diseases, such as diabetes, kidney disease and hyperthyroidism can cause weight loss, along with other symptoms such as increased appetite or thirst, or increased need to urinate.

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My three-year-old Boxer is always pulling on the lead, she tries to chase cars whenever we walk along the road, or try to cross over. I’ve bought a strong collar and lead, but I’m worried she’ll get injured if she does manage to slip her collar.

The first step towards addressing any behaviour problem like this is to understand why Lulu does it. In this case, it may be that Lulu is showing predatory chasing behaviour, which is a strong canine urge to chase things. Visit the website of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers at

My Guinea Pig has recently developed some swellings on his body and appears to be uncomfortable when handled. What could 
this be?

One possible cause of Toby’s swellings is a bacterial skin infection, which can lead to skin abscesses. Guinea pigs can often get these, caused by scratches or bites from other guinea pigs if too many are kept together. Damaged food and water containers or rough cage sides can cause grazes and cuts so it might be worthwhile checking these possible causes out as well as taking Toby to see your vet. However, the swelling could be due to other causes, such as a cyst, boil or tumour, so you need to visit a vet to get a diagnosis. Getting treatment for him quickly is important to relieve his discomfort.