Marc Morrone answers questions about cat allergies, ferret fights, and chinchilla fur.

My son is allergic to cats and I was told by my friends that if I got a short-hair cat, it would cut down on allergies and I'd be able to keep a kitten in my home. Is it true?

Unless you have friends who are vets or allergists, don't listen to them in situations like this. When a person is allergic to cats, it has nothing to do with the fur; the irritant is the dried oils on the cat's skin secreted by the sebaceous glands.

I just got a new baby ferret as a companion for my two-year-old ferret but upon being introduced, the older one grabbed the younger by the back of the neck and started dragging it about. The younger ferret was screaming bloody murder. What do I do?

The hazing of young ferrets is common in ferret societies; while it looks awful, it's harmless in most cases. Naturally you should monitor the situation during the introductory time, but within a few days they should be fast friends. If the younger ferret was cut and bleeding or too stressed out to eat, separate your ferrets for a couple days before trying again.

My son received a chinchilla as a gift and we were told that it needed to be dusted. We have no idea what to use or how to go about it.

Chinchillas have very fine fur that mats easily. To keep your chinchilla clean and fluffy, allow it to roll in chinchilla dust, which coats each hair and prevents clumping.


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