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How To Stop A Cat From Licking Its Fur Off

Your Cats Physical Exam

What Is Causing My Cat to Lick All of the Hair off Her Belly?

Often, your vet will be conducting his physical examination at the same time this conversation is occurring. He/she will be observing the small characteristics and distribution of the hair loss, rashes, bald areas, scratches, etc. and making mental notes of similar cases he has seen in the past or read about.

Your cats age is also an important clue. Kittens and adolescent cats are more likely to have fungal or skin parasites at the root of their problem, while cats in their twos and threes are most likely to experience allergies and food sensitivities. As I mentioned earlier, breed can also be an important clue.

Medicated Shampoos And Rinses

These products can be very helpful in the long term controlling of many skin conditions. In some cases, medications they contain suppress itching and inflammation directly. In others washing toxic or inflammatory substances from the cats skin surface are their primary mode of action. They are rarely a cure in themselves, but they are often part of a successful treatment plan. They include products that contain colloidal oatmeal, topical steroids, antiseptics, petroleum distillates or parasite-killing sulfur. Not all dog or human medicated shampoos are safe to use on cats. Be sure the product states somewhere on its label that it is approved for use in cats.

What Treatments Are Available For My Cat

Treatment options are harder to carry out in cats than dogs because cats are considerably harder to medicate. Owners need frequent encouragement and support from their veterinarians or many of them are likely to give up rather than face a constantly struggle to get medications into their cats. Some cats are more obstinate about taking meds than others. Unfortunately, it seems like the obstinate, high-strung ones are the ones most likely to have the problem.

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Look For Medical Issues

First, your veterinarian will need to rule out medical problems.

Infections or allergies can be treated with the appropriate medications, which may include antibiotics, antihistamines, and/or anti-inflammatory drugs.

Keep your cat on flea medication year-round to help with flea allergies and ear mites.

If your cat is in pain, your vet can determine whats causing it and how to manage the pain.

What To Do About Excessive Grooming Behaviour

Why My Cat Is Licking All The Hair Off Her Belly?

I find it best to consider excessive grooming as just a part of overall itchiness. If a cat is itchy and showing other signs, over-grooming is just a part of the puzzle. If over-grooming is the only itching behaviour of concern, additional signs like hair balls, hair loss, and skin lesions are usually helpful in finding the cause of itchiness.

Obtaining a veterinary exam or seeing a vet dermatologist should help check for causes. If there is infection, it will need treatment. Parasites like fleas also need to be treated. Allergies are typically the most common reason for over-grooming, which can be controlled. Allergies can be due to various causes though. Cat dermatologists are well versed in treating cats with allergies and isolating the underlying problem. Usually additional signs and factors are taken in to account rather than focusing on excessive grooming alone.

The best thing for your cat is to be patient and help the vet find the cause so your cat can go back to having the comfort he or she deserves. Then it will be back to lots of naps, cuddles, routine grooming and attention from human companions when desiredi.e. the good life!

Dr. Jangi Bajwa is a Board certified veterinary dermatologist at VetDERM Clinic in Surrey BC. He is also the dermatology feature editor for Canadian Veterinary Journal. Dr. Bajwas special interests include otitis and allergic disease in pets; as well as helping improve quality of life of pets and their families.

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How To Get Your Cat To Stop Pulling Her Hair Out

If your cats been pulling her hair out, youll likely want to bring her to a veterinarian to identify the underlying cause. This is the best first step in stopping your cats hair pulling.

Its important to engage with your local DVM veterinarian to make an accurate diagnosis of the reason why your cat is pulling her fur out. The diagnostic process may include the following steps.

Investigating And Treating Other Possible Allergens

  • 1Explore the possibility that your cat has a food allergy. Another common cause of skin irritation, which results in pulling out fur, is a food allergy. When the cat eats a food they are allergic to, this triggers a mechanism that makes the skin intensely itchy. These allergies are usually to a particular protein in the diet .
  • 2Put your cat on a new diet if a food allergy is indicated. The good news about food allergy is that by avoiding the food allergen the cat can be ‘cured’ and stops being itchy. However, once again, there is no reliable lab test for food allergy. A diagnosis is made by putting the cat onto a low allergy or hypoallergenic diet.
  • The easiest way to put your cat on a hypoallergenic diet is to speak to your vet about a prescription diet. Diets such as Hills DD, Hills ZD, Hills ZD ultra, or Purina HA are made in such a way that the protein molecules it contains are too small to physically bridge receptors in the gut wall that trigger an allergic reaction.
  • The alternative is to analyze all the food your cat eats and then find a food that contains NONE of those previous ingredients.
  • It can take up to 8 weeks for the previous allergen to clear the system and the symptoms subside, so don’t expect a quick result. Whilst on the dietary trial, you must feed the hypoallergenic diet exclusively, so that you don’t accidentally give a treat containing an allergen.
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    What Is Feline Psychogenic Alopecia

    Feline Psychogenic Alopecia describes a condition where a cat starts to pull her own hair out when no identifiable underlying cause. Put simply, the cat is excessively grooming, and pulling her own hair out, just because she wants to do it.

    In healthy cats, grooming is a normal reaction to a stressful incident .

    It is theorised that grooming in such cases may lead to the release of natural endorphins, giving cats a sense of calm. If a cat is over-stressed, this can then lead to over-grooming, almost like a type of addictive behavior for a repeated endorphin rush, and this in turn can lead to pulling hair out, and bald patches.

    Feline Psychogenic Alopecia is seen more often in multi-cat households and in indoor cats, and its more common in some breeds such as Siamese and other oriental breeds. Typically, hair is removed from the underside of the abdomen, the groin area, and the upper side of the cat in front of the tail area. Other parts of the body, including the forelegs, may also be involved.

    Could Bladder Problems Cause Your Cat To Pull Out Fur

    Dr. Becker Discusses Excessive Grooming in Cats

    Though much less likely, pulling out fur in genital areas could indicate illness. Feline urinary tract infection is quite common and could in some cases cause over grooming. If you notice your cat constantly licking and biting in his or her genital area, take a look.

    Bald or sparse patches of fur may indicate an infection. However, youd notice other signs as well such as frequent trips to the litter tray. If youve ruled out other possible causes it may be a good idea to see the vet. A course of antibiotics would soon clear up any infection.

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    Is It Cat Overgrooming Or Hair Loss

    Bald patches on your cats coat are a common sign of excessive cat grooming. However this is not the only cause why your cats fur is not as thick as it used to be. Another possible reason is a condition called alopecia or cat hair loss. An unhealthy diet or even a hormonal imbalance can lead to your cat losing some of their sleek fur. Your vet will be able to diagnose the condition, understand what is causing it and recommend ways to treat it.

    Whatever the cause of their change in behaviour, solving the problem of cat overgrooming can take time. So be patient, work closely with your vet and soon enough your cats fur will get back to normal.

    A change in your cats routine can also lead to anxiety. Find out more about how to spot and treat cat anxiety in our in-depth article.

    Compulsive Licking In Cats

    If your cat seems just a tad too concerned with her grooming regimen, don’t merely label her a neat freak and write the situation off. Excessive grooming and licking behaviors sometimes can lead to negative consequences, including your poor kitty’s hair falling out in conspicuous patches — no, thank you.

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    Treatment For Your Cats Scratching Licking And Chewing

    Eliminating parasites. Because it can be difficult to diagnose flea infestation in cats, some veterinarians recommend trying reliable flea control products purchased from a veterinary office for six to eight weeks to see if it reduces the incidence of licking, scratching, or chewing. Similarly, treating mites or other parasites, if present, can eliminate your cats discomfort and the problem behaviors.

    Changing foods. Putting cats that arescratching or chewing on a 6-week exclusion diet is a good way to find out whether food allergies are the problem. You may have to try several diets before you find one that works. Veterinarians may also prescribe the addition of certain fatty acids or other nutritional supplements if dry skin is to blame for your cats incessant scratching and licking. No other foods or treats should be offered during an exclusion diet trial.

    Using medication. Depending on the extent of skin damage your cat has caused by licking, chewing, or scratching, your veterinarian may prescribe the use of steroids, antihistamines, and antibiotics. Additionally, some compulsive cat behaviors caused by psychological factors can be addressed with clomipramine, an anti-anxiety medication, or amitriptyline, which helps fight anxiety and also functions as an antihistamine.

    How To Prevent Your Cat From Licking Cat Flea Treatment Off Its Fur

    Why Is My Cat Chewing Her Fur Off

    If your cat has come down with a case of fleas, the problem can be treated by applying cat flea treatment to its fur and thoroughly cleaning all of its bedding and furniture.

    However, when you treat your furry friend with cat flea treatment, it is very important that you prevent them from licking the treatment off of their fur. Not only will this reduce the effectiveness of the treatment, it can also be very harmful for your cat. The chemicals in cat flea treatment are not healthy for your cat to ingest and they can make it very sick.

    Preventing your cat from licking its cat flea treatment can be difficult, because it is a natural instinct for cats to lick their fur as a way of grooming. Whenever anything is on their fur a car will automatically try to lick it off. Here are some ways that you can stop your cat from performing this habitual behaviour:

    Apply it Where They Cannot Reach

    Most cat flea treatments are meant to be applied to the back of the neck, which is one of the only areas on a cats body that they cannot reach with their tongue. To ensure that the cat flea treatment goes in the right place, hold your cat on your lap and place the vial of treatment on the back of its head just about the spine.

    Keep Your Cats Separated

    Distract Your Cat

    Put on an Elizabethan Collar

    When you apply cat flea treatment, how can you prevent your cat from licking all of the medication from its fur and getting sick? Here are a few techniques.

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    Stress Can Also Play A Part

    If a veterinarian rules out a medical problem, the next step is to look for new environmental stressors, such as a new pet, baby or boyfriend. Cat overgrooming is similar to people playing with their hair, says Dr. Sueda. “You do it more when youre nervous.”

    Behavior modification and training can help reduce a cats stress levels. In the case of a new animal in the home, owners can give the overly stressed cat extra attention or private space away from the newcomer.

    Regardless of the cause, hair loss and overgrooming are usually clues that somethings wrong, so consult with your vet sooner rather than later.

    How To Stop Cats From Licking Off Their Fur

    by Jackie Michael / in Family

    As a cat owner you want your feline friend to be healthy and happy. A healthy cat is also a financial bonus because you will not be taking them to the veterinarian very often. But if your cat begins to lick off its fur, it may be necessary to pay the vet fee to find out the cause. Meanwhile, there are some things you can try before consulting the vet.

    • As a cat owner you want your feline friend to be healthy and happy.
    • But if your cat begins to lick off its fur, it may be necessary to pay the vet fee to find out the cause.

    Consider the mental health of your cat. If the cat has a neurotic nature, the over-licking might be caused by a mental condition. Most cats don’t get problem neuroses, but some breeds could be predisposed, such as Siamese and Siamese crosses.

    Examine the condition of the skin of your cat. Peel back the fur and see if there are any sores or skin rashes that could be causing your cat to lick too much. Many cats will over-lick their fur if they feel itchy or the skin is irritated. Check for redness or blotches or other signs of irritation.

    Examine the skin and fur for fleas and other parasites. Fleas bite the skin and cause redness, sores and lesions. This can be far worse if they have allergies.

    • Examine the condition of the skin of your cat.
    • Examine the skin and fur for fleas and other parasites.

    Buy a veterinarian-approved treatment for the skin, such as antihistamines, allergenic shampoos or steroid cream.

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    Some Fancy Terms For Itchiness

    Silent Grooming: Even when cats increase their grooming significantly, they may do this hidden from you. They may quietly hide in a private space and groom away. Or, they may simply over-groom at night. This behaviour is called silent grooming. This is likely due to cats being the friend that will keep their problems to themselves. Increased hair loss, skin rashes, and hair balls around the house can help us find out that kitty is silently over-grooming!

    Barbering: Cats have tiny barbs on their tongue, called papillae. These hooks can lead to fine trimming of hair at areas where a cat is grooming excessively and repeatedly. The skin doesnt always become bald at these areas but is just shorter like a barber may trim hair. This is where the term barbering comes from. Over-grooming of the belly commonly causes such hair loss.

    Fur Mowing: Similar to barbering, the papillae on the tongue can cause the hair on belly to look like a nicely mowed lawn!

    Dr. Bajwa: I wish I was half as good at keeping up with my home lawn mowed, as some of my patients hair is mowed when I first see them. But I even things out by making them mow their fur less and help their fur grow back, just like the grass in my yard!

    What Is Overgrooming In Cats

    Does my cat need dry food? And why won’t he stop licking his fur?

    Overgrooming is when a cat spends an abnormally large amount of time obsessively grooming itself. This can result in hair loss and skin sores. When a cat licks itself, endorphins, which are natural “feel good” neurotransmitters made by the brain,are released. These endorphins are the chemicals that make the sensation of self-grooming feel comforting. Therefore, if your cat is stressed, it may resort to this comforting behavior.

    Cat owners typically say that they never see their cats indulge in lick-fests. This may be because the kitty feels more comfortable when its person is in sight and doesn’t feel the urge to self-calm via licking.

    When the owner isn’t present, the cat may begin to feel uncomfortable and partake in overgrooming. If you do happen to witness your cat overgrooming, don’t punish it. This will only create additional stress and may exacerbate the problem.

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    Add Some Excitement To Your Kitty’s Life

    Frustration and boredom can cause a cat to take on a compulsive behavior, such as licking. For example, if your kitty is bored and frustrated that she can’t go outside to chase after the birds she sees from the window, she may take on a “displacement behavior” like licking as a means to cope with her angst. If you suspect that your cat’s habit is a result of boredom and frustration, do your part to help spice up her daily existence, whether you set aside a few minutes a day to partake in stimulating play games with her or invest in a climbing tree. Do what you can to ensure that your cat’s life is as fulfilling, brain-jogging and diverse as possible.

    Help The Cat To Deal With Stress

    • Pheromone products can help to reduce anxiety.
    • Clomipramine and fluoxetine are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors that may be recommended by your veterinarian to influence cat behavior by changing their response to stress. Amitriptyline is a tricyclic antidepressant and antihistamine which may sometimes be suggested. All of these products should be used with care, only under close veterinary supervision, as inappropriate use may be dangerous.

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