compulsive licking - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-17-2009, 11:30 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Reading, Pennsylvania
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compulsive licking

My 13 1/2 year old Shaquille has been licking her fur compulsively for years. Her sister Daisy, who we lost to colon cancer in 2007, also licked all her fur off her tummy and inner back legs. The vet did blood work on Shaquille and nothing abnormal showed so he attributes the behavior to OCD. She is also losing small clumps of hair with a scabby end on it. I put some Frontline on her a week ago in case it could be fleas. I haven't seen any signs of them and all my cats are indoor only. But as for the compulsive licking, she doesn't only lick herself. She licks bathtubs and stovetop burners. Is this just odd behavior or does this mean something else?
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-17-2009, 01:23 PM
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Location: Monroe, GA
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Re: compulsive licking

I had a cat who would lick the rusty bottom door of my ancient farmhouse sink/cabinet. When I took her to the vet, she was severely anemic and was licking the rust in an effort to get iron into her system.
I had another cat who liked to lick the top of the toaster...but I think he just liked bread crumbs. I became vigilent about keeping the bread crumbs from accumulating and using an insulated toaster cover to keep his kitty-tongue away from where I toasted our bread.

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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-17-2009, 04:52 PM
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Re: compulsive licking

I would suspect allergies. Especially with tummy and back leg licking.
It isn't easy pinning that down though. I'd start with the diet. Try to eliminate the main triggers. First, slowly switch to an all wet food diet and no dry. Dry by nature, is full of allergy triggers. Look for wet food that has meat as the first ingredient, no or low grains and doesn't have: glutens, soy, corn, fish, chicken.
When my cat had the same problem, switching him to Wellness wet food (and some supplements) did the trick. There are also foods specifically formulated for allergies like Natural Balance: venison and pea.
I would also eliminate as many environmental triggers as possible, air fresheners, scented candles, smoke and caustic cleaners can be suspect.
For immediate relief, your vet could give your cat a cortisone injection. I'm actually surprised he/she didn't suggest tat already! It will not solve the problem but, if your kitty is in extreme discomfort, it's a quick, short term fix. However, I would avoid repeated or long term use.
Here's an article you may find helpful: ... giesincats
Good luck!

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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 02-27-2009, 07:51 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2009
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Re: compulsive licking

Go to the vet! My old kitty licked her tummy and inner thighs and the fur came out semetrically, turns out she had some hormonal old kitty hairloss thing going on. That was years ago. Now she has licked the fur off in a few odd spots and more around her legs. The vet did a skin scraping and found demodectic mange. It's not as gross as it sounds. All cats have these mites in their skin (as do all animals and people). But when the immune system is compromised (old age, illness etc) the mites can act up and itch the cat like crazy. It's nothing you can catch. It is contagous to other cats, but really only if they are sick will it react. Anyway, go to the vet have an exam, bloodwork, and skin scraping. If it is demodex, the kitty will need some lime sulfur dips. If the vet guesses allergies, the vet will tell you how to try a new food, which can take months to show if it works. Most vets think its a flea issue at first, which many times it is not. Canned or wet food won't make a difference, it's the ingredients that matter. One meat and no grain is best for food allergy cats.
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