Mr. T pulling out fur.. why? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-25-2011, 10:33 AM Thread Starter
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Mr. T pulling out fur.. why?

Hey all,

Mister T (Tequila), my 10-yo neutered male king-of-the-house, pulls out his fur. A LOT.



This was the picture of him a few mornings ago. I know it's not a cat-fight with Lumen, as I watch him do this very often to himself. To the point where he'll see me watching him, and he gets very paranoid that I'm going to fawn over him.

Details:
  • Only started doing this when I got Lumen in Dec 2010. It never was as bad as it's been lately, though. Could be due to stress of having another cat in the house; he's always been an only-cat (in his previous home for eight years).
  • He and Lumen get along for the most part; they do fight from time to time, they do not cuddle, but they do groom each other and don't have a problem (75% of the time) being around each other.
  • Mr. T does not like being brushed.
  • He does not like being touched on his tummy or anywhere south of his belly (hind legs, butt, etc). If I scratch his butt, he'll make this wacked-out face and start licking/biting his forelegs furiously.
  • He will randomly sit down and start scratching/chewing/licking his back legs and tail area.
  • He frequently lashes his tail, making me think he's uncomfortable.
  • He pulls out chunks of his fur.
  • Took him to the groomer, she noticed the thick chunks of undercoat missing under his fur.
  • She washed him, brushed him out; said his skin is fine.
  • He used to have a flaking problem, I feed him (them) Avoderm and that's helped with the flaking a lot.
  • He does not have fleas.
  • Vet thinks it's purely due to his weight; he cannot reach himself to groom the area properly. But why would he be PULLING OUT his fur?
Any ideas? Sorry for the length.

Christine
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-25-2011, 10:54 AM Thread Starter
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In reading other threads, I'm wondering if it's advisable to separate Lumen and Mr. T for a bit. However, they've been together for just under a year now, and like I've said, 75% of the time they're ok together. Not best friends, they do wrestle from time to time, but it's 50/50 whoever starts it. They're both sleeping in the same room right now. Hmm.

I hope I'm not being repetitive!

Christine
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-25-2011, 02:30 PM
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Since the hair pulling all started after Lumen arrived, it most likely is a stress reaction to tring to adjust, live and deal with another cat when he didn't before. I would start separating them for part of the day and letting them come together for meal and interactive play with you (with fishing pole type toy like "Da Bird"). If you work outside the home, this would be an ideal time to keep them separate in different rooms. As far as grooming is concerned, I suggest you use a comb, and groom him as I described on the thread under Bahavior..."oh no, not THE BRUSH!". It's been my experience that most cats prefer to be groomed by a comb rather than a brush which can be too prickly feeling and actually irritate the cat. As far as his self-grooming is concerned, if he's too fat to reach his back, butt and legs this could also be upsetting him.

Whatever you're feeding him (and hope it's a good quality no-grain canned food=no corn, rice, wheat, barley or soy) , feed him a little less than he's getting now. Dry kibble can pack on the weight, especially if he's allowed to free-feed throughout the day, and it's best to feed cats on a schedule 2x/day, say morning and evening. You don't want him to lose weight too quickly, but just reduce his food a little every day until he reaches his ideal weight (you should see a waist indentation when viewed overhead with him standing, and just be able to feel his ribs under a thin layer of fat). The weight loss will take several months. You're not doing any favors to him (or yourself) by overfeeding him, which can lead to health problems like diabetes and $$$ vet bills. Hope you can get Mr. T calmed down so that he's stop his hair pulling, and slimmed down so that he can groom his backside. Let us know how it goes. Updates are good.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-25-2011, 02:36 PM
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blondie1483, here is an excellent website on cat nutrition, and how to achieve an ideal weight in your cat.

Feeding Your Cat: Know the Basics of Feline Nutrition :: healthy cat diet, making cat food, litter box, cat food, cat nutrition, cat urinary tract health
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-25-2011, 02:56 PM Thread Starter
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Wow, thanks for all that great input! I would think that after 10 months, Mr. T wouldn't be stressed out with Lumen there - and normally they are fine together. But the timing is just-so. I will try what you suggested.

I will purchase another Da Bird - The cats (mostly Lumen) loved it so much it got destroyed. And I do feed them grain-free canned (Avoderm) (one can total/day for each cat, one half morning and evening) and mix it with some Avoderm/Blue Buffalo mixed dry. They do not get free-fed; but I will feed him less. Mr T has a habit of following me in and asking for food every time I enter the kitchen. It's up to me to say "No!" I'll groom with the comb as well.

This is really great advice. I appreciate the thoroughness of your response

Christine
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-25-2011, 03:13 PM
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When reducing the food, I'd recommend leaving the canned as is and just lowering the amount of dry (or removing it entirely). Dry was the culprit when my cat Apollo started getting chubby. As soon as I took that out of his diet (he used to be on 1/2 canned and 1/2 dry) he slimmed down.

Even the best dry foods still have a lot more carbs than good canned foods and cats can have trouble with too many carbs.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-26-2011, 05:35 PM
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Princess was doing that too, and I thought it was the stress of the new life and her fear of Prince, but the vet said it was fungus, treated her with steroids and antibiotics and she stopped doing it after 1-2 days of starting treatment. The red patches are now all covered in new fur, thankfully, after 2 weeks. She had the fungus when she was a stray, I don't know for how long. This is why I was very skeptic as it being stress.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-29-2011, 12:28 AM Thread Starter
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Strays Mommmy - the patches of skin arent red - they're white, which I think is normal color? not sure

Update: I just caught Mr T scooting his butt. Great. THIS is new. Impacted anal glands? Or worse? Related?

Christine
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-29-2011, 04:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blondie1483 View Post
But why would he be PULLING OUT his fur?Any ideas? Sorry for the length.
I think it's probably the same as when a person picks at their scabs or bites their nails. It relieves stress.

On the other hand, are you sure that he's not just pulling out undercoat that would have been shed anyways since it's hot? Does he actually have bald spots??

Being overweight certainly doesn't help though because it makes basic grooming a struggle (cats should be able to reach every part of their body except for the back of the neck) which is very stressful. And then lack of grooming makes the skin itchy and uncomfortable which causes more stress.

One can of Avoderm per day will probably actually be enough for him, so if you lessen the dry slowly until it is gone and get his weight down, you will see marked improvement in him overall.
(My cat also loves bothering me for food, but you just have to remember what's best for them because they don't know any better. I like to say to him "I know, you haven't been fed in days. I'm so mean to you aren't I?")


Also, all of these things are normal:
  • He does not like being touched on his tummy or anywhere south of his belly (hind legs, butt, etc). If I scratch his butt, he'll make this wacked-out face and start licking/biting his forelegs furiously.
  • He will randomly sit down and start scratching/chewing/licking his back legs and tail area.

The dog may be wonderful prose, but only the cat is poetry. - French Proverb
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 08-29-2011, 11:19 AM Thread Starter
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Heya - thanks Yes, he actually does have bald spots - especially near his backside.

I'm especially worried about the butt-scootching I saw yesrerday - aside from some carpet cleaning, that's the only damage I saw - his butt seems clean-ish.. but I'll prob make a vet appt to have his glands expelled if need be.

Man oh man!

Christine
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