Cat overgrooming- bald patches on back legs - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-16-2019, 10:53 AM Thread Starter
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Cat overgrooming- bald patches on back legs

I noticed a fair size bald patch on the inside of my cat Sophie's back leg a few weeks ago. Went to the vet and first suggestion is some tablets to relax her in case she is stressed. What she does is whilst washing (licking) herself normally all over, she also starts sucking on the inner side of her back legs- which has now caused a 2 inch bald patch to develop right down to her skin there (also a smaller one on her back).

The odd thing is I have actually noticed she's done this "sucking" for her whole life. But as there was never any noticeable fur loss or any effects of it before, I didn't worry and thought it just part of her personality. Therefore I don't think she is stressed at all, she is happy purring as much as she always has, and is even purring as she does it sometimes after I'm giving her attention on my lap! Seeing as I now realise she has done this her whole life, it must be something else.

The vet also suggested it could be an allergy causing this, which does seem more likely. How would an allergy cause this behaviour though? And without much knowledge of allergies, what would be the way to go about determining what allergy she has?

If anyone can think of any other possible causes of overgrooming I'd be grateful too. It isn't the time of year for cats to be wanting to shed fur when it's cold outside. Thanks.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-16-2019, 01:27 PM
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There was quite a long discussion of this topic a while ago about "overgrooming" and "mowing" that you may find helpful.

Put in under "Search: Cat has bald spots on belly and hind legs. Advice?

"There are no ordinary cats.";"Time spent with a cat is never wasted."~ Colette
"A loving cat can mend a wounded heart." ~ Unknown Author
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-16-2019, 05:42 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, some good advice in there. I still think it's surprising if it is stress related as she seems as happy and affectionate as always, but will see out this course of tablets they gave to be sure (also using feliway now). We do have a lot of neighbouring cats so one of them could be the cause as they are all outdoor cats here.

If no change then I think it could be linked to diet. That will be tougher to pinpoint as I thought it was good to give her a variety of foods (dry and wet). I think cutting out any cheaper cat foods would be a good idea (budget permitting), and see if that helps. Otherwise maybe the vet could suggest how to go about it, I've read they can give trial foods?

Boredom could be another possibility someone suggested in that thread. She is still a very active outdoor cat but this winter really has stayed inside a lot more. So I've ordered her a new cat bed and toy to play with!
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-17-2019, 05:37 PM
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Another thing you might try is buying her a food puzzle. My two cats love them and it keeps them amused for a while. I put in a good quality kibble (one that doesn't have wheat, corn, soy, rice in it). Some pet stores carry them, but here's a link in how to make your own:

Homemade Puzzles - Food Puzzles for Cats

"There are no ordinary cats.";"Time spent with a cat is never wasted."~ Colette
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in avatar. "Always in my heart."
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-24-2019, 06:23 PM Thread Starter
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Some interesting ideas thanks! I actually have a cat food maze which I let them use quite a lot and both of them do persist with it usually. But I'd like to try some of these sometime also.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-18-2019, 09:17 AM Thread Starter
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So she's just recently finished the tablets given. I would say there's been a slight improvement, she still does it though pretty sure it's not as much (always hard to tell though when im not watching her). But the bald patches are starting to regrow and I havent noticed any new ones form yet so I guess its helping?

Therefore what should I do now? I don't want to keep her on those meds all her life. I think she isn't stressed but rather slightly hyperactive, as shes happy as anything and when she jumps on my bed for some fuss in the morning she purrs away like crazy but then that's the time she suddenly seems to wash and "suck" on her fur. So I think the overgrooming might be caused by being too excited!

I don't want to stop that either though as she loves attention in the morning. So are there any ways I can calm her down aside from Feliway (never found much effect on her)?

Alternatively if it's allergy related, I've switched her back to foods she's eaten all her life, cutting out rice which was in one dried food. So I guess I have to wait and see if that has solved it, if not then it's more than likely it's by over-excitement.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-18-2019, 07:22 PM
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Thanks for the update. Since both my cats are overgroomers, I think you're observation that "hyperactive" may have something to do with it. Both my Devons are an "active" breed, and don't sleep much during the daytime at all. If I'm awake and at home they're usually with me trying to help with whatever I'm doing. Now that I think of it I do find that if I give them, especially Fitty who's a lot younger than Zuba, a good fast workout with a teaser toy or wand, that then he does just want to relax afterwards and not groom himself. With Zuba (now 14) it's such an ingrained habit with him, that he doesn't want to stop overgrooming.

"There are no ordinary cats.";"Time spent with a cat is never wasted."~ Colette
"A loving cat can mend a wounded heart." ~ Unknown Author
Alkitotle aka "Alkee", "Lambie" (July 2/04 - Oct. 2/15) -- white Devon Rex
in avatar. "Always in my heart."
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