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I've noticed the last few months that Fern is licking one leg to the point of pulling all the fur off of the back side of it, and I don't have a clue what caused this or what to do about it. I know that stress can cause compulsive licking in cats, but absolutely nothing has changed in our happy home in the last year. Fern and her sister Fergie are still the only two cats, they eat the same food, enjoy the same toys/games, keep the same schedule, have the same occasional visitors, etc. She still prefers my hubby over me, to the point of yelling at us when we cuddle and trying to butt in between us, but she's always done that.

About a month ago we took a picture of the leg she's been licking, and when I looked at the picture this morning and then looked at her leg it's definitely worse :???: It's not completely bare, down to the skin, it looks like her leg was shaved a few weeks ago and the fur is just starting to grow back. It's the back of one of her front legs - she lays on the floor and kinda chews at the fur, and the bare spot goes all the way from the dew claw to her elbow and is about an inch wide - basically the whole back side of her leg. And now it looks like she might be starting in on the other front leg!

I have no idea what to do!!! Suggestions?
 

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RoundFace does that, too. It started with an allergic reaction to Bonito flakes and
even after not feeding him the flakes anymore, he still was over grooming to the point
of creating bare spots. Benadryl really seems to help slow down the excessive
grooming and his fur looks much better now.

Ask your vet about the correct dosage for Fern; I give RoundFace his pill in a
soft pill pocket and he gulps it down with no problem. After a period of time on the
Benadryl the licking/over grooming cycle might be broken enough to take your kitty
off the Benadryl altogether.
 

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Obsessive licking is usually a reaction to stress or possibly an allergy. One of my breeding queens was an obsessive licker for many years and she licked her belly and lower inside of her hind legs bare, and yes she looked shaved! It was only after I had retired from breeding and found homes for some of the cats that she stopped....so the only thing I can think of was that she found 5 or 6 other females plus 2 neuters just too many cats even tho she was not a timid cat. When I retired with 4 spayed females including her and the neuters had passed on, she stopped the licking. Try the Benadryl and see if it doesn't make a difference. I haven't had experience with it but it might break the licking cycle. Another thing you might try is rub some lemon juice on where she's licked and beyond and see if that might deter her. She also might benefit from having some special alone-time for part of the day. Often times it's something so subtle it's very difficult to determine what started it. It might even the be scent of a new neighbor's cat, and even tho she may be strictly indoor houses are not airtight and scent of strange cats or dogs does waft in. Obsessive grooming is very difficult to figure out what triggers it. Good luck!
 

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There was a similar thread not long ago, and I asked if the vet had ruled out fungus, because I treated Princess Gatita for stress for a long time and it turned out to be fungus. The first pill she took, she stopped licking and started getting better. Fungus is often on the back of the leg, and that's what PG was licking indeed, that's why I ask, because I still feel guilty that I played amateur cat-Psychologist instead of calling the vet right away.
 

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There was a similar thread not long ago, and I asked if the vet had ruled out fungus, because I treated Princess Gatita for stress for a long time and it turned out to be fungus. The first pill she took, she stopped licking and started getting better. Fungus is often on the back of the leg, and that's what PG was licking indeed, that's why I ask, because I still feel guilty that I played amateur cat-Psychologist instead of calling the vet right away.
That would almost be a relief, rather than trying to pin down an allergen or stressor that could be causing this! We've wondered if their treats might have something in them that she's allergic too - our shelter mom brings us all sorts of treats for the girls so we'd never pin down what might be the problem but we're banning treats for now to see if it makes a difference. We've decided that after our vacation in a couple of weeks, if there's no improvement we'll take her to the vet. And of course, if we see it get worse before then we'll take her in as well. Our shelter mom will be kitty-sitting while we're gone and could handle any meds if we were to visit the vet sooner.
 

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My mother in law had a similar problem with her cat but it was an all over licking. She was creating bald spots. The vets kept telling her it was stress related or mites and there was not anything they were able to do with it. Then my MIL found a silica powder that helped her cat. It is a dietary supplement that people can take to help with bone health and ageing. My MIL simply sifts some powder on the cat every few days and no more licking. It doesn't taste bad but it did keep the kitty from licking her skin bald. It is not toxic for them either.
 

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The vet that came a couple days ago to look at Lady Nikita's back of the knee, said that it looks like an allergy and if the bald spot starts becoming long, vertically along the back of her leg, then she'll require treatment. LN doesn't lick it, though.
 
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