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Our cat, Shadow, who is 4 years old, and a black domestic long hair, has several bald spots, mostly on her tail and hind legs. (See picture, which is of her drastically shedded tail). It also seems that this hair is not "shedding" but possibly being digested. (We are not noticing an increase in the amount of shedded hair on our carpet.) She has also been vomitting hairballs more frequently than normal. Any suggestions? We are concerned about Feline Leukemia or some other sickness that we are not familiar with. She has been an indoor cat all of her life and has been tested negative for feline leukemia when she was a kitten.

Her tail is starting to look like a possum's and it concerns me! Any help would be appreciated!
 

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I dont see a picture?

It sounds like something is going on with your kitty. Any change in behavior isnt usually a good thing. Also the fact that she is pulling her hair out really indicates something is wrong. I can not really tell you what is going on, as I have never experienced that type of symptoms before. I think you should call your vet though and get it checked out.
 

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This sounds like what happened to the clinic cat at the vet I use to work at. Has she been licking herself alot lately? Dax, the clinic cat, turned out to have really bad allergies. They had to change her to a low allergian food, and she has to have a cortizon shot every 2-3 weeks to keep her allergies under control. I'd definatly have your kitty checked by a vet and an allergy test run on her. You're vet will probably have some other ideas to.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Sorry, we did forget to post a picture.

I have not yet taken Shadow to the vet, but plan to do so this week. She is the sweetest, most lovable cat in the world (I guess every cat owner thinks theirs is the sweetest). She has not had any hairballs this week thank goodness. I will let you all know what I find out when we go to the vet, it is probably just an allergy or stress.

We recently adopted an "outside" kitty who was found in a friend's car engine. Shadow spends a lot of time looking out the window at the "new" kitty.

Thank you for your advice.
 

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Please let us know your vet says. This problem could be allergies as already mentioned, it could also be stress. The new kitty could be agitating her, for instance. When you go to the vet, make sure you tell him everything that has been going on in your kitty's life especially any changes. Even a change in food can stress out a cat.

And make sure to give her extra lovin's to matter what! :wink:

Please let us know what you find out.
 

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Well, it could be mites, dry skin, or allergies. Because of the pattern, though, I'd suspect psychogenic alopecia - the medical name for licking oneself bald due to a behavioral disorder, obsessive/compulsive disorder (OCD). Most of these cats begin licking their hind legs, tails, and belly raw first. Looks like peach fuzz! Some cats even make themselves bleed because of their raw tongue going over and over the now bald skin. Then this can result in a skin infection, like staph, which is itchy, and it snowballs.

I've had three cats with obsessive/compulsive disorder leading to alopecia. Two went on Prozac, as stress reduction did not help, and their behavior lasted for months. They were back to normal in a few months, and the medication was discontinued. The other's case was due to grief - her best kitty friend died. She went through stress-induced alopecia for about three months but returned to normal as the grief began to resolve.

One other thing that comes to mind is hyperasthesia, or "rolling skin syndrome". It's a condition that's not very well known. It's related to a seizure disorder in some cats, in others it's due to overexposure poisoning from everyday substances like plastic dishes, hairspray, smoke, etc. There are other causes, too, but nearly all cases appear to have no known cause.

It causes extreme skin sensitivity, generally on the tail and hind quarters. The cat may overgroom and cause baldness, have twitching skin, become agitated...some cats have it so severely they will actually chew their tails until they bleed. It also can result in howling, running about wildly, hiding, aggression, and even hallucinations.

Many drugs have been tried and have been successful in some cases. They include antianxiety drugs like Prozac, Valium, Buspar, and amitriptyline, anti-inflammatory agents, like Prednisone, and many others. Those cases believed to be caused by overexposure can be helped by avoiding the causes - using only stainless steel food bowls, feeding foods with no preservatives, not using nail polish, paint, or other products with harmful fumes, and smoking outside (if you smoke).
 

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I have a cat with that problem. One vet said it was caused by stress, another said it was allergies to fleas. Got rid of the fleas, hair didn't grow back. But now it's slowly coming back in... Please tell me what YOUR vet says!
 
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