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Advice please – my cat rips her fur out

Advice please – my cat rips her fur out

She licks right down the small of her back and then rips chunks of fur out and eats her fur or spits it out. When we consulted a veterinary clinic all they could think of was stress. Another vet said food change was the answer as there nothing there that might cause this.

Plus she now does this right in front of me, not just when I leave home?! Maybe its a little stress, she has always been a sketchy cat. Spooked of most noises, and growls when people come through the door?! Intil she recognises them, then she is fine!! She’s a Siamese cross tabby. 2 years old in Sept.. any ideas .. please. She’s an indoor cat 🙂

Oh plus when I got her at 8 weeks the people who had her already dosed her heavily in flea treatment.. waaay too early as far as I am concerned, never the less, I took her home, washed her over and over, all she seemed to do was sleep??! Finally after a couple weeks she became a happy spunky kitty, but still this fur thing? and the sketchiness? I just don’t know what to do.

Anonymous


Hi….. thanks for visiting. It seems that two vets don’t have clean and clear answers. It is certainly a form of grooming gone mad – compulsive grooming. Before addressing that form of cat illness, please make sure that she does not have fleas. I presume that you have checked that. Fleas occupy the area around the small of the back or base of tail and she may be very sensitive to fleas. Some cats are others don’t mind. Another illness worth considering is ringworm. This is irritating to the cat but you can’t see it on the skin and vets find it hard to detect.

If you groom slowly and gently with a flea comb (32 teeth to the inch) making sure that the comb touches the skin you might be able to feel a rough skin or slightly broken skin as the comb’s teeth pass over broken skin. If you do feel this, it might be ringworm (caveat: it might be broken skin through scratching). Anyway those are two things to check. Plus other skin conditions or allergies. The vet who suggested a change in food is saying that she suffers from a food allergy. You might try hypoallergenic cat food to test that. Note: if it is ringworm (unlikely but possible) please do not treat with chemicals willy-nilly. That may make things worse.

I don’t think the early overdose of flea treatment is relevant but it might be. It may have damaged her slightly psychologically.

Now to the most obvious reason: compulsive grooming. Compulsive grooming is displacement activity. A cat does it to displace feelings of stress. It is like us biting our nails or scratching our head. Siamese are predisposed to it. It can affect Siamese that are deprived of their freedom or who suffer from boredom. Siamese cats in fact have the highest level of inherited conditions of all cat breeds.

Are you away all day? Is she left alone? I would do the obvious. She is an indoor cat. I think that a lot of full-time indoor cats get stressed and have problems like this. Why not patiently get her used to a leash and take her out into the yard if you have one? If you have a safe outside space let her use it. The way to beat boredom or indoor stress is to allow her to behave as naturally as possible. That has to mean being outdoors sometimes but in a safe environment. A cat cannot be in a natural environment inside a house with carpet and furnishings. I know people don’t like me saying that but it’s true.

I would explore that idea. You might get one of those extendable leashes and take her to a large open area that is quiet and let her play there. These might seem like odd ideas but they ideas that try and meet your objectives of letting her behave naturally while being safe. I know she might get a bit stressed but should calm down when used to going out. I’ll bet she will love going out.

The underlying problem is not being able to express natural drives in a cat that is inherently anxious. You have to find a solution using imagination.

Good luck,

Associated selected pages:

Cat Biting Tail

How To Calm A Cat

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in a many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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