When a cat licks the fur of her lower belly because she grooms a lot it is almost certainly going to be psychogenic alopecia which is compulsive self grooming rather than a hormone deficiency causing a loss of hair. Grooming is often a response to stress by cat. Stress might be caused by almost anything which changes the environment and/or a cat’s routine such as adding a new pet or even changing the furniture and furnishings (i.e. removing the carpet). Of course, moving home is another example. Abyssinian, Siamese, Burmese and Himalayan pedigree cats are apparently predisposed to psychogenic alopecia.
Some people refer to this condition as “fur-mowing”. I guess it is like that. The underlying cause needs to be investigated. In a way psychogenic alopecia is a reminder to us about the domestic cat’s sensitivity to his/her environment.
The photo above comes from Lorelle on WordPress a blog about WordPress and the internet (a good blog by the way). The tabby cat’s caretaker is the blogger Lorelle, I understand. She confirms in her blog that the reason for the bald patch was “psychological”, which supports what is stated on this page.
The word “alopecia” refers to balding or hair loss. Feline endocrine alopecia is a form of balding most commonly seen in neutered male cats and spayed middle aged females. It is thought to be due to a hormone deficiency but as mentioned in the first paragraph the cause is probably not a hormone deficiency but stress resulting in over-grooming by the cat.
For a cat, grooming is a reassuring activity which relieves stress. If and when a cat grooms too much it can remove the hair entirely right down to the skin and even start scratching the skin. One of the easiest places for a cat to groom is the lower belly which is why there is more likely to be balding in that area than elsewhere on the body.
The obvious and simple way to confirm whether a cat is licking fur off her lower belly due stress is to observe the cat. A good cat owner will recognize changes in behavior and recognize over grooming. The area on the body where over-grooming takes place might not just be the lower belly but areas around that place.
The cure is to remove the cause of the stress and it is up to the cat owner to figure out what is causing it. Any changes that have taken place should be noted down and the owner should ask themselves whether they could be the cause and whether they can remove those changes, meaning revert back to the way it was before.
Psychogenic diseases are physical illnesses that originate in emotional or mental stresses
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