An anonymous visitor asked the following question using the visitor input form:
My 7 yo female developed balding on her front legs.Thought she might have fleas even though she is indoors. Occasionally goes outside on our deck. Never in grass. Deck is about 6 ft above ground.
First tried flea collar. But took it off in 10 minutes because she was licking it. That was about 1 1/2 months ago. She still scratched herself so I purchased a spot on flea med. Now she has a cut like sore. I applied this a week ago.
I think this is from the spot treatment, as it is located about where it was applied. Not sure why she is balding on her leg. Perhaps over licking. She has been healthy her whole life.
Any help would be appreciated.
From Michael: I’ll attempt to provide some sort of useful response. Firstly, it is worth mentioning that although I have first hand experience of dealing with hair loss on my cat (Charlie) and know about the topic through books, I am not medically qualified.
You say she is scratching herself but not how much. Cats scratch themselves all the time but not excessively. If it is excessive then it could well be due to a flea bite allergy but there are many other reasons.
I sense (and you have hinted) that she is over-grooming her legs. Legs are easy to get at to groom for a cat. If this is over-grooming there are two possible common reasons: stress and flea bite allergy. However, I believe a flea bite allergy causing itching occurs on the body and not the legs. You can check for a flea allergy. You’ll see small, red blisters on the skin over the body. Also your cat will lick her body to alleviate the itching. Also you have not told me if you have flea combed your cat (using a 32 prongs to the inch comb). This is the best way to check for fleas. You’ll comb them out and kill them. Do it around the shoulders and at the bast of the tail where there will be flea dirt (small black particles).
Stress can cause over-grooming as it comforts a cat. It is usual to over-groom the groin and lower belly area – symmetrical baldness. If you think your cat might be stressed, ask why. Are you out all day ’til late? This can cause stress. There are other causes of course such as seeing other cats outside the window. Stress can also cause cystitis (urinary tract infection).
You think she is over-licking. I guess you get this idea from observation. You might like to confirm this by further observation. You should be able to tell if she is over-grooming. If she is, probably the most common cause is stress and a common cause of stress, as mentioned, is the absence of a caretaker. This can be compounded by being an indoor cat (a confined environment).
Check out the points I have made and return to make a comment if you wish. In the meantime you might like to visit a page on cat hair loss where there around 250 comments which may give you some ideas.
Without wishing to state the obvious, if things don’t improve or deteriorate, the standard recommendation is to see a vet. Thanks for using the visitor input form and good luck to you both.