why is my cat licking herself bald
Overgrooming or, My Cat is Licking Itself Bald! Almost every day I examine a cat that has areas of hair loss. Sometimes people think that their catБs hair is falling out. Sometimes people see the cat licking itself or find clumps of hair on the floor. What causes hair loss in cats? The most common cause is allergies. Cat allergies usually cause itchy skin. Allergic cats can also sneeze or wheeze or have ear infections or diarrhea as well. Cats lick at their itchy skin and because of their raspy tongues are able to break off their fur. This leaves a little stubble on the skin, and often the skin itself is a little pinker than normal. Some cats are Бcloset lickersБ and only overgroom when no one is around. What can cats be allergic to? The same types of things that bother us pollens, dust mites, and foods. In particular, cats react to flea bites. When fleas bite, they inject their saliva to keep the blood from clotting. The cat becomes allergic to the saliva and just one bite can make the cat itch to the point of licking or plucking their fur.
Many times we canБt even find the fleas because the cat licks so much it swallows the flea (which can transmit tapeworms, another topic). What do we do to treat allergies in cats? Ideally we allergy test and use desensitizing injections or oral drops. Sometimes we use antihistamines, fatty acid supplements, or hypoallergenic foods. We will almost always use a broad spectrum flea and mite product as well. In severe cases, we will need to use injectable or oral steroids. We now have another medication called cyclosporine, which can also help control itching and overgrooming with fewer potential side effects. There are some anti-anxiety medications that reduce itching as well. In years past we used to think that stress caused overgrooming, but now we know that most of the time the stress is aggravating the allergic disease and making the overgrooming worse. Other things that can cause hair loss in cats are Demodex mites, fungal infections, and occasionally hormonal problems or cancers.
So if your catБs coat has lost its normal luster or has patches of hair loss it is time for your cat to see your veterinarian!
I ve talked er, sung about feline balding (alopecia) before with but the fact that this kitty has self-directed aggression makes me think this is a behavioral and possibly neurological issue. If your vet has ruled out allergies and fleas, stress or hyperesthesia could be the culprit. I know a kitty named Nellie who has hyperesthesia, and she attacks her own tail like it is a foreign body. This is also called rolling skin disorder because the muscles on the back twitch and roll before an episode occurs. It used to be just a crazy tail chase when she was a kitten, but as she grew, Nellie began harming herself! If your cat has the condition, you and your vet can decide what course to pursue. Some cats are given drugs or even have their tails amputated, and some just live with the disorder with special management from their owners.
Obsessive grooming could also be caused by stressors such as new family members, pets, or surroundings. Compulsive behaviors like this can be managed with increased attention, regular schedules, pheromone diffusers, calming collars, and even added stimuli like cat shelves and pods. I think if a man is going bald, he should avoid the inevitable ring of shame, shave his head, and embrace it. This probably isn t going to work for Mr. Muffins, so mosey on over to your vet for the best solution. Feline Alopecia by Sarah Donner Lyrics: On his flanks, his tail, or his back And you suspect something is whack, yo Vet is best to find a cause, and the best way to respond SOURCES: Northern Echo, Cornell University, Cat Health, and special thanks to Nellie s mom, Linda M. Got a question about cats? Ask a real live Cat Lady in the comments below!.
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