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Cat licking her hair off - allergies or stress?
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Cat licking her hair off - allergies or stress?

My female cat has started licking off her hair on her paws and legs and possibly is starting on her belly - they are long hair and it's kinda hard to tell until a definite bald patch appears.  This has been happening since before Christmas.  At first I thought it was due to the loss of her beloved "Cat tree" but I got her a replacement - although I'm not sure she likes it near as much.  The Vet thinks it's an allergy - probably to food - but I can't get her to eat the $35 per 8lb bag of Green Pea and Duck food I bought for her.  She went days without eating and I finally gave in - as I didnt want to deal with those complications too.  So, I have just ordered another type of food - Venison and Green Pea - hopefully she'll like that a little better.....and I've ordered the stop itch wipes and lotion from Dr. Fosters and Smith.  I am hoping one of those will help.  The other issue is that I travel A LOT for my job - often gone at least 3 or 4 days.  I started travelling this heavy in September and her hair loss started after Thanksgiving.

Any ideas or things I can try.  I was thinking of trying the Feliway diffuser - but after just ordering over $50 of food and itch relief - I am going to hold off before spending $30 on an air diffuser.

Any comments are appreciated.
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She's probably lonely and has developed this nervous habit of licking her fur off.  Have you considered adopting a kitten?  Then at least she'd have a "buddy" while you're away.  We have 3 cats and they are just like human siblings - they fight and then end up sleeping nose-to-nose on the sofa!  They always have each other when we're away.

Jack
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and in her case, it was related to being hyperthyroid. Is she on the skinny side? Jumpy?
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Just before Christmas my cat started pulling all of his fur out, we couldn't understand why, i tried a few creams but they didn't help, finally after the Christmas holidays we took him to the vets.  They told us that he was allergic to a flea bite and they gave him an anti inflammitary (sp?) injection, which stopped his skin getting irritated, the vet also told us that it's a very common thing. You might want to look into that.  Good luck!!
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I had a cat that lost some hair at the top of her head. I don't know if she was licking it off, or if it was some kind of irritation. The vet didn't notice anything abnormal, and the skin itself didn't look irritated. But I took her home and started treating it myself with neosporin. The hair grew back and we never had another problem.

Is she by chance a siamese? They tend to be more emotional than other cats. So if she is it could definitely be a stress-related thing. My cat is half siamese...
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My cat Dizzy has been overgrooming for the past year, since my now husband moved in. (He licks his front legs, stomach, and the bottom of his back feet, most recently). And Dizzy loves my husband, so I think it was more the change in the environment: the extra furniture, etc. So it might be the change in the cat tree in your cat's case...my vet said that the tiniest change in their environment can trigger such behavior. Or she might just miss you alot when you are out of town. Do you have a good pet sitter or friend to spend time with her while you are gone?

I, too, just put my cat on Venison and Green Pea to rule out any allergy component, although I am pretty sure his is completely behavioral, as he is a pretty sensitive cat anyways. Feliway may or may not work....I couldn't tell any difference with mine, but it certainly might be worth a shot with yours.  

Good luck, and I hope you find something that works!
Karie
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I forgot to mention - she has a litter mate - Samson, and they've never been separated.  So, I don't think she's completely lonely - although my travel may have something to do with it.   She doesn't have fleas as they never go outside and I've checked her several times as did the doctor and no fleas.  I hope she likes the Venison and Green Pea but neither her nor Samson will eat the Duck and Pea and they both have to eat it as I can't feed them separately.  I do have a friend check in on them when I am gone, but she only comes by once or twice a week.  I have her stop by if I'm gone 3 days or more.  I hate to ask her to do it more often.

Hopefully the itch meds and the new food will help.  She is thin - however - not much thinner than Samson.  They are 1/2 Siamese and 1/2 Maine Coon.  Very pretty kitties and VERY CHATTY!
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Ha! I had a feeling she was at least part Siamese! LOL. Yeah, I bet you it's stress. Sias are VERY emotional cats. Wow...Maine Coon and Siamese. They must be gorgeous! Good luck and let us know how she's doing on the meds!
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Thanks.  She can be pretty prissy and has always been very high strung and jittery and nervous.  

They are really pretty.  Too bad I can't post a picture.  They have Siamese markings and Maine Coon coat of hair.  I'm not really trying meds per-se - but these hydrocortisone wipes and a lotion to put on the areas that she has licked the hair off.  I am hoping that she likes the new food too, as I am running out of options! :)
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I dealt with this very problem for about six years with our cat.  The vet gave her steroid injections, which only helped temporarily.  We tried highly regulated diets - nothing worked.

One day I was down staring at the litter box - wondering why my son hadn't changed it lately - that it occurred to me that the perfume (Tidy Cat) was rather strong.  Being highly sensitive to fragrances myself, I began wondering whether the cat could also be sensitive to something in the litter.  After all, it was her lower abdomen and back legs that were affected - the parts most likely to come in contact with the litter.  

I immediately dumped the litter and went looking for an unscented alternative and switched to Cedarific (although there are other alternatives).

Her hair began growing back almost immediately.  She still has a few sore spots that had gotten particularly bad, but they are healing.  She now has hair on her belly and legs for the first time since we owned her.

So, try changing the litter.

(And by the way - I'd dump the Natural Balance Venison & Pea - it was just recalled for by the FDA for containing the melamine - the same substance that poisoned many cats a couple of months ago.  We used it for awhile and the last time ended up with both cats at the vet with unexplained vomiting - and a $1400 vet bill).

Good Luck!
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Hello-

My kitty was licking his fur off for months and the vet finally told me to try a few different things...one was to get him a kitty friend, but since yours already has one, that might not be the issue (although this did help he is obsessed with his little sister).  The other thing that helped was leaving the tv or radio on all day.  I did this first and it did help a little bit, but then I was set on getting another kitty.

Hope that helps!
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Hi,
My cat (dilute tortuous) is doing the same thing. She is a extremely passive cat who is picked on by my larger, mean, male cat. Over the summer she starting becoming very nervous (even more than usual) She would stay in the same place outside all day and wouldn't come inside, not even to eat. She was a fat cat and wasted away to almost nothing. She also was constantly licking herself. I brought her to a vet and he diagnosed her with depression, OCD, and paranoia (made the diagnosis from lack of fur on her belly). His listed symptoms fit her perfectly. He gave her a shot (human birth control) and it helped with everything but the licking...it has become worse. I'm almost sure it is due to stress because I went on vacation for a week and when I returned she had a huge bald area on her lower back.

Any help with this would be greatly appreciated!!
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My first thought is a humidifier might help if it's caused by dry skin (has the weather been very dry?). My second thought is a genetic disorder or two I've read about. But....I'd need more information;

What's the quality of the skin both under the remaining fur, on the border where the fur ends, and where the fur is gone?
Is it scaley? Scabby? Speckly? Pealing? Discolored in any way (keep in mind cat skin coloration matches fur coloration.)
Is it itchy? Are you sure she's licking it up? Is she coughing up furballs?

What's the texture of the fur like in those areas? Getting brittle or stiff? breaking? Is it thining out?

Also, what do her claws/NAILS look like? Are they crubly/pitted/split etc...

(One thing I'd do is dump the new cat tree. It's possible the reaction could be related.)
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I have a 3 yearold female cat and she is losing her fur on her lower back, iner legs, and belly. I'm concerned about it. If anyone else has had this problem please e-mail me at ***@****.. Thanks,
Ann
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You can't leave links on here, as you can see. This could be mange, by the way.
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My cat had an accident with his leg and was treated for this. After the operation he started to lick the fur off. I took him to the vet and he told me that the accident he had could have severed a nerve and may be it was tingling, so the cat will nibble. He gave him an anti-inflammatory injection and it stopped for a while. Then, years later, someone shot my cat through his eye and he is now blind, and he continued to take fur off his leg. Then the problem got worse, he started taking it off his side down to his paw, now hes started taking it off his other back leg. He was shot about 4 years ago now. Im wondering if hes allergic to something. I cant believe its his nerve ending when he has now started on his other side. The vet would like to give him another injection, although i had the same in tablet form, tablets have not made any difference, if anything he is worse. another trip to the vet i think!! Can anybody help!  vikki
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This kind of behavior can be a stress reaction. But with the eye injury...was there any other head trauma? Cats will lick obsessively as a symptom of a neurological problem.

Since the anti-inflammatory worked it's probable that your cat is suffering some discomfort in the hind quarters.It's possible some sort of arthritis is setting, causing him to lick obsessively.

When your cat walks/jumps does he seem to move normally? Does he favor one side or seem more "careful" than he used to be? If so, it's probably inflammation from the wound site causing the aforementioned arthritis. If not...it is possible that he has suffered some sort of nerve damage (which can spread, or cause sympathetic pain to other regions).

There are holistic approaches to treatment which could help. Perhaps some of the others here are familiar with them?.

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We have been battling this hairloss problem with our 7 year old, part mainecoon for a year or more now.  She is indoors, has had, and does has now, cat companions since birth.  She is not lonely or stressed.  She has no fleas, and all our cats are treated regularly.  Steroids didn't help.  Allergy meds didn't help.  No mites were found in scrapings by the vet.  The best idea I see here is the allergy to the litter.  I think we'll try that next.... thanks bunches...we were out of ideas.
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Maine coon's are great! One of my favorite kitties. Consider checking out some of the special maine coon supplements. They're one of those breeds that apparently can have "special needs" that cause them to suffer from hair loss and feline acne, among other things.
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I have a Bengal, 5 yrs old, male. His buddy just died (November) and I got a 6 mo old kitten who is fitting in fine, but the Bengal (Snapper) is licking all the hair off hind legs and belly. He has always licked more than most cats, but this is nuts! Changing the litter is a good idea, though he does most of his business outside. I think he is neurotic. I must caution against steroids, as being treated with them caused my other cat to become diabetic. That is not a good thing. Any other ideas are welcome. I was going to try to put some bitter apple spray on the bald spots and see if he would just STOP licking,... good idea or not? Thanks all, Anne
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Don't use the bitter apple, hat will just make her even more neurotic. It's only been two months. Probably the stress of losing a companion and having a new cat brought in his making kitty stressed out.

Have you checked the obvious things, like mange and fleas (A flea allergy can cause this behavior, just one or two can set a cat off. Also, have you considered your household cleaning products? It could be a reaction to a deodorant/cleaner. Remember, if it's in kitty's environment, it's on kitty's skin and thus gets into his mouth.).

It's best to rule out the physical, as if the behavior still continues, the only option is kitty psyche med's which isn't a great way to go.
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I have a 5 year old Bengal that started licking and biting off all the fur on his legs and belly to the point of opening wounds about 3 years ago.  Our vet treated it as behavioral issue.  After 6 months and no success he sent us to a pet psychologist.  This was something I was really against and thought was completely ridiculous.  As it turned out it was almost a complete waste, but the kitty shrink did say she thought it was allergies, but added that the cat should continue seeing her as well.  I took the cat off of his psyche meds and returned to our original vet, he decided to biopsy the 5 areas where the fur was gone.  That was useless as well.   The vet decided to then test him for allergies and it came back that he was allergic to 32 different things.  We ended up getting a serum I injected into his neck 1 every 2 weeks.  They also put him on prednisone which stopped the licking and biting but does prevent the fur gowing back while on it.  This would have been fine except that extended periods of prednisone becomes harmful to cats.  After 8 months of this my wife and I decided to look for veterinary allergy specialists.  We found a  great one and he took one look at the cat and said "here's what I believe the problem is, and here's how I'd like to treat it".  They re-did his allergy tests and found he was not allergic to everything we were told.  They had their lab make a new serum for us.  And most importantly put him on Neoral.  It's a medication that's used for humans who have had organ transplants and has recently become a key drug for pet allergies.  One thing my wife and I had to accept is that the goal is now to manage his allergies, and not worry about his appearance.  He still licks his fur off especially in the dry seasons, but he hasn't made himself bleed in over 2 years and will occasionally go through periods where his coat is fully grown in.
As a side note, Asian cats like the Bengal or Siamese are not only prone to stress, but vets are also seeing a large increase in allergies.
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I have a 5 year old Bengal that started licking and biting off all the fur on his legs and belly to the point of opening wounds about 3 years ago.  Our vet treated it as a behavioral issue.  After 6 months and no success he sent us to a pet psychologist.  This was something I was really against and thought was completely ridiculous.  As it turned out it was almost a complete waste, but the kitty shrink did say she thought it was allergies, but added that the cat should continue seeing her as well.  I took the cat off of his psyche meds and returned to our original vet, he decided to biopsy the 5 areas where the fur was gone.  That was useless as well.   The vet decided to then test him for allergies and it came back that he was allergic to 32 different things.  We ended up getting a serum I injected into his neck 1 every 2 weeks.  They also put him on prednisone which stopped the licking and biting but does prevent the fur gowing back while on it.  This would have been fine except that extended periods of prednisone becomes harmful to cats.  After 8 months of this my wife and I decided to look for veterinary allergy specialists.  We found a  great one and he took one look at the cat and said "here's what I believe the problem is, and here's how I'd like to treat it".  They re-did his allergy tests and found he was not allergic to everything we were told.  They had their lab make a new serum for us.  And most importantly put him on Neoral.  It's a medication that's used for humans who have had organ transplants and has recently become a key drug for pet allergies.  One thing my wife and I had to accept is that the goal is now to manage his allergies, and not worry about his appearance.  He still licks his fur off especially in the dry seasons, but he hasn't made himself bleed in over 2 years and will occasionally go through periods where his coat is fully grown in.
As a side note, Asian cats like the Bengal or Siamese are not only prone to stress, but vets are also seeing a large increase in allergies.
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sorry about the double post.  I am an idiot.
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I don't know if the concern was ever sorted out, but I've been treating my cat for hypertension for three months.  Her heart condition was affecting her sinuses to the point that she couldn't breathe properly.  The vet said we need to stop the meds or she will be on them for life.  So we've had a few rough days, but what I noticed was that she would constantly lick herself.  This in turn flared up her breathing problems (I live in Taiwan and there is a lot of air dust).  To control the constant licking, I just put a plastic cone on her neck.  She couldn't lick and wasn't happy about the cone.  So she sat and relaxed (albeit a bit depressed).  I left her for a day with the cone.  The next morning I took it off and she's been calm, not licking like crazy, breathing clearly and playing naturally for two days.  Maybe this can help your cat if she is indeed stressed or nervous.
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My female cat has recently started licking her fur off her stomach as well.  She has not had any changes around the house.  We have another male cat that she has been around for 6 years and another outdoor cat that has been around for 2.  She has no allergies or rashes that the vet could find.  I have put the spray on her stomach that is supposed to taste bitter, but she still licks!  And the worst part about it is she doesn't understand why I am spraying her and she cowers down like she's in trouble.  I have also tried spraying this other spray that is supposed to make cats feel safe and secure around the house.  That seems to minimize the licking, but doesn't stop it.  Does anyone have another suggestion?  
I notice she licks when she is either waiting for me outside a closed door in the house or when I'm on the couch with the other cat or my husband.  
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Hi,

I have two cats and one of them has been licking out his fur also (the two front legs and sometimes the belly).  With the first occurance the pet gave me veritone (a cream that caused him to foam from the mouth due to the bad taste if he licked that spot). As bad as it may have seemed after he licked the spot with the cream, it worked.  He learned his lesson would not lick there and the problem seemed to have been solved.  Then we moved into our new home and he became sick about six months later.  He developed a fever and lost weight.  A variety of tests were done but nothing definitive was identified.  The suspect was maybe an infection in the intestine or stomach.  To get over the sickness my vet now has him on Medical's Hypoallergenic/ Gastro can food.  The previous food was Royal Canin's Special 33 dry food for cats with sensitive stomachs.  When we tried to put him back to the dry food we saw him again licking too much so the vet thinks he is allergic to it so we have resticted him to only the can food.  To help with the lost of fur he as given a steroid shot that was supposed to allievate the itching.  It worked but now four months later he is doing it yet again even when only exposed to the can food.  If it is an allergy I don't know what he could be allergic to.  Based on some of resonses above, I will try changing the litter as my litter is high smelling.  By the way i tried to obtain Veritone but I cannot seem to find it anywhere.  My vet says the company no longer makes it???  If I am successful with the change in litter I will let you all know.  If anyone has any other ideas, please share.
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Has anyone had any luck with introducing a new kitten in helping with the licking? Our vet thinks that our cat's over-licking could be behaviroral in that he gets lonely during the day and at night when we are not around and that is when he is licking like crazy. He is really needy and is always crying for attention.  It may be a double edged sword though: get a cat so one cat isn't bored, but may end up with two bored cats...we are really struggling with what to do! any thoughts?

I am definately going to try switching the litter to odor free and changing his food as he has been sneezy too...
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I have 4 cats all girls and all moggies,  2 older sisters and one of the sisters had 2 of the kittens which I kept also. (hence the 4 cats)  they all live happily together with some scaps but seem to sleep in the same room.   I have one of the older girls licking her fur off the tummy, back legs and sides, rest is completely fine.  My other older cat is on steriods (the one someone mention above which is now frightning me, prednisone ) as she keeps being sick and they have done loads of test finding an inflammation of the intestine.  tried the bland food and did not help only these tablets.  They have been through a lot in the last year and a bit with 2 westie pups moving in so they lived upstairs and the dogs downstairs (so stress yes) and I have just recently moved in with my boyfriend so a new area for them (more stress) but a bigger place and to top that the one licking her fur off went missing for 3 days (which I know does not sound very long but it was very out of character) when she did find her way home she doesnt go out very much and stays close to the garden.  The others dont have any defurring probs just the one on the tablets has started scratching her face so something is irritating her.  I am going to try the changing of the litter as I noticed when you move it around the litter tray it brings up a cloud of dust,  but no fleas have been found or other things.  not sure I trust Vets too much every vet wants to try more things and they dont seem to have any effect.  good luck with your kittys
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I have 2 12 year old cats, sisters, and one is a tiger shorthair domestic and the other is all black and slighly longer hair domestic. Once and a while the black cat (Mittens) would get sick and throw up a hair ball, but nothing out of the ordinary.  She is also a very nervous cat while the tiger is very friendly.   When I moved from my apartment of 8 years, where they had both lived since kittens, into a house in the country, Mittens began licking her front legs and throwing up hairballs and then would throw up white foam and couldn't stop throwing up this white foam.  I had made many trips to the vet, many tests (xrays, blood work, etc.) and nothing wrong with her.  She would have to get Reglin shots (pharmaceutical that blocks something in the brain that tells them they really don't have to get sick).  This became very expensive every time she got sick.  Tried the liquid Reglin that I could give myself and she ended up getting sicker due to her sensitive stomach.  I now have the Reglin pills and also give her a stomach acid reducer 2 hours after her Reglin pill and this seems to help her get better quicker.  I have lived at my house now for 4 years and have determined, from my own invesitgation and reading and observation, that she does have OCD.  1.  started licking front legs when I moved to my house, 2. she was better once settled until I got a puppy and she started it again and getting sick, 3.  she got better until someone would come over (not a frequent visitor) and then she would start the process again, 4.  rescued 3 cats...momma and 2 babies and the momma cat was so accepting of my other cats, as were the kittens, but Mittens started getting sick again, 5. any new toy I bring home that has a strange sound, she gets sick, 6. anytime something out of the norm happens, she gets sick.  She is at the point now where she licks all of the hair off of her top front legs, underneath her front legs, belly and back legs.  She did go for 3 months of non-interrupted "vacationland" so to speak where no one came over and nothing changed.....her hair was almost grown back in and she wasn't licking.  I was thrilled.  But, the minute someone stopped by, be it UPS, neighbors, friends, same thing.  It is so sad to see her obsessing like this and I do find when I give her XTRA attention, that she is somewhat better (i.e. doesn't lick as much).  And when she does lick, there are no sores (just white skin), she does not have fleas, doesn't go outside, I use the same litter as always and the same food, etc.  She is a very loving, happy, talkative, purring machine when she is not sick.  I wish someone would come up with a way to resolve this OCD in cats because that's exactly what it is.  Good luck to all.  Nice to know I'm not the only one experiencing this.
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Just an update.  I tried many things including changing the litter from scented to unsented.  Also eliminating cleaners and only using the organic stuff.  Finally it came down to the food that he was nibbling from the the other cat.  Looks like he is alergic (allergic) to the chicken in the Royal Canin Special diet dry food.  We now have the Hill's Prescription diet "Duck and Pea" dry food and he is ok so far.  I changed from chicken to Duck and that has helped with his licking the fur off this body.

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I have two cats, brother and sister, the male is the one with the licking problem. His belly, and his legs. There are no sores. They are both finicky and will only eat fancy feast gourmet (five flavors only). The vet bames it all on the fact that store bought cat food has a lot of hormones and the food isn't really regulated. Did the predlazone shot, worked for awhile. I am not a big fan of giving too much of that to the kitties. He also has a behavioral thing that he does. He is crouched down and his back ripples like he is having a spasm, then looks like he is nipping at something. It seems like he does this when he is pouting. Just like a child with a temper tamtrum. I researched this behavior and the "cure" which there is none, was prozac and antripalene.(excuse spelling) Sometimes the cures are more dangerous then the problem. I have learned to live with licking and bare spots, as long as there are no sores or any infections I guess it will be all right. But if any one finds a cure in the meantime, I am willing to try anything. I have also changed litter and not sure if it changed anything. Sometimes he is OK and sometimes he just goes to town!
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Hello Everyone,

A couple of months ago...I began noticing my cat licking his hair off.  He seemed to have developed this sort of impulse where every few minutes, he would go to town licking his inner legs...the back of his legs...even down to his back paws.  At first I thought it may have had something to do with the Winter season and his skin getting dry.  It happens to humans, why not cats?  He is an all white, short haired cat.  At first I didn't think much of it, till I started to notice his legs..parts of his belly and his paws turning pink.  He was practically bald in those areas and his skin was obviously irritated.  I wasn't sure what to do and considering the fact that everyone is going through financial hardships these days, I just couldn't afford to bring him to a vet.  So, I decided to do some on-line research and what I found was interesting and helpful!  About 80 percent of the posts that I had read on "cats licking hair off" said it had something to do with allergies.  They suggested I take my cat to a vet to get some allergy shots and if that didn't work, I should change his food and if THAT didn't work...I should change his litter.  I opted for the trying out the cheapest method to see if it would work and lo and behold, it ABSOLUTELY did.  I changed his litter from the standard clay litter to an all natural pine litter.  I noticed a change in him immediately.  It's been about a month now and he has not only stopped his compulsive licking...but all of his hair has grown back.  The posts that I had read suggested using a litter called "Cedarfic".  I had trouble finding that particular brand when searching for it, so I chose a brand called "Feline Pine" instead that sells at the grocery store for 5 bucks.  I hope this helps anyone reading this!  


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My male maine coon has had a licking disorder for 2 years now, and we've tried everything to fix it.  he's lost all the hair on his body except a stripe down his back that he can't reach to lick.  At this point, we know that it's not behavioral, because it goes away with steroid treatment (prednisone), but it took us a year to figure that out - we first had to test for mites, fungus, we had to try a behavior-modification drug, and we had to try an antihistamine.  Since we've narrowed it down to allergy, and not infestation or stress/depression, we're now in the process of trying to figure out if the cat has a food allergy via an elimination diet.  We have him on natural Balance Green Pea and duck, which he hates, and because he won't eat it, we are supposed to be starting him on Hills hydrolyzed protein diet tomorrow.  if we can't ID the allergen as a food substance, we have to test him for air allergens, which happens to be an $800 ($800!!!!!) test.  

It strikes me as odd that, of all 4 vets we've taken our cat to see, no vet has ever recommended changing his litter.  Seems silly not to try it after all we have tried over the past two years.  So, before starting him on this expensive hydrolyzed protein diet, I'm going to the store to get some of that Cedarific or Feline Pine litter.  I'm going to try it for a week and we'll see what happens!  Thanks for everyone's ideas!
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As I wrote before, I was going to change the litter to see if my cat stops licking his fur off. He seems better then before and doesn't seem to mind the feline pine. But his sister is not too happy about it. She prefers the tidy cat! So now we have two litter boxes.
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I have read everything you all have written and I still am at a loss of what to do!
My cat has started licking the fur off her front inside paws. This started in Dec. of 08 when my husband left for 10 days. It did not improve when he got home (I thought it was for SURE because he was gone) so I made an appointment with my vet and she got a shot of steroids. Most of the fur grew back.  Over the past two months, we have noticed it getting progressively worse again. I check it for infections twice a day, and now we are noticing small patches on her back legs and the little one on her belly is getting bigger.  Nothing in our home has changed drastically. I have changed her food from Seafood (we noticed cutting the little tuna she was getting last Dec. out of her diet helped) to Chicken and turkey blend.(I did this gradually as well). She seems to love it. Now day three, she is not eating as well. I scolded her for getting into a plant that she chews on regularly when she wants attention, and in response, she layed down and chewed off two fur balls from her front legs.
Litter box is scent free, she has plenty of love when we are not home (we live in my in laws basement and frequently visits them and loves it!  we have been here almost a year.)  She gets plenty of play time when I'm off work (every other day) and she seems to love on us all the time. My husband does take her outside (2-3 times a night, for 5 minutes or less, but he always has!) and she doesn't wander or eat anything . Just watches and loves it. But I have noticed that she cleans herself every times she comes in.  She is an indoor cat but behaves very well just sitting outside.  Could she be "allergic" to the outside?
Any advice is appreciated!
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try a raw food diet.  my cat does the same thing and i'm about to switch.  Lots of good books out there on how to do it successfully.  Try author Kymythy Schultz.
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I still have some problems with my one cat and his fur. I now think that thru a process of elimination that he is allergic to something outside. He only goes in the backyard. There is the grass, we also have mulch in the back where he lays a lot. I changed the litter, did the shots of steroids, decided to stay away from that. We were away for awhile, and his fur came back somewhat. It could be a combination of allergy's, stress, and a little neurotic. I give up and as long as he has no sores or infections, I spend my time loving him instead of driving myself and him nuts. Good Luck!
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Sorry, that was meant for roxybean822. Not yet awake and only one cup of coffee.
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my cat is a fur licker off-er too. no sores or anything of that, just the ugliness of the fact that he's black and his skin is white and he just looks ridiculous. especially around his nips, and the backs of his legs. it's almost funny if he didnt look so sad and pathetic and uncool -- not living up to his name of the coolest black cat in history { human form, of course } miles davis.

it is mostly his belly, legs and arms -- where the litter touches, so i'm going to try changing that to the pine. i did also notice the other day, while pooing, he was perched on the side of the box .. not in it at all, on the side of it. all four feet and he was squatting. i dont know how he didnt tip the darned thing over -- and i tried to get a picture cause it was hilarious and i'm a mean mom, but he moved away before i could, the little jerk. and i'm going keep telling myself that he's cute, and beautiful on the inside .. keep telling myself that over and over .. and over ..

but my real question is! he NEVER hacks up fur balls! how is that even possible? he's had to ingested like a million pounds of the ****, and nothing comes up. is it in his poo?  

le sigh.
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I've had similar problems. Originally, my cat got a flea bite from the pet hotel he was at for a week. Licked his fur off until it bled. The vet put him on prednisone and gave him an e- collar and some cream. His fur grew back.

Months later, now he's licking AGAIN. I have him on Advantage (after a couple of weeks lapse where I forgot) but I'm thinking of increasing the frequency to every 3 weeks, like my vet recommended and getting some of that cream again. He's currently in an e collar and not licking (as far as I can tell.) When his fur grows in again, he'll get that collar off.

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We also have a 4 year old female cat that began the licking about 2 months ago wherever she could reach. She's chubby so her licking/biting was limited to her lower belly and inside back legs. (So far, anyway). She's a totally inside cat, has lived with her male sibling and us  from day one (he doesn't lick)but has always been the nervous anti-people cat, unlike her brother. Her skin is not irritated and we did try the "change the litter" since I noticed after using Tidy Cat for multiple cats, the licking seemed to begin. We haven't tried the natural or cedar yet which I think will be the next step since just switching to a different scoopable litter didn't work. Otherwise, she seems very healthy and I really don't want to subject her to the trauma of going to the Vet unless I have too.
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thanks for all your help-my cat doing the licking thing and didn't want to spent $$ to go to vet-not that serious but now I will try the litter changing first and go from there.
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hi....yes begin with a litter change. has kitty also been checked for fleas or ticks?
Can also be a food allergy or someother internal problem?
what type of food is she on?....I have found out with my cats allergyies that chicken is the worst for allergies...he doesn't bite at himself but does breakout in small skin scabs that he rubs.
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I am relieved to find other people that are having the same issue as mine. I have a 9 year old named Rocco. He is pure black w/ white belly and paws w/ long white whiskers. Anyway, he too has been biting off his fur.  It started with his belly and now down his hind legs.  I will do the litter change Thank you guys for that, however I also have taken him to the vet for this biting and they didn't find any flea's he's indoor kitty.  He is a nevous cat and since he has been little he would lightly bit @ his front paws, but never bitten any fur away. I found he would do this action more when he was being told NO for being a bad boy jumping on the kitchen counter or somewhere he wasn't supposed to be.   Than he would be back to his old self. I noticed he would do the same action when he was being petted it was like his warning to us to stop and leave him alone.  Or when we would play w/ him he started getting excited and he would start the biting action again??   But recently with in the last two years since my mom has passed away he started bitting off his fur on his belly and now down his hind legs and taking off his fur.  So party I think it is stress but also the vet had said about allergies.  He recommed me to buy this cat spray called "FELIWAY"  This is a spray that has cat sences in it.  It is supposed to help the cat feel more relaxed and you are supposed to spray it anywhere your cat likes to be during the day and night.  In my case all over my house. .lol  But this isn't helping. and I also did the steroid shots (which helped for like 5 -6 weeks only) but my vet said he can not keep getting the shots of steroids it isn't good for them.  So now I am back to square one.  But I will try the litter change.. I have had Rocco on Purina one for Urinary track dry food for most his life after he had issue w/ his Urinary track being male cat it is very common for this to happen.  So I think the food is okay for now?? But if anyone knows of another Natual brand I can buy him that has the same help for Urinary Track formula please let me know.  Please help with any suggestions.  Thank you all for reading my post.  From one animal lover to the next!
Michelle Rodriguez
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hi Michelle and welcome to the cat forum!!...........You know its like finding a needle in a haystack to try to find reasons for some of their ailments or activities, I don't know if I can answer your question??
I had a ragdoll for 5 yrs and she was the same as your rocco, no fleas!! and lots of tests done was finally labeled as stress..she also had IBD so maybe there was some bowel pain involved?..we tried everything from anti anxiety meds(buspar) to prednisone nothing worked....in the end the steroids made her very ill and she had to be put down, so be very cautious in this use.
If it is stress the feliway should have helped, I use it for another cat for territorial spraying and it helps!
If this is a food allergy(and it could be)
I'm not familiar with purina one food?...If this one has chicken its a good idea to change to something rocco has never had before such as fish or venison...the Vet have some good hypoallergenic brands to try, good luck there tho because my Sami who has the allergies refuses to eat the Vet recommended ones.
Some very good pet foods are, EVO, Eagle Pack, Wellness, Acana, and I know there are a few others that are natural, Evo I feed to one of mine because he has a grain intolerance and its grain free...
The one with the food allergies I give Acana FISH....he's not crazy abt but will eat it reluctantly lol.
I'm not real sure you'll need to ask your Vet but I think for urinary track issues and diet I think its the ASH content in the food that you need to watch for.
Again I'm not sure if this is the ingredient or not?
Someone else help out here okay.....there should be more info for you available, also try searching the archives...and going to our expert forum and ASK A VET.
best of luck, lets keep looking
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2cc clavamox 2 times a day for 7 days stopped my cat from licking
his belly and inner legs.  He weighs 18 lbs.
This after 4 years of no help from vet. He was treated for an
abcess (abscess) from a cat fight with clavamox and now fuzz is growing
back on his belly and inner legs.  It usually is NOT stress as
so many say.  They say that because they don't know.  Three
out of 4 of my cats have this.  I've taken the poor things in more
times than I can count and the vet never offered an antibiotic.
I told her that 3 out of 4 cats can't have allergies.  At first she
said stress but then when 3 of them had it she had to back off
that diagnosis.  I found a smart online vet who said this:
Lots of times it is due to problems such as fleas, mange, ringworm
(a fungal infection), allergies, immune mediated disease
and bacterial infections. Some cats lick their abdomen
when they have cystitis or other pain related issues.
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Cats don't feel stress like we do. That is an unlikely diagnosis.  Cats lick because of itching or because of pain.  It is instinct for them to lick wounds, so if they are hurting they will lick.  It could be urinary tract infections or problems or digestive pain or bacterial infections.  Don't let anyone dope your cat up on anti-depressants or any other mind altering drugs.  The poor things are suffering that's why they lick.
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Also it can be mites.  I read a lot about that online.  They are nearly impossible to get rid of if it is mites.  Feeding high quality food dry AND moist and some high quality fish oil could build their immunity enough to fight off the mites.
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One of my cats just developed struvite cyrstals and I've been doing extensive reading, he has always been on a very high quality dry food. EVO rated one of the best because it has NO grains therefore low in carbs and high in protien.
HOWEVER the reading I've found out alot of things about DRY food diet that aren't pretty...we are endangering our pets with this dry stuff.
I've learned any CAN FOOD no matter how low in quality is better than ANY dry food....
the biggest problem is lack of moisture!! this leads to the formation of these crystals PLUS many other health issues.
ALL pet owners please do some reading in the following website it really opened my eyes.
www.catinfo.org
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Hi all,
I've got a 4 year old female domestic short hair cat. A few months ago I've also noticed that she started to lick the fur off her back legs and tail. She's always been a very small thin cat, very skiddish and timid. (I rescued her from an abusive family when she was 5 weeks old) She's very affectionate and loves attention on her terms. But Along with her fur licking, she's throwing up constantly, due to fur balls from the licking? I've had her to the vet several times, and time after time, they tell me she's fine. Which to me is clearly BS seeing her hind area is nearly bald. I'm starting to wonder if there is something seriously wrong with her, that the vets are missing, or neglecting to find.
I've read pretty much every post on here and have seen a few things that I'm going to try.  Changing her littler for one, because I was using a different litter before this licking business started as I recall.
Thanks for the reading material, it's been very informative. I really hope this turns out to be as simple as a little litter change, cause my cash flow is starting to run dry with all the vet tests.
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I have a 9 year old female indoor only cat. She is pure black. She has been licking her fur off for years. She licks it off on her belly and legs. I have tried a lot of things. I've taken her to the vet, switched foods, changed litter etc. She stops just long enough for some hair to grow back and then she begins licking again. I have wondered if she has dry skin and have looked for lotions. I was really surprised to see so many cats are having this same problem. It is very strange. She doesn't seem constantly annoyed or itchy. It just seems to be there one day and then over the weeks its gone agian.
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My oldest turned 20 in Dec 2009.  She got out a couple of weeks ago and seemed to be fairly traumatized when I found her cowering by some bushes (at 1 a.m.).  The next day she seemed like she was her old self, but now Mitz has eaten ALL of her fur off her belly and about half way up one side. It was quite snarled so I thought maybe she just wanted it off.  I'd take her to the vet, but the last time I was ther they made the "she's really old speech." She's lost weight and I'm pretty sure she's deaf, but otherwise is in good health; likes to romp and beat up Ruby (my 6 y.o. younsgter puss), takes her time on the stairs (like me) and still has a good appetite.

I've had several cats make it to twenty and one to 27, cats that have had strokes, cats with allergies, cats with cancer and Mitz doesn't seem to show any of those symptoms.  Trying to figure out what to do. She hates those blood tests and they haven't  yielded any useful information for about six years. She doesn't seem to be suffering now, just yanking out that hair. Then she runs around the house with it hanging from her mouth while I chase her before she swallows.  I feel like her next vet visit will be her last and she won't be coming home with me.  Don't want that, but she is very old as cats go.  

Sorry this was so long, but I guess I want information or advice on what I can do for her that won't involve a vet visit because I know how they feel.  Other than yanking off her hair, she's doing okay--still eating and supplementing the water dish with drinking from a large clawfoot tub (she has to jump to get in and does) romping with Ruby and being the cat I've known since she took over my house when she was a three month-old stray,  I changed litter, but can change again.  They eat Hill's CD dry and get a can of Friskies every day (more if they pretend my ex hasn't been by to feed them).  Food hasn't changed in fifteeen years (just the price).  Thanks for your thought.
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my 8 year old calico/gray tabby girl recently started last year to lick her belly and legs bald, my mom didn't belive me when i told her my cat had fleas, after several trips to the vet we found two giant fleas on her bald belly, and got her treated for fleas, we have two cats and my female was hit severly because she is illergic, the male was barely touched. she was treated and all her fur returned, but just a month ago she started licking again, she doesn't have any signs of fleas like she did last time, and this time she has focased more on her legs and te base of her tail, why? please help anyone who might have advice so my kitty may have fur again

She is extremly sassy and moody, i think it might be stress from moving, or maybe the cat litter scent, because her belly is very sensitive, any adivce?
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My 3 year old tabby started licking all the fur off her tummy , lower back legs and a bit of her tail about 6 months ago. She is a very happy (purring all the time) slightly overweight , friendly cat. She is not stressed, gets lots of attention and has a furry cat friend and two doggie friends in the house. Cats are indoor only. I just went to buy the pine cat litter , so hopefully that will help. I checked the skin on the outer edge of the bald areas and they are not dry, patchy or scaley. Fingers crossed the litter is the problem
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Our cat (balinese) fell from our 5th floor apt, then 2 months later got spayed.  She's been licking the spot where the stitches were so we got her a cone that lasted for 2 weeks for her wound to completely heal.  when we took the cone off, she immediately licked the spot until all the hair was gone and bled.  she would lick the spot everyday until it bled again.  So we put the cone back on until it completely healed.  As soon as we took the cone off, she would go right back to licking until it bled again.  we tried yelling at her, "NO!"  That worked for a little while then later she would lick until it bled.  We took her to the vet all together 3 times, 3 different vets, and none of them could remedy her situation. A cream that one of the vets gave us acutally made our cat sicker - right above the eyebrows would get red with red bumps, and her inner ear got red.  She would scratch above her eye until skin came off and bled.  she would scratch her ear and inside of her ear would bleed. 3 different vets!!!!!!!!!  nothing! nada!!!   We threw away the cream, and put the cone back on.  Her ears and above her eyes healed completely in less than a week, and she stopped scratching.  But the licking her belly problem didn't go away.  So I cut off a sleeve from my cotton sweatshirt and cut out 4 holes to put on her.  VOILA!  she couldn't lick her belly anymore. 2 weeks later the spot completely healed, so we took off the shirt, then she went back licking that spot until all the hair was gone and it bled.  All together her wound healed about 6 times!!!!!! but every time, she would licked the spot until it bled.  Sorry this is getting long, but I'm typing this because finally we found a method that WORKED!!!!    What we did was we gave her NO STRESS!  when she licked the spot, we gave her love by petting her and speaking nicely to her. we stopped saying "NO!" really loud.  we stopped saying NO altogether.  We didn't punish her for anything.  we didn't put the cone on.  we didn't put the shirt on.  Mainly we let her do whatever she wanted.  she has a scratch pad, but she had recently been scratching my girl friend's chair(we used to yell NO), we let her scratch the heck out of it now.  NO stress, No punishment by saying "NO", No correcting her.  Not even petting her very much.  When we do pet her, just for a few seconds.  WE JUST LET HER BE!  The chair was sacrificed, but our cat gradually stopped licking her belly.  little by little.  Now 2 weeks later, she IS not licking her belly.  her wound is healed and hair is growing back!!!!!!  she seems happier and more playful.  her demeaner is proud and princess like.  She owns our apartment.  We serve her what she needs and wants.  We serve her. Now, she's a happy and healthy cat.   Wow, what a journey.  All of this had lasted nearly 6 months.  we love our cat so we don't mind letting her be.  we just want her to be happy and healthy.    Hope this helps Stressed princes or pincessess.  
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Our cat (balinese) fell from our 5th floor apt, then 2 months later got spayed.  She's been licking the spot where the stitches were so we got her a cone that lasted for 2 weeks for her wound to completely heal.  when we took the cone off, she immediately licked the spot until all the hair was gone and bled.  she would lick the spot everyday until it bled again.  So we put the cone back on until it completely healed.  As soon as we took the cone off, she would go right back to licking until it bled again.  we tried yelling at her, "NO!"  That worked for a little while then later she would lick until it bled.  We took her to the vet all together 3 times, 3 different vets, and none of them could remedy her situation. A cream that one of the vets gave us acutally made our cat sicker - right above the eyebrows would get red with red bumps, and her inner ear got red.  She would scratch above her eye until skin came off and bled.  she would scratch her ear and inside of her ear would bleed. 3 different vets!!!!!!!!!  nothing! nada!!!   We threw away the cream, and put the cone back on.  Her ears and above her eyes healed completely in less than a week, and she stopped scratching.  But the licking her belly problem didn't go away.  So I cut off a sleeve from my cotton sweatshirt and cut out 4 holes to put on her.  VOILA!  she couldn't lick her belly anymore. 2 weeks later the spot completely healed, so we took off the shirt, then she went back licking that spot until all the hair was gone and it bled.  All together her wound healed about 6 times!!!!!! but every time, she would licked the spot until it bled.  Sorry this is getting long, but I'm typing this because finally we found a method that WORKED!!!!    What we did was we gave her NO STRESS!  when she licked the spot, we gave her love by petting her and speaking nicely to her. we stopped saying "NO!" really loud.  we stopped saying NO altogether.  We didn't punish her for anything.  we didn't put the cone on.  we didn't put the shirt on.  Mainly we let her do whatever she wanted.  she has a scratch pad, but she had recently been scratching my girl friend's chair(we used to yell NO), we let her scratch the heck out of it now.  NO stress, No punishment by saying "NO", No correcting her.  Not even petting her very much.  When we do pet her, just for a few seconds.  WE JUST LET HER BE!  The chair was sacrificed, but our cat gradually stopped licking her belly.  little by little.  Now 2 weeks later, she IS not licking her belly.  her wound is healed and hair is growing back!!!!!!  she seems happier and more playful.  her demeaner is proud and princess like.  She owns our apartment.  We serve her what she needs and wants.  We serve her. Now, she's a happy and healthy cat.   Wow, what a journey.  All of this had lasted nearly 6 months.  we love our cat so we don't mind letting her be.  we just want her to be happy and healthy.    Hope this helps Stressed princes or pincessess.  
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My cat was having the same problem as the original poster.  She was licking the hair from her sides, belly, and the inside of her back legs.  She also developed a bald spot right underneath her tail and scabs and open wounds everywhere.  I was really worried and took her to her vet who insisted it was just allergies.  I wasn't so convinced as my cats had been on the Royal Canin Hypoallergenic HP23 for 6 months, and this was happening.  

She already had a steroid shot that helped for only 4 days (and cost $40), and the steroid shot maybe her depressed.  Well, I told the vet I refuse to give her the steroids again and was sent home with an antihistamine for her allergies.  Before starting her on the antihistamine I tried changing her from clay litter to pine litter.  This didn't seem to have an immediate effect.  I also started brushing her hair more (once or twice a day with a slicker brush).  I began giving her the antihistamine (gave to her about 2 1/2 weeks), and she seemed to just be getting worse.  Well, I decided to change her plastic fountain (which both my cats love) to a ceramic bowl for her water (she already used ceramic bowls for her food), and a few days later it seemed she was getting better.  

It's been about a week now and she is recovering her hair and almost all the scabs have healed.  I am not sure which of these things were what cured her, however.  The weird part is she has been using the plastic fountain for quite some time now, several months and just developed the allergy two months ago.  

Hopefully this will help anyone else with the same problem.  Definitely take your pet to the vet to make sure she isn't showing any other symptoms.  If the vet does not find any other symptoms, it is probably just allergies.  Try changing a few things around slowly, and watch your pet closely to see if she responds positively to any of the changes.  
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hi and thanks for the info. exposure to many things airborne/food/contact can cause symptoms as you described. Steriods only give temporary relief until the 'cause' can be determined. and can cause many health problems of their own b/c they play havoc on the immune system.
I wouldn't continue to use the pine litter, its loaded with chemicals and can lead to more trouble.
I agree about the plastic fountain or food bowls.....plastic is porous and breeds bacteria. always use ceramic or metal.
I am so glad kitty is responding, these allergies are usually so difficult to isolate. If the problem returns please look here for tons of advice on the forums or archives.

Welcome to our site and I hope you stay with us to share stories and advice.....♥Opus
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I am so glad I found this forum!  I adopted a 5 year old female cat from the shelter about 4 months ago.  She has been licking, biting, and scratching herself from day one!  She now has a bald spot on her hind leg and belly.  There does not appear to be any sores or bleeding.  I have tried everything - took her to the vet and the doctor couldn't find anything wrong with her other than it may be allergies.  I have changed her food several times and the litter as well.  She is a skiddish and nervous cat at times - she seems to be afraid of almost every noise.  She is very affectionate and loves attention, but only when she wants it.  LOL  I am beginning to think she has OCD or maybe stress from being a sheltered cat.  Does anyone have any thoughts or ideas?  Also, she won't use the litter box unless it is clay litter.   I have tried the pine and corn litter, but she refuses to get in it.  Any help would be greatly appreciated!  Thanks.    
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hi dear welcome I'm glad you found us too....hope we can help. first of all I want to say how wonderful of you to adopt an older cat, sounds like she is traumatized and in much need of some loving care....good for you.
if you can't change her litter at least be sure you are using a NON scented clay litter...
and what food is she one?
this is most likely an allergy, you can find alot of reading about this in our ARCHIVES but first tell me what food she is on and we'll start from there ok....this can be fixed!!
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here is another link you can read up on, to do with food allergies...♥

http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Cats/My-2-yr-old-cat-is-overgrooming/show/1359160
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Thanks for the help!  Well, I am currently feeding her California Natural Chicken and Brown Rice dry food.  I started her on this a few weeks ago after feeding her a diet consisting of duck, venison, and rabbit for 3 months.  I was trying to keep her off of food containing chicken, corn, and grains.  She starting licking and scratching almost from day one.  So, I figured it was something she was eating at the shelter.  Most likely a diet that consisted of chicken and grains.  Well, it seemed as though she was getting better at times, but then she started licking/scratching again.  I then discovered that most of these foods contained salmon or fish meal.  So, that's why I now have her on chicken and brown rice.  Once again, she seemed to be getting better, but now she has started up again.  It's very frustrating, and I feel so bad for the cat.  Oh, and the cat litter is unscented.  I have tried that in the past too.  Don't know what else to do!  
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BTW - forgot to mention that I also moved around a month ago.  So, besides her transition from the shelter, she also had to move again.  That could also be part of her problem........
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yes it could well be environmental.....but I still think from my experience its most likely the food.
california natural has grain......and grains aren't good.  CHICKEN is also a culpret more so than fish....in fact my Sami who has the chicken allergy has been on fish for a year or more now..the itching and scabs(EGC) has cleared so I've recently put him on beef as a trial but still staying away from chicken, and didn't want him on fish too long b/c that can cause problems too....
You DO HAVE HER ON CANNED FOOD RIGHT???

the venison is a GREAT, so is rabbit. and that didn't help?

heres an excellent site to read.....contact me afterwards ok and lets see what we can work out from there.....♥

http://www.drsfostersmith.com/pic/article.cfm?aid=2134

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I must add that I DO NOT RECOMMEND the suggestion that site gives concerning steroid shots...please do not do this...it can very well lead to diabetes in cats or many other problems, I prefer to find out whats causing the allergy rather than to treat the symptoms...

heres a followup on food allergies...

http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=1+1402&aid=142
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My Cat who i found in a ditch at 5 weeks old, with a short kinked tail, heart murmur, and she is orange(90% of orange cats are male, mine is a girl) is 10 years old and has always been very skittish and odd.  She is very affectionate and follows me around the condo.  
When I moved into my boyfriends apartment 2 years ago she began over grooming her belly and inner legs.  It is not red of dry or irritated looking in any way, there is just no hair or very little.  She is an indoor cat and does not have fleas, mites, or anything else of that sort.  The funny thing is that I have only seen her hack up a furball about 10 times her entire lifetime.  It seems to be a psychological issue as her toys, litter, food, scratching post, and bed are still the same.
I bought the feliway plug in which has definitely calmed her down.  She doesn't hide every time a new person comes over for a visit anymore, but she hasn't stopped over grooming.  I try to stop her from grooming the area when ever I see her.  But I can't watch her all the time.  I read every post on here and I did try changing her litter at one point from the silica that I have used for years.  She was not happy.  I changed her food to an expensive vet formula which she wasn't a big fan of either.  Since it isn't irritated I don't think it is an allergy though.  I was hoping someone would know of something i could rub on her to discourage her from grooming, preferably something natural.
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hi,
I have a 9 year old male cat.  He recently started licking the fur off on his neck.  It started as a little dime size and now it goes down to his chest.
I have tried neosporin and lotion for licking, but it hasn't worked.
He likes to be outside and he also pee outside.  There have been a lot of stray cats around lately. Don't know if that would be an effect. I did by canned food that has chicken in it recently, but he has eaten it before with no problem.  He does not use the litter box.  I havent seen any fleas.
Any suggestions on what else it could be.

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My 2 yr old female cat hope is haven this problem also. I took her to the vet & he said she had an allgery to flea's.He gave her a shot for her allgeries,advantage & some antibiotic's. Well her fur started to grow back alittle, but now she is eating it all off again. her butt, part of her tail,  and alittle up her back is all bald. Why, she has no fleas, none of our cats do.They are all indoor cats, NEVER EVER GO OUTSIDE, they eat purina indoor cat chow, and well there litter is always clean.They are all playfull, and are eating & drinking like normal. But yet she is licking all her fur off. She also licks the plastic bags from the store, or any kind of plastic bags. Can anyone help on this matter, do you think it could be her nervers,anxiety, what? I am thinking about putting an outfit on her so she can no  longer eat her fur off.
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hi Michelle and welcome I hope we can help. pulling hair out or excessive licking is almost 99% due to allergies IMO. they can be many causes of allergies, inhalant, environmental and food...food being the most common and the biggest culprit is grains in the food. also another common factor is litter...if you are using a perfumed litter get rid of it, and try going to something as natural as possible. Change to a canned food with NO grains. there are many good brands avail from a pet store(not a supermarket).
I will send you a link with some information. the only thing I don't agree with is the use of steroids NEVER....they are only masking the problem and will lead to many other illnesses such as diabetes. post anytime if we can be of more help..♥

http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=1+2117&aid=502
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I have a 7 yr old FAT at she has been licking the hair off her back legs and belly.  She ia a tabby cat. Her belly is smooth and the legs are soft fur the color of the missing fur.Not sure if it is because she is fat. She does not like animal combanions, as she is jealous of sharing her human combanions. Any over the counter treatments I can try?
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I have an 11 + year old neutered male Ragdoll who a yr ago had a sore on the middle of his back.  Vet thought it was a burn from a hot heating stove or something he got under.  Cat would not leave it alone and kept licking the scab off.  Vet finally recommended surgically removing the area; lab tests showed noting and Vet school lab suggested possible solar lesion.  However, after another 2 months he is back cleaning off the scab again. Thought he was only doing so when in the house so I kept a cover on his back; however, now he removes the scab when he is outside and has in fact enlarged the area and removing the surrounding hair and causing more open sore areas.  I have changed cat foods, cat litter, he has 2 other companion cats.  I'm at my wits end with this.  Will attempt to keep his back covered all the time and see what results.  
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Our beloved cat, Catalina, whom we got from the Humane Society, would bite and lick on herself and make sores/wounds.  She still has some sensitivity and itchy skin (loves me to scratch and scratch under her chin, for example).  We tried neosporin, the vet's shots and wrapping, and baby shirts, amongst other things.  A vet finally decided she must have OCD.  

I've prayed frequently for her and believe God has caused Catalina, at least for now, to stop mutilating her leg.  The other places we saw scabs in the past healed- one high on the back, the thicker baby shirts were helpful with, the other- on the side of her back toward the back- healed shortly after we got her.   I've been giving her a pinch of flaxseed meal with her food in the morning (omega fatty acids in flax oil have anti-inflammatory property & I assume the meal has some of that oil in it).  It was some time of doing this before she finally stopped re-opening her back leg.  I'm so thankful to God for this improvement in Catalina.
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I recently found a lost a cat to a brain tumor and was quickly granted a new one by fate despite my many attempts to resist getting another.  But here he is.  Bacchus Thistlewood is here to stay.  Only problem is that he is neurotic and none too bright.  As a submissive male abandoned in a garbage can he can with a lions share of baggage.  I treated him for fleas and blamed his omnipresent chewing on stress.  But it just wouldn't stop!!!  I bought pheromone spray to comfort him, changed his diet and litter, got him a collar with happy-kitty scents in it and calming cat treats, toys, and EVEN a kitten!  Now I have two cats.  One who is licking constantly and mad at me for bringing in an interloper and another who can't seem to grasp the fundamentals of bathing at all.  I was so hoping Bacchus would share his enthusiastic tongue with The Rawhide Kit.  Alas.  I suppose I will try looking into seasonal allergies next.  Does anyone know of any products sold over-the-counter or home-remedy-esk that might help with allergies?  I've recently spent a great deal of money on vet bills and will be needing to save up before I can rack up anymore.
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Erm.  That is supposed to be "I recently lost..."  I'm illiterate.
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My 2 yr old tabby has two sores in the neck area...about the size of a big quarter, no hair in those areas. Have had it for 6 weeks. Have switched diet to no grain, chicken, beef, salmon. I have use the pea and venison formula mentioned in this forum...they have not had a problem yet with it but if it is bad food I will change to something else.
Been two vet twice...on steroids...no trying antibiotics and antihistimines. Have not tries litter yet but that is next. Just when it seems the sore gets better either he or his brother upset it somehow. Just curious how long these type of sores take to heal...seems forever...will call the vet again but just looking to see other experiences.
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Very similar problem I have a half maine coon have domestic cat and our problem has been going on for 4 years. At first in the summers she would just lick her back end hair off making her looking like a lion but it always grew back in the winter, like a dummy I thought she was just hot. It wen on like this for thw whole 4 years but then it began getting worse. I work from home and she loves and gets plenty attention. She loved going outside but I couldn't let her where we lived. When we moved my friend said oh just wait til she gets outside it will get better..not. just worse. Now she was licking her belly all her paws anywhere she could lick and was getting scabs. So I thought she might be allergic to fleas. She had one flea bite n her skin just got so scabby fwlt so bad for her being itchy. N in my experience the itch creams n sprays don't work bc she licks them off. So I changed her litter to yesterdays news.. highly reccomend it..and finally went to the vet, they gave her a steroid injection (which worked immediatley) and told me to but frontline flea and tick drops in case she was allergic to fleas. So her fur started growing back bc she was not itchy anymore. But after a month the steroid wore off and she was back to itching..I now only wash my blankets and clothes in sensitive unscented natural detergent..I even tried a calming liquid that goes in her food incase it was behavioral..so I went back to the vet 3 months later they gave her another steroid shot for her own relief but said I had to figure out what she was allergic to. But I had to wait for the shot to wear off to see which food (and protein) was working, so last week I picked up NATURAL BALANCE LIMITED INGREDIENT DIET GREEN PEA AND DUCK FORMULA. (My 6lb bag was only 11.99, not too bad) Thank god she took a liking to it right away bc there r 2 other cats in the house who free eat reg iams dry cat food and she won't even touch it, I feed my cat in my bedroom and the other cats don't touch her food. Its like she knows what's good for her and so far no excessive licking, just grooming. And I love to see her beautiful stripes come back in. Also the natural pet store I go to said if this protein doesn't work they will keep exchanging the food til I find one (venison, rabbit, real salmon, ect) and they also pointed out that its not just a change in the protein but by taking the grains and starches out of the cat food makes a huge difference. So check that your food says GRAIN FREE. I know its been a while but I hope my story helps others. I would cover all grounds: good unscented liter (yesterdays news is the best I've found, frontline drops (even for indoor cats bc we can bring them inside from outdoors), unscented laundry detergent (if your cats snuggle in your beds or clothes), and finally a grain free limited ingredient product with real protein source, not by products, such as duck or rabbit, even dhidken is still okay as long as it follows the guidelines above I reccomend any of **** Van Pattens NATURAL BALANCE BRANDS because they work great, aren't too costly and offer free exchanges or refunds. Good luck to everyone with itchy, fur licking cats... oh ps even if your cats problem wasn't behavorial to begin with if not treated in time, it can sometimes become behavioral bc they get so used to excessive "grooming" it becomes a habit. Okay I'm done for real GOOD luck All.
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good for you and all the digging for info that you've done!! you are absolutely on the RIGHT track with foods, Natural Balance grain free is an EXCELLENT food...not only for cats with allergies but for all cats!!
If this one doesn't work out keep going by the suggestions of this natural foods store, they appear to know what they are talking about.
Please though stay OFF the steroid shots, believe me I've been there too with my Himalayan and his allergies. the steroids only give temporary relief as you've seen and they WILL lead to many health problems such as diabetes for your kitty....this can all be handled with changes to diet and environment so please do not do the steroids any longer..
Welcome to our Cat forum, I hope you will stay with us ...we are just a group of cat owners(parents) who like to exchange ideas or problems and help one another out...
we'd love to have you and your kitties visit us frequently.....♥
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Oh I am so off the steroids. I only let them do it twice and that was out of hesitation and desperation for her relief. Besides diabetes I heard they can cause problems with their kidneys and liver functions. That being said...

My other concern is that I've read a few comments on the forum saying cats must have wet food. I started Freddie on dry food bc I heard its healthier for them, makes them live longer, and make it easier ro clean thee litter (if u get what I'm saying)
So anyways.. she won't eat wet food.I've tried many different brans and flavors but she just won't touch the stuff.
Is it really a huge problem? She drinks plenty of water and loves fresh water that comes straight from the fauce. And has plenty of frsh water in a clean ceramic dish.
Should I be worried?
Thanks in advance for any advice
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many many cats live long and healthy lives just on dry food with lots of water....this is a huge controversial subject. I will include a website(follow all the links on right hand side for even more info)
this Vet gives her opinion(one that I for one agree with)....for a female cat theres not as much an issue IMO. its the males with their small urethra tube that run into huge urinary tract problems if they don't consume enough water,,,,and cats typically don't drink enough to compensate for the dehydrated dry food.
Read her whole website and make your own opinion.....if you have anymore questions post anytime..

http://www.catinfo.org/

I was going to add, both my cats HAD been dry food addicts before one came down with the UTI problems....and that particular one took me months to transition him off dry food, I thought for him it was going to be impossible, but eventually I won! and since than his crystal problems have been rectified....♥
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My 6 yr old female DSH has been licking her fur off. I took her to the vet to determine why she was doing this. We found out that she was allergic to flea salvia (flea dermatitis). I have been putting fish oil in her food to help with her coat and some skin & fur vitiams. It helps but I have to keep an eye on her.
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hi
i have a Egyptian mau/bangle mix(calie), and a 1/2 bangle(cloud).calie has started licking her hair on her lower stomach, under side of her tail (by the base) and all 4 legs down to the paws and up to the solder/hip areas...cloud is 4, and has no problems at all, calie is almost 3, she has been with cloud since she was 8 weeks old, she was clouds buddy since he was lonely after my dog died and stooped eating, they have never left each others side since i brought her home. they have been on the same food since both were kittens ( taste of the wild, rocky mountain), they both are toilet trained for a yr now, the only change is 5 months ago i got a new dog, they all get along great, but the past 3 weeks calie started obsessively licking these areas, loosing hair. all 3 animals r on flea treatment ( revolution) and only the dog goes outside. i have no rugs, a leather couch, i sprayed my bed just incase fleas can live in beds, took a flea comb through all of them, no fleas... no one is scratching... i tried rubbing apple cider vinegar on the areas, she licked it more, i tryed baby oil, that just made her a oily angry cat, and she spread it all over her... and my other cat... i just dont know what else to do... there are no red bumps,  no red irritated skin, no dryness, the skin in the bald areas looks the same as the skin with fur... im lost and confused. she has suck pretty fur being a Egyptian mau bangle mix, i hate seeing her like this, my other cat cloud seems worried as well, i see him smacking her when she licks lol its kinda funny to see please help!!!!
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hi ari, this is quite a common problem unfortunately. I urge you to read all the previous posts on here theres alot of information to follow.
This is usually a contact or ingested allergy. remember if it is an allergy to flea bites it only takes one bite, the kitty mayNOT have fleas but could have been bitten at some point and therefore has the allergy and thus the skin itch with or without scabs.

so fleas are one component.
this will be a trial and elimination process for you, another could well be litter. she could be allergic to her litter....do you use non perfumed? have you changed brands recently? try a 'natural' litter such as wood shavings to begin with.
Another culprit is a diet that has GRAINS....cats can easily become intolerant of grains, try a grain free diet.
there are many good brands listed on this site...click on the right on 'commercial diets'
www.catinfo.org

If you are feeding dry food, many cats develop an intolerance to the chemical preservatives that are added to this. try can foods.

Lastly if she is eating a chicken based diet change to fish or venison. cats are often allergic to chicken.

when we humans develop an allergy we sneeze or have running noses and eyes....cats can have this too...however their allergies mainly will show up on their skin such as the obsessive licking you describe with or without the sores...

good luck, do lots of reading and try all the suggestions I gave you, with diligence you will find what she is reacting too.

post again anytime if we can help....♥
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forgot to tell you DO NOT USE BABY OIL or any other oil on kitties...please, you can give her some OMEGA 3 fish oil in her diet and this may help, but NO oil externally.
the best omega 3 oil for kitties is by NOW FOODS, KRILL OIL. 1/4 capsule daily.
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my cats use a human toilet, so no litter at all... its quite cool, and nice lol and my cats r on a grain free diet. they eat taste of the wild: rocky mountain... it has venison, duck.... no chicken.. no fillers... its holistic... and i stooped using baby oil.... it dint help, she just got it everywhere. but i think it might b fleas... flea meds dont repel, just kill... and with a dog, there will always b a flea or 2 that get in... despite the frontline plus... i started brushing my dog with a flea comb after letting him outside to limit the fleas he might carry inside. it seemed to help alittle... shes not licking as much... i will try putting some omega 3 oil in her food, if nothing elce to keep her as healthy as can be. thanks for ur help. calie thanks u too!! =^_^=
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Same story, young 6 month old kitten adopted from shelter, nothing wrong with her, brought her home, got along well with our other cats, always used Feline Pine, dry food, sparingly wet food at night only, all inside cats so no fleas.  All was happy for many, many months.

But then she started licking her hair off, hind legs, belly, etc., and just the one cat.

We took her to the vets, tried holistic food, that didn't help, and eventually allowed a steriod shot to give the poor thing some relief.  That helped for about a month, and then it started again.

However, all along, we "knew" that she began licking herself after I bought some cheap carpet at Lowes to lay down in our hallway, to cover up the hardwood floors that I need to replace and re-finish.  I laid the carpet down to help keep the cold out during the winter months, just as a quick cheap fix until I get around the re-finishing the hardwood floors.

The wife and I think the capret might be the problem so today, we removed it.  And I got this brainstorm after reading a previous post where someone had a similar problem, just by introducing a plastic water & food feeder to their cat, and their cat began licking.

I will post the results but this carpet has to be the problem, and I will let you know.

And as s side note, decades ago, I had a hamster and I got tired of replacing the stinky cedar chips so I had a "bright idea" and decided to use small cut carpet squares in the cage instead of cedar.  I looked cool, and i was young and stupid. However, I noticed the hamster would chew on the carpet, make nests out of the fibers, etc. but after about 6 months, the hamster grew a cancerous tumor on its side and several months later, the hamster died.

And to think we have this carpet like this in our houses and work???  I think it's time for me to finish the hardwood floors!

I will post our findings in about a month, or when/if we see some improvement with "baldy."

Frank

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yeah never know about the carpet....also what kind of litter are you using?...try NON perfumed or other more natural products such as paper pettets. when its the belly and hind legs as you describe its often associated with something they are 'in contact' with in that area...so I believe you are on the right track...good luck and keep us posted, btw it may take awhile to notice improvements so don't give up...-)
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my cat is licking and pulling her fur out, first vets thought it was flea allergy now they treating her for stress with tablets and also specialist food as it could also be a flea allergy well over £200 later and 4 weeks later, still no improvement, give it another 4 weeks and i will have a bald cat, vet thinks it stress when im not about, but she does it when she is with me, any ideas
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did he end up stopping cleaning himself? My cat is stressing me out beyond belief because he is over grooming to the point of bleeding. I have paid over 600$ in vet bills testing him for everything and he has a clean bill of health its just nervousness. I also have a second cat which is his sister and she doesnt do any of it. Any advice would help.
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Self-grooming is a cat relaxation technique.  When they are tense it calms them down.  Sometimes it gets to the point, however, that it becomes an obsessive-compulsive disorder and they end up with bald spots.  It's usually stress related although it CAN be caused by thyroid problems.  It might be a good idea for your vet to run tests to make sure there are no issues with the cat's thyroid.

Ghilly
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See my post from Jan. 21, 2009.  Mittens was given Reglan (sp?) during her sick bouts.  A newer medication that has come out is Amitriptryline and that is what I now give her when needed, which is now on a rare occasion.  I read somewhere a while ago about massaging cats and dogs to relieve stress and help keep them calm.....so for about the last year I have been massaging her VERY firmly all over with one hand, including her belly....firmly enough to where her whole body moves on the bed.  I rub and knead her.  She wasn't sure about it at first, but now she loves it and talks and talks and purrs so loud.  I also try to give her as much attention as I can.  I have seen a HUGE improvement in her......she rarely gets sick and when she does, it's only a 1 time thing....no continually getting sick with the white foam.  Once in a geat while she does and that's when I give her the Amitriptryline for several days until she is better. And she now has fur all grown back now on her  legs, stomach, so the obsessive licking has stopped.   I am thrilled that she is so much better and that I hardly ever have to medicate her anymore.  So try this and let us know if it helps.  It can't hurt!
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Have you tried Rescue Remedy for Pets? It works wonders for any animals stressed over changes in their environment. It is natural and alcohol free. With your 1/2 Siamese Fur Babies, I would keep a bottle on hand at all times. I had to with my rescued oriental/tuxedo mix and he wasn't even a full half. LoL. It came in handy for car rides, vet visits, etc.
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I was having the same issue with my cat.....his whole rear quarter on his back was almost bare....looked like little blisters forming and looked very irritating for the cat....In order to give my cat relief from what looked like a bad rash....before I went to the vet who may have said it was stress related....I applied A& D Ointment by Schering -Plough available at the drug store...and his rash has almost disappeared and most of his fur has grown back....worth a try!!!...worked for my cat!!!
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my male boy cat whos 1 years old has a bleeding patch in the middle of his neck and all the fur its of it im not sure why but i dont have anoth money to take him to the vets im really sad aobut this  and i need some help or advice its look really red and every day it get bigger also its been like 4 day but i thought its was getting better but now its getting worse help me anyone plz
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IHi
I have had similar problem with my cat.  My Vet has introduced me to a dry food  Product called CALM  I get it from the Vet and it is supposed to work with uninary problems and also to calm nervous cats.
It has just been brought in from the England and has been quite successful over there

Good Luck
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hi and welcome, would you do me a favor and post the 'ingredients' list on here for us...thanks.
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I have three cats, two male both neutered and one female who has not yet been spayed. I used the same cat litter i have always used since day one and the same food however one of our boys has started over grooming to the point of hairloss on his under belly and legs and one small area on his back by his tail. We did get a fleas at one point but these are completely gone and have been fore months before the hairloss started so i do not think he is allergie to fle bites, nor do i think he is lonely. I was wondering if it was stress, he and his brother have always play fighted and at times they get rough but this has always been the case. The only change we have had in the house is the young female coming into season and this is taking the other brotheres attention some of the time but the boys still sleep together. Could the females seasons be the cause?
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Omega 3 oils are very beneficial to the health of the skin and coat...I will include an article, but beware if you do want to use, the Nordic Naturals brand as named is one that is 'safe' for use for cats.

http://www.littlebigcat.com/nutrition/omega-3s-are-essential-for-your-cat/

an allergy to flea bites can develop after just one bite..they do not necessarily have to now have fleas...to develop the allergy.
the allergy can be inhalant, environmental or ingested(most commonly to grains in their food)
I will send you another informative site, however...please read past the steroid treatment(this is what Vets like to use but it can lead to many health problems and I do NOT recommend it)
read down to 'alternative treatments'
I hope this has been some help, please post if you have more questions.

http://www.littlebigcat.com/nutrition/omega-3s-are-essential-for-your-cat/
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sorry I doubled up there, meant to post this site...

http://www.vet.uga.edu/vpp/clerk/Starnes/index.php
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well i will try that, iam having probs with fleas idont know what to do next, i feel so sad for my little saffi
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It's soooo obvious now.  Both my cats steer away from anything that has or had Febreeze (household freshner) on it.  One of them used to lick the fur off his paws, legs, belly, top of back near tail.  I tried changing food, stress management, etc but all it was is Febreeze, I used to put it on everything.  I do not use Febreeze anymore and my cats are happy and have all their fur.  It took me a few years to find this out.  
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I am so happy to hear you were able to pinpoint what the problem was, cats can't tolerate all the ingredients in many household products...including cleaners, candles and room freshners....good for you!!! and btw welcome to our cat community...-)
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All these posts are reassuring in many ways, but at the same time somewhat confusing.  I have a beautiful abyssinian female and she has started to lick off her hair, especially on her back.  After a few visits to the vets and a flea treatment, the problem hasn't been solved.

Food allergy may be the problem, (although she feeds on grain-free high-quality food - «Core»), but I don't know where to start, as I was told that changing the food should be done gradually.  Before I find «by trial and error» which food she is allergic to, it will take years!

Litter is not an issue, as she is toilet trained.  No chemical is used in the household cleaning, only natural products and steam.  If stress is an issue, I don't see where she would get it from, as she is a very active and loving cat and very seldom alone in the house.

Any tips?
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for sure this can be one very complex and frustration subject. there is tons of reading out there. I will send you one from a Vet site, I haven't read thru it myself and all I will say is never give a cat steroids even when prescribed by a well intentioned Vet...too many associated health problems that they pooh pooh off...

http://veterinarymedicine.dvm360.com/vetmed/article/articleDetail.jsp?id=150708&pageID=1&sk=&date=

is it the Wellness Core you are feeding? if so that is a very good diet. and 'grain free' good for you. grains can cause allergies. another common allergen is CHICKEN mainly b/c its the base of nearly all the foods and cats become sensitive to it over time....if you are feeding any form of poultry try staying within the same brand of food but switching the meat source....most Vets recommend Venison but many cats don't like this, with mine I finally had to resort to fish....but beware NOT Tuna, try a trout or salmon.

Have you implemented the Omega3 suggestion made in the above posts?

has she had any blood work done? how old is she?
this can sometime be a sign of hyperthyroidism....has the Vet ruled this out?

do the reading and suggestions. I will try to answer any questions you may have....good luck.
I would LOVE to know how to toilet train a cat....awesome.
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Thank you so much for all this information!  The article made for very interesting reading.  Yes, it is the Wellness Core that Feliz is eating.  It has been difficult to find a food that she both loved and digested right.

I will check if there is another kind without chicken, although chicken is found in many, many different foods.

The Omega3 is definately the next step.  No later than tomorrow, she will be experimenting it!

Feliz is only a little over a year old.  As for hyperthyroidism, the vet has not officially ruled that out, although I read that this was more common in older cats.  Maybe another visit to the vet is in order.

I will be back on this forum to express any change, good or bad, in the near future.

If anyone is interested in toilet training a cat, I can recommend buying the Litter Kwitter.  It's a lot of work, but it does work!  Feliz is still in training, but she always urinates in the toilet.  For #2, she sometimes gets confused and goes on the floor, especially if no one is around.  I don't believe it's a major cause of stress, but sometimes, I do wonder...

Thanks again for the quick response.  It helps in many ways, feeling that we are not alone going through this being one of them.
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my cat tigger well a stray i should say has been coming to mine for 6 years now, bottom and back legs have gone bald to in the last couple of months ive de-flead him and de- wormed him as a vet had advised online just incase its paracites but its stil getting worse xx but my first cat stella recently died, i wounder if thats made him worse, cant see it as they were arch enemys lol looks like rspca for after the new year with him just incase x
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Have you tried grain free food? some cats develop a grain allergy that makes this happen...
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Has anyone had their cat treated for internal parasites such as tapeworms?  Just a thought, but if they were to have worms, perhaps that would cause discomfort and they might lick to relieve the discomfort.
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I assume your cat is probably an indoor cat? I have noticed my cat though born inside longs to be outside in nature, the real world. She is extremely unhappy when I make her stay in (shes not fixed yet, I loath doing such a thing.) BUt one summer I was away for 2 months, I noticed when I came back here fur was completely better, but upon spending time inside again the situation has come back, & perhaps alittle worse.
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My cat REALLY likes Fussie Cat (make sure get white fish variety) and Salmon and Sweet Potato Formula (California Natural).  You really should try these two.  The Fussie Cat is hard to find and they sell out REALLY fast at our local pet store.  I have not found a cat yet that doesn't like.  If you need me to send you a can, just let me know and you can try.
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Last few days I have been thinking my cat Tweety has Fleas but I havent seen any on her , she got frontline yesterday . but .now after reading this long and very interesting thread I am wondering if she has an allergy and possibly to the litter box .stuff I have been using 'Tidy cat ..at one time Tweety always went to the bathroom outside , last few weeks using the litter tray always down in case of emergencies.I see one post here the cat was allergic to the scented ..and I have had that for her .Any ideas of anything else it maybe ..I feed her the Friskies dry indoor food and also wet friskies in the morn and Evening ?
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My female tabby Dezzy started overgrooming when her beloved sister/mamma companion passed. I've tried everything to stop the licking of her belly and legs, which becomes more active at meal time - she prefers to eat early rather than right on time! I'm giving her lots of emotional support, but have also changed her litter. I'm now using a very inexpensive solution - equine bedding, which is nothing more than cedar chips. You can get it at your local feed store. It's the stuff horses like to stand on. It's cheap at about $4.00 a bail, which lasts 1 month for 2 cats. It isn't harmful to the environment, either in the creation or disposal of it. It's compostable. And smells natural and lovely, like a lumber yard. My cats LOVE it! There was zero acceptance time - they loved it the first time they used it. And the larger shavings are much friendlier to my home (doesn't dissolve into carpet) and vacuum. Good luck.
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hi there, I am having a similar problem with my cat, she had a car accident a couple of months ago, hurt her leg and broke her front tooth,  but will still run and jump around and play normally, but she does lick her leg every 5 mins or so and is now loosing hair where she is pulling it out, i dont have the money to take her to the vet, we adopted her as a stray but i just dont know what to do? any ideas?
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Since your post was one week after switching to the duck and pea food I'd like to know if this was the source of a permanent improvement. What updates can you share?
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Thank you Susan for your observations. I believe my cat Halli also has OCD and her licking is purely psychological. I have tried everything to make her environment better, food, litter ect. She is a very agitated cat by nature and I believe the obsessive licking has been manifested from this psychological conflict. She has a very happy home, a lot of love, and another female companion, Beauty. Halli has this sort of baldness develop from licking on her inner back legs, stomach, and arm pits from stressful events like moving or taking car rides. If you find out anything, please let me know.-Christine  
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i have a snow shoe (half siamese and half domestic) they are big babies! she cries over everything and follows me everywhere i go. comes running to me when i get home. and is terrified of everything she doesn't know. she is extremely! emotional! she is the most sensitive animal ive ever come in contact with. like a little person. and extremely intelligent there isn't a room she can't get into opens doors and cabinets shes very eccentric.

now ill get to the point. well she is just so so sensitive to i think maybe because we got her when she was just under a year old from the humane society and she was so traumatized. i never let her outside once in her whole life so when we take her outside to go to a vet or moving she absolutely loses it. goes into shock and pees herself and screams for help. its heartbreaking. well me and im pretty young and have had her about 8 years now when i left home she had never been anywhere but the house i grew up in. and in the last three yrs  i have moved about 4 times and with every move she had a hard time but was okay after about a day.

well that all changed on my 3rd move. we moved on the water and all of her hair on her face fell out. the vet didn't do anything said allergies it was an overnight thing. i was soo upset she looked like she had been n a fight. it was crazy i then realized had to be dermatitis i gave her some benadryl because she was bleeding from the scratching as well. it took a while but she got better. at the same time she was over-licking as well on her front paws and under neck area the vet said stress from  being sick and moving and possible itchiness so we just did the same with monitoring it and it got better.

well now she is over-licking again it started in the same area and has spread to everywhere. we recently moved again abt 3 weeks ago and she started sometime around then. its bad. shes a creamy siamese color and has tarnish her color from the licking to a light brownish color. u can see where she wont stop. it's so bad to the point where ill pick her up and shes wet from licking herself to death all over. i dont know what to do. ive tried everything i can to make her emotionally happy thought it was the move. pay extra attention to her but thats not helping.
after reading things online im scared now of what could her insides be doing with all this hair she ingesting. she has very thick hair that is now thin very thin. im very worried about her.
I also tried the change in food to help with allergies and she refused to eat and got sicker.
Any suggestions?
u can email me at ***@**** or facebook me at ashley dalton name search
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i have a snow shoe (half siamese and half domestic) they are big babies! she cries over everything and follows me everywhere i go. comes running to me when i get home. and is terrified of everything she doesn't know. she is extremely! emotional! she is the most sensitive animal ive ever come in contact with. like a little person. and extremely intelligent there isn't a room she can't get into opens doors and cabinets shes very eccentric.

now ill get to the point. well she is just so so sensitive to i think maybe because we got her when she was just under a year old from the humane society and she was so traumatized. i never let her outside once in her whole life so when we take her outside to go to a vet or moving she absolutely loses it. goes into shock and pees herself and screams for help. its heartbreaking. well me and im pretty young and have had her about 8 years now when i left home she had never been anywhere but the house i grew up in. and in the last three yrs  i have moved about 4 times and with every move she had a hard time but was okay after about a day.

well that all changed on my 3rd move. we moved on the water and all of her hair on her face fell out. the vet didn't do anything said allergies it was an overnight thing. i was soo upset she looked like she had been n a fight. it was crazy i then realized had to be dermatitis i gave her some benadryl because she was bleeding from the scratching as well. it took a while but she got better. at the same time she was over-licking as well on her front paws and under neck area the vet said stress from  being sick and moving and possible itchiness so we just did the same with monitoring it and it got better.

well now she is over-licking again it started in the same area and has spread to everywhere. we recently moved again abt 3 weeks ago and she started sometime around then. its bad. shes a creamy siamese color and has tarnish her color from the licking to a light brownish color. u can see where she wont stop. it's so bad to the point where ill pick her up and shes wet from licking herself to death all over. i dont know what to do. ive tried everything i can to make her emotionally happy thought it was the move. pay extra attention to her but thats not helping.
after reading things online im scared now of what could her insides be doing with all this hair she ingesting. she has very thick hair that is now thin very thin. im very worried about her.
I also tried the change in food to help with allergies and she refused to eat and got sicker.
Any suggestions?
u can email me at ***@**** or facebook me at ashley dalton name search
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Hi PhilPhil,

I read your comment about not wanting to spay your cat and I felt compelled to tell you about the recent events in our household.
We felt the same way about spaying so we didn't when our cat was a kitten.
She is an indoor cat who goes outside in the fenced backyard for supervised playtime, so there is no danger of pregnancy.
Not spaying her wasn't a problem for ten years, until about a month ago when she had to have emergency surgery for pyometra.  We thank God that she made it through the surgery and is better and healthier than before.
It was a scary time for us, and I don't want anyone else to go through it, I feel it's important that I tell you to look up pyometra. Sometimes the licking in the back end, or over grooming can be a symptom.
Best wishes.
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Hi,

Like the previous comment I made. If you haven't had your cat spayed, please look up or ask your vet about pyometra.

Bets wishes!
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I had the same problem with my 7 year old Russian Blue, she would lick the fur from her hips down to her paws.   She had a litter of kittens and it stopped.  My vet said it might have been cause i moved the 2 cats and myself 2200 miles.  My Racoon Siamese is probably the most loving out of my cats.  Now my roommates girlfriends cat is doing the same thing. .  I have her cats sister, and told her to bring her here a few days a week. I have noticed she doesn't lick her fur off when she's at my house with the other 3 cats.  She is left alone for hours, Its probably stress from missing her pet human.
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it could well be something in the house that she is allergic too.......cats like humans have allergies and they manifest themselves on the skin...therefore the itching.
this can be the carpeting, household cleaners, candles (any scented products..even room sprays), litter almost anything.
allergies are from inhalants, flea bite dermatitis or through grains in their food...
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I have a Russian Blue and he is 11 yrs old......I have recently lost my hubby and this (spike) was his cat......since then he is continuously grooming and licking his fur off his back, which looks terrible......he is also continuously licking me....I have had him to the vet and tried stress tabs and the aroma stuff but nothing works.....he is an inside cat and is also regularly fleed........his skin looks dry from all the licking......if he has licked me I am soaking wet in that area......is there anything I can rub into his skin to stop him from doing this as it`s driving me nuts, besides making him look dreadful....
Marianne
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hi spike and welcome. I will copy a post I made earlier on the same subject...this is nearly always food or an environmental sensitivity/allergy...click on the blue link below and read what I posted there...btw I do NOT agree with the poster who suggested shaving the cat...NO..

http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Cats/Help--My-cat-is-pulling-her-fur-out/show/1725257

I wouldn't rub anything in his fur, but if you put Omega 3 fatty acids (krill Oil capsule) into the food this really helps with skin conditions esp if the skin is dry and itchy good luck and let us know if we can be of more help..
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geez I'm sorry the above link I just gave you I now noticed is VERY OLD..contains many outdated and irrelevant postings..when you open it up please page way down to at least Jan 2011 and read from there...sorry about that...
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That`s ok no worries, but I have been scrolling down and cannot seems to find the post you are talking about...sorry I was a blonde before my hair went grey lol......I did follow your link but nothing from Feb 2011.....is it me or?
hate to be a pain......Marianne
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ok I did find the posts and found them most interesting......I was reading the part about dry cat food and my Spike is a constant kibble eater as well as wet food.....and the problem also with him is that hubby had spoilt him rotten to the extent he won`t drink from his bowl.....I have to turn on the bathroom tap for him to drink at all and that often is not a great deal......he lets me know when he does want a drink by sitting at the bathroom door as does he sit by the kitchen door when he wants a feed.....which he has several small feeds a day of wet food.....since my hubby has passed Spike has been a constant lap sitter and very rarely is out of my sight (or lap).....if I try to move him off he bites or scratches me.....I don`t want to sound morbid but my hubby passed away in bed and Spike was on his chest licking his face, which he now does to me if I tend to sleep a little later than usual, as well as giving me a gentle slap on the face, I figure he is afraid I am going to leave as well (does this make sense)....if I stop him from licking he does lash out at me a well.....he has never been like this as he has always been a bit standoffish only wanting a cuddle when he wanted it....this is why the vet has put it all down to stress and also selling me a fortune in products which have done nothing at all......they now want to do a pile of tests which unfortunately I cannot afford at this stage.......I buy the crystal litter which has no odour, but he is an extremely fussy eater that will only eat one brand of cat food and one flavour only......so I am thinking maybe the dry food is also aiding to the dry skin....what do you think?
sorry to have made this so long
Marianne
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hi again, I am so sorry for the loss of your husband recently, I really don't agree with all the stress supplements your Vet prescribed. but thats my opinion.
like I mentioned earlier, excessive licking is almost always due to dry skin and sensitivities. especially when on a diet of dry food this can be a chronic problem. even heavy drinkers don't compensate for the loss of fluids they get when eating dehydrated food.
and believe me I know abt fussy eaters and dry food, when one of my boys got diagnosed with FLUTD over 2 years ago(he was also a kibble head and would refuse anything other than ONE brand of that)...it was extremely hard to get him OFF this dry food...but I did win, it has to be a slow transition.
I will send you a link to an excellent site, this Vet really pushes a raw homemade diet however if you skip over that and read what she has to say abt dry food diets you will too be convinced that this is his problem.

on the right hand side of her page you can click on best 'commercial foods' on the market for a list of good canned diets. however she does insist that ANY can food is BETTER than dry.
.you can also click on the right hand side(list) for 'help to transition from dry food to cans' she has many good suggestions that helped me.

so read her blog than come back and we will help you trouble shoot some more, good luck Marianne and Spike♥

http://www.catinfo.org/

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Actualy your had may have a disorder called ocd
Or obsessive cleaning disorder... He/she may be a clean freak and be obsesed with keeping clean... To fibout if this is whats wrong take her/him to a vet they will give you a head cone or even a medicationt to help him/her stop
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Hello all!
   I also have a cat who licks(mows). He's 4 now, and it started about a year ago. First, each side of the base of his tail, then it went away. Then he started on his paws and belly with serious red irritation on the belly. I changed the litter, checked for fleas, and then started researching- mostly on food. Food allegies often start at age 2 or 3. A few months back, I started making my own cat food, because let's face it, cats are not going to eat grains or fruit or vegetables in the wild. I used my Dad's food grinder attachment for his KitchenAid, and the recipe from http://catinfo.org/?link=makingcatfood#With_Bones....or_Without_Bones which has a plethora of great info and my cat ended up loving the new diet. My cat Scotty began to slow his licking habits, the irritation on his belly was healing, and the vomiting stopped as well. However, it was a bit of a bother to go to my Dad's and stink up his kitchen with the ingredients so I planned to buy my own meat grinder. But sadly, (and mostly because I got lazy) I stopped out of convenience. When I went back to the kibble I went to the Natural Balance green pea and duck that many above have mentioned. He seemed to react better than the the last grain free I tried, but the licking returned and he started licking the two paths on either side of the spine as well. Annoying. So last week I finally got my meat grinder and I'm in love. You are not supposed to grind bones in it, but it handles them like a champ. Thank you Overstock and the Waring($90, as opposed to $140-575 watt) I purchased from them. I do cleaver off the large knuckle off the thigh bone, not to tax the grinder too much. He's loving his food again, and now it's just a waiting game. It can take up to 2 months to see a change. I highly recommend this investment. I also want to add- I do not cook the meat at all. I just don't want to have to worry about the bones splintering. And, it really is wonderful how much smaller and less stinky his poop is! So to sum up, if it is a food allergy-go raw. It's more work, but it's worth it, and the cost is about the same or less than the prescription foods. His coat feels great. His mood is better, and that just makes me feel like a better "parent". Hope this info has helped a little. Good luck all!
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thanks so much for your post feemillie, how very true all your words are, these dang allergies are caused 99% of the time by the junk we are feeding them....allergies and other health problems.
I have 2 boys...one with FLUTD who refused to eat anything but kibble, believe me I tried every brand and every flavor of commercial food before i was forced to try a homemade diet too.
started with raw but again he refused, at our last resort I found  www.holistic.com than found some other alternatives...long story made short he has been on a cooked pork diet for almost 2.5yrs and is doing very well...since there are no bones or organs I do have to add many supplements which we introduced ONE at a time...until he finally would accept them all.
I agree its a bit of work getting started, but now its down to a science, not only all the health benefits but also the money saved is well worth the effort.
my other cat, I've tried everything humanly possible and he won't eat it...he is a different cat...won't touch human food of any sort, can't even tempt him with fish or chicken or steak..absolutely hates anything but his dang canned food...and I've been trying slowly every trick in the book for 2.5yrs...

keep up the good work, and keep spreading the word!!!! btw welcome to our community :)
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Hi! Ive been reading all the previous posts here about cat fur licking problems and you have given great suggestions! My beautiful all black kitty- a rescued stray we have had for 2-3 yrs with absolutely no problems like this in the past- has been licking or scratching more and more fur off herself over the last month or two- first her entire belly (where the vet found fleas which have been treated and are now gone) then her back legs and around the butt area, now theres a stripe of fur missing on her center back. i used to see her scratch alot and clean herself/lick a little bit too but i rarely see her do it now- she probably does it when shes home alone during the day. (i cant get another kitty -no more pets allowed by the landlord i rent from.) shes gotten 2 shots ( i believe they were cortisone shots but not 100 percent sure) from the vet and 2 flea treatments but is still continuing. i have switched to wet food over the last week and now that i have read the posts i will  try switching litter and cleaning products also. i will update when i find a solution. any other advice is much appreciated. i hate to see my beautiful kitty looking so bad. :(
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hi and welcome...this is such a problematic condition, it can be due to so many issues...but usually does trace back to allergies b/c well we humans manifest our allergy responses usually by sneezing/coughing etc...cats always show theirs on their SKIN.

you've done right by ridding her of the fleas....I wouldn't treat her again its too hard on their systems for at least 6 months.

I''m not in favor of steroid treatments either, if anything they will only treat the symptom and not the cause, and can lead to many health issues for cats diabetes for one, I wouldn't resort to anymore cortisone(steroids) until you've exhausted all other trials...

good for you for reading the past older posts....I can lead you to many other sites with info on this. I am glad you are starting with switching to canned food, dry has so many additives/preservatives it can often be the cause.
also stop all the chemicals you are using in your place...ie cleaners/hair or room sprays/ scented candles/ rug cleaners etc etc....I use plain vinegar for all my cleaning.

change the litter...for sure, b/c the hair loss is under her belly, back legs and belly area that is a real clue to where the CONTACT allergan is. try some natural litters and not scented clay litter. but beware even some that say they are natural are full of chemicals. some I'v read abt are using a new one on the market made with walnut shells...I will try and find a link to that one. or go to a paper pellet litter, or crystal beads...just to get her completely away from all chemicals right now.....p.s. I don't like the most of the so called natural corn litters b/c even most of those are treated with chemicals..so you'll really need to do your homework there.

I feel very strongly that if you do these 3 mentioned changes you will see a huge difference.....we can also go into what foods to feed later, but the fact you've so far done away with dry is a very very good start.

here is a site to do some reading...be sure to click on the highlighted blue areas when they mention FOOD ALLERGIES...also AIRBORNE allergies..but remember I do NOT agree with the use of steroids as even this site recommends...we will find OTHER ways and the answer!!!

copy and paste this site and keep me updated, I will help you thru this ok.

http://www.marvistavet.com/html/body_feline_fur-mowing.html
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I've tried to copy and paste some other info...sorry but its a little patchy...but worth a read. especially the info on Omega 3 fatty acids, they are really worth trying too.

Allergens

When a cat is allergic to something, her body is reacting to certain molecules called 'allergens.' These allergens may come from:

    Trees
    Grass
    Weed pollens
    Fabrics such as wool or nylon
    Rubber and plastic materials
    Foods and food additives such as individual meats, grains, or colorings
    Milk products
    House dust and dust mites
    Flea bites

The body's response to an allergen

Cat scratching earThe reason that all these allergens cause itchy skin is that, simplistically, when allergens are inhaled, ingested, or come in contact with the cat's body, they cause the immune system to produce a protein referred to as IgE. This protein then fixes itself to cells called 'tissue mast cells' that are located in the skin. When IgE attaches to these mast cells, it causes the release of various irritating chemicals such as histamine. In cats, these chemical reactions and cell types occur in appreciable amounts only within the skin.

Genetic factors and time influence allergies

Remember that pets must be exposed to the allergen for some time before the allergy develops. Exceptions may occur such as an allergy to insect bites, which may develop after only a few exposures. The pet's body must learn to react to the allergen. It is a learned phenomenon of the immune system that is genetically programmed and may be passed from generation to generation.
In pets, allergies usually start to develop between one and three years of age.

In pets, allergies usually start to develop between one and three years of age. They may start as late as age six or eight, but over 80% start earlier. To make matters worse, as the animal ages, she usually develops allergies to additional things and the response to any one allergen becomes more severe.

Diagnosing allergies

Most allergies are the inhalant type and are seasonal (at least at first). The cat may be allergic to a certain tree pollen that is only present in the environment for three weeks out of the year, or the allergy may be to house dust mites which are in the environment year round.

A definitive diagnosis of an allergy and determination of exactly what the animal is allergic to can only come in one of two ways:

    Allergy testing (intradermal or blood testing)

    Eliminating things individually from the animal's environment until the culprit is isolated (this method is most often used when food allergies are suspected)

In some instances, it may not be necessary to determine the exact allergen causing the problem. For example, every year, in the same month, the cat starts licking excessively and develops pinpoint scabs on her head and body (miliary dermatitis). The veterinarian chooses either a tablet and/or single injection that will suppress the allergy for the 3-4 weeks necessary. In two days, the animal is back to normal and only has to wait until the following year when he or she will be returned with the same problem.

Unfortunately, things just do not always go that well. A more common scenario in a cat, for instance, would be the development of eosinophilic plaques that develop in an older cat. The lesions may tend to wax and wane, but they never completely go away. Many visits to different veterinarians and the use of various treatments never completely resolve the problem.

Treating allergies

Avoidance

This can be a very important part of managing atopy. While it may be impossible to completely eliminate all of the offending agents, many can be reduced with minimal effort on the part of the owner. For avoidance therapy to have any benefit, the offending agents must be identified through intradermal skin testing. Avoidance is rarely a complete treatment in itself, but is used in conjunction with other treatments.
Allergen Avoidance Suggestions
House dust


House dust mites






Molds






Pollens

Keep pets out of room several hours when vacuuming
Change furnace filters regularly

Use a plastic cover over pet's bed
Wash bedding in very hot water
Avoid letting pets sleep on stuffed furniture
Avoid stuffed toys
Keep pets in uncarpeted rooms
Run air conditioner during hot weather
Change furnace filters regularly

Keep pets out of basements
Keep pets indoors when the lawn is mowed
Avoid dusty pet foods
Clean and disinfect humidifiers
Use dehumidifiers
Avoid large numbers of houseplants

Rinse the cat off after periods in high grass and weeds
Keep pets indoors during periods of high pollen season
Use air conditioners

Topical therapy

Topical therapy consists of shampoos and rinses and topical anti-itch solutions. Topical therapy offers immediate, but short-term relief. Cats can be bathed, and many do not resent it as much as you think they will. I recommend using a hypoallergenic shampoo or colloidal oatmeal shampoo. Hydrocortisone shampoos may also be used.

Topical solutions containing hydrocortisone offer some relief. They are the most practical in treating localized itching. Cats tend to lick off these preparations. But the use of creams or salves on areas the cat cannot lick, e.g.; top of the head may be useful. After applying these preparations, it is recommended to get the cat involved in some activity to prevent him from licking the treated area. These products are very poorly absorbed into the bloodstream, and when used in moderation, do not create long-term side effects or problems associated with injectable or oral steroids.

OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS

Fatty acids have been recommended for years to improve coat quality and shine. Recently, new research has shown that certain fatty acids - the omega-3 fatty acids - are also very beneficial in the management of allergies in dogs and cats. Omega-3 fatty acids work in the skin to help reduce the amount and effects of histamine and other chemicals that are released in response to allergies. Not every allergic pet responds to omega-3 fatty acids. Some pets show improvements, others have a complete cure, and others show no change after being on the omega-3 fatty acids. Most pets need to be on the omega-3 fatty acids daily for several weeks to months to notice significant improvement. Omega-3 fatty acids are very safe and have very few side effects. Studies show that when omega-3 fatty acids are used in conjunction with other treatments, such as antihistamines, the use of steroids can often be decreased or discontinued. Be sure to use an omega-3 fatty acid supplement derived from fish oil. Other types of fatty acids (such as omega-6 fatty acids) can actually make some allergies worse. It is often best to use the omega-3 fatty acid supplements in conjunction with a diet lower in fat.
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I have a long hair domestic cat that has started licking off all of his hair and throws up a lot. The hair issue started when I was just about done using a cheaper type of flea meds, which he was fine up til that time (about 10 or 11 months). He looks weird from behind as he has licked all of the hair off the underside of the bottom part of his tail near his bum and his hind legs and even on the sides of rib cage and underneath him. He is constantly licking himself! He is a skinny cat but still weighs 10 lbs. like when I first got him. He has always threw up but I figured it is because he eats to fast and too much, so I give him less food more often during the day, which includes once before I go to bed. That seems to help that issue as he has not thrown up in a few days since switching to that method. Any ideas of why he over grooms himself... I can say he is rarely alone, so I don't think it is due to being lonely and I must add he is very sweet and loving and usually is always purring!
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have you read through all the post just above this one??? that will give you all the suggestions I have. it is very likely he had a reaction to the flea mediation and is now hypersensitive to many chemicals. read all the recent posts above and especially try the Omega3 fatty acids as this is very good for their skin....esp dry itchy skin.
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What did you do for your cat,as we have one that licks the fur off of her back sides and has started up her back. We have changed her food and the shampoo we bath her with,she also jumps like she has donesomething wrong ,when we approach her in the hallways or other rooms.
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sarahwilson hasn't posted for a long time, you may try and see if you can reach her by posting a private message.

have you read thru the entire thread, its full of ideas...mainly on ALLERGIES b/c thats the main reason for a cat that licks off his hair. I will copy and paste one of the reply's I gave recently...

I will also ask you why are you shampooing???? cats don't need baths and they are especially drying to their coats...dry coats can cause itching, perhaps that the BIG reason for your cats loosing hair, I would strongly suggest you stop ALL baths..
it may also be the reason he is so jumpy...she is afraid you are going to grad her and bath her again...cats HATE water!!!

Allergens

When a cat is allergic to something, her body is reacting to certain molecules called 'allergens.' These allergens may come from:

    Trees
    Grass
    Weed pollens
    Fabrics such as wool or nylon
    Rubber and plastic materials
    Foods and food additives such as individual meats, grains, or colorings
    Milk products
    House dust and dust mites
    Flea bites

The body's response to an allergen

Cat scratching earThe reason that all these allergens cause itchy skin is that, simplistically, when allergens are inhaled, ingested, or come in contact with the cat's body, they cause the immune system to produce a protein referred to as IgE. This protein then fixes itself to cells called 'tissue mast cells' that are located in the skin. When IgE attaches to these mast cells, it causes the release of various irritating chemicals such as histamine. In cats, these chemical reactions and cell types occur in appreciable amounts only within the skin.

Genetic factors and time influence allergies

Remember that pets must be exposed to the allergen for some time before the allergy develops. Exceptions may occur such as an allergy to insect bites, which may develop after only a few exposures. The pet's body must learn to react to the allergen. It is a learned phenomenon of the immune system that is genetically programmed and may be passed from generation to generation.
In pets, allergies usually start to develop between one and three years of age.

In pets, allergies usually start to develop between one and three years of age. They may start as late as age six or eight, but over 80% start earlier. To make matters worse, as the animal ages, she usually develops allergies to additional things and the response to any one allergen becomes more severe.

Diagnosing allergies

Most allergies are the inhalant type and are seasonal (at least at first). The cat may be allergic to a certain tree pollen that is only present in the environment for three weeks out of the year, or the allergy may be to house dust mites which are in the environment year round.

A definitive diagnosis of an allergy and determination of exactly what the animal is allergic to can only come in one of two ways:

    Allergy testing (intradermal or blood testing)

    Eliminating things individually from the animal's environment until the culprit is isolated (this method is most often used when food allergies are suspected)

In some instances, it may not be necessary to determine the exact allergen causing the problem. For example, every year, in the same month, the cat starts licking excessively and develops pinpoint scabs on her head and body (miliary dermatitis). The veterinarian chooses either a tablet and/or single injection that will suppress the allergy for the 3-4 weeks necessary. In two days, the animal is back to normal and only has to wait until the following year when he or she will be returned with the same problem.

Unfortunately, things just do not always go that well. A more common scenario in a cat, for instance, would be the development of eosinophilic plaques that develop in an older cat. The lesions may tend to wax and wane, but they never completely go away. Many visits to different veterinarians and the use of various treatments never completely resolve the problem.

Treating allergies

Avoidance

This can be a very important part of managing atopy. While it may be impossible to completely eliminate all of the offending agents, many can be reduced with minimal effort on the part of the owner. For avoidance therapy to have any benefit, the offending agents must be identified through intradermal skin testing. Avoidance is rarely a complete treatment in itself, but is used in conjunction with other treatments.
Allergen Avoidance Suggestions
House dust


House dust mites






Molds






Pollens

Keep pets out of room several hours when vacuuming
Change furnace filters regularly

Use a plastic cover over pet's bed
Wash bedding in very hot water
Avoid letting pets sleep on stuffed furniture
Avoid stuffed toys
Keep pets in uncarpeted rooms
Run air conditioner during hot weather
Change furnace filters regularly

Keep pets out of basements
Keep pets indoors when the lawn is mowed
Avoid dusty pet foods
Clean and disinfect humidifiers
Use dehumidifiers
Avoid large numbers of houseplants

Rinse the cat off after periods in high grass and weeds
Keep pets indoors during periods of high pollen season
Use air conditioners

Topical therapy

Topical therapy consists of shampoos and rinses and topical anti-itch solutions. Topical therapy offers immediate, but short-term relief. Cats can be bathed, and many do not resent it as much as you think they will. I recommend using a hypoallergenic shampoo or colloidal oatmeal shampoo. Hydrocortisone shampoos may also be used.

Topical solutions containing hydrocortisone offer some relief. They are the most practical in treating localized itching. Cats tend to lick off these preparations. But the use of creams or salves on areas the cat cannot lick, e.g.; top of the head may be useful. After applying these preparations, it is recommended to get the cat involved in some activity to prevent him from licking the treated area. These products are very poorly absorbed into the bloodstream, and when used in moderation, do not create long-term side effects or problems associated with injectable or oral steroids.

OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS

Fatty acids have been recommended for years to improve coat quality and shine. Recently, new research has shown that certain fatty acids - the omega-3 fatty acids - are also very beneficial in the management of allergies in dogs and cats. Omega-3 fatty acids work in the skin to help reduce the amount and effects of histamine and other chemicals that are released in response to allergies. Not every allergic pet responds to omega-3 fatty acids. Some pets show improvements, others have a complete cure, and others show no change after being on the omega-3 fatty acids. Most pets need to be on the omega-3 fatty acids daily for several weeks to months to notice significant improvement. Omega-3 fatty acids are very safe and have very few side effects. Studies show that when omega-3 fatty acids are used in conjunction with other treatments, such as antihistamines, the use of steroids can often be decreased or discontinued. Be sure to use an omega-3 fatty acid supplement derived from fish oil. Other types of fatty acids (such as omega-6 fatty acids) can actually make some allergies worse. It is often best to use the omega-3 fatty acid supplements in conjunction with a diet lower in fat.



good luck post again if you have any questions
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Nature's Variety Instinct grain-free Rabbit Formula might help.  My Cat Mr Puss has been on it for 2 weeks and loves it but I'm not sure  he really has a food allergy.  The Vet mentioned Rabbit after all medical tests came back negative.  He is still grooming to much.  Good Luck.
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My cat is a having a lick-fest. She is coughing up hairballs. . .
She is a medium length coat torbie. I noticed it started as the weather got hot and she started to shed. She is an indoor cat and she doesn't have any housemates except myself and the children that are here majority of the time. As I've been searching for a reason I have wondered if it was a cleaning product. My cat seems to be content with her litter we've had since she was little (tidy cat). The I was thinking maybe she was in the bathroom while my daughter was using body spray. But her grooming hasn't stopped. She doesn't have sores and no flees. But the patches are starting to look ridiculous (back legs, front legs, tummy, around her rear, above her tail).
If there is an herbal supplement I can give her some one please tell me what it is, where i can find it, and how much it runs for. . .I thought the regular shedding was bad. At this point I'd rather come across hair that was shed instead of stepping in a fur-ball in the dark of night.
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I replied to your last post with some info....please click on the link below to read, we'll keep it to that posting for any discussion so it doesn't get complicated with 2 threads..:)

http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Cats/stress-related-or-something-else/show/2004615
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Rebecca I also hope you have read this thread as there are many replies dealing with allergies...and links to follow..so read back on this thread too ok:) I know lots to read, but some of it is repetitive..
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Is there a cat shampoo that would taste bad to him/her that would discourage them from licking?
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remember whatever you put ON a cat you also put IN a cat....b/c they lick anything and everything...
You need to be very careful of anything even shampoo's can be toxic when ingested.
excessive licking is b/c there is something bothering them and wht it is needs to be addressed.

something thats good for a cats skin to help stop the dryness and itching is Omega3 fatty acids...I will post a link to a good one thats safe for cats...many others are too, just be sure they contain NO salt, sugar, soy, preservatives, yeast....as pure as possible. pierce the soft capsule and squirt into their food or some will even lick it off your finger :)

http://www.iherb.com/Now-Foods-Neptune-Krill-Oil-500-mg-60-Softgels/14424?ic=2&flt=0100
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I have a 5 yr old part Maine Coon & Norweign Forest cat that has started biting the hair at his back-end, any ideas of what that is?
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hi and welcome, has your kitty been checked for fleas?
if not fleas...than I'm 99% certain its food allergies....particularly to GRAINS...most cat foods are full of grains because they are cheap..much cheaper than meat...and most cats are intolerant to grains..
even if her diet hasn't changed, like us humans allergies take a while to develop and some will be more affected than others..

also dry kibble has tons of preservatives and other chemicals that canned food doesn't, even has mites due to long storage after bagging.
I strongly suggest you try changing her food to a GRAIN FREE CANNED FOOD...there are many available a good pet stores (not walmarts or grocery stores!!!)
It is more expensive, however you will find kitty won't be as hungry when she's on a good diet with more protien rather than grains...and you will save all the Vet bills and she will look and feel so much better, can you imagine how uncomfortable she is with all the itching..

I will send you a site and you can look at the photos also read the causes of itchy/hair loss..

but I will say DO NOT follow the natural treatments mentioned, these are NOT good for cats...besides why spend money of medications and creams when a diet change works...

if you need more info I would be happy to help..I will mention most cats aren't crazy abt the taste of grain free canned food, because its lacking all the artificial flavoring that many other commercial foods have added. so you have to start feeding this slowly to get them used to the new taste..start with 1/4 of her feeding a new food and 3/4 of the old...than gradually increase the amount of new food...also by adding slowly she won't get any gastro-intestinal issues like diarrhea..

http://www.cat-health-guide.org/cat-allergy-symptoms.html
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Hi Sarah,

I have a cat who is 16, hyperthyroid and skinny. We had a house fire in November and are now in a rental house with carpeting. He is licking all his fur off and I have the cone of shame on him. Thing is I can't take it off because instantly there is a new bald spot. Any suggestions?
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