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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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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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1998997 tn?1327337146
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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535822 tn?1443980380
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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2030689 tn?1329238631
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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874521 tn?1424120397
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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874521 tn?1424120397
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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874521 tn?1424120397
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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874521 tn?1424120397
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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874521 tn?1424120397
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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3216256 tn?1345867318
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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874521 tn?1424120397
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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874521 tn?1424120397
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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4319250 tn?1352739357
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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874521 tn?1424120397
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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874521 tn?1424120397
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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874521 tn?1424120397
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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874521 tn?1424120397
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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874521 tn?1424120397
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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874521 tn?1424120397
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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Did you figure out what was causing the sore?  My cat has one on the back of her head behind her right ear.  She can't reach it herself, but I think our other cat has been "grooming" it for her. The hair loss is about the size of a nickel now, and has been bleeding some from the surface of the skin.  I have sprayed with bactine and applied neosporin, but not sure if it's helping since it's still quite large and I have not separated the cats. It doesn't seem to be causing her any distress, though.
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7052683 tn?1392942395
Hi twins,

I think the best thing would be to have your cat seen by a vet. A professional is the only one who can tell you what is going on, because they can see it and test it. This could be more serious than stress. Let's face it the cat themselves is not licking it , she has no other spots on her , and it is not getting better rather worse.

Time for a vet check. Please let us know what the diagnosis is. This is how we learn and can help others on the forum.

Good Luck and sure hope it is nothing serious
CML
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my cats doing the same thing and we use tidy cat too!!! I am dumping it tomorrow and will check back!! I pray this is it.. poor kitty
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my cats doing the same thing and we use tidy cat too!!! I am dumping it tomorrow and will check back!! I pray this is it.. poor kitty
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I'm going insane, one of our cats is loosing fur and he looks a mess, eyes are bright though. We have 4 other cats, all fine. Thought it was fleas, he got the problem soon after we got 3 more cats... But I give flea treatments and it still affects him. Been to the vet about it twice, first time they said probably fleas and gave an injection to help.... That would last a month, but time went buy, can't say it cleared up perfectly, and he got bad again. Went back, another injection.... Might have lasted a bit but no real effect. Time passed again... Now it's been rubbish for over 6 months. We give them flea treatments, but don't want to go back to vet as it costs £50 for an injection which we don't know is linked to anything or just a temp fix (not even a cure, doesn't stop his licking but may be slightly better). Been trying 3 different flea treatments in case it's that but no way to be sure. Might be that, might not.... Irk!
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874521 tn?1424120397
welcome to our site, I hope we can be of some help....I will copy  and paste a reply I gave above...this can definitely be FOOD ALLERGIES...it can certainly be an allergy or reaction to all the flea meds and treatments you are OVER treating him these topical and injectible treatments are very strong chemicals!!! shame on any Vet that keeps giving these treatments when there are no visible fleas please read thru the following and open the link at the very end of the post....good luck, keep posting so we can help:(

copy

.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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11362300 tn?1418233894
Just like others suggested, it could mean she's either lonely or bored, it doesn't have to be something to do with her skin or sudden allergies. If you can't adopt a new cat, you can try cat park if you have something like that where you live. Or if you know someone who owns cats, you can arrange 'cat play dates' and see how that changes her.

You'll start ruling out causes when you try different things.
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Thanks for that, I'll go on the hunt for some decent grub for the little mite now. We have 5 cats in total, so guessing this will get realllllly expensive but if it works, it'll be a treat. :-)
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12665397 tn?1426558629
Hi - I came across your posts/site when searching for hair loss for my kitty. I adopted her, but she is a full breed Marble Bengal - her name is Sammy. She just turned 5 in Jan. I adopted her in Jan from a woman who had a whole house full of cats/dogs/birds and various other animals. I adopted her because she had other kitties and truly this little girl is a one person bengal (as many are). We are good together - she is my second bengal I have had so I am very famuire with their breed and personality. Samantha is a little high maintenence, her meow is high pitch like so dramatic it cracks me up. I can tell she was probably tortured in this home with all of the animals. So when I got her, the lady smoked I knew right away when I walked in to get her, amogst all of the animals - and I saw right away some patches of fur were missing. Mostly on her underbelly, inside of her hind legs and a few small patches on her front paws ver similar looking to when a vet takes blood and they shave a patch.....so I figured she was just very sensitive and stressed. Sammy had only ever known this home she was in, so coming to me it is just her and I. I work from home, she is with me all day - she is a lover so sweet. I took her to my vet, and my vet was not overly concerned as she has been my vet and knows how I care for my animals and there were no sores, it is really just like her underbelly hair is gone, barely peach fuzz. She was eating Kit N Caboodle dry and friskies wet - which is not a good diet for her, but I did not want to introduce too many changes for her...so the food she eats well and she is very healthy, not skinny//actually her last mom called her Sammy Spaulding because she does truly look like a football with legs (lol). She is perfect in every way, I was just curious reading through your posts if you had a suggestion as to what I should try to adjust first. My vet said let's give her some time to settle in. She does like stop and lick almost incessively at random times, and sometimes if she is not wanting to be petted she can shake her paw almost jerk it and lick it really fast, or roughly. I think she could be an over groomer, or from what I have read possibly food allergy. The litter as well I did not change which is Tidy Cat - I never used it prior either but again not wanting to introduce any changes to minimize her acclimating well with me. I would be grateful for any thoughts you may have. I am happy to send you a pic or so if you think that would help. My last bengal I fed Eukeneba and I had him for 12 years, he did very well on it, but they are scaling back on their food line and when I did try to change my boy's food, he was very sensitive to any new foods. Sammy is picky, she likes dried chicken and the Salmon chunks as treats and they are low calorie. She could care less for the cheap treats or even Temptations - no dry treats kibble - looks at me like I put dirt in her bowl :) Sorry so long  - just thought if you had any thoughts where I should begin given the years of advice you have given and shared with your followers.
Thank You - Anna
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12665397 tn?1426558629
Hi - I came across your posts/site when searching for hair loss for my kitty. I adopted her, but she is a full breed Marble Bengal - her name is Sammy. She just turned 5 in Jan. I adopted her in Jan from a woman who had a whole house full of cats/dogs/birds and various other animals. I adopted her because she had other kitties and truly this little girl is a one person bengal (as many are). We are good together - she is my second bengal I have had so I am very famuire with their breed and personality. Samantha is a little high maintenence, her meow is high pitch like so dramatic it cracks me up. I can tell she was probably tortured in this home with all of the animals. So when I got her, the lady smoked I knew right away when I walked in to get her, amogst all of the animals - and I saw right away some patches of fur were missing. Mostly on her underbelly, inside of her hind legs and a few small patches on her front paws ver similar looking to when a vet takes blood and they shave a patch.....so I figured she was just very sensitive and stressed. Sammy had only ever known this home she was in, so coming to me it is just her and I. I work from home, she is with me all day - she is a lover so sweet. I took her to my vet, and my vet was not overly concerned as she has been my vet and knows how I care for my animals and there were no sores, it is really just like her underbelly hair is gone, barely peach fuzz. She was eating Kit N Caboodle dry and friskies wet - which is not a good diet for her, but I did not want to introduce too many changes for her...so the food she eats well and she is very healthy, not skinny//actually her last mom called her Sammy Spaulding because she does truly look like a football with legs (lol). She is perfect in every way, I was just curious reading through your posts if you had a suggestion as to what I should try to adjust first. My vet said let's give her some time to settle in. She does like stop and lick almost incessively at random times, and sometimes if she is not wanting to be petted she can shake her paw almost jerk it and lick it really fast, or roughly. I think she could be an over groomer, or from what I have read possibly food allergy. The litter as well I did not change which is Tidy Cat - I never used it prior either but again not wanting to introduce any changes to minimize her acclimating well with me. I would be grateful for any thoughts you may have. I am happy to send you a pic or so if you think that would help. My last bengal I fed Eukeneba and I had him for 12 years, he did very well on it, but they are scaling back on their food line and when I did try to change my boy's food, he was very sensitive to any new foods. Sammy is picky, she likes dried chicken and the Salmon chunks as treats and they are low calorie. She could care less for the cheap treats or even Temptations - no dry treats kibble - looks at me like I put dirt in her bowl :) Sorry so long  - just thought if you had any thoughts where I should begin given the years of advice you have given and shared with your followers.
Thank You - Anna
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Similar problem to you. What I've done that has all contributed to cure is:-
a) provide entertainments ((cat videos, interactive toys, music, cat trees) when we're away.
b) change cat litter to hypoallergenic.
c) Changed feed to Hills z/d dry (read the reviews on Zooplus).
Each change made my cat happier but the bit that seems to be stopping her constantly licking the fur away from her tummy and back legs is the change in diet.
Hope this helps.
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