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cat pulling out hair

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I adopted a stray about two months ago... Her name is Eva, and she's the new queen in the house. However, she has a few nervous ticks. She grooms herself excessively and pulls out the hair on her arms and anywhere she can reach with her mouth. Her front legs are the only ones that have noticeable hair loss. At first, I thought she had ringworm, but now I realize she isn't chewing them to itch them (or it doesn't seem like it) - she just pulls her hair out. Also, for about the first month we had her (she's really skittish), she would run to her food bowl any time she got slightly nervous ... like if you were sitting on the couch and you stood up... or you shut the laptop and it made a squeaking noise.... so it seemed like a nervous habit.. .the food bowl was her safe spot. Anyone else have this problem with a stray cat they rescued? does it sound like a nervous thing? and how do I help her relax? I'm not sure what makes her so nervous... and I don't know how her previous owners treated her. How can I make her more comfortable?


Picture of my lady first accepting me into the family and bringing me a gift!
post #2 of 14
Has she been treated for fleas? One of my girls has a severe flea allergy, and pulling out her fur is the first thing she does if she picks up a single flea.
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Yes, She is on revolution and I have not seen a flea since I put it on her.
post #4 of 14
Has she been checked by a vet? It could be a bacterial infection, mange or allergies if it is physical.
If it is a nervous habit she may need Prozac or some relaxing herbs like Rescue Remedy. She sounds nervous if it is not a physical issue.
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
I'm a student. I adopted this cat because I saw her crossing through my backyard and I just so happen to keep cat food in my house in case I luckily run into a hungry stray (aspiring crazy cat lady here ). She took the bait and came to the food and even let me touch her the first night. So anyways... she adopted us. I thought I could keep her as outdoor cat, but she came in and would not leave.... bitched and moaned outside the bedroom door every morning at about 6:00 am ....and I didn't really complain. Except for the fact that my landlord is always hovering around my apartment and it's $500 for a pet. So whatever, she found the cat and demanded a check for $500 on the spot making Eva the most expensive purchase I've made in my 22 years. But hey that's what I have a savings account for right? So I took her to the only vet I can afford which is the spay and neuter clinic. There is one vet there and it's walk in only... unless your animal is getting surgery. I took her in and i mentioned her arms that had hair loss. They took a biopsy, but I can't find out if it was ringworm until I go back. I don't have a cat carrier, I live in florida, and my car has no air conditioning. So I need a carrier, a car to borrow ( i had kittens that almost died of heat in my car once before so I'm deathly afraid to put a cat in my mobile oven again) oh and I have class from 9-2 every mon-fri. Since it's walk in, you need to get there early. I live in a college town and everyone is as broke as me and can't afford their pets as much as me (although I didn't plan my pet without having the means for it like they did) they open at 9.... which is when I need to be in class. I'm have a dilemma.... but i'm going to coordinate everything as soon as this coming week is over (finals will be done!) and take her in and figure it all out. sorry that was long winded.
post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by shaylyn View Post
I'm a student. I adopted this cat because I saw her crossing through my backyard and I just so happen to keep cat food in my house in case I luckily run into a hungry stray (aspiring crazy cat lady here ). She took the bait and came to the food and even let me touch her the first night. So anyways... she adopted us. I thought I could keep her as outdoor cat, but she came in and would not leave.... bitched and moaned outside the bedroom door every morning at about 6:00 am ....and I didn't really complain. Except for the fact that my landlord is always hovering around my apartment and it's $500 for a pet. So whatever, she found the cat and demanded a check for $500 on the spot making Eva the most expensive purchase I've made in my 22 years. But hey that's what I have a savings account for right? So I took her to the only vet I can afford which is the spay and neuter clinic. There is one vet there and it's walk in only... unless your animal is getting surgery. I took her in and i mentioned her arms that had hair loss. They took a biopsy, but I can't find out if it was ringworm until I go back. I don't have a cat carrier, I live in florida, and my car has no air conditioning. So I need a carrier, a car to borrow ( i had kittens that almost died of heat in my car once before so I'm deathly afraid to put a cat in my mobile oven again) oh and I have class from 9-2 every mon-fri. Since it's walk in, you need to get there early. I live in a college town and everyone is as broke as me and can't afford their pets as much as me (although I didn't plan my pet without having the means for it like they did) they open at 9.... which is when I need to be in class. I'm have a dilemma.... but i'm going to coordinate everything as soon as this coming week is over (finals will be done!) and take her in and figure it all out. sorry that was long winded.
Oh no. We don't mind long posts. We are after all cat crazy here.
If they took a biopsy then you will know soon enough if it is anything a good antibiotic can take care of.
Did they check her for FIV and FeLV?
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
They only suggested getting her tested for feline leukemia... not FIV. I didn't get her tested for either because I knew I would have to go back and i'd rather split up the costs. Her first visit was $100 (she got an annual which is what they suggested for a stray)...She got a vaccine for feline leukemia but I know she needs to get tested. Planning that for nexxt time... I suppose I should ask for the FIV test too. She also had an unidentified ear infection which I just recently realized she had after noticing her peculiar mannerisms like shaking head, scratching head, directing your hands/fingers directly into her ear canal and loving it during petting. BAH the $1000 + cat! Well worth it though - as long as i get to vent expenses on here <3
post #8 of 14
She has a hard time out there! Good thing she found you.
Since she is an only 'child' doing the tests one at a time is fine. You may find a vet that will settle for a payment plan or there is something called CareCredit that is like a line of credit that some vets will take.
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
I took my cat to the vet and they told me what i already suspected... that she doesn't have ringworm. They suggested maybe she has allergies. They did a slide of the gunk in her ear and said it was full of yeast. They gave me antihistamines to give her twice a day and this pill which is basically like fish oil (omega 3) for cats. Her ears seem to not bother has quite as much, but they are definitely still itchy. She still pulls out the hair on her arms and her paws, shakes her paws a lot, and has a sensitive skin overall. I've been searching all over the internet and only come across possible allergy. I read some stories of cats with the similar ear symptoms on here, but not really the combo that she has. The vet suggested that I keep her cooped up inside of this one bedroom apartment (my formerly stray queen of the outdoors) which I feel too guilty to do. They think it's fleas, but i've given her some medicine that kills fleas and their eggs and she's also on revolution. I don't think it's fleas. Tomorrow I will go on a hunt for all natural organic cat food ( i've already looked on the internet for recipes so i could make her food for her just to be sure of what's in it... but could only find recipes for homemade cat treats, not food). I guess i'll see if that works but have heard that it takes a lot of time to notice a change. Also, she needs wet food twice a day because the only way to give her the antihistamines is to crush them up and mix it in her food. I don't want to shove them down her throat twice a day. Have you heard anything like this? know anyone whose cat has the same problem? Will repost in the health section of this.
post #10 of 14
i have a homemade recipe that i'll PM to you.
on another note - quick, easy emergency cat carrier - pillowcase.
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
about that cat carrier. i would be totally willing but the wait last time i went to my vet was 3 hours! couldn't keep her tied up in that for that long. She's such a brat about getting in a carrier. It takes at least 2 to shove her in. Thank god i'm more brave than my boyfriend. Id o all the man handling. I'm just glad she still loves me after it all.
post #12 of 14
Eva is such a cutie! She looks like my girl, Gigi!

It's often very difficult to figure out what is causing the sensitivity in cats. When cats pull hair, it can be (among other things) a pain response, behavioral and/or a food allergy.

The easiest one to eliminate is the pain response. Make sure there are no fleas/ticks. Even one bite, to a sensitive cat, can send them itching all over. Adding the omega 3/6 oils is good at calming skin. The pain can be from other areas as well. I had a cat that was pulling hair out, and the cause was dental problems (decayed tooth).

The second one to eliminate is the food issues. Though, this will take time and you have to move to a hypoallergenic diet (the vets have a few to choose from). One food that seems to work well is Natural Balance - Venison and Pea. You can pick this up at most pet stores. You want to choose a unique protein (ie - rabbit, venison, duck) that has the fewest ingredients to see if this will eliminate the problem. Corn, wheat, byproducts, dyes etc all are common items to eliminate when trying new foods. Food elimination trials do take time - minimum 12 weeks for it to run its course and see if there is any difference in the cat. Also, you can only feed that one food during this time, no other foods/treats allowed. Canned is usually the preferred food, since it's usually easier on the system. You can also make the cats food at home (ie: raw diet) but you need to do this carefully, research thoroughly and should find a vet that will guide you through this process. The food created needs to be properly balanced or the cats health will be compromised.

Last, if it's behavioral, then you will have to work with your vet to see what you can do to break the cycle. This may involve introducing calming aids (ie - Bach Flower Essence, Feliway Spray) or you may need to look at administering drugs (as a last resort).

Since you don't know the past issues with this cat, you have to start eliminating sources of irritation and then work from there. Good luck!
post #13 of 14
You can try raw feeding if you are up for it. It has a way of settling the system. I had a case of IBD that just went away on raw.
http://www.catnutrition.org/information_resources.php

Also you might try giving her baths in a gentle soap made with oatmeal which calms skin irritation. If she has a flea allergy then she needs to stay inside. I know it is hard but one flea could make her miserable.
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
So I decided that her problem is a food allergy... I think. Every time she leans over her food bowl she sneezes multiple times before she starts chowing down. I went out and bought her $35 worth of the food you suggested. They didn't have the venison and pea so I thought the duck and pea would be fine. First I gave her the dry food and she took maybe a bite and walked away. I felt bad so I opened up a can of wet and she turned that one down too! So I think that if that's her only option she'll eventually eat it, right? Or will she starve herself being stubborn?

Also you mentioned a pill that's good for skin irritation ... I've been squeezing Derm Caps 10's into her dry food and mixing it around. It says "A concentrated fatty acid dietary supplement". Is that basically the same as what you were talking about?

Thanks for your earlier post it was really helpful!
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