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Cat is pulling out it's fur...

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
This is a strange one... One of my parent's cats keeps pulling it's hair out. It's entire belly is now bare, and now it's moving on to it's legs. The cat has been to the vet, is other wise healthy, and is eating well. -There had been fleas in the house a few months back, but all of the cats were treated for them, and brushing the cats with a flea comb now turns up nothing. -I don't think she is reacting to irritation from fleas.

We think this must be some sort of nervous behavior. She has always loathed the other cats in the house, and is very ambivalent in her reactions to people. Sometimes she will jump up on your lap, and sometimes she will bite you just for being too close to her. To our knowledge she has never been abused. While she's always been sort of cranky and strange, this hair-pulling behavior is definitely new. I was curious to know if anyone here had seen this sort of thing before. Any thoughts?

post #2 of 9
Yes I have heard of this kind of behavior before and you are correct. It is because the cat is freaked out about something...to be blunt. See if you can try to figure out what xould possibly be making the cat either depressed or extremely anxious. Not the easiest of tasks, I know, but that may be the root of your problems.

Best of Luck,
Rob & Sport
post #3 of 9
My cat Larrry was doing this when I first got him. He was very freaked out, being a former street cat, and not totally socialized when I got him and his sister. I just spent alot of time talking to him and working up to petting him and he got more relaxed, and as he got more relaxed, he stopped doing it.

But that's just my case. If it's a nervous condition, which it sounds like, your vet might have more suggestions.
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
-Thanks for your kind replies. As for the behavior that has triggered this, I'm almost positive of the answer...

I found out from my folks that Cybil (that's the cat's name) was allergic to the bites from the last flea infestation, and her skin became so badly irritated that she had to go to the vet for treatment. I'm pretty sure the hair pulling started then, when she was going berserk from what had to be constant biting/itching. As high strung as she is, she probably hasn't really calmed down from this yet.

Actually, as I type this, I'm wondering if the fleas area really gone, --even though brushing with a flea comb didn't show anything... It would only take a bite or two to set her off... I'll have to look again.

In any case, thank you for your replies and advice. Hopefully we can make poor Cybil feel a bit better.

post #5 of 9
My Cinnie is very allergic to fleas. One bite and she has hot spots and is also pulling her fur out. Its a never ending battle with her. I find little tufts of fur every where. Even though she is a strictly indoor cat, they get in. I have to make sure she is the one that gets the frontline every month on time.
post #6 of 9
From the pattern of hair loss you describe, along with the recent flea issue, it sounds as if it may be a flea allergy. Psychogenic alopecia is usually symmetrical in distribution, and typically found over the trunk, belly, the inner thighs, groin, and rump. Serenity is extremely allergic to fleas, and just one will have her biting her fur out. Perhaps your Vet could recommend an alternate flea treatment that may be more effective? Something else you may want to speak to your Vet about for Cybil would be a short term treatment with prednisone
post #7 of 9
Roxy used to pull her fur out for no apparent reason. We didn't have any
fleas in the house, the vet said there were no apparent allergies and there
was very little to stress about (no changes in the house, or food, etc.)

Brushing her regularly seemed to alleviate the problem.

I just chalked it up to bordom and/or Roxy trying to remove dead hair.
post #8 of 9
I am sorry to hear about this! I have a cat that over cleans, and her belly is bare. I have never found a permanent solution, but allergies seems to be part of the issue. Has your Vet discussed low ingredient food?
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hello again,

Right now, Cybil is eating "Solid Gold Katz-N-Flocken". Occasionally, she'll get some of the CD food that one of the other kitties (Wilhemina) needs. (Never fear, Wilhemina never gets anything other than CD. We're all too aware of how dangerous that would be.) Before Cybil started ripping her hair out, this arrangement seemed to be working out well for her --her coat looked great.

I'm positive it's a flea issue -the comb turned up a few. My mother tells me that it's almost time to give all of the cats their next dose of Advantage, so I'll be interested to see if Cybil improves. B.T.W. the hair pulling follows the precise pattern that DawnofSierra described.

DawnofSiera also mentioned asking the vet about a better flea control method. --My folks tried. He gave them more of the Advantage they were already using. They did ask about Capstar, at one point and the vet wouldn't consider it.

Shout out to any vets reading this: What's your opinion? Is Advantage really all there is? Also, while I've got you here, I'm curious. Since -so many- people are using imidacloprid-containing products, have any resistance issues been reported in fleas yet?

At the other end of the spectrum:

I'd welcome any natural/organic suggestions any one can offer for poor Cybil as well.

Thanks again for your time,
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