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He's groomed away his long belly hair..

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
The about 7 years old tomcat living with me has groomed away much of the long, topcoat hair low on his belly & between his hind legs. He's a short hair, a mackerel tabby who looks like he's in the extended Egyptian Mao family, with a very thick, dense coat. When I first noticed the long low belly hair was disappearing, the area involved was smaller; he's working on his thighs now. He doesn't groom obsessively, but very vigorously.
It's been much warmer than usual here, off and on, and fleas are worse than usual (all the cats in the 'hood agree). I restarted Advantage, which we don't always need, near the end of July. I went more than four weeks (by about 5 days) before applying month two's dose -- and suspected he might be needing it even sooner. His coat is so thick, I've never seen a flea on him, but his behavior had me wondering.
Anybody ever had a tomcat groom away the long belly hair?
I've pretty much decided to watch and wait, and to apply Advantage again at 4 weeks or sooner, vs. later. I'm going to try brushing him more often, too. There's no rash, and he doesn't have pain in that area -- I can tell because he lets me touch it.
This cat was feral until nearly a year old, and a visit to the vet is not a reasonable option. He was severely traumatized by my having a vet make house calls to vaccinate him here at home, after which I decided never to do that again. I'd rather vaccinate him myself. He would have to be heavily drugged for a thoro exam by a stranger, so that's my last resort. I don't want to do that for some missing hair. He's not hairless in the area, the down undercoat is still there.
Thanks , cheddi & Bubu
post #2 of 9
Sounds like a flea allergey, one of mine has that problem, except she gets tiny bald patches on various places, usually her back.... this only happens if I am late using Advantage.

If I read your post correctly.... the hair is growing back now, right?

Keep up with the Advantage, I know it's hard to remember!
post #3 of 9
Feline Alopecia. It is a hair loss due to excessive grooming on the trunk, belly and inner thighs. My cat, Murdock, used to have it. He needed to wear an Elizabethian collar until it cleared up. It can be brought on by stress. If you google it, you will find all kinds of information. Good luck to you.
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
I thought it might be Feline alopecia. I'm now thinking (have been watching and noting as carefully as I can) he is grooming the area more than usual, tho not obsessively. The Elizabethan collar is not an option -- he comes and goes independently thru his cat door when I'm not home. He panics if he can't get out, as he usually spends a lot of time outdoors. I promised him when he moved in I would never lock him in, and have only done so the 2 times the vet came to vaccinate him. He climbed a window all the way to the ceiling (10 feet), then, propelled by terrified momentum (and very strong back legs). I was afraid the old window would break and he would become impaled on a shard of glass. The vet was worried about my property! things! just THINGS-- another reason he won't be asked back.

I'll go research alopecia, to see what I can do besides the collar. The only stressor I can think of is the fleas. And maybe the record high temperatures here some days. No changes at home, I haven't been away, his foods are the usual. Outdoors, the only recent change is a neighbor's tomcat is outdoors a bit more than usual, since the weather has been warm. Cousteau is 18 years old, and doesn't do much (i.e. he's not very actively prowling the territory), mostly just sits on his porch. But I have noticed my Bu sometimes seems afraid of him.

And yes, I will certainly keep the Advantage applications on a strict 4 weeks schedule (or even 3 weeks, if the fleas seem to be getting the upper hand again).

Thanks a lot! cheddi & Bu
post #5 of 9
Good Luck!

If there are no improvments, he will need a vet.
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
I did Google feline alopecia, and found Bu's is either "psychogenic" or endocrine. I can rule out a lot of possible causes because there is no rash, redness, macules or papules, crusting, lesions ... none of that. The description of endocrine exactly matches what I'm seeing, "Loss of hair in a symmetrical pattern on the lower part of the abdomen, perineum and genital areas and on the insides of the back legs." Seen most often in neutered males (and spayed middle aged females). It's considered a "cosmetic" problem, and the only treatment is hormones, which have nasty side effects. Mostly, it's left untreated.
On the other hand, he could have groomed away the topcoat hairs. So I'm aiming to relax him & relieve stress as much as possible. I can't control the weather! But, thankfully, the fog came back in today and the temperature has gone down. I can see the difference this makes to him in his behavior -- which has returned to his normal routine. I bought a new, better brush and began brushing him daily. He sheds very little, but likes to be brushed. I got him a new bed -- he had rejected his old one (too old?) and was sleeping on a throw on the couch. When I got up this morning, he was in his new bed.
Do they wrap us around their tails?
When I saw him start to groom the belly area again today, I tried telling him in a loving sweet-nothings tone how much I like that beautiful hair. I'll be darned if he didn't stop the grooming!
cheddi & Bu
post #7 of 9
on the problem. He sounds like a great old guy!
post #8 of 9
My 16-yr old part-siamese cat has done this all her life. When I first adopted her at 6 months old, I thought she just didn't grow hair on her lower belly, but the vet told me she over-grooms that area! Some kind of kitty trichotillomania. It has never caused her any health problems though. Not sure if this is what your Tom is doing but I thought I'd tell my story too. :-)
post #9 of 9

this could very well be an allergy.

The tricky question would be trying to determin what the cause of this allergy is. Common sources are: flea salvia, pollen, household dust, or a component of his food such as a meat type: chicken, duck and so on or wheat.

Have you changed his diet since this excessiv grooming started? Any idea if any of the neighbours are feeding him?


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