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Over-grooming cat?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
My cat Ivy keeps over-grooming herself! To the point that she's basically given herself a mohawk accross her back and sides, totally licked the hair away almost... I've been putting bitter apple on the affected areas to try and stop her but I want to try and figure out why she is doing this....any ideas?

She's been with us a little over a year now and we took her in from the wild, she's really friendly but nervous and scares easily.
post #2 of 6
Welcome to TCS!

Whenever a cat has an "issue" - I always ask - has she had a vet check recently?

There can be multiple causes to over grooming. I have one who over grooms sometimes b/c of food issues. She must eat grain free foods as grains make her itchy (we sometimes call them 'invisible fleas' b/c of the way she licks herself).

I *think* they can also over groom as a stress reaction. There are some things that can be done to lower/relieve stress, so as Feliway diffusers/stray, Rescue Remedy, etc.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by white cat lover View Post
Welcome to TCS!

Whenever a cat has an "issue" - I always ask - has she had a vet check recently?

There can be multiple causes to over grooming. I have one who over grooms sometimes b/c of food issues. She must eat grain free foods as grains make her itchy (we sometimes call them 'invisible fleas' b/c of the way she licks herself).

I *think* they can also over groom as a stress reaction. There are some things that can be done to lower/relieve stress, so as Feliway diffusers/stray, Rescue Remedy, etc.
Not recently, but I think it's the food issue, as it does look like she has fleas but she doesn't! And her scratching seems to have calmed down a bit since we got this new food that actually has REAL CHICKEN as the first ingredient, a rare find around here. Are there any brands that have no grain at all? I usually see corn or rice on the list somewhere...
post #4 of 6
There are many grain free diets, and that may be a good way to go. Here is a link to a listing of some grain free dry foods - note it isn't all of them, but this is a good start.
post #5 of 6
My first kitty ever actually licked the fur clear off her belly - the vet said it was stress and gave me some medication to help her with it. She was getting particularily stressed because we had some family over that had little kids that kept trying to pet her and really she was just a two person cat.

Like the others I really suggest taking her to the vet and seeing what he/she says. Maybe ask if it could be stress or that you think it's stress so they have an idea on where to start looking.

Hope this helps!
post #6 of 6

My 15 year old cat has been over grooming for over a year,  She does have IBS, and gets a steroid shot about once a year, but mostly the IBS was brought under  control by Royal Canin "Satiety", suggested by the vet.  But after, when I first noticed the bald spots, it turned out she had impacted anal glands, and had groomed most heartily to self soothe.  She seemed better after that was taken care of, but the vet warned me that the over grooming might have become a habit.  Well, he was right. It's really gotten pretty bad:  bald tummy, inside of her hind legs, and "bracelets" on her front legs.  She has a habit of standing on my chest to tell me she wants her tummy stroked...it took me a little bit before I could get over being sqeamish about it  once she was bald there, but I got over that.  I tell her now that I would like her better if she had more fur, but you know cats...they don't speak Engish.  :)   Seriously, though, she is my best girl, I love her to death; I hate to see the bald spots, but I am relieved there are no sore.  I just ordered a Feliway diffuser  from Amazon, I should get it tomorrow.  She spends her time divided between my home office and the bedroom...maybe I should order another one, so I might better gauge if it works.

 

She might be allergic to the ingredients in the cat food...that would be sad, because it's really keeping the IBS symptoms at bay...

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