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Cat flap causing hair loss?

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by Boris Tinyfoot, Feb 1, 2021.


  1. Boris Tinyfoot

    Boris Tinyfoot PetForums Newbie

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    One of mine has a strange patter of hair loss. I'm not sure how long it's been like this but now I've noticed it it's been troubling me. It's in a kind of U shape behind he front legs running from halfway up her body, under her belly and halfway up the other side. The belly is quite sparse with hair too.

    I see no behavioral changes. She's around me a lot and I see a lot of her grooming, but I've never seen her groom these ares - I'm not even sure she could reach them. I've checked for fleas and she has no problem with me handling these areas and there's no sign of a skin problem.

    My cat flap is quite high off the ground and she does have to pull herself through it to get in, though it doesn't stop her using it.


    There should be a picture there - not sure how this works - I attached one too. Does it seem likely that the act of pulling herself through that might cause that sort of hair loss? I put the brick there to see if that will help.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Hello and welcome :)

    It is possible that she could be scraping her belly every time she goes through the flap. But if so I would expect her skin to be sore, not just bare of fur. After all once the fur has been scraped off there is nothing to protect her skin from damage so I would expect there to be lesions or scrape marks on her belly. Does this fur loss coincide with you installing the cat flap for her?

    It would be worth putting a wooden stool or box at the same height as the backdoor step, so she can stand on the same level as the flap while going through and see if that makes any difference.

    However in spite of what I say above I do suspect the cause of her fur loss is that she is over-grooming. Over grooming the belly, abdomen and inside legs is quite a common sign of an allergy, usually a food allergy, but it can also be an environmental allergy (e.g. an allergy to a laundry liquid or chemical floor or surface cleaner used in the home)

    Cats are usually discreet when they over-groom, and often the owner doesn't notice anything amiss until quite large patches of fur are thinned or gone. The cat is often methodical in their grooming, moving systematically from one end of the body to the other end until all the fur is gone. If she was scraping her fur off with the cat flap I wouldn't expect such an even fur loss tbh.

    It would be an idea to review her diet and consider cutting out any foods containing specific meat proteins you have been feeding her every day for a year or so. The most common food allergies statistically in cats are to grains and to the meat proteins chicken, fish and beef. Though in fact an allergy can develop to any protein that is fed every day over a longish period. [That is how the immune system works]
     
  3. Boris Tinyfoot

    Boris Tinyfoot PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks for that Chillminx. As far as environmental allergies go, I'm supposed to be moving house soon (though the word 'soon' seems to have a different meaning these days) so I don't really think it's going to make sense trying altering cleaners and stuff right now. However, I can try a change of diet - as long as her sister doesn't mind. I give them a mix of tinned and dried food from Tesco, I'll dig deeper in my pocket and try Whiskers or such.

    Thing is that it takes so long for their fur to re-grow - she had an opp last autumn and the shaved bit of her leg is still only half grown back so it will likely be a slow process tying this down; especially with the move in the offing - maybe it's a nervous response to me tearing my own hair out while talking to solicitors ;o) When it comes to fitting a flap or two in the new place I'll pay a bit closer attention to the climb I'm asking her to make.
     
  4. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    @Boris Tinyfoot

    If you're going to try a change of diet it's not worth switching to foods like Whiskas and Felix as they are poor value for money and all their flavours contain chicken, fish or beef (even if it is not listed on the labels).

    I would definitely avoid all chicken as it is by far the most common cause of feline food allergies nowadays.

    Instead of Whiskas I'd go for some decent quality budget foods from reputable online sources such as Zooplus.

    These are some budget makes I recommend:

    Smilla Fine Menu Turkey and Rabbit flavour

    https://www.zooplus.co.uk/shop/cats/canned_cat_food_pouches/smilla/smilla_fine_menu/885880

    Feringa Classic Meat Menu 800 gram size tins in flavours Rabbit & Turkey, Lamb & Rabbit, Duck & Veal

    https://www.zooplus.co.uk/shop/cats/canned_cat_food_pouches/feringa_wet_cat_food/842711

    Feringa Pure Meat Menu - Pure Lamb or Pure Rabbit

    https://www.zooplus.co.uk/shop/cats/canned_cat_food_pouches/feringa_wet_cat_food/meat_menu/374495

    These foods will cost you no more than feeding Whiskas etc but nutritionally speaking they will be much better for your cats.

    The best value is to be had by feeding the large tins (400 grams) or the extra large tins (800 grams) But when you open the tin decant the contents straight away into a plastic box with an airtight lid and keep it in the fridge. That way the food should stay fresh for a couple of days.

    Tins are always better value for money than pouches and these foods are better foods than Whiskas or Felix where you are paying for the convenience of pouches and the cost of marketing, while the food is of mediocre quality.

    With the dry food, avoid any makes that contain chicken or chicken by-products. Thrive Premium Plus dry food contains salmon and herring, no chicken and your girl may be OK with that. Sold by Pets at Home.

    https://www.petsathome.com/shop/en/pets/thrive-salmon-and-herring-dry-cat-food-15kg
     
  5. Boris Tinyfoot

    Boris Tinyfoot PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks for all this. I think diet is a good place to start and I'll make sure chicken is out of her diet; the links you gave me will make that fairly straight forward. With so many possible causes for this and the slow speed of any improvement it's going to take a while to nail it but, in the mean time, she seems perfectly happy (I know cat's can hide distress and keep it in mind), has a good appetite and plays as energetically as she always has.
     
    chillminx likes this.
  6. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    I'll look forward to an update of how your girls get on with their new diet. :)
     
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