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Over grooming

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by Kimberley burgess, Jan 29, 2019.


  1. Kimberley burgess

    Kimberley burgess PetForums Newbie

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    Over a year ago I rescued approx 18 month old cat and her son now 1. After having the mother for about 6months I noticed she started licking her back and base of tail and stomach area. It soon broke down and was left with no hair she licked that much she caused wounds. The first vet I took her too said it was either stress or allergies, she received a steroid injection for this. This help which led the vet believe it was allergies. I did not re attend that vets due to him being rude at first. Anyway after appox 3 weeks we where back to square one. I have since given her hypoallergenic food, fleas her and other cat every month. She doesn’t seem stressed to me always having her food, wanting fuss and behaviour seems normal apart from the this constant over grooming. She has methopredsinole a steroid injection as tablets do nothing. She has probably had over 10 injections sometimes they work for 4 weeks and sometimes they do nothing. I have had another cat in April last year they don’t practically get on but her problems started way before this. I have feliway plug one for calming and then a friendship one and have seen no results. She was a stray before me having her and I find it so upsetting her skin and fur was prefect before coming to myself .looking for advice on any treatments you have used that work?
     

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  2. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Your poor cat! That amount of fur loss is dreadful! Has the vet excluded all possible causes for your cat's itchiness?

    Please read this article which lists possible causes of itching when it is not due to fleas:

    https://icatcare.org/advice/cat-health/pruritic-itchy-cat-–-when-it-not-fleas

    But on the subject of fleas, what product are you using to treat her with? ( Frontline spot-on is no longer fully effective).It only take one flea bite to start a reaction if a cat has Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD).

    FAD even when being controlled can sometimes trigger a food allergy. One of my cats has (controlled) flea allergy dermatitis and food allergies. When he first came to me he had scabs and sores starting at his tail and spreading up his back. He also had scabs on his head, neck and very itchy ears, which are other signs of food allergy. I got on top of the fleas straight away, and then tackled the food allergies.

    I did not want my cat to have steroids, so I put him on an elimination diet using a novel protein food (kangaroo in his case) for 8 weeks and then after that I reintroduced the other meat proteins one at a time every 3 weeks as a challenge to his immune response. I was able to identify that he is allergic to beef, chicken and fish. After that I excluded those meats from his diet permanently and he is fed a rotated diet of pork, turkey, venison, lamb, rabbit, and kangaroo. His skin is in great condition now and has been for the past 6 yrs.

    On the subject of 'elimination diets' you may like to read the pinned thread on the subject. It gives the foods you would need for the diet and where to buy them.

    https://www.petforums.co.uk/threads/elimination-diets.509821/

    If your girl's problem is stress-related and it started before you brought in the new cat, then it is possible she is stressed by having her grown up son still around. Not all mother cats like having their grown-up offspring around them. The son would have been a kitten when you rescued him and his mum; now he is a young adult, and it changes the relationship. (I assume he has been neutered btw?)

    if your girl doesn't get on with the new cat you adopted last year, it may not be initial cause of her itching and over-grooming, but to be living with a cat she doesn't like is not going to help keep her stress levels down. Are you able to keep her and the new cat separate all the time time, so they each have their own part of the house?

    Do your cats go outdoors?
     
    #2 chillminx, Jan 29, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2019
  3. Kimberley burgess

    Kimberley burgess PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you for your detailed reply
    The vets have only really looked at flea allergy and food allergy. I find it hard to believe it Is fleas as surely as a stray she would have had fleas and fur was beautiful then. I use stronghold prescription from the vets on all cats. I have never seen evidence of fleas either. I fed my cats mainly tuna or chicken or whole food bisckets called wellness core. Can I ask Why would kangaroo meat be ok for cats when they wouldn’t normal eat in wild ? Yes I have considered this too she seems to love her son grooming and always sleeping together. Yes all cats neutered. She tend to go in back bedroom which is kinda of her space new cat doesn’t go in to sleep but will wondering in if fighting with step brother. Both boys go outside, mother cat doesn’t really go out maybe 1-2hrs a day. Will be more in the summer but still only 5 or so hours.
    I am considering my mom looking after mother cat so she only cat seeing how that helps? Or would the move make her stress worse? She does always love my mom when she comes over
    Will research or into food diets as well as when tired before haven’t done it for 8 weeks it was 4 or so and I saw 0% results.
    Thank you again
    Kim
     
  4. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Hi Kimberley, cats in the wild would not eat beef, lamb, pork, venison, goat, or horse, (or chicken or turkey come to that) but most cats get on fine eating such meats in their cat food.

    If you were to feed your cat a species-appropriate diet only, you would feed her small rodents, birds, small snakes, lizards and some insects, possibly an occasional baby rabbit, and nothing else, as that is the diet the desert ancestors of our domestic cats would have eaten. It would be very expensive to feed our domestic cats such a diet, as the prey animals would have to be farmed specially as cat food, and not be available as a byproduct of the meat industry.

    Meanwhile we will all continue to feed our cats a variety of meat proteins that are available cheaply to cat food manufacturers at the wholesalers.

    Feeding kangaroo meat to a cat is in the same category as feeding them the above non-species appropriate meat proteins I have mentioned. The significant difference is that most UK cats have never in their lives eaten kangaroo before and therefore it is a protein unknown to their immune system - what is known as "a novel protein" . Most feline food allergies develop to meat proteins that the cat has been fed day after day for years. This is why chicken, beef and fish are the most common food allergens, because they are used most often in cat foods.

    Trying out different food diets is unlikely to bring reliable results. It is is too random and ad hoc. The elimination diet using a novel protein is the most scientific way to identify possible food allergens. If she does have a food allergy, her skin would start to improve noticeably after 2 to 3 weeks on the novel protein. And by the end of the 8 weeks her skin may be almost recovered (some cats need 10 weeks though). If there was no improvement at all in her skin after 8 to 10 weeks then you would be safe to conclude it is not a food allergy causing the problem.

    If you don't like the idea of using kangaroo as a novel protein there are other foods you could use e.g. goat, horse, venison, but if you wanted to use only a food that is species appropriate for cats then you'd need to use either pigeon meat, which you can buy from most butchers, or online, or pheasant which is available for most of the year. Or you could feed her small mice (which are sold to feed snakes). But pigeon meat and pheasant are not cheap especially as you would need to feed her one of those and nothing else for 8 weeks.

    Bear in mind too that mice, while they are certainly a species appropriate prey for a cat, are unlikely to be a novel protein. As your cat goes outdoors one can't assume she has never eaten a mouse in her life. The whole idea of the diet is to use a protein she has never eaten before. The purpose of which is to calm the immune system before reintroducing a series of single challenges to it after the 8 weeks.

    I would take all grains and dairy products out of your cat's diet for a start, as those are also common feline food allergies. You may be lucky and find that is all that is needed for her skin to improve.

    Ultimately it may be better for your girl to live as an only cat with your mum. But before making such a decision I would seriously consider putting her on the elimination diet. All, or most of the information you will need about the diet is in the pinned thread I posted you a link to in my previous answer. But I am happy to help with any further questions you may have. :)
     
    #4 chillminx, Jan 30, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2019
  5. Kimberley burgess

    Kimberley burgess PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks so much for your replies I have ordered the kangaroo meat for her and waiting delivery. Finally feeling hopeful after so many awful vet visits!
     
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  6. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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