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Overgrooming Cat

Discussion in 'Cat Chat' started by Casey Hall, Feb 29, 2020.

  1. Casey Hall

    Casey Hall PetForums Newbie

    Feb 29, 2020
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    We rescued two cats (sisters) in August 2019. One of the cats we’ve had a issue with since we had her.
    When she arrived she would bite and pull a certain patch of her fur out, so it would bald and bleed. We took her to the vets and they said it’s likely to be stress as she had been through a lot. We tried loads of things but ultimately it was put her in a cone until the scab grew out.
    As soon as we took the cone off, she’s bite again so we took her back to the vets and the cone went back one. They then said she doesn’t seem stressed and that it could be an allergy, so she’s now on hypo cat food and nothing else, as well as having a Pesticide treatment too.
    She’s had the cone off again for 1 week and she’s doing great but now she’s started to lick herself and now overgroom in the same spot she used to rip her fur out.
    She’s now on anxiety medication too. She’s in the same routine, has lots of toys and attention, is such a friendly cat and she does stay indoors. any help??
  2. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

    Nov 22, 2010
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    Hello @Casey Hall and welcome :)

    I am sorry to hear of the over grooming problem your cat has.

    Having to wear a cone is in itself very stressful for a cat and if she is already suffering from stress the cone will only be adding to it. Did the vet not prescribe steroids to stop the itching? That would usually be the first thing to try.

    Stress should only be diagnosed as a cause of a cat over grooming once all other possible causes have first been ruled out. The list of possible causes is quite long and includes food allergies and environmental allergies. .

    The most common cause of over-grooming in a cat is Flea Allergy (FAD). When you adopted the cat last year did she have fleas? I understand you are treating her now for fleas but did you treat her every month since last August ? If not then the itching is likely to be due to flea bites. It only takes one bite for the allergy to flare up again.

    In addition, flea allergy dermatitis can trigger food allergies in cats.

    A "hypoallergenic" food will not necessarily cure a food allergy. Which food is it you give her?

    The only food that may help her is Hills ZD wet food which contains hydrolised protein meaning the protein has been processed to break down the molecules and reduce allergic reactions. But some cats won't eat it and even if they do eat it, it does not always solve the problem.

    When food allergies are suspected it is best to put the cat on a proper scientific elimination diet to identify which meat proteins she is allergic to. She may be allergic to grains too, so the foods you use in the diet must be grain free too.

    The food must be wet food only. Dry food is unsuitable for an elimination diet as it contains too many different ingredients. and often several proteins.

    To start with you put the cat on a "NOVEL" protein diet. A NOVEL protein means a single protein food she has never eaten before in her life. In the UK these are kangaroo, horse, goat, reindeer,& maybe venison. Kangaroo is usually best liked.

    After 8 -10 weeks on the single novel protein diet with nothing else in the diet apart from fresh water, you start challenging the cat's immune system with one meat protein at a time and keep a daily log of symptoms.

    Bear in mind that beef, fish and chicken are the most common feline food allergens in cats and they should be the final 3 proteins you test in the challenge, Before that you would test for turkey, pork. lamb, rabbit, venison. One at a time every 3 weeks, with special single protein foods.

    Please have a look at the pinned thread on the topic of elimination diets and it will explain the diet in more detail as well as giving you the names of the foods and where to buy them.


    Also please have a read of this useful article from Icat Care about causes of itching when it is not due to fleas. Note that one common cause of over-grooming is pain or discomfort in the area being over-groomed e.g,. pain from cystitis.

    moomoowawa likes this.
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