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Old 05-24-2019, 11:35 AM   #1
thankfulheart
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Default cat licking hair off her body

My 12 year old female cat started licking her side about 6 weeks ago...over that time she has licked all the hair off the side of her body and leg and her belly. I've taken her to the vet twice...at first they said she had fleas...she didn't. Non of the animals do. Now they are saying she has probably developed a food allergy and we have to avoid a whole list of things or get the rx food they sell... Has anyone every had this issue? I'll be heading to the store to read labels soon...I don't even feel like this is the problem, but I guess I need to try to find food and see. They say it can take a couple months to know a difference!
We moved in October, so we thought at first it was stress and the vet had us use a feliway plug in to see if it helped and it didn't. I thought it was odd that if it was stress it happened 5 months or so after we moved. She was fine until one day I noticed she had a little patch gone on her side...and then it just went from there. She's not damaging the skin, just licking her hair off.
I do know that not long before I noticed this, we had given her a little dry food at night to try to keep her from waking us up to eat...so maybe it was a food allergy triggered by that? They dry food didn't work, so we only did that as long as the bag lasted and quit. They wake us up I think just because they can. They are extremely spoiled...bottle babies from day 1 and I'm not sure they know they are cats. She's really looking bad and now she's started on her other side, so I need to figure out what to do for her. Other than the excessive grooming she's perfectly normal. I don't even see her grooming much. She must do it mostly when we're in bed. I'll try to post some pictures in a little bit.
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Old 05-24-2019, 11:45 AM   #2
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Default Re: cat licking hair off her body

My daughter's 14 yr old cat does this. She is worse when she is stressed. If my daughter goes out of town, she licks and licks herself bald. The vet her suggested mental medication to keep her chill. We try to just keep her chill and it is better with the licking. (It could be anything that is causing the stress and not the move.)
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Old 05-24-2019, 12:25 PM   #3
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Default Re: cat licking hair off her body

https://photos.app.goo.gl/tn92gFT5JVxgS5SR6

Hoping this works....


I really don't know what would be causing her stress. Unless it's the dogs...we lived in a two story house before and they spent a lot of time upstairs. She tells the dogs off when they bother her though. Once in awhile it happens and she will hiss and spit and smack the dog...the dog is afraid of her and will run off.
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Old 05-24-2019, 12:38 PM   #4
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Default Re: cat licking hair off her body

That is what my daughter's cat does. Same breed as well.
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Old 05-24-2019, 12:38 PM   #5
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Default Re: cat licking hair off her body

My cat has been licking his belly bald. Vet had us try a super expensive hypo allergenic food that he refused to eat. He also refuses to eat any wet food or single food item (like rice or tuna). I went to petsmart and found a simple food with none of the same ingredients as his current food and I avoided chicken because that is a main animal allergen. lol and behold, his belly hair is growing back!
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Old 05-24-2019, 12:43 PM   #6
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Default Re: cat licking hair off her body

They will eat dry food, but we had a male cat that had a lot of issues with urinary blockages so we switched them all to canned food several years ago. We have one male and one female now. They eat mainly fancy feast beef...sometimes chicken and sometimes beef/chicken mix. The dry food we gave them was a Rachel Ray food...I think it was the chicken one. Hmm.

expatmom, the list the vet gave us said to avoid seafood, but didn't mention chicken. I had just read that chicken was an allergen before your post...I wonder why the vet didn't mention it. So frustrating! Do you mind sharing what food it was from Petsmart?
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Old 05-24-2019, 12:52 PM   #7
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Default Re: cat licking hair off her body

I switched from Blue Buffalo Salmon and brown rice to Natural Balance Green Pea and Salmon. Apparently chicken byproducts are in almost every pet food.
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Old 05-24-2019, 01:50 PM   #8
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Default Re: cat licking hair off her body

I'm just pricing different cat foods online. It will about double what we're paying now and it's already a lot.

---------- Post added at 02:50 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:48 PM ----------

expatmom, how long before you saw results after switching foods?
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Old 05-24-2019, 02:29 PM   #9
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Default Re: cat licking hair off her body

I adopted my cat from a shelter last year. She is British Shorthair so super thick dual layer coat. She licked all the long thick layer off leaving just part of the downy layer off. Was the stress of being given away and left in the shelter.

If stress, cats get caught in a cycle because licking releases their happy chemicals and they almost get addicted. Took a month to change the behavior and several months to grow it back. At the worst bit the thick layer never came back. Will grab her to show the difference.

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---------- Post added at 10:24 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:21 PM ----------

There she is now. Only a slight light patch that doesn't come back right.

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---------- Post added at 10:29 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:24 PM ----------

I'm walking around doing stuff hence several posts. Lol

We broke the habit by petting her or picking her up when she licked too hard or too long. Tried a onesie. Also applied an herbal gel as licking caused dryness too.

She did have food sensitivities too but different symptoms (burping, farting, throwing up sometime).

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Old 05-24-2019, 02:37 PM   #10
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Default Re: cat licking hair off her body

Itís been about 3 months but honestly I forgot to check when it started growing back.

I have always found that my cats eat significantly less when the food is better quality and they poop less and itís less smelly. So the cost isnít truly double if they eat less.
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Old 05-24-2019, 03:01 PM   #11
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Default Re: cat licking hair off her body

Sensitivity-wise, mine only eats chicken, beef, duck and lamb. We ruled out fish and turkey as well as grains.

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Old 05-30-2019, 01:13 PM   #12
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Default Re: cat licking hair off her body

She's really doing a number on herself now. We're going to start slowly switching her over to a one source protein food tonight and get her weaned off the other cat food. I'm hoping like crazy that will do it. She has started licking her other side now and has several bald patches. She's making me so sad.

I used to not see her lick much, but the last several days she is licking a lot. I try to distract her but she goes right back to it. I truly hope switching foods will bring her some relief!!

I'm hoping with the better quality food they want want to eat all the time. We will see!
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Old 05-30-2019, 01:21 PM   #13
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Default Re: cat licking hair off her body

Mine eats less on the right food.

You can try rub on products while you wait. There are some good pet safe gels sold on amazon. We used both a spray and gel along with stress spray and changing the diet (though I am sure the licking was stress and dryness from im a vicious circle for mine).

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---------- Post added at 09:21 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:19 PM ----------

We were recommended one source protein (though my cat refused the flavors)... we were told go with one not in common cat food, like reindeer, boar, etc.

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Old 05-30-2019, 01:29 PM   #14
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Default Re: cat licking hair off her body

Do cats usually have other symptoms of food allergies besides the licking? She doesn't, but read a few pages today and they all had a list of signs. :/
I know the licking is a food allergy symptom, but can it stand alone? This whole thing is so strange. I want to lean toward stress but seeing as we moved in October and this started later in February, I just don't know.
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Old 05-30-2019, 02:06 PM   #15
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Default Re: cat licking hair off her body

My cats food sensitivity was seen in farting, burping and killer smell poop splots in the litter box. If I try and change her kibble for a cheaper one with grains she occasionally throws up. Eating the right diet she NEVER gets a hairball either.

Allergies can be itchiness, dandruff, eczema, sneezing, coughing, watery eyes... all sorts really like people.

Stress can sometimes be as simple as moving the litter box or furniture for some cats (though most are more adaptable than that!)



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