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I have a cat whose been pulling his fur out since February. In February, he had most of his teeth pulled (three incisors and one molar left), so at first I thought it was because of that, since he's never pulled out his fur before (and actually I still do).

He's been pulling out his fur since. I posted a question here, about why he might be doing this. The only answer suggested that he was 'mowing' due to stress or parasites. There are a few problems with this:

  • I have three cats total, all indoor only. This is the only one that is mowing. Because of this, I doubt it is parasites.
  • While it is certainly possible the cat had stress right after the dental procedure, it has now been nearly six months. He acts perfectly normal. I can't really see this as being a result of stress.
  • My cat is cleaning normally. He doesn't clean more frequently than he used to, or more thoroughly (another reason I doubt it is stress/parasite related).

The only thing my cat is doing differently is in the way he cleans. All cats (that I've ever known, anyway) 'chew' a bit when they clean. They'll lick, pause and seem to chew at the skin for a second, and then go back to licking. This is perfectly normal. My cat now licks, then chews, then grabs a hunk of fur and pulls it out, then routinely goes back to licking. There is nothing sudden about it; he does this as if it is the normal cleaning procedure.

How can I stop my cat from pulling his fur out?

Notes:

  • We bought a collar and had the cat where that for a few months (2-3). The only thing it did was maybe lessen the intensity of the mowing for about two weeks after taking it off. My cat is now back to his normal mowing.
  • My cat is a short-hair red tabby, and relatively old (12 or 13).
  • There was no diet change that could have caused this problem. We tried some new foods after the problem occurred, but we are now back to using the same food we always have.
  • My cat is on a medication for what I believe is called a 'hyper thyroid' condition, but he had been on it several months before the dental procedure, and was perfectly normal. And no, it's not a pill, it's chewable.
  • My cat pulls fur out all over his body, but it is most concentrated on his arms, and more recently, on his legs.

Please do not hesitate to ask for more information.

  • this is a realy hard question as it is self enforcing behavour i realy hopes this can be solved,i had a cat with this problem after his teeth had to be removed.i had my cat put down for another reason but i never found a solution for this problem. – trond hansen Sep 3 '17 at 11:08
  • I have an all white cat with pinkish ears and belly. He is 8 years old and 19 lbs. He eats food right from my vet, hydrolyzed protein adult dry food. Nothing else. He has been on prednisone several times along with benedryl. None of this helps. I do have him shaved as much as possible and that seems to help for a little while. But my poor Puffer is so miserable. The groomer had a personal problem and took some time off, so his hair is pretty long and he just keeps pulling it out and his belly is such a bright pink. I have a black cat with no issues at all. I have a 1 year old shitzu that we re – Lisa Flaherty Sep 22 '17 at 15:02
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Could be stress related, boredom, parasites or allergies - skin issues should be consulted with a veterinarian as they can see it first hand and do a work-up (i.e skin scrapings, allergy testing).

Once you rule out medical issues then it's a good time to look at his lifestyle, does he have toys to play with? a cat tree? etc. Is there anything new in the environment that would cause him stress?

You may need to try some anti-anxiety medications (under a veterinarians orders), there are a few over the counter products to try such as the Feli-way diffuser (http://www.feliway.com/) or KalmAid. Both can be purchased at your vet hospital.

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We had a cat that did the same thing, to be point of being "naked" of fur from the waist down. What solved the problem was a medicine that you put in the neck of the cat to get rid of fleas. It turned out that the cat was allergic to fleas and was pulling out the fur because she was so itchy. She is an indoor cat, too. It lives with another cat that didn't have that problem. However, we have to medicate both cats against fleas to keep the fleas from going from one to the other.

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Could be related to his hyperthyroid medication or his hyperthyroid disease perhaps not being regulated. Hyperthyroid cats are far more anxious and a side effect from an allergic sensitivity to the medication is itchy skin, pulling hair out. Have they rechecked his levels along with a CBC (complete blood count)? If it is an allergic sensitivity, his eosinophils- a white cell type - are typically raised. Red/orange cats also seem to be have more allergic sensitivities. Perhaps there was a dynamic change in the household with the other cats after he came back from his dental. That could also have triggered it and now it has become a compulsive activity for him. Have you changed litters? A lot of them are terribly dusty and perfumed - avoid any lightweight ones,many cats are stressed by them. You might ask your doctor about clomipramine an ant-anxiety med, provided the behavior is not related to his thyroid med.

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