My cat is 5 and last year this time she started to lick her fur from her belly (leaving a mohawk) down to her back legs. She is very skittish ,and the slightest loud sound makes her run for cover. She is very loving and quiet. I just don't know what to do. I don't have any money for a vet. Can someone tell me what to do please?
People have mentioned stress but no one has brought up allergies which is most likely the case. Other reasons to overgroom are parasites and pain (ex. Over grooming abdomen because of a UTI).
First thing is to see a veterinarian to rule out medical reasons - in the meantime if she isn't already on a specialty diet I would switch it up, get a food with a different novel protein (ex venison instead of chicken). Ideally a prescription food from the veterinary hospital as there is no risk for contamination like pet store or grocery store brands, every bag is tested before leaving the factory.
Yes, it is probably a stress response. But it can probably be resolved by building up her trust with you and the environment. To do this, stay reasonably far away until she gets used to her environment. Then, work with her everyday to build up trust, by acclimating her to your hands. Give her treats while doing this.