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Author Topic:   cat ripping out fur
fleafly
Member

Posts: 996
From:sheridan, wy
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 08-15-2003 12:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fleafly     Edit/Delete Message
One of my cats has been ripping her fur out along her sides just below her spine. She used to do this when we lived in TX and I attributed it to flea allergies. We now live in an area with out fleas, and she started doing it again. Usually with allergies they lick their fur a lot, but she actually grabs it with her teeth and rips it out in chunks. Has anyone had a cat do this?

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bugaboo
Member

Posts: 50
From:oregon
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 08-15-2003 01:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for bugaboo     Edit/Delete Message
No area dosent have flee's,.. if you find one leme know.....i had a cat that had a skin rash that i always thought it was kitty ezema...but that dosent sound like your case...is there rashes or irritation around where she is pulling out the furr? what kind of cat is it? It could also be the humidity (tx would be a thought...) also what kind of weather did you move to it could be a reaction to the change....let me know how things go.

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nern

Moderator

Posts: 1591
From:NY, USA
Registered: Oct 2002

posted 08-15-2003 08:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for nern     Edit/Delete Message
When my cat ripped his fur out that way the vet thought he had food allergies...later it was discovered that he did in fact have fleas. It does'nt neccessarily have to be an allergy to fleas...other allergies can cause this behavior and so can stress.

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fleafly
Member

Posts: 996
From:sheridan, wy
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 08-16-2003 01:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fleafly     Edit/Delete Message
We moved from Texas which is very humid to Wyoming which is very dry. She did this behavior in both climates though. She is a 2 year old gray tabby with short hair. I have had her since she was 6 weeks old. She doesn't have sores and her skin doesn't look itchy or scabby. She looks totally normal except that she has bald patches.

Fleas don't survive in certain climates. When I lived in Utah I was told by my Vet that there were no fleas there. Wyoming is higher and colder than Utah, so I assume they wouldn't have fleas as well. I haven't treated any of the animals for fleas since we moved here (including two dogs that go outside) and no one has had any fleas.

I realize that other allergies can cause this which is why I was wondering if someone else's cat had similar behavior and what it was allergic to.

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digitalredx
New Member

Posts: 6
From:Salt Lake City, UT, USA
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 08-21-2003 09:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for digitalredx     Edit/Delete Message
My mom's cat also rips out her fur, especially on her tail and back. We think it is largely anxiety b/c she does it mostly when she's upset. The vet thought she might have dry or irritated skin and gave her a steroid injection, which did seem to help for a little while, but she went back to pulling her fur out. When things are calm she doesn't do it as much! Of note, I once knew a bird that pulled its feathers out until it was nearly bald, and the vet gave it a form of Prozac for animals and it stopped doing it!

Btw, this cat is in Utah as well and it doesn't have fleas.

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fleafly
Member

Posts: 996
From:sheridan, wy
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 08-22-2003 12:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fleafly     Edit/Delete Message
There is nothing that I can see in her life that would be making her anxious. There are no changes between when she does and doesn't rip out her fur. The prozac thing is interesting, I think I will talk about that with my vet. She is a more skittish kitty, so maybe she does have some anxiety issues. Thanks for the suggestions.

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clayfulanimals
New Member

Posts: 3
From:
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 08-31-2003 05:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for clayfulanimals     Edit/Delete Message
My 5 yr old Tabby was eating her hair off and I went to our vet just to be given drugs that never did help. I then took her to a cat vet who told me she had allergies and then gave her another shot of cortisone. Nothing helped, as a matter of fact it got worse. She had no hair on her legs, her belly, her sides and was working on her back. Both vets were right about her having allergies and you can tell if your cat has allergies by looking at the base of her ears where they meet the top of her head.There will be little bad spots there, one at each ear. She has had this problem for 1 yr. Last month I bought 2 HEPA filters to run in my house and today I have a HAIRY cat.She doesn't eat her hair off anymore and the spots at her ears are gone.My vets never even mentioned HEPA filters,just shots that never worked. I paid less for the two big HEPA filters then my vet visits. Not to mention my air is better for my family as well. Try one and see if it helps, can't hurt.

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fleafly
Member

Posts: 996
From:sheridan, wy
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 08-31-2003 08:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for fleafly     Edit/Delete Message
Good idea I have been thinking about trying one anyway.

I gave my cat a dose of advantage even though we don't have fleas here and it helped. She stopped ripping her fur out and it is growing back. It's really weird, but hey whatever works.

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vanderlleef
Member

Posts: 19
From:NY
Registered: Sep 2003

posted 09-21-2003 10:18 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for vanderlleef     Edit/Delete Message
Hi,
I had an elderly cat who began ripping out her fur. She had a favorite stuffed animal, and she would also pull the fur out of it! My vet ruled out allergies, and then tried her on Elavil to address anxiety. Like your cat, mine didn't seem to be anxious. Often she would start frantically ripping out fur while she was curled up in my lap. I finally figured out that she did this when she was hungry. I guess as she got older, she misinterpreted signs to eat. She always had food available to her (in all rooms of the house), but when she started to pull out her fur, I put the food in front of her and she would eat. I ended up putting her food in front of her every couple of hours when I was home, and after about a month, picking was almost completely eliminated. I'm sure this isn't a common cause, but maybe it will shed some light on your problem. Good luck!

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fleafly
Member

Posts: 996
From:sheridan, wy
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 09-21-2003 11:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fleafly     Edit/Delete Message
Thank you for sharing your experience. It's usually trial and error with stuff like this. I will try to see if it has to do with being hungry. You never know. Thank you.

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fleafly
Member

Posts: 996
From:sheridan, wy
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 11-10-2003 10:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for fleafly     Edit/Delete Message
The update:

Merla is at it again. I talked to my vet about the behavior and she said it was probably psychological, but wanted to rule out allergies. We tried some steroid pills which much to my surprise seemed to help, so my vet gave her a steroid shot. A couple of days after the shot I walked in to the bedroom and she was sitting there with a clump of fur in her mouth and a I've been caught look on her face! There have been clumps of fur everywhere on the ground and she is almost bald along her side. I talked to the vet again and she said it was probably behavioral and prescribed prozac. I don't want to give her a drug, but don't see much choice at this point. I started her on the prozac on Saturday so we will see if it helps. It can take 2 weeks to take effect.

I really am at a loss, there is nothing that has been a constant when she rips out her fur. She has done it with different climates, houses, food etc. I really can't think what would be stressing her if stress is the problem. I guess my kitty is just crazy! Although I picked the prozac up from a people pharmacy so they think I am the one that is crazy.

I did some research on feline skin issues and the only one that fit her behavior is feline psychogenic alopecia, in case anyone else has a cat doing something similar.

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