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cat pulling out hair

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Initial post: Mar 21, 2008 3:08:38 PM PDT
I have had my cat for over a month he was a rescue cat. I recently had him fixed and he has started to pull out his hair when grooming. I am not sure if it is the diet or stress. He is home alone during the day. Has anyone had this problem and what is the solution. I can not afford excessive vet treatments.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 22, 2008 6:15:16 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 29, 2008 5:04:27 AM PDT
Aquaria says:
I have a cat, who when i rescued her, was 6 months old,and who also pulls out her hair. She is now 5, and so far we have no cure. However, often cats do this when they have fleas, so check him for fleas. My cat is also very fearful, and since she was rescued, i have no idea why. But i think that it is a reaction to stress, like biting nails in humans, you know? I am hoping that someone more knowledgible will respond to both of us, but for now, check for fleas and other skin disturbances. May we find cause and cure!!!!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 23, 2008 12:48:12 PM PDT
Reedfrost says:
my cat would do this as well, and she was about 15 when she started doing this. it was a trend for a few months, then she stopped. im not sure exactly what might cause this, though. it might be something with her skin, or it could be fleas, like what was mentioned.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 23, 2008 4:06:30 PM PDT
Thank you for your reply. I ordered flea shampoo and treatment for mites and will start the Advantage multi as soon as it comes. I have never had a cat that does this. Hope this helps.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 25, 2008 5:02:13 AM PDT
I. Potter says:
Hi, in addition to what others have said the problem can be an allergy. One of my three cats (all indoors) develops an allergic skin condition shortly after Christmas every year. It turns out she is allergic to the tree we bring in for Christmas. Of course like with humans allergy can be caused by any number of things but if you can find a reasonable vet a Cortisone shot (a very common treatment) is usually about $30. Mine only needs one once a year but of course it all depends on the particular allergy. Most cats with an allergy will spend an unusual amount of time grooming, licking, and sometimes even chewing their fur. Sometimes causing not only hair loss but sores and scabs eventually. And as others have said fleas are a very common allergy causer and if this is the case, Advantage (make sure when you apply it you make contact with the skin by separating the hair behind the neck) is great. Good luck and your adopted kitty is lucky to have you!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 28, 2008 3:09:29 PM PDT
my cat is 17 years old and went thru a phase when he was about 5 years old when he did this. after $400 in test the vet told me it was either stress or an allergic reaction to something they didn't test for.
It passed... and i felt gypped being out$400...

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 29, 2008 8:02:53 AM PDT
J. Mork says:
As others have suggested stress, allergies, fleas, also have a scaping done by your vet to check for mange it is not always detected right away. Cotisone shots are a good idea. Also my cat has many many allergies, try feeding Purnia's sensitive systems cat food, it helped my cat. Some are allergic to certain foods. Look at the ingredients in this purina food, recommended by vets.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 21, 2008 6:44:25 PM PDT
horsegirlK says:
My vet calls it "fur mowing." My cat has done it for over a year, and I believe it was brought on by stress. He doesn't break the skin, and it doesn't hurt anything, so I don't worry about it. My vet said I could spend a fortune with a behaviorist, but ultimately he'll stop when and if he wants to. If your cat is free of skin conditions, and is otherwise healthy, I wouldn't be too concerned.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 22, 2008 5:18:17 PM PDT
Aquaria says:
Thank you for the info! I think my cat is stressed by the addition of another cat and this increased her "mowing". I am going to research this more online and try to solve it with the vets help, of course. Thanks again!

In reply to an earlier post on May 4, 2008 12:49:10 PM PDT
R. Landers says:
Try using some of the flower essences for cats is on online store that sells them. Renee

In reply to an earlier post on May 5, 2008 12:14:16 PM PDT
MamaSmurf says:
My daughter has a cat that wandered next to her open window on a rainy day. He was a nervous cat and did lick himself bald in places. The vet prescribed Prozac and she found a pharmacist that would put together capsules in the low dose. They tried to wean him off several times, but the behavior reappeared. He is doing well now and even the new baby in the house doesn't bother him.

In reply to an earlier post on May 7, 2008 10:03:42 AM PDT
Mark Nielsen says:
From all the other posts, it sounds like this behavior has several potential causes, but with my cat, it turned out to be dietary. I was the last one to believe that a change in diet from standard feed to a premium brand would make a direct difference in "mowing" behavior, but in my cat's case, it did. My advice is, if you aren't doing so already and can afford it, start feeding your cat a premium brand food that is appropriate to his age.

In reply to an earlier post on May 11, 2008 1:48:16 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 12, 2008 5:09:56 PM PDT
A. Remington says:
I've had two hair pullers. One had fleas when found as a stray and had a flea allergy. Once free of the fleas, she still pulled out her hair. She, in human terms, was a Nervous Nelly. I was never able to help her feel totally comfortable. She was a calico cat predominately white with baby fine hair. I just think it was her background and personality to be nervous and distrustful at times. I tried everything but ended up feeling that we weren't out to win beauty contests so let it be. The focus on her made her even more nervous!
My youngest cat is/was a hair puller. Once I started treating her differently, she quit doing most of it. She still does some as a matter of "fur mowing" her thick long hair to keep from getting matted up. I began to recognize she wanted to have a special very close 24/7 relationship with me so I started talking to her all the time, inviting her to help me do various tasks and etc and the vast amount of hair pulling stopped. I've never had a cat like her so it was an adjustment for me-kind of like having a dog around-but it's been pleasant and I get alot of assistance in doing every old thing in the house. Both of us are alot less bored!

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2008 4:18:41 PM PDT
Inky says:
We also have a cat who pulls out his hair while grooming. He is 10 year old, and just took up the habit about a year ago. He does not have fleas and trips to the vet have not led to the diagnosis of any medical/skin conditions that would lead to the hair pulling. I recently came across a product for cats called an itch stick. It resembles stick deodorant and is applied by rubbing the stick on the affected areas. It has a fresh scent, and relieves pain and itching while leaving behind a taste that is not pleasant to the cat and discourages biting/pulling. We began applying this to our cat once or twice a day about two weeks ago, and he has not pulled any hair since. Plus, he accepts the stick being rubbed on as petting and purrs through the whole application. It has made our live, and his, much better.

In reply to an earlier post on May 13, 2008 7:34:34 AM PDT
Aquaria says:
Itch stick? And they do not lick it off? Hmmm, i think i will ask my vet. If that works, it would be great, and easy, too, which is another delightful benefit- lol!

In reply to an earlier post on May 13, 2008 7:37:10 AM PDT
Aquaria says:
Your nervous Nelly sounds exactly like my hair mower, which is why i am convinced that her mowing is due to nerves. I will try giving her more attention, although she already follows me from room to room, etc. I just yearn for her to be more comfortable....

In reply to an earlier post on May 24, 2008 12:47:56 AM PDT
I have a cat I adopted from the shelter where I volunteer. When she was a baby she had a severe case of ringworm. Cats try to help themselves by pulling the fungus off. She, of course, no longer has ringworm yet still continues to pull out fur when she grooms. Maybe it's the same with your kitty? That said, I have noticed at the shelter some of the more nervous cats also do this. Does your cat seem like the neurotic type? If there are no sores or crusty spots where she's pulling out the fur I wouldn't be too concerned. It could also be an allergy as mentioned in other posts. You could try a food for sensitive skin which may help.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 22, 2008 12:56:46 PM PDT
D. Caraway says:
If you rule out fleas or skin conditions that cause itching, it is likely to be stress. My 9 y/o kitty has been doing this for about 3 years.
If the problem is stress, try distracting him when you notice he's doing it. Pet him, give him treats, or -best of all- PLAY with him. The feather teasers are great and the exercise will help reduce his stress.
Comfort Zone Feliway may also be helpful.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 23, 2008 5:21:05 AM PDT
R. Landers says:
Hi, My mother in law rescued a cat, and she began to pull out hair, we thought she was nervous of the other cats, but finally she took her to the vet and he found some lice on her. None of the other cats had it, but they had to undergo a 3 month treatment anyway.She got some shampoo from the vet and gave her a bath, then gave her revolution, once a month for 3 months.Its really hard to see the lice, they are usually on the hair follicle,and are a creamy white color, and very small.It won't hurt to bathe the cat, then use a flea comb , things usually show up more when the cat is wet.Some of the flower essences help cats with stress, if thats what is causing the hair pulling-search for flower essences/pet.We were shocked the cat had lice, and the vet said it was not that common.Hope this helps.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 27, 2008 11:15:38 AM PDT
S. Batchelor says:
Please try Zymox rinse. This is an all natural enzyme treatment for ear infections and skin disease. Any animal with compulsive scratching should be treated with Zymox first to see if it is a skin bacteria, fungus or bad yeast infection. Zymox will kill all these bad organisms on the skin that cannot be seen with the naked eye. It will save you alot of money on vet bills if this is the case.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 29, 2008 9:00:55 PM PDT
Dx101 says:
I had a cat that did this & the vet said it was dry skin. Her skin itched causing the biting & pulling out hair. I put a tablespoon of vegetable oil over her dry food once a day & within a few days it stopped. Within a week, the problem was resolved. Vet said the oil will work from the "inside out." May not be the problem, but worth a try.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 30, 2008 12:39:38 AM PDT
C. Haden says:
If the cat is over 5 and male, you might have to have his thyroid checked. Self-excoriation is a symptom of hyperthyroidism, which can be controlled by relatively inexpensive human medicine (tapazole - I forget the generic name). You might also try Feliway. And last but not least, Reiki, a form of energy healing that many cats respond to very well. Good luck.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 30, 2008 7:10:12 AM PDT
Aquaria says:
Felway in a spray form cost $35 and worked not at all- a total waste of money, but thanks for responding!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 21, 2008 9:49:25 AM PDT
LAD says:
My cat was pulling her fur out because she had hairballs. I bought the tube of hairball medicine and she stopped pulling her fur out.
She is a nervous cat, but was starting to show bald spots.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 21, 2008 10:02:14 AM PDT
Aquaria says:
Hi! Can you be more specific? Why would having hairballs cause the cat to eat more hair? My cat is nervous (and/or fearful) like yours. So, can you explain more? Thank you!
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Discussion in:  Cats forum
Participants:  56
Total posts:  76
Initial post:  Mar 21, 2008
Latest post:  Jan 20, 2015

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