Licking off belly fur-- any thoughts?

Discussion in 'Feline Health - (The Main Forum)' started by Debbie and Grey Boy, Feb 2, 2010.

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  1. Debbie and Grey Boy

    Debbie and Grey Boy New Member

    Feb 2, 2010
    Hi there,

    Last summer all of you helped my husband and I when our cat, Grey Boy, was newly diagnosed with diabetes. With your guidance, we were able to transition him off of kibble and onto wet food. He is OTJ and when we spot check his blood glucose, his numbers are in the 70s. So again, thanks!

    We were wondering if anyone has experience with their cat "overgrooming"? Grey Boy has licked the hair off of a large part of his belly and inner thighs. We took him to the vet and they didn't see fleas or evidence of any skin condition. Our vet suggested that it may be an allergy issue. We took him off of Fancy Feast and put him on some hypo-allergenic canned food (Royal Canin Duck and Pea). We really haven't noticed a big improvement though.

    His tummy does not look red or irritated. We just don't want him to be uncomfortable.

    Thanks for reading,
  2. Chloe and Kipper (GA)

    Chloe and Kipper (GA) New Member

    Jan 3, 2010
    That duck and pea stuff may be higher carb than you want to feed your diabetic in remission/OTJ. I would spot check Grey Boy more often if you are going to feed that.

    In my lay experience, I have not heard of a cat OTJ displaying the overgrooming with no fleas, but when Kipper was diagnosed in April 2009 he had diabetic neuropathy and and have "overgroomed" the fur off the tip of his tail (it looked like a watercolor paint brush at the tip) and the fur off his back legs. Since I added the methylcobalamin (MB12) from Vitacost recommended by Hilary and Maui for the neuropathy, he has furred in very well, stopped the overgrooming, and no longer has diabetic neuropathy symptoms.

    Worth a try? I do not believe the 5 mg of MB12 a day in Grey Boy's food would hurt him as B vitamins are water soluable and would flush out in the urine if the body did not use.
  3. Gia and Quirk

    Gia and Quirk Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    It's probably not a food allergy. Overgrooming is usually a stress response and has been successfully treated with antidepressants.

    If an allergy is involved it could be seasonal. Have you noticed such a pattern?
  4. Dawn & Nova

    Dawn & Nova Well-Known Member

    Jan 15, 2010
    Have you actually seen the cat excessively licking the areas? Just curious because I went through a similar experience with one of my non-diabetic cats. I had the doctor look at him because he had a bald patch on his tummy that was growing.. and the same guess was made (allergies). As time went on, and food switches didn't seem to do anything, I started keeping a closer eye on him.

    It confused me (having felt a cats tongue) that he could lick so much to rip all the fur out, and not be red or tender. I noticed that he wasn't really grooming his tummy more then anywhere else. The skin is perfectly healthy, and the mostly bald spot covers about half of his underside. It's been a few years since the area stopped getting larger and he hasn't even shown any discomfort from it. He has a couple of diseases that take a higher priority so we haven't dug very far into trying to figure out what it is, so if you are having a similar experience I don't have an answer for you as to what it is. His doctor lovingly calls it "Jerry's weird tummy baldness thing" :).

    If he IS actually over-grooming.. then never mind :).
  5. Larry and Kitties

    Larry and Kitties Well-Known Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    How long has he been eating the limited ingredient food? It takes about a month for any results to show.
  6. Randi & Max (GA)

    Randi & Max (GA) Well-Known Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    One of my civvie cats does the same thing. She is tiny, about 7 pounds and her tummy is
    mostly bare and her thighs as well.
    The vet could not find anything wrong with her and the skin is perfect.
    The only thing the vest said is that the grooming could have become a habit.
    I still don't have an answer. Medically she has always been healthy.
    She is an indoor cat and has never been outside.
  7. Phoebe_TiggyGA_NortonGA

    Phoebe_TiggyGA_NortonGA Well-Known Member

    Dec 29, 2009
    One of my cats licks his fur off on his belly, spine and back legs. He has Hyperthyroid which causes him to feel itchy and be hyperactive. He has calmed down now that he is on medication (tapazole) but still licks some.
  8. Jen & Squeak

    Jen & Squeak Well-Known Member

    Dec 28, 2009

    I'll contradict Gia (that's ok, we're friends lol)

    When Squeak was diagnosed, both he and his civie sister at Hills TD (yes, I know, crappy). I immediately switched Squeak to FFeast but with Cleo we transitioned slower. Fast forward a few months, and Cleo had licked all the fur off of her belly and had a very slight rash. The vet found no parasites etc. and I went to a holistic vet to see some alternative options....the holistic vet suggested steroids and antibiotics! Yikes! Some holistic vet...but I agreed and the rash went away and fur started growing. Then, it started up again. I could not figure out what was going on and then a talk with our dear departed Robin twigged that Cleo was getting a handful of kibble every so could that be the cause? But it was, because I threw away the food and Cleo has never developed these issues again.

    So yes, it could be something in the food.
  9. Gia and Quirk

    Gia and Quirk Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    Interesting, Jen, because it was Robin who told us about the overgrooming/stress connection that she treated Nikita for all her life! There is certainly more than one possibility. Of course if there is a rash allergies should be suspected.
  10. Joanna & Bix (GA)

    Joanna & Bix (GA) Well-Known Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    I have a kitty who does this off & on and with her I think it is some mix of anxiety and food issues (she has mild IBD). Here is the best info I have found on it.

    Personally, I wouldn't bother with many of these tests unless there is a reason to suspect those specific things. If it is allergies, I would guess (and this is totally my own guess) that you would see some signs of allergy - either a digestive response, or something that looks itchy (?) on their skin. Just guessing though.

    For what it's worth, my IBD cats have done better on Wellness than they did on FF, so you might just experiment with other LC foods from Janet & Binky's list rather than go the prescription route (and it may be that FF is not a problem anyhow).

    And also maybe think about whether there are any environmental changes that could be causing stress/anxiety. With my kitty, the bald spots have become much bigger a couple times after another of my cats passed away :sad: , and then after a few months she seems to let the hair grow back.
  11. Debbie and Grey Boy

    Debbie and Grey Boy New Member

    Feb 2, 2010
    Thank you for your ideas. You have given me some things to consider.

  12. evakot

    evakot Member

    Jan 30, 2010
    Overgrooming might be a sign of anxiety. Did your cat have any changes in his routine, any new stresses recently?
  13. ClaudiaThompson

    ClaudiaThompson Member

    Jan 9, 2013
    I know that this may sound very simplistic but try giving your cat a good bath if he or she hasn't had one for awhile, and make SURE to rinse all the soap off very well.

    I was having this same problem with my cat and was beside myself to get her to stop licking her belly. Finally I realize that perhaps she is licking her belly in desperation, because the rest of her that she cannot reach, like her back for instance, she instead licks her belly and legs since that is all that she can reach!

    I gave her a bath, and put her into one of those large plastic laundry tubs full of warm water and used the shower sprayer and dunked her in it several times *not her head, of course). In this way I made sure to get all the soap off. I refilled the tub more than once. Because dried on soap that doesn't get rinsed off can also cause itching.

    Also make sure the cat's rear end is clean, because if they are overweight and cannot reach it to clean it, it will itch and they will instead lick what they CAN reach, being their belly and legs.

    Again, make SURE to keep your floors clean, dust free, because we don't realize this but cats are walking right down there IN IT and they can be allergic to dust and/or dust mites! But don't use anything with harsh chemicals on your floor or it could cause an allergic reaction. Make sure also to keep the places where they sleep clean, like couches, kitty baskets, etc. Try also to keep the dust out of their litter tray. scoop up the ground up fine dust out of it and throw it away because when they kick up the dust when using the litter, it gets on their belly!

    Anyway, my kitty went from being miserable and licking her belly almost raw to a peaceful, serene happy kitty in just one day, simply because I gave her a good bath and rinse, and cleaned up the floors! Now I am going to make sure to do that more often.
    Critter Mom likes this.
  14. DebG

    DebG Well-Known Member

    Mar 30, 2016
    Might want to check out the pet alive products. They are all natural. My son has a Jack Russell who has horrible allergies to a lot of things he put her on Pet alive products and all the redness and itching has completely stopped. The products do work.
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