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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 17898
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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Cat aged 5 years seems to be losing weight.....also has had

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Cat aged 5 years seems to be losing weight.....also has had a problem of over grooming for about a year now, vet has attempted to medicate cat by 'numbing' her tongue however this has not been sucessful and cat returns to grooming self after about 2 weeks after treatment. is losing hair where is grooming
Hello, my name isXXXXX and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I'm sorry to hear about your poor cat, Maddies and her excess grooming.

Has she ever done anything like this before?
Hair loss and excess grooming on the abdomen and rear legs can be related to allergies (food, fleas, inhaled), stress, or anal gland inflammation. In rare cases it can be related to abdominal pain, inflammatory bowel disease, infiltrative cancers or internal organ disease can all be possible causes.

Over grooming can be related to itchy skin or it can be a self calming behavior. Grooming releases a calming neurotransmitter called serotonin, which is a calming neurotransmitter.

Are you using any flea medication? Some are more effective than others and if she is experiencing an occasional bite that can lead to her overgrooming herself. If you have other cats and they aren't affected than it may be the other cats aren't allergic. I like Frontline Plus or Advantage II for cats. Many over the counter products aren't effective and some are toxic.

If she has an anal gland infection treating that should help. If it's a chronic problem then removing them may be indicated.

She may be allergic to a protein in her food. I recommend trying a true hypoallergenic diet such as Hills D/d or Royal Canin Duck and Green Peas. If you choose to use a hypoallergenic diet then it must be the only thing that she gets for at least 10 to 16 weeks to see the full effects. No table foods or treats or flavored medication.

If this is stress related then decreasing stress by using Feliway may help. Feliway is a synthetic analog of a facial pheromone which cats use to mark their home territory and is calming for them. Even though things may seem fine there may things that you aren't aware of.

Sometimes anti-anxiety drugs like buspirone or fluoxetine prescribed by her veterinarian may be indicated.

If you think this may be inhaled or flea allergy related then therapy with Chlorpheniramine at 4mg per cat once to twice daily and an omega-3 fatty acid such as Derm Caps should help her be more comfortable. I recommend a dose based upon the EPA portion (eicosapentanoic acid) of the supplement as if we do that the rest of the supplement will be properly balanced. Give her 10mg to 20mg of EPA per pound of body weight per day. For example an 8 pound cat could take 80mg to 160mg of EPA per day. Together antihistamines and omega-3 fatty acids work synergistically. These should help reduce the itch. Be aware that antihistamines can cause drowsiness or hyperactivity which should resolve with continued use.

So in short you can have her rechecked by her veterinarian to make sure there's no physical reason for her discomfort (full anal glands or abdominal pain). Or you can try flea preventatives, an antihistamine (chlorpheniramine) and an omega-3 fatty acid as well as a hypoallergenic diet and the feliway first and take her back in if those don't help.
Please let me know if you have any further questions.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi, many thanks for your response and for the advice....


In response....She hasn't done anything like this before, however this started about 1 year ago at the time of me having a baby...we thought it was stress due to the noise etc and with us being in the home all day, not sure if cat's could get stressed about this? However i have now returned to work so she is mainly on her own during the day but is still constantly grooming her hind legs, her behind and now started on the front she has lost a lot of hair in these places.


We have used various flea treatments (over counter) and also the vet gave us treatment which hasn't stopped the grooming. We have used 'Frontline' and 'bob martin'. Plus some medication from the vets.


We haven't changed any of her food. The vet at the last visit did say she was making her skin sore through the licking/ grooming and had some sores, this has improved and she doesn't seem to have any sores now.


I will try the recommended diet - Would this help her put on weight or is it because she has hair loss she looks on the thin side?

What Feliway product would you recommend? Spray or diffuser?

Can you purchase: Chlorpheniramine and omega-3 fatty acid such as Derm Caps - or is this something prescriped?

many Thanks

Thank you for the additional information.
Sometimes a stressful event (like a new baby) can start a behavior and then it becomes a habit. And some medical conditions, like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are worsened by stress. So there may be more then one factor here.

A food allergy often develops over time as it takes several exposures. The hypoallergenic diet can help with primary food allergies and IBD as well as both are triggered or worsened by allergens in the food.

Cats that have significant hair loss will look thinner, but IBD can also lead to weight loss. If this is just a lack of hair then if you weigh her she should be about the same weight as previously. If she really has lost weight then I would be more concerned she may have IBD.

I like both Feliway products. The diffusor is nice because you don't need to think about it, it works automatically. The spray is nice because you can spray it in the parts of a room in your home where she spends some time. Some people use both (diffusor in room she sleeps and spends most of her time in and spray in areas where she spends less time).

Chlorpheniramine is an over the counter antihistamine that people use too, so it is readily available at drug stores. Omega 3 fatty acids can be bought at pet stores, online or from your veterinarian.

Best of luck with your little one.