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Linda Simmon
Linda Simmon, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 5639
Experience:  MVB MRCVS
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We have a domestic Cat that has a history of Over Grooming.

Customer Question

We have a domestic Cat that has a history of Over Grooming. Or that's the only way I can describe it. She grooms so much that she has created bald patches. We have used a Cone many times 2-3 weeks at a time with some initial results but when its removed she is back to over grooming again, pulling clumps of fur out. I removed her cone yesterday and noticed she has been scratching at the back of her neck where the cone sat. Anyway with the cone removed she has been scratching at it and its weeping. Yes we have been to a local vet several times without results, steroid jabs and medication. Is there a Vet out there that can HELP.
JA: I'll do all I can to help. Strange behavior is often perplexing. I'm sure the Veterinarian can help you. What is the domestic cat's name?
Customer: We have a domestic Cat that has a history of Over Grooming. Or that's the only way I can describe it. She grooms so much that she has created bald patches. We have used a Cone many times 2-3 weeks at a time with some initial results but when its removed she is back to over grooming again, pulling clumps of fur out. I removed her cone yesterday and noticed she has been scratching at the back of her neck where the cone sat. Anyway with the cone removed she has been scratching at it and its weeping. Yes we have been to a local vet several times without results, steroid jabs and medication. Is there a Vet out there that can HELP.
JA: Is there anything else the Vet should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: My name is ***** *****
Submitted: 19 days ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Linda Simmon replied 19 days ago.

Hello, this is Dr Linda, a UK based vet.

I'm so sorry to hear your cat has this issue and understand how frustrating and upsetting it must be.

The first step is in getting a definitive diagnosis,

We would consider e.g.


  • Environmental allergies

  • Food allergies

  • A flea allergy

  • Mites

  • Stress related over-grooming

  • A fungal or bacterial infection

  • Etc

What age is she and when did this all start?

Has she ever had any tests such as a skin scrape, skin swab or allergy blood tests?

Customer: replied 19 days ago.
She is 5 years old and no she has not had any of the above.
Expert:  Linda Simmon replied 19 days ago.

Thank you.

And do you know what age she was when the symptoms started?

Has the vet ever discussed a diagnosis (such as stress overgrooming, a food allergy or a flea allergy)?

Customer: replied 19 days ago.
She was less than a year old. She was a Feral kitten we decided to give a home to. Our Vet has given Steroid injections and provided other medications mainly to combat infections. Testing for an allergy has been mentioned but we are not convinced the Vet understands Cat specific problems. This may just be a personal judgement on our part. So we would like to take her to a recommended practice with Cat specific knowledge in the Southampton area. HELP
Expert:  Linda Simmon replied 19 days ago.

Thanks for this additional information, that is helpful.

It is fairly typical for a vet to provide medicine such as steroids and antibiotics. This will help short term. However, once symptoms continue to persist, it is time to take a closer look at things.

The issue with over grooming is that there are many possible causes.

We won't be able to properly control symptoms until we know why she is doing this.

If she does have e.g. allergies, we are unlikely to be able to cure her and her signs will always wax and wane but we should get better control of things and be able to put a treatment plan in place. The aim is to have her as comfortable as possible.

To reach a diagnosis, it usually means carrying out a few straightforward tests.

This would generally be a skin scrape, skin swab and perhaps some blood tests.

It may also mean some trials such as an elimination diet for 8 weeks and avoidance of certain allergens.

For all cats who overgroom, we always recommend meticulous parasite prevention (a prescription product used monthly on all pets and routine house cleaning). It is important there is never a gap in this.

We should also start feeding skin supplements containing omega 3 oils and collagen

As her skin is weeping, she sounds to have an infection and will need antibiotics and likely also some more anti itch medicine to break her itch scratch cycle and allow her symptoms to settle.

For those with behavioural overgrooming, it can help to try to minimise stress (keeping a consistent routine, having hideaway safe spaces, using a Feliway plug in, starting her on prescription anxiolytics etc).

Her condition is very common and all GP cats should be well versed in caring for cats who overgroom; indeed, it is one of the most common reasons a cat is present to a vet.

I personally work in the Greater London area so do not have a recommendation for a Southampton clinic. You could ask for referral to a dermatologist or you could seek a 2nd opinion from a local clinic with good online reviews.

Customer: replied 19 days ago.
OK many thanks that's what we will do.
Expert:  Linda Simmon replied 19 days ago.

Fingers crossed for a solution, I know it can be a really difficult condition to deal with.

This window will remain open and you are very welcome to keep me updated on things.

Stay safe.

Customer: replied 19 days ago.
Very pleased with the consultation given, many thanks.
Expert:  Linda Simmon replied 19 days ago.

Thank you for this kind feedback and take care.