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Ask A Vet With Dr. Jennifer Lu On Cats And Excessive Licking

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Cats are divas and divas need to look GORGEOUS at all times.

But what if your cat goes a little cuckoo and keeps licking itself?

A cat owner has that predicament:

My cat has licked all the hair off the places she can reach - tail, back legs, belly, etc. Over the months that it escalated we moved, she started getting to go outside, we got a second cat who tortures her, and she was put on a strict diet.

So is it allergies, anxiety, or something else? Why is she going crazy with the licking?

Thankfully, ASPCA's Dr. Jennifer Lu is on the case!

Here's what she has to say on a kitty's loco licking:

It’s called psychogenic alopecia – it is a behavior of excessive grooming, which usually occurs in specific areas such as you are describing: abdomen, flanks, hind and front legs.

It can be an anxiety related or compulsive disorder. However the diagnosis of psychogenic alopecia is a diagnosis that is made after all medical reasons for this disorder have been ruled out. Your cat could have a simple problem such as fleas or flea allergy dermatitis.

You might not see a flea on your cat and she might still suffer from this form of allergy – this is likely if your cat is not on a flea preventative as your cat is going outside. Other allergies such as environmental or food allergies also need to be ruled out first. I recommend to have your cat seen by a veterinarian to rule out the medical first.

If stress and frustration due stressful social interactions with your other cat are contributing to the problem you could temporally separate the cats and give your cat a calm routine and see if this makes any difference.

Whatever you determine to be the cause of the problem, your cat will be grateful that you are looking for a solution!

Your cat loves it when you take care of him or her.

So if you listen to a kitty's subtle hints, he or she will love you even more!

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