Ask the Veterinarian/Overgrooming


Dear Dr.
We have two cats, one male and one female. Four months ago we welcomed our first child into the home, and over the past approx. six weeks our male cat has licked away a lot of his fur from his belly and inner legs. He is allergic to flea bites and I noticed old flea bites on his skin once he'd removed his fur (about 7 or 8 little scabs). I then put the overcleaning down to the irritation caused by the flea bites, however he is still cleaning in the same places. I am now starting to think this could be stressed related caused by a new baby in the household. He also tends to scoot on the carpet, I don't know if this could be linked.

Do you have an idea as to what could be causing this?



It very well could be flea allergy.  That takes a long time to go away unless some treatment is given.  We usually give a long acting steroid shot (DepoMedrol) to cats for this condition every 2-4 weeks.  If that does not take it away and stop the licking, then a drug like Elavil (a human antidepressant) usually stops the excessive grooming behavior.

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Dr. Louis N. Gotthelf


Dermatology and ear diseases of dogs and cats


I am the author of "Small Animal Ear Diseases; An Illustrated Guide" published by W.B. Saunders. I have over 25 years of clinical experience with a special interest in dermatologic conditions and ear diseases.

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