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PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 1:31 am 
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Bengal Kitten

Joined: Tue Mar 26, 2013 5:51 am
Posts: 5
Hey all,

I've made a few searches here but haven't found anything definitive and wanted to start a new thread.

Details!

-- A few months ago, I noticed that Safari had chewed her front right leg between her foot and elbow (?) to the point where she broke the skin. I took her to the vet and he said that because of the way it happened - focused chewing and whatnot - it was stress-related, not an allergy. OK, great. They gave her a shot of some kind of steroid and some topical spray for me to put on. Worked great until the shot wore off.

-- She began chewing again about a month later, so I did the same thing.

-- She's also licked and groomed herself to the point that her belly between her hind legs is pretty bare. Not completely, but the fur is pretty sparse. She's also groomed herself to the point that there's a breaking the skin on her left hind leg as well.

-- Finally, behind her front right leg she's done something similar - licked and chewed her fur to the point where it's very sparse and not "Bengal-y" i.e spotted/striped.

So, anyway, my point in posting here is asking for some advice or pointers on how to handle this. I'm really tired of driving her to the vet (at this point I should just be able to pick something up from them without the added stress of driving her there) and there has to be some way to help her stop this. I work all day so I'm not here to entertain her/stop her from overdoing it all the damn time. Does anyone have any home-based remedies for this kind of stuff? Maybe some food to try? Anything you can offer would be rather appreciated! I can answer any other questions you may present as well.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 11:40 am 
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Asian Leopard Cat

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Hi sdotbailey

Welcome and sorry to hear about your kitty.

Not sure how helpful I can be but my family had a Doberman that used to do this - it was put down to separation anxiety and cleared up when my mum retired and was home more. But that doesn't help you really as you work and there is no way round that - I just wondered how old Safari is and how long she is left during the day whilst you are at work? Does she have any other kitty or pet pals to play with/keep her company and/or does she have plenty of toys, cat trees to keep her occupied whilst you are out? She might get bored and anxious whilst you're at work and hence over groom and chew herself which is exactly what was happening with our Doberman.

So sorry I can't be of more help. Hopefully someone else on here may have encountered the same problem and be able to offer some advice.

Good luck.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 11:59 am 
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Asian Leopard Cat

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PS if the vet is certain it is stress related, have they suggested using Feliway or anything along those lines? Or is this something you have already tried??


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 3:19 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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Location: Portland Oregon, USA
Here's the thing... if the vet is right that it is stress-related (a cop-out diagnosis imo since non of the other things have been ruled out: parasites, food allergies or airborn allergies) then the goal ought to be to analyze what is bothering your cat, and remove the stressors. Simply medicating the poor cat is another cop-out because it solves nothing.

To me the logical progression of trying to get this thing solved is to try to first get an accurate diagnosis. If it is stress, what changed around the house that corresponds with the over grooming? Have you guys ruled out it being a parasite problem (see link below)? Have you guys ruled out it being a food allergy? Were there any changes to her diet that corresponded with this problem?

You honestly might want to consider switching vets at this point too. It doesn't sound like an overwhelming amount of effort or skill was brought to bear on this problem from that end. It seems like kind of a half-assed effort imo. But from your end it will take some effort and perseverance too. These kind of problems are hard, and it's unlikely you are simply going to be able to take your cat to the vet once, get a shot or something, and then never see the problem again. You have to be willing to see this thing through.

http://www.cat-health-detective.com/cat-hair-loss.html

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 2:44 am 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Mon Apr 01, 2013 11:03 pm
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I would also look at environmental things that could be irritating her or making her smell weird, leading to the over-grooming. Have you changed carpet or floor cleaners, laundry detergent, is she getting into something?

One of mine had a terrible reaction to the "pet-safe" carpet refresher. It didn't give him a rash but it did lead to over-grooming and balding before I figured out that was the problem.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2014 11:09 pm 
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Bengal Kitten

Joined: Tue Mar 26, 2013 5:51 am
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Tabitha wrote:
Hi sdotbailey

Welcome and sorry to hear about your kitty.

Not sure how helpful I can be but my family had a Doberman that used to do this - it was put down to separation anxiety and cleared up when my mum retired and was home more. But that doesn't help you really as you work and there is no way round that - I just wondered how old Safari is and how long she is left during the day whilst you are at work? Does she have any other kitty or pet pals to play with/keep her company and/or does she have plenty of toys, cat trees to keep her occupied whilst you are out? She might get bored and anxious whilst you're at work and hence over groom and chew herself which is exactly what was happening with our Doberman.

So sorry I can't be of more help. Hopefully someone else on here may have encountered the same problem and be able to offer some advice.

Good luck.


Hey there! Sorry for the late reply, I totally blanked on this post!

Safari is 8 years old and she's usually alone about 10 hours during the day. But, I do know that she spends a good portion of that asleep - she sleeps when I'm home too - so she's not just wistfully staring out a window or anything. I don't have any other pets though I'm thinking of getting a kitten to maybe help keep her a bit more occupied during the day. I've got plenty of toys for her - lots of little mice and balls and stuff - and she climbs all over: up my record player, top of TV, windowsill, top of fridge. I don't have any cat trees for her but she gets a kick out of what she can climb now. So, even with all that I'm not sure what else I can do to occupy her. I have been trying to take her outside each evening when I get home on her leash so that changes things up. 20-30 minutes of walking around usually satiates her enough to just relax the rest of the night.

So, that's really where I'm at. I asked the vet for a refill of the anti-biotic spray for her bites and that always seems to help out. They also gave me a pill-form steroid this time instead of the shot. I grind it up and mix it into her wet food because I really just don't want to force a damn pill down her throat. We'll see how that all plays out, it's an every-other-day thing and it's only been two days. I'm trying to give her attention and all that as much as I can but I can't just give her unlimited time as soon as I walk in the door. I do think that maybe a kitten would help because then at least they can play and she can have someone to take her mind off the fact that I'm gone.


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2014 11:15 pm 
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Bengal Kitten

Joined: Tue Mar 26, 2013 5:51 am
Posts: 5
brianj12 wrote:
Here's the thing... if the vet is right that it is stress-related (a cop-out diagnosis imo since non of the other things have been ruled out: parasites, food allergies or airborn allergies) then the goal ought to be to analyze what is bothering your cat, and remove the stressors. Simply medicating the poor cat is another cop-out because it solves nothing.

To me the logical progression of trying to get this thing solved is to try to first get an accurate diagnosis. If it is stress, what changed around the house that corresponds with the over grooming? Have you guys ruled out it being a parasite problem (see link below)? Have you guys ruled out it being a food allergy? Were there any changes to her diet that corresponded with this problem?

You honestly might want to consider switching vets at this point too. It doesn't sound like an overwhelming amount of effort or skill was brought to bear on this problem from that end. It seems like kind of a half-assed effort imo. But from your end it will take some effort and perseverance too. These kind of problems are hard, and it's unlikely you are simply going to be able to take your cat to the vet once, get a shot or something, and then never see the problem again. You have to be willing to see this thing through.

http://www.cat-health-detective.com/cat-hair-loss.html



Due to the nature of her bites, they don't believe that it's a food allergy. I've not changed her food since I got her either, so unless she developed it over the last few years, I don't have any reason to think that's the problem. I've also gone through mental checklists of changes in the apartment and cannot think of any major ones - no new furniture, no rearranging, nothing. I thought that it could've been related to me washing the blanket she sleeps on occasionally (the detergent) but even since I've taken it away, I didn't see any change so I ruled that out.

This week I got some more of the antibiotic spray for her bites - that always works to heal them up - and they gave me a pill-form steroid. I ground it up and mixed it with her wet food. It's only been a couple days so I don't know whether it'll have any effect but we'll see. They didn't deem it necessary to check for ringworm or anything and I'm not sure how she'd even get it anyway. She's an indoor cat other than the times I take her outside on her leash. She's content to just walk around the driveway and the front lawn of the apartment a bit so I'd think exposure to something like that would be minimal. But, if this gets worse, I think I'll have them do a bit more investigation on what the problem could be.

Thanks for that link, it's very helpful!


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2014 11:16 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Tue May 08, 2012 2:22 pm
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Location: London
So what changes did you have that might have trigged this behaviour?
I would be careful with a new kitten sometimes it works sometimes it could make things worse.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2014 3:37 pm 
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Senior Bengal

Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2012 5:02 pm
Posts: 98
Location: Central Pennsylvania, USA
I have a Bengal with the stress induced over grooming. My vet ruled out medical reasons - ringworm, parasites. He's was new to our house from a breeder. He's 1 year old. What started as a small spot on his knee area quickly grew.

I tried two kinds of head cones and two types of yucky gel. We did a shot of antibiotics, too.

My vet suggested we try medication, Clomicalm, to see if this would reduce his anxiety. Before beginning the meds we did a full blood panel workup to rule out other illnesses. The lab work was abnormal for white blood cell count. Now I was worried about cancer. I already had one Bengal die from FIP and another from HCM. I assumed that I was looking at the worse possible outcome. But the pathologist said my Bengals adrenaline levels were so high from the stress of having blood drawn that the results were skewed. So for my Bengal, the results were normal.

I started the meds and it by the end of two weeks I could visibly see the hair was growing The other big change I noticed was with play time. Where as before I could not tire him out with the Da Bird toy (he was an energizer bunny) he now reaches a point where he'll lay on the floor and rest like the cats.

For me, medication has made my cat's life better. But everyone has to make their own decision.

He has gotten a clean bill of health. One other change I made though, is that I now use a leash/harness to take him to the vet. He seems to enjoy this much better. He doesn't meow at all during the car ride (compared to being in a carrier) and he (and the staff) likes when he explores the office during check-in and check-out.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 11:18 am 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Sun Feb 02, 2014 8:11 pm
Posts: 1178
Hi again

Well it sounds like she's used to her routine and at 8 years it seems weird to suddenly develop stress when there are no changes to her routine or immediate environment or food... I can only imagine your confusion with this! If all other avenues have been exhausted ie, allergies, parasites etc could it be a change in her immediate 'outdoor' environment? Do you have new neighbours, do they have cats, is there more noise or activity just outside your apartment than there was before during the day? I used to live in an apartment and new neighbours could make a big difference to me and I'm not a cat! Obviously you won't know as you are at work unless you have noticed a change on your days off. It could be something that we just wouldn't even have noticed as happening but to her is a massive thing!

Perhaps try Feliway, see if that reduces the stress if you haven't already.

I probably wouldn't think about a new kitty just yet as that may cause her more stress if that is the cause of the over grooming. It may be counter productive at this stage and cause you a whole new set of problems!

I do hope you manage to work something out, do keep us informed.

Best wishes.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2017 2:33 am 
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Bengal Kitten

Joined: Tue Mar 26, 2013 5:51 am
Posts: 5
Hey all! Been a while! I had to login and just update this post: I FIGURED IT OUT! Also, I want to punch my vet in the head. So, for the past few years I've been dealing with this weird allergy/biting thing. Steroid shots helped, pills didn't really. I'd gone so far as to give Safari a shirt to wear and for the last few months I've been using a soft cone to help keep her from biting. January 2016 I made a change in her diet to a better, higher-end dry food and immediately saw an improvement in her skin condition. I told this to the vet and he, again, assured me it was not diet-related and basically told me I was seeing things. Anyway, a few months ago I decided to change her wet food to a better version and it helped a little. I spoke with a friend who is a vet tech and she mentioned that most dogs and cats, if they're allergic to food it's going to be chicken. Me, thinking I'd figured it all out, didn't realize that even my newer, better food was still using chicken filler in it. So, I decided to try single protein foods: Wild Calling and Natural Selections being highly recommended from the pet store. One day I came home from work and Safari had managed to wriggle out of her cone and it freaked. me. out. I thought I was going to see a chewed up, patchy-furred kitty! But, she was just hanging out on the bed like nothing happened! Long story short: it's been a month now (maybe a little more) and she is basically totally recovered. I'm dealing with just a couple little remnant spots from before but those are nearly finished and I'm so, so, so damn happy that she's OK. I have a feeling that maybe turkey has a small effect on her too so right now I'm narrowing the food down to salmon, venison, and rabbit. Perhaps, ironically, my cat is allergic to birds. :lol: I'm pissed at the vet for being so adamant about it not being a food issue so I won't be returning to them anymore. Well, that about wraps it up. My little cat is doing much better and she's a nice happy little animal again! I do want to thank everyone that offered kind words and help earlier too. I feel awful that I'm basically completely responsible for this by not feeding her better food but I've learned and she's happy as a clam now.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2017 6:04 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Thu May 23, 2013 2:21 pm
Posts: 8148
Gosh, this has been a long process for you. I hate to hear your vet was little help to you. May need to find a different vet. But happy to hear that your little girl has settled in and has stopped biting herself. I'm sure your post will help others who come here looking for answers to the same problem. Thank you for the update.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 4:13 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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My two cats both over groom. This has been going on for years. My vet put them on a single protein food, venison about a year and a half ago and gave them a steroid. There seemed to be an improvement for a while but they started up again. At first it was just Grace doing this but Blondie took it up too. Both of them have totally bald, smooth abdomens and inner thighs. My vet said it is stress related and about one in 5 cats she sees does this. They both sit around nibbling their stomachs and inner thighs making annoying noises. I can't get them to stop. I tried fealaway and other calming medications but they just keep licking their bellies. They are really healthy happy cats otherwise. They have free run of a screened in patio, lots of cat trees, scratchers, toys and each other to play with. Last night Grace slept in my arms the entire night for the first time ever. Blondie is the happiest cat I have ever met. They have a good life but seem to get some sort of comfort doing this weird habit.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 7:59 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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CMYKjill wrote:
My two cats both over groom. This has been going on for years. My vet put them on a single protein food, venison about a year and a half ago and gave them a steroid. There seemed to be an improvement for a while but they started up again. At first it was just Grace doing this but Blondie took it up too. Both of them have totally bald, smooth abdomens and inner thighs. My vet said it is stress related and about one in 5 cats she sees does this. They both sit around nibbling their stomachs and inner thighs making annoying noises. I can't get them to stop. I tried fealaway and other calming medications but they just keep licking their bellies. They are really healthy happy cats otherwise. They have free run of a screened in patio, lots of cat trees, scratchers, toys and each other to play with. Last night Grace slept in my arms the entire night for the first time ever. Blondie is the happiest cat I have ever met. They have a good life but seem to get some sort of comfort doing this weird habit.


Hey Jill,

I read in an old 2015 post you were feeding Mauri (which is Koha now) Are you still feeding them this brand?

Also just curious, in case this ever happens to me- Have you ever tried switching them to a different single protein food, or is venison the one they do best with? Or a different brand altogether? Just to rule out allergies causing the licking. I don't have much experience though, I am just spitballing based on different things I've read on this forum.

And Bailey, so glad you found the solution to your problem. Give your old vet a good punch in the throat for me :)

Back when I was in school to be a firefighter (a few years ago), one of my captains put it really well. He asked our class this question: "What do you call a Doctor who graduated at the top of his class?" We answered, "Doctor?". He says, "Yes. Now what do you call a Doctor who graduated at the bottom of his class?" And we said & realized his point, "Doctor!".

This applies to veterinarians too of course.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 2:59 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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When it first started they ate mostly chicken and turkey cat foods. I had them try beef as well. The vet said to rule out food being the cause, I needed to put them on a diet of a single protein that they had never had. We looked at the ingredients of the cat foods they had been eating and came up with venison. They seemed to love it and I have a few different brands that are in rotation. Maruri rebranded to Koha and they will not eat the new version at all. I have thought about switching to rabbit, but then I am out of protein options. It could be an allergen in the air or something on one of their cat trees or scratchers, who knows. I have been trying to figure this out for 2 years. First only Grace did it for about six months, then I think Blondie started doing it from watching Grace. They still love to have their belly rubbed so it is not sensitive. I had a siamese years ago that would do this and my sister's cat also does this but on his back. Possibly Florida has pollen floating in the air that causes cats to do this, I don't know. I thought it was the flea medication that caused it. Then I stopped giving it to them. Then 6 months later I started again. Then when it got cool, I stopped. It doesn't seem to play into this. Maybe they are stressed in some way that I don't understand.

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