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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 9:41 am 
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Asian Leopard Cat

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Last week I gave my brother a cat toy filled with Valerian root from Happy House Cats. Last night he told me that one of his cats, Rufus, had suffered a massive loss of fur in one day - well around 11 hours actually - and he was concerned that the valerian *may* be the cause.

Here are some pictures - the cushion where he was sitting and the area where he has lost a lot of fur:

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He seems otherwise fit and well, he is not sore where the fur has been lost and is not showing any signs of distress.

They will be taking Rufus to the vet, but has anyone seen fur loss like this, or does anyone know if valerian could have caused this ? I thought maybe that he had rubbed the toy against himself and then massively over groomed for some reason, but I have used the same toys from HHC with 5 other cats and never seen any sort of problem whatsoever and can't find any reports of similar problems from valerian online.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 2:48 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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:eek: poor Rufus! It does kind of look like he was over grooming or just pulling the fur out the way it's in clumps. I hope they can get it figured out.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 4:12 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

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I don't know that the valerian in the toy would cause hair loss in a cat, although allergies can as well as parasites that maybe you can't see. Stress and anxiety can also do this. The best thing is to take the cat to the vet and let them examine the area and make the determination of what is going on. Those are huge patches of fur that are being pulled out. The cat appears to be a medium-haired kitty and the fur can get matted easily. This is more than your average hair loss. I'd never heard of valerian filled toys. I'm not sure what would happen if a cat ingested some. Let us know what the vet says.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 4:15 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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My cats have some Valerian toys from Happy House Cats. They've had them for years with no problem. But that's not to say that it wasn't the cause here. It sounds like an allergy to me. The cat's skin is probably inflamed and itchy, so the cat pulls out his fur. You might try catnip instead of Valerian next time, now that you know this.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 4:31 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

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Thanks for your replies ladies ( and now Brian ).

I've just spoken to my SIL and Rufus has been to the vet - he checked out OK and has been given a cortisone injection and a Cone Of Shame to stop him licking himself. Jacqui, my SIL, is not looking forward to explaining to Rufus that he's not allowed out and has a special outfit to wear for the next 5 days. :cry: She even offered to come and cut Ada's claws if I popped back to the UK to fit the collar myself.

I'll be buying shares in Elastoplast this evening - they are due a large order in the near future. :wink:

I couldn't find anything at all via Google to suggest that Valerian would cause that sort of problem, in fact I couldn't see anything suggesting that it caused any sort of problem with cats, but it was one of the things that he had recently had access to for the first time and so I wondered if that could be the cause. In the meantime, I've been told that Rufus, who is/was a big bruiser of a cat is being challenged territory-wise even in his own garden- so there could be a stress related element to the over grooming.

Brian - I guess that Rufus won't be getting any more valerian toys for the time being. My 2 love them* and have never shown any sort of issue, nor my mum's cat or my brother/SIL's 2 other cats, so I doubt that they were the cause of the problem.


* I got an order sent through recently and left a sealed bag with 2 Bunny Bits ( http://www.shop.happyhousecats.co.uk/in ... cts_id=129 ) on the kitchen table and Ada thoughtfully spared me the job of opening it and giving her one of the toys :biggrin: - she was in heaven with it.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 4:40 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat
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Location: Portland Oregon, USA
cranberry wrote:
I couldn't find anything at all via Google to suggest that Valerian would cause that sort of problem, in fact I couldn't see anything suggesting that it caused any sort of problem with cats, but it was one of the things that he had recently had access to for the first time and so I wondered if that could be the cause. In the meantime, I've been told that Rufus, who is/was a big bruiser of a cat is being challenged territory-wise even in his own garden- so there could be a stress related element to the over grooming.


Valerian is kind of a potent drug. I know it's often used as the "active ingredient" in "sleepytime tea" to help people get to sleep (works well for that too, I often drink it). In the wikipedia article it also mentions this:

In rare cases, valerian may cause an allergic reaction, typically as a skin rash, hives, or difficulty breathing.[28] This should be treated as a medical emergency.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2015 3:04 pm 
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I'd stick with catnip toys! LOL. Since you've mentioned "territory," it is possible stress is playing a role in the pulling out of the fur! That is probably why the vet couldn't find anything. If this is the cause, then the fur pulling will continue until the other problem is gone, which could easily be another cat in the area. Cats are extremely territorial. Raiden doesn't like any other cat coming into our yard either. Rufus should be kept indoors or trained to walk on a harness and leash. The fur will grow back in time, if Rufus leaves the area alone.


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