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Cat gnaws at legs

March 29th, 2006, 11:47 AM
Our 3 year-old cat, Boo-Boo, has recently started gnawing at his front legs. He'll sit with his legs in front of him and bite at one of them (he does one only per "session," but he'll switch between the left and right), about midway up (a couple inches above the paw). The first time we saw him do this, we thought he must have an injury or allergy, but couldn't see anything wrong with either leg. He's not breaking the skin or causing himself any harm that we can discern; when he's done (he spends only a minute or so at a time), that area of the leg is wet, but not injured. He doesn't do this to any other area of his body.

We're wondering if this is perhaps associated with stress? He seems to initiate the behavior frequently when we start to give him a lot of attention. He's normally very loving and affectionate, but while he's busily gnawing at his leg, he seems to get very much "into it" and doesn't even seem to be aware that we're petting or talking to him. My husband has tried physically moving his head away from his leg or blocking the leg with his hand, but this only works for as long as Boo-Boo is prevented, after which he goes right back to it. Nothing has changed in the household that might cause him stress that we can think of; he was born and raised with our two other cats and loves them to death, and we've done nothing different recently that might bring on any untoward stress.

I guess my bottom-line question is, no matter what the cause, is this something we *should* be concerned about?