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Over-grooming issues (cat)

August 20th, 2006, 11:06 PM
(Please move if this should be in the health forum.)

I have a 3 yr old cat named Taz. (I also have 2 other cats and a dog, but Taz is the topic of this post.) Taz has been with me since he was a kitten, and has always been a large cat--when he went in for his neuter at 5 months old, a vet at the clinic who'd never seen him didn't believe he was 5 months old, was convinced he was about 3 yrs old--until she looked at his teeth. He is also overweight, but not quite at the level of obese yet. He's on a diet, and I think this is what brought on his issue; over-grooming.

First time I noticed this problem was when we went away for the long weekend in May and left my friend to feed him. He was locked in the basement most of the weekend (because he terrorizes the other cats when I'm not home), and fed only once a day instead of his normal twice. When I came home, he'd licked a patch on each foreleg almost bald. I thought it was because he was left alone for so long (he's very sucky).

He's been on his diet for about 2.5 weeks now, and the bald patches are back. I just noticed them this morning, and they definetly weren't there on Friday, so this is pretty recent.

I'm not willing to feed him more, because he's losing weight and I need him to do that so he can live a longer life, but he's obviously stressed about it, because he's grooming himself silly. He currently eats 3 times a day; twice he gets his kibble (8am & 10pm) and at about 8pm he gets a mixture of pumpkin & canned food (about 1/4 cup). He's lost almost 2 lbs so far and needs to lose about another 2 lbs (he currently weighs 21.8lbs down from 23.5). Is there anything I can do to fill up his tummy without putting more food into him? Is there any way I can keep him from licking his legs (I want him to still groom himself, but obviously not to the point of being bald!)?

Any advice or similar stories to share will help. If I have to have a bald-legged kitty until his weight gets down, I guess I can accept that, but I don't want to.

Thanks in advance,

August 21st, 2006, 12:41 AM
well I know cats usually overgroom if they're really hot, because the dampness cools them off, and with the weight that could make things worse.Is it stuffy in your home? Or very humid?

Or maybe there's a skin rash of some sort that's forcing him to pull his fur out.
Perhaps consult the vet?

My kitty too is overweight but she doesn't seem to overgroom herself...well unless company's coming :rolleyes: so i doubt it can be from being too fat

August 21st, 2006, 06:59 AM
IMO,overgrooming in cats is often a sign of stress.
My Chico,licked away the hair on his tummy and back-legs,all stressed out when I got Vinnie.
There are a few stressfactors in Tazz's life,diet and a new person for the weekend.
It's great that he is losing weight,but maybe you can slow it a bit,you don't want him to lose it too quickly..
Also Variton creme(from the vet) on the bald spots,gives the hair a chance to grow back.
Chico has no more bald spots,but still is not overly happy about Vinnie:cat:

August 21st, 2006, 07:21 AM
I agree that it's stress, beginning with the basement ordeal.
12 hours is a helluva long time to go without eating, even for a non-foodie. I'd move his canned/pumpkin up to early afternoon.
I know you're getting results but you may be taking it a bit too far and this is showing up in his behaviour. I'm not decrying your efforts, but getting weight off an animal is a purely mechanical process, he's not actually learning anything.
I'd be a little bit less rigid (while remaining vigilant!). You know you are on the right path, what if it took six months instead of four months to reach the target weight, so what.
Add some one-on-one playtime every day. And the odd healthy treat wouldn't kill him.
I guess he wouldn't go for rice cakes :)

From the mother of a fat cat who understands the Struggle.

August 22nd, 2006, 11:43 AM
I tried leaving him out of the basement yesterday (I also took my dog to work with me). As expected, he bothered the girls, evidenced by the tufts of fur he pulled out of Rusty, and the poo Aubrie left on the floor downstairs (because he was blocking the path to her box?).

I'd like to move his feedings closer together, but I work and I can't get home at lunch time, so the earliest he could have his pumpkin is like 6. I am waiting for an automatic feeder to come to me, but that will be for dry-food only. I've been wanting one of these forever, but all the ones available aren't Taz-proof. This one supposedly is (I haven't seen it).

I will try feeding him a little more than he's getting now and see if that makes any difference. I agree that it's probably too fast for weight loss, but I figured if I could just get it over with, then he could go back to having a more food sooner.

I don't want to put varitone on him; I don't want him to think that grooming is bad. Just need him to slow down a little on it, and not groom so much!

I will also dedicate some time each day specifically to him. I don't normally do this, as my "free" time is limited, so I just normally spend a few minutes with each animal as they come to me. I'll try taking each of them seperately into the bedroom for some one-on-one time. Probably will be good for the girls, too.

Thanks for the help so far. Anything else, feel free to post!