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Rupert Keeps Pulling His Fur Out

Chaser
December 15th, 2009, 05:55 PM
For about one-and-a-half weeks Rupert has been licking one of his front paws. It got raw, so DH cleaned and bandaged it (handy to have a paramedic around to deal with minor flesh wounds!). Then he moved on to his other front paw, and now his back paws.

He started ripping out his fur about two days ago. He has a history of this, and did it when he was feeling lonely living in Toonce's garage. He also reverts to it if we leave him alone overnight....so it's pretty much always motivated by stress. The only bonus is that he doesn't eat the fur, so at least we're not expecting a massive hairball. He just scatters it around the house.

I have NO idea why he would be stressed though! No changes to the household, no changes to food or litter. We didn't even put up a Christmas tree, and he gets TONNES of love and cuddles.

I'm not even sure if the paw-licking and fur-pulling are related or not.

He eats Go! Natural or Nature's Variety Instinct canned and some Horizon Legacy grain-free kibble. Has been on these for months with no problems. We use Simplicity clumping litter from Costco - also has not changed in months.

The coordinator of Kailey's rescue suggested that it could be that the indoor heating system is making him dry....last year we had boiler/hot water heat so it wasn't so bad...which would explain why it didn't happen last year. I've noticed the dogs are pretty itchy too. She suggested salmon oil for all, which I plan to get tomorrow, and I've started running a humidifer.

Does anyone have any other suggestions as to what could be going on? My rescue friend's only other guess is that he's just somewhat neurotic....which wouldn't surprise me with Rupert :wall:

I've never tried Feliway...don't know if that would help? Or if it's simply dry skin irritation. Argh...I wish animals could talk :frustrated:

sugarcatmom
December 15th, 2009, 06:05 PM
I wouldn't completely rule out diet as playing a role. For sure, stress can be a factor with fur-pulling and over-grooming, but in many cases it is allergy related. What happens if you stop all kibble? Do you use any scented laundry detergents or cleaning products (sorry if I've asked you this before, memory is failing me at the moment).

If stress is the cause (and it might have been originally, with the habit remaining even once the stress is gone), then Feliway could help. It's not a guarrantee, but it is a completely safe option to try.

Chaser
December 15th, 2009, 06:13 PM
A few pictures:

1. All the fur on the bed is what he pulled out this afternoon.
2. One of his bald spots (front paw).
3. The sore on his front left paw (this is the only sore he has....it was self-inflicted by his obsessive licking).

DISCLAIMER***I know how awful the sore looks and don't want anyone to think I'm being neglectful.....this was prior to a cleaning and keep in mind it is super close-up and magnified. DH has been keeping it dry and wrapped, but also needs to give it some air to heal. It looks SO much better than before and there is no heat, pus or bad smell coming from it. If it gets ANY worse he'll be going to the vet, but we've been seeing improvement in it so are now hoping to determine the cause.*****

Chaser
December 15th, 2009, 06:17 PM
Do you use any scented laundry detergents or cleaning products (sorry if I've asked you this before, memory is failing me at the moment).

If stress is the cause (and it might have been originally, with the habit remaining even once the stress is gone), then Feliway could help. It's not a guarrantee, but it is a completely safe option to try.

Cleaning products etc. are all natural and eco-friendly with so many animals in the house.

Although he has a history of this behaviour, this is pretty pronounced so I was wondering about diet as well. I can try removing his kibble but that has been an ongoing battle with him. He will lick wet but won't actually EAT it, and I've tried every good-quality canned I can find. The two that he gets now are the only ones he'll eat a little of.

14+kitties
December 15th, 2009, 06:25 PM
Ouchie! Poor Rupert. :sad::grouphug: That looks very painful. I wish they could talk too. Then it wouldn't be a guessing game all the time.
I was thinking diet related as well. It's tough to get the kibble away from a kibble-holic. It's possible the allergy is chicken as well. It seems to be a major factor in allergens lately. Maybe because of the crap they shoot into chickens to make them grow quicker. Could you try to take away everything that has chicken? I think krdahmer's one kitty has a chicken allergy. Could be wrong. Maybe she can help you with ideas.

Chaser
December 15th, 2009, 06:30 PM
I could definately try removing chicken. That would be easy enough.

Does anyone know how long it takes to rule out an allergy to something once it is removed?

And any thoughts on the indoor heating theory???

(Oddly, he doesn't even favour the leg at all.....except when it's wrapped and he acts like his leg is broken. It started out smelly and gooey and completely freaked me out....thankfully it's drying up and has no signs of infection.)

Winston
December 15th, 2009, 06:39 PM
Ouch! that looks like it hurts! Poor Rupert! I was thinking diet too but it almost looks like something more might be going on.

Has he been to the vet lately..cause I honestly think thats an awful lot of hair to be loosing for an afternoon...if he keeps up he will be bald in no time...

Have you checked for changes to the food to see if their recipe changed. Do you treat him for fleas or a preventative...maybe something changed in their formula...again guessing here but it doesnt look too nice..

Cindy

14+kitties
December 15th, 2009, 06:40 PM
The dry air could be the culprit if he doesn't do it when the heat isn't on. He never does it during the summer? If that is the case maybe you have hit the nail on the head.
I would give removing foods from his diet at least a month before seeing a difference.
From:
http://www.articlesnatch.com/Article/Four-Types-Of-Feline-Allergies/552136

Some felines develop an allergy to certain ingredients in their food. Most cats develop this type of allergy after consuming the food over a long period of time. Common ingredients include eggs, wheat, corn, chicken, milk, and beef. If your cat develops a food allergy, he may suffer respiratory problems, digestive problems, or severe itching. You will have to keep an eye on what foods your cat eats. In some cases, your cat may have to take medications such as steroids or antihistamines.

Chaser
December 15th, 2009, 06:46 PM
He's not actually losing it....rather forcefully removing it. The amount is about average for him on a stressful day.....but he hasn't done it in months.

He doesn't get any prevention meds.....both dogs are on Revolution and Rupert stays indoors so I never saw the point of putting chemicals on him too.

No reported changes to the foods, and I chose his foods based on how much I trust the companies.

And the wound....I don't even know how he did it :shrug: All I know for sure is that he created it himself - it wasn't an injury - and it's getting better as long as we don't allow him to lick it.

Argh......I have a feeling I'll be stuck taking him in.....but feel like a vet is just going to either try to sell me Hil's food (Ummm....NO!) or prescribe a sedative (also a big fat NO). So unless his paw doesn't clear up and he needs antibiotics, I really want to try and figure out the cause ourselves.....because vets seem somewhat useless in this kind of situation.

Chaser
December 15th, 2009, 06:51 PM
The dry air could be the culprit if he doesn't do it when the heat isn't on. He never does it during the summer? If that is the case maybe you have hit the nail on the head.

He hasn't done it since last March.....and he is also scratching A LOT. No sign of fleas or flea dirt.

I would give removing foods from his diet at least a month before seeing a difference.
From:
http://www.articlesnatch.com/Article/Four-Types-Of-Feline-Allergies/552136

Some felines develop an allergy to certain ingredients in their food. Most cats develop this type of allergy after consuming the food over a long period of time. Common ingredients include eggs, wheat, corn, chicken, milk, and beef. If your cat develops a food allergy, he may suffer respiratory problems, digestive problems, or severe itching. You will have to keep an eye on what foods your cat eats. In some cases, your cat may have to take medications such as steroids or antihistamines.

I think I will get started on removing chicken from his diet, and will also give the salmon oil a try in the hope of relieving the itchies. Might also give Feliway a shot....but oh my is it ever overpriced! :eek:

Thank you to all for your suggestions so far! I'll start making some changes and keep an eye on that poor paw of his. He's a tough little dude and doesn't even seem to care about it, but I certainly don't want it getting worse. :fingerscr for continued improvement.

I'll keep everyone updated.

14+kitties
December 15th, 2009, 06:51 PM
Have you tried venison based foods for him? I know there are a few out there. Just can't think of names right now. When it comes to certain behaviours with mine I try a few things myself to avoid the vet bill and another speech on how good Hills is. :yuck:

Chaser
December 15th, 2009, 06:53 PM
Have you tried venison based foods for him? I know there are a few out there. Just can't think of names right now. When it comes to certain behaviours with mine I try a few things myself to avoid the vet bill and another speech on how good Hills is. :yuck:

Exactly. His paw is my bigger concern and a vet can fix that if it doesn't keep getting better, but as for the root cause? I trust you guys and myself a lot more.

I'm sure I can source out some food options - my Ryan's has some very good and knowledgeable staff. :thumbs up