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Cat overgrooming? Noticed winged bug

TJACampbell
May 29th, 2010, 11:01 AM
Hi, my orange tabby Tucker (4 yr old male), has a major issue with over grooming. His belly, back legs, most on the underside, and knee area, his butt, and the underside of his front legs, are almost bare, because he licks obsessively. I think a major source of this is our min-pin/chihuahua mix dog, drives him nuts, and stresses him out. They play, but it's a love - hate relationship! ;)

We've ruled out fleas, but do have flea collars on both cats, and the dog, and have used flea powder.

Today - I noticed on his belly, he had a couple small blackish colour bugs, that had wings crawling on his skin/fur. These are larger than fleas, maybe a slight touch larger than a fruit fly would be. Any idea what this could be?

He is a very happy affectionate cat, and otherwise healthy, energetic - his usual happy self.

I could post a pic(s) if necessary, but we are just confused, as the dog and other cat are just fine.

edit: OK, update. Just noticed that my other cat seems to have fleas, so it appears all 3 beasts have fleas. However, there are also these winged bugs on my other cat and the dog as well.

Do fleas have wings???? I have never seen a pick of a flea with wings, but it looks like fleas are an issue as well.

The loss of hair because of his licking - makes the back part of his body, looking awefully skinny. He eats well, plays, cuddles, etc., but he licks non-stop.

We had a cone on him before, and the hair grew back, but...... are we supposed to cone our cat for his entire life? That doesn't seem like the best solution.

Any suggestion?

Thanks in advance!!!!

sugarcatmom
May 29th, 2010, 11:46 AM
Hi, my orange tabby Tucker (4 yr old male), has a major issue with over grooming.

What does Tucker eat?

I think a major source of this is our min-pin/chihuahua mix dog, drives him nuts, and stresses him out. They play, but it's a love - hate relationship! ;)

Does Tucker have any places he can go to get away from the dog for some peace and quiet? Lots of vertical space, like a tall cat-condo or some shelves, maybe a window hammock, are highly appreciated by cats. I also would not allow the dog to harass Tucker if he's not in the mood for it. Here are some tips to help if you need them: http://www.labadoption.org/wp-content/uploads/Cats.pdf#zoom=100%

, but do have flea collars on both cats, and the dog, and have used flea powder.

Flea collars and powders are really not a great option. They often don't work (as you've discovered) and they can cause health problems:

Initial research also shows that thousands of pets may be sickened or die each year as a result of chronic low-dose exposure to organophosphate-based insecticides through their flea and tick collars.
Flea collars are the most seriously abused method of flea control. The advantage of a flea collar is that it can be placed on an infested pet for a treatment period (optimally less than 6 days) then removed and stored in a sealed glass jar until the next time it is needed. Flea collars should not be kept on pets permanently as a prophylactic measure. Be sure to check for dermatitis under the collar (Olkowski et al. 1983).
The problems with dusts or powders are that can't be controlled, easily becoming air-borne and they are ingested by cats during grooming. It is recommended that a pet be bathed after being treated with a pyrethrum dust to remove the fleas stupefied by the pyrethrum and reduce the risk of accidental ingestion by the pet.
Collars
Insecticidal collars are impregnated with active ingredients such as permethrin or other pyrethroids, organophosphates, carbamates or flea-growth inhibiting substances such as methoprene. The chemicals may not spread throughout the coat and so these may not be very effective. Flea collars may also cause hair loss where the collar comes in contact with the skin. Many collars are not made with a safety snap-open buckle, and will not enable a cat to escape should its collar accidentally become caught.

FAB does not advocate the use of flea collars as there are safer and more effective products available.
Powders
Generally, powders are active for as long as they remain on the coat. Remember that cats will groom after treatment and may therefore swallow some of the powder. Careless application may cause the powder particles to be inhaled, causing breathing difficulties.

FAB does not recommend the use of flea powders, as there are safer and more effective products available.


http://www.eartheasy.com/live_natural_flea_control.html
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ig106
http://www.fabcats.org/owners/fleas/info.html

catlover2
May 29th, 2010, 02:25 PM
Overgrooming usually starts out as a self-soothing way to deal with stress, can become habitual and then often even when the stress is removed, the cat will continue to lick-lick a lot of the time until it becomes an obsessive compulsive disorder, like some people do with continual handwashing. Wearing a cone would work, but would be cruel in my estimation and really a punishment.

Although I don't think there's a lot that can be done for a cat that's been doing it for a long time, say over a year. It's not really harming the cat's skin, but as you say the bald areas do look strange, especially the belly and inside of the legs. But being in a state of stress is not good either.

As far as the love-hate relationship with the dog goes, that's likely the reason the obsessive licking started and sugarcatmom's suggestion of a cat tree is a good one and also let the cat have some time out by itself in another room.

A few other suggestions: train the dog to completely ignore the cat, by telling dog "No" or "Off" if he goes near it. Call dog to come to you and sit if he looks like he's going to harass the cat and then reward the dog with a treat after he comes and sits, but no reward if he does go after the cat.
Some people find "Bach's Rescue Remedy" (in pet or health food stores--get one for pets that non-alcoholic) might make him feel less agitated.
Also, a tranquilizing medicatiion from a vet may work, although I really don't like to medicate a cat for something like that over a long time is an option.
You might try rubbing on some lime or lemon juice the places where's he's licking excessively as he probably won't like the taste, but it may just frustrate and stress him even more not being able to lick. This is a fairly common behavioural problem and one that's difficult to correct once well established.
Give us an update if you find something that works. Good luck:fingerscr :cat:

14+kitties
May 29th, 2010, 02:27 PM
Have diet/allergy issues been ruled out by the vet? As SCM asked - what does he eat? Many cats who suffer from allergies do the exessive licking.

TJACampbell
May 29th, 2010, 02:35 PM
Yes, allergies have been ruled out. He eats Iams hard food for multiple cats, or the hairball control Iams. Also, they each get a 1/2 can of soft food twice a day as a treat, as Wendel is more into the soft food.

I hve a cat tree, and a home made cat 2 level platform thingy, as well as your standard scratching post. He has escapes to get away from the dog, as we have a baby gate up to block the dog from certain areas.

My main concern is the fleas.... Tucker seems to be bothered by them, along with his over grooming. Wendel - has them, but doesn't seem fazed by the fleas at all. Strange really, but who said cats aren't that way anyways. ;)

14+kitties
May 29th, 2010, 02:40 PM
Yes, allergies have been ruled out. He eats Iams hard food for multiple cats, or the hairball control Iams. Also, they each get a 1/2 can of soft food twice a day as a treat, as Wendel is more into the soft food.

I hve a cat tree, and a home made cat 2 level platform thingy, as well as your standard scratching post. He has escapes to get away from the dog, as we have a baby gate up to block the dog from certain areas.

My main concern is the fleas.... Tucker seems to be bothered by them, along with his over grooming. Wendel - has them, but doesn't seem fazed by the fleas at all. Strange really, but who said cats aren't that way anyways. ;)

He could be allergic to the fleas as well. I would think a trip to the vet should be on your agenda. Also getting rid of the dry food all together and making the wet food the staple. Not just a treat. It's much better for them.
I gotta go. I'm sure SCM or one of the other food gurus will be along to explain more.

sugarcatmom
May 29th, 2010, 04:19 PM
Yes, allergies have been ruled out.

How were they ruled out?

He eats Iams hard food for multiple cats, or the hairball control Iams.

This is likely at least part of the problem, or it certainly isn't helping. Kibble is so not good for cats. And Iams is particularly unhealthy, with many potential allergens. Here are the ingredients for Iams Multi-cat with chicken:

Chicken By-Product Meal, Chicken, Corn Grits, Dried Beet Pulp, Powdered Cellulose, Corn Meal, Brewers Rice, Animal Fat (preserved with mixed Tocopherols, a source of Vitamin E), Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Natural Flavor, Dried Egg Product, Brewers Dried Yeast,.....


Waaaaay to many plant-based ingredients (corn, rice, sorghum, beet pulp, and powdered cellulose - which is basically sawdust), and brewers yeast is a very common allergen for cats. Most of the meat-based ingredients in this food are poor quality (by-product meal, an unnamed source of animal fat - which often includes rancid restaurant grease - and dried egg product, a waste product of the egg industry). This food is better suited to fattening up livestock, not for keeping a carnivore healthy. The Iams Hairball formulas are almost identically bad.

Also, they each get a 1/2 can of soft food twice a day as a treat, as Wendel is more into the soft food.

As 14+ mentioned, a much better idea would be to stop the kibble and feed only wet food. Not sure what brand of canned you feed now, but something with little to no grains and higher quality muscle meat are preferable. Wellness, Innova Evo, Nature's Variety, Precise, Eagle Pack, are some brands to look into. For more info on why wet is good and dry is bad, check out this link: www.catinfo.org

My main concern is the fleas.... Tucker seems to be bothered by them, along with his over grooming. Wendel - has them, but doesn't seem fazed by the fleas at all. Strange really, but who said cats aren't that way anyways. ;)

Some cats can be allergic to flea bites and react much more severely than other cats. It would be a good idea to talk to your vet about it, or read the links I posted above on controlling fleas. I would start by removing the flea collars immediately, which are doing more harm than good.

Crossing my fingers that you get to the bottom of it. :fingerscr

chico2
May 29th, 2010, 04:24 PM
Your vet has flea remedies and they work,I used Advantage every summer for many years.
But you also have to vaccum every inch of your home,even base-boards,where they can take refuge.
The Flea-problem definitely has to be taken care of,but like SCM says,powders,sprays and fleacollars do not get rid of fleas,could even cause harm to the cats.
I always hated even putting Advantage on my 3 cats,but it's done only once/month,it's not cheap,but does the job.
I do not use it anymore,have not had a flea-problem for several years.

TJACampbell
May 29th, 2010, 04:35 PM
scm - We had him at the vet about 2 years ago about this same problem. We had had a small dog then too for a while, which did not work out, so had to give him away. Tucker was starting to do the fur thing then, but as soon as we didn't have the dog, he was normal again. The vet suggested that it was probably stress. As I said, he was his normal self for the 6 months we didn't have the dog, but now, he is back at it.

I will probably get him to the vet and see what they say. In the mean time, working on getting rid of the fleas in the house now.

growler~GateKeeper
May 30th, 2010, 03:11 AM
Just noticed that my other cat seems to have fleas, so it appears all 3 beasts have fleas. However, there are also these winged bugs on my other cat and the dog as well.

Do fleas have wings???? I have never seen a pick of a flea with wings, but it looks like fleas are an issue as well.

Are they mosquitoes? Mosquitoes will bite both cats & dogs.

Crane flys are also a size between fruit flys & moquitoes though I haven't heard of them being found on pets.

No fleas do not have wings, they cannot fly however they can jump far & fast.

Let us know what the vet says :goodvibes:

hazelrunpack
May 30th, 2010, 08:15 PM
Black flies are winged, and they'll fill up with blood after they've been on the dog or cat for a while. They're about the same size as a fruit fly. The bites of black flies are very itchy, which might account for the overgrooming (our dogs will lick and bite their forearms raw trying to scratch the bites). We're in the midst of black fly season here. :yuck:

TJACampbell
May 31st, 2010, 01:02 PM
UPDATE:

2 trips to vet (one with one cat, the other with the dog). Had to get a can't remember what they called it, but a basic exam. This was required in order to prescribe the Advantage. We are splitting the dose for the cat amongst the 2 of them. Also, we purchased VetKem flea spray, which basically means, vacuum, spray, leave the house for a couple hours (pets included), come back, re-vacuum and life is good. Also, cleaned up their beds, condo climbers, etc.

Sunday morning - both cats (especially Tucker) are happiest I've seen them in a while, must be relieved. Our dog seems better too - not as much scratching, etc. I did noticed some really tiny black specs in their fur, and one winged little bug on Tucker still.

So...it was an expensive Saturday night, but worth it.

Hopefully the monthly Advantage treatments will rid this thing permanently.

Myka
May 31st, 2010, 01:40 PM
I'm happy to read the pets are much happier with their new treatments! My dog got fleas REALLY bad one time, not fun.

I'm also on the "Change the Food!!!" bandwagon. Iams has a very effective advertising plan, and has done a very good job of placing themselves in groceries stores. Iams is extremely overpriced for what you get because of all this. It is hardly any better than feeding No Name food. Your cats would thank you for switching to a higher quality diet. Same with your dog if he is also getting Iams.

chico2
May 31st, 2010, 04:06 PM
TJA,I am glad the flea-problem got looked after,it must be just awful for the cats/dogs to have crawlies all over themselves,they must feel so much better:thumbs up