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Excessive Grooming by Frank Utchen, DVM

Question: Dr. Utchen my cat has groomed and groomed its stomach until there is no hair left. What does this mean? 


Most cats with this behavior have itchy skin causing them to groom excessively. Various causes include fleas, skin mites, environmental allergies (molds, dust mites, and pollens), and even allergies to food ingredients. If the problem can be identified (a particular matt, etc. that a cat sleeps on) and then avoided, that is the best solution.  However, often that is impossible. In that case, various medications can be used to treat the allergy.

Some cats have what is believed to be obsessive-compulsive grooming that leads to excessive fur loss ("psychogenic alopecia"), and this can be managed with other medication.  Most cats can have their fur grow back, but it is important to determine the reason they are grooming excessively in the first place. Your veterinarian can help pinpoint the cause.

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