Catster reader Angela asks: I am writing you in regards to my feline buddy, Magnus. He began licking and biting his fur around his front paw and licking his belly until he had bald patches. Any thoughts or suggestions?
Sarah Says: My first trap, neuter, and release cat was named Scooter. This was back in the day when I thought you could totally domesticate a feral cat. In time you will grow to love me, right? Well, she started losing hair at the base of her tail. Eventually she escaped through a window that was accidentally left open.
She continued to lurk around the yard for food, but it was clear that something was wrong. Her hind legs and tail base went completely bald! The other neighborhood strays often chased her away, and I suspect she suffered daily anxiety and fear. I’m sure spending her days hiding in holes in my basement wall didn’t help her situation. Scooter, if you’re out there, and you learned how to read, I’m sorry.
The most common reasons for bald patches seem to be stress-related. Excessive grooming is a compulsive behavior that should not be taken lightly. Cats are uber sensitive to changes in their environment. Did you get a new cat? New boyfriend or taxidermied grouse for the parlor? This could send Smooches off the deep end.
Otherwise Smooches might be allergic to new food, new litter, flea bites, or even detergent! Think back to changes you might have made that could cause irritation and hair loss. If you can’t put your finger on it, get your kitty to a vet.
"Patches" By Sarah Donner
Kitty got problems, a kitty got cares / They can make kitty pull out their hair, sometimes
So many problems that it could be / Parasite, psychological, allergy / There is a such thing as getting to clean
Reactions that are swollen, itchy, or red / Sounds like a hair loss due to allergens
Be sure to take kitty off to the vet / Compulsions could use anti anxiety meds
Sources: MedHelp, eHow