Itching in Cats
Is my cat crazy, or is there a reason they are licking and itching until their hair falls out?
Years ago, it was thought that over-grooming in cats was due to a psychogenic issue. Now we know that nearly all of these cases actually are itchy. Only a small percentage are licking and pulling hair like this as a purely psychogenic manifestation.
Allergies, parasites (fleas, mites, lice), and dermatophytosis (ringworm) are common causes of itchiness in cats.
The diagnosis of allergies involves ruling out all other causes of itchiness and responding to treatments for allergies. Like dogs, cats can have different types of allergies: food, fleas, and environmental types. Food allergies cannot be differentiated from environmental allergies by symptoms alone, a food trial must be performed with a home-made diet or a commercial prescription food. There are several medications to treat allergies in cats. In addition, allergy testing and desensitization can be performed. So if your cat is losing hair, we can help rule out other causes and formulate a relief-giving treatment tailored for your suffering cat.
This cat has an allergy to flea bites.
With allergies in cats, over-grooming the abdomen is common. Some cats will create sores.
This cat has allergies and is over-grooming the legs.