Our 15-year-old male cat has started pulling tufts of fur from his legs with his teeth. He pulled fur from a two-inch spot. Any suggestions?
– Mike, Tucson, Arizona
Poor guy! Cats may pull out fur because they itch. Do you use a monthly flea preventative? Sometimes people don’t treat their indoor cats, but they still can get fleas.
Most often though, the cat is an over-groomer. This is typically an anxiety-based behavior that results in a cat pulling, chewing, or excessively grooming their fur, leaving bald spots on their bodies, especially on their abdomen and legs. Grooming is a behavior that relaxes cats, so if they are stressed or anxious about something, they will groom more often and with much more force.
While there are over-the-counter calming supplements for cats, over-grooming can also be the result of pain. I suggest visiting your veterinarian to determine which it is, so you can properly treat his condition.
Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, children’s author, syndicated pet columnist, and pet expert with more than 30 years in the animal welfare field. Send your pet questions, stories and tips to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal