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jmc
December 4th 07, 10:04 AM
First: We have a vet appointment on Thursday.

Some months ago, I noticed that Meep had a bare spot on her belly. It's
still there. I am baffled as to cause, and treatment.

The bare area on her belly goes from her belly button down almost to her
butt, and is wide enough to take in her last set of nipples. It has
some very short fur, but otherwise healthy pink skin. It's never shown
any irritation from over-licking, just the lack of fur.

At the time this seems to have started, there were no changes to her
environment, food, or routine. Or, for that matter, her behavior. We
moved again in March, but it wasn't until July or August that I started
noticing that she had "thinner hair" on her belly - wasn't bald back
then. By September it was bald, and that was when I last took her to
the vet.

I've never really seen her pay extra attention to that area. I have
seen her nibble the area during a normal grooming session, I suspect
that's her actually mowing. But when I surreptitiously watch her have a
grooming session, she spends about the same amount of time there
(usually less) than on the normally furred parts. If she is indeed
"mowing", she's doing it when we're not around, at night, or while we're
at work. The vet says that because the fur there is broken off, it's an
indicator she's doing it.

In the beginning, if I'd see her groom that area, I'd distract her (not
discipline her, just pull out a toy or do some other thing to distract
her). When the distraction was over, she didn't go back to grooming the
area. Under observation, she doesn't seem to have any obsession with
that area at all.

She has cystitis, but it is well under control, some leg issues (bowed
bones and luxating patellas), and was diagnosed with a minor
cardiomyopathy two years ago. She's eleven years old. There was one
time when she developed a "hotspot", I suspect that she got bit by
something, and did cause lick damage to her leg (it was pretty nasty by
the time we noticed it; it was high up on the inside of her hind leg, an
area not normally seen). Vet visit, bandages and an Elizabethan collar
put it to rights though, and that's not the area that's a problem now.

When I first talked to the vet about this, that vet did not take a skin
sample to eliminate an actual skin problem, but did put her on a
long-acting (3 weeks) antihistamine. I was unable to tell if it had any
effect, since I have not been observing her "mowing", I couldn't tell if
she had stopped. 3 weeks didn't seem long enough to tell if the fur was
growing back yet.

At the same time, I purchased a Feliway diffuser. We've just started
the third one. She spends more time than she used to hanging out on the
living room floor near where the diffuser is, but that's about it.

I tried taking her off of Stronghold/Revolution, and keeping her inside.
No change.

The area has pretty much remained unchanged since I first really noticed
it.

It seems behavioral rather than pathogenic (is that the right word?) but
I can't for the life of me figure out the trigger, what keeps her doing
it, and how to make her stop.

I am going to try to get the vet to allow us to try a couple months on
antihistamines and see if that's the issue. If it's a food allergy,
there's really not much I can do about it here - she's extremely fussy,
needs a particular diet because of her cystitis, and there's just not
much choice in cat food here. I'll also ask to have her skin tested to
eliminate a problem there.

Anybody have any ideas? Anything I've missed, can try doing to help
her, or should suggest to the vet, if not mentioned by her?

jmc

cybercat
December 4th 07, 10:30 AM
"jmc" > wrote
> At the time this seems to have started, there were no changes to her
> environment, food, or routine. Or, for that matter, her behavior. We
> moved again in March, but it wasn't until July or August that I started
> noticing that she had "thinner hair" on her belly - wasn't bald back then.
> By September it was bald, and that was when I last took her to the vet.

Moving was a big change. Any number of things might be bothering her.
My Gracie does this only when she is anxious about something. (She has
allergies and asthma, but gets Depo Medrol shots nomore than quarterly
and it controls those conditions. No doubt general itchiness does not help
the furr mowing thing.)

Why I know it is anxiety-related: when I brought her from the shelter, she
had a totally bald "bikini" area. I though, "oh, they must have shaved her
for the spay and it never grew back. But it stayed for a couple of years
AFTER she got here. She stopped licking her belly bald once she had
really settled in and understood nobody was going to kill her, eat her,
or toss her out in the cold.

Then I noticed the hair thinning on one of her sides/flanks. What had
changed
was that my other cat suddenly began coming upstairs into Gracie's turf, to
be with me. She was even lying on the guest room bed that Gracie had
made her own. Gracie is so polite and accomodating, she made no signs
of aggression, just quietly mowed her side nearly bald.

What I did to stop it was start visiting the other cat more down in her own
turf, and closing her out of Gracie's. (They have separate boxes on separate
levels) I also lavished attention on Gracie, played with her more, gave her
a lot of affection (she's like a puppy, honest to God) and shut her in with
me at night. I thought that would make her feel safer. (She's one of those
cats that runs from you all the time except in areas she feels most safe,
though she LOVES affection, it is odd. I think someone must have
chased her with a broom when she was a stray, because I just pick
one up and she looks terrified.) Two weeks after these changes, her
fur was back in thick and lovely. Her belly is even full of creamy spotted
fur. :) Good luck.


[...]

> Anybody have any ideas? Anything I've missed, can try doing to help her,
> or should suggest to the vet, if not mentioned by her?
>
> jmc

kraut
December 4th 07, 02:12 PM
On Tue, 04 Dec 2007 19:34:53 +0930, jmc
> wrote:

>First: We have a vet appointment on Thursday.
>
>Some months ago, I noticed that Meep had a bare spot on her belly. It's
>still there. I am baffled as to cause, and treatment.


Some months ago?!?!? What took you so long to get her to the vet?!?!?
Does see really have an appointment or did you just put that in there
to keep people from getting on your case?!?!?

jmc
December 4th 07, 08:11 PM
Suddenly, without warning, kraut exclaimed (12/4/2007 11:42 PM):
>
> On Tue, 04 Dec 2007 19:34:53 +0930, jmc
> > wrote:
>
>> First: We have a vet appointment on Thursday.
>>
>> Some months ago, I noticed that Meep had a bare spot on her belly. It's
>> still there. I am baffled as to cause, and treatment.
>
>
> Some months ago?!?!? What took you so long to get her to the vet?!?!?
> Does see really have an appointment or did you just put that in there
> to keep people from getting on your case?!?!?
>
>

Did you even read the rest of the email. She's been to the vet, some
months ago. Feliway takes a while to work, if it's going to. It doesn't
seem to be. She's going back tomorrow.

::sigh::

jmc

Choosy
December 4th 07, 08:39 PM
Hi - I would contact Tufts University - or even the Vet School in Ft
Collins, but it actually seems to me to be an allergy, cats are like
people and develop sensitivities to chemicals over time...

jmc
December 6th 07, 09:41 AM
Suddenly, without warning, jmc exclaimed (12/4/2007 7:34 PM):
> First: We have a vet appointment on Thursday.
>
> Some months ago, I noticed that Meep had a bare spot on her belly. It's
> still there. I am baffled as to cause, and treatment.
>

Back from the vet. After a long consultation, we've decided to put her
on a corticosteroid for 6 weeks (I forget the full name, says "Pred-X"
on the bottle), to eliminate allergies as her problem. The long period
of time is because I can only judge success by hair growth (she never
licks the area when I can see her), and it takes her a while to show any
growth.

Allergies are a slight possibility, as the only change in her
environment that I can think of was that she finally started eating all
canned food, rather than just 1/2 can a day, and the rest dry. It's
possible she's allergic to something in the canned, that isn't in the
dry. And she does get the creepy-skin, run away from the itch sort of
attacks, if infrequently.

Meep is so good at the vet. As long as she can stick her head in my
armpit, she's fine :)

jmc

cybercat
December 6th 07, 02:27 PM
"jmc" > wrote in message
...
> Suddenly, without warning, jmc exclaimed (12/4/2007 7:34 PM):
>> First: We have a vet appointment on Thursday.
>>
>> Some months ago, I noticed that Meep had a bare spot on her belly. It's
>> still there. I am baffled as to cause, and treatment.
>>
>
> Back from the vet. After a long consultation, we've decided to put her on
> a corticosteroid for 6 weeks (I forget the full name, says "Pred-X" on the
> bottle), to eliminate allergies as her problem. The long period of time
> is because I can only judge success by hair growth (she never licks the
> area when I can see her), and it takes her a while to show any growth.

Hope it works. If it is not allergies, you'll know it. Gracie's steroids had
no effect at all on her licking herself bald. They did decrease overall
itchiness (her ears itch when it is time for a shot) so if that is it, I'm
sure
it will work. Our cats may be different, I hope so. Good luck.

T
December 8th 07, 08:29 AM
In article >,
says...
> Suddenly, without warning, jmc exclaimed (12/4/2007 7:34 PM):
> > First: We have a vet appointment on Thursday.
> >
> > Some months ago, I noticed that Meep had a bare spot on her belly. It's
> > still there. I am baffled as to cause, and treatment.
> >
>
> Back from the vet. After a long consultation, we've decided to put her
> on a corticosteroid for 6 weeks (I forget the full name, says "Pred-X"
> on the bottle), to eliminate allergies as her problem. The long period
> of time is because I can only judge success by hair growth (she never
> licks the area when I can see her), and it takes her a while to show any
> growth.

It's either straight prednisone or prednisolone. That's standard
treatment for cats.

It's an anti-inflammatory which helps with allergies. I know this
because from roughly April through September I have to take 5mg of the
stuff to help keep my allergies in check.

whoisit
December 9th 07, 08:09 AM
"jmc" > wrote in message
...
> First: We have a vet appointment on Thursday.
>
> Some months ago, I noticed that Meep had a bare spot on her belly. It's
> still there. I am baffled as to cause, and treatment.
>
> The bare area on her belly goes from her belly button down almost to her
> butt, and is wide enough to take in her last set of nipples. It has some
> very short fur, but otherwise healthy pink skin. It's never shown any
> irritation from over-licking, just the lack of fur.
>
> At the time this seems to have started, there were no changes to her
> environment, food, or routine. Or, for that matter, her behavior. We
> moved again in March, but it wasn't until July or August that I started
> noticing that she had "thinner hair" on her belly - wasn't bald back then.
> By September it was bald, and that was when I last took her to the vet.
>
> I've never really seen her pay extra attention to that area. I have seen
> her nibble the area during a normal grooming session, I suspect that's her
> actually mowing. But when I surreptitiously watch her have a grooming
> session, she spends about the same amount of time there (usually less)
> than on the normally furred parts. If she is indeed "mowing", she's doing
> it when we're not around, at night, or while we're at work. The vet says
> that because the fur there is broken off, it's an indicator she's doing
> it.
>
> In the beginning, if I'd see her groom that area, I'd distract her (not
> discipline her, just pull out a toy or do some other thing to distract
> her). When the distraction was over, she didn't go back to grooming the
> area. Under observation, she doesn't seem to have any obsession with that
> area at all.
>
> She has cystitis, but it is well under control, some leg issues (bowed
> bones and luxating patellas), and was diagnosed with a minor
> cardiomyopathy two years ago. She's eleven years old. There was one time
> when she developed a "hotspot", I suspect that she got bit by something,
> and did cause lick damage to her leg (it was pretty nasty by the time we
> noticed it; it was high up on the inside of her hind leg, an area not
> normally seen). Vet visit, bandages and an Elizabethan collar put it to
> rights though, and that's not the area that's a problem now.
>
> When I first talked to the vet about this, that vet did not take a skin
> sample to eliminate an actual skin problem, but did put her on a
> long-acting (3 weeks) antihistamine. I was unable to tell if it had any
> effect, since I have not been observing her "mowing", I couldn't tell if
> she had stopped. 3 weeks didn't seem long enough to tell if the fur was
> growing back yet.
>
> At the same time, I purchased a Feliway diffuser. We've just started the
> third one. She spends more time than she used to hanging out on the
> living room floor near where the diffuser is, but that's about it.
>
> I tried taking her off of Stronghold/Revolution, and keeping her inside.
> No change.
>
> The area has pretty much remained unchanged since I first really noticed
> it.
>
> It seems behavioral rather than pathogenic (is that the right word?) but I
> can't for the life of me figure out the trigger, what keeps her doing it,
> and how to make her stop.
>
> I am going to try to get the vet to allow us to try a couple months on
> antihistamines and see if that's the issue. If it's a food allergy,
> there's really not much I can do about it here - she's extremely fussy,
> needs a particular diet because of her cystitis, and there's just not much
> choice in cat food here. I'll also ask to have her skin tested to
> eliminate a problem there.
>
> Anybody have any ideas? Anything I've missed, can try doing to help her,
> or should suggest to the vet, if not mentioned by her?
>
> jmc

My tortie had this, exactly. In her case, it turned out to be a side effect
of hyperthyroidism. Got that under control and the fur grew back. I took her
to the vet when the bald spot on the belly was getting really big and was
marching down her inner thighs. I never noticed my cat 'mowing' either, but
she was gradually becoming a bit hyperactive and somehow only the tiny
little short hairs remained on her belly, so she was up to something. I
suppose I resisted the diagnosis, but it turned out to be on the money.

Maybe your cat is quite young (<8), so the vet didn't test for it? It's a
disease typical of middle aged and older cats. There are other causes of
course. If you Google 'feline alopecia' you'll get some scary finds.
cheers and good luck