Cat is Constantly Licking his Fur which is Starting to Get Bald

by Michelle
(Fall River, Ma)

I have a male Bengal cat who is compulsively licking all over all the time... leaving bare spots on his fur.

Is this a behavior problem or medical? Any ideas how I can address it?

Reply from Liz (Editor): It's difficult to say for sure, without more information, what's causing this cat behavior. It could be physical, behavioral or even a combination of both.

One of the most common reasons for this sort of behavior is an allergy, and the most common of these is an allergy to cat fleas. You should treat him regularly for these - I think the best cat flea treatments are the spot-on ones like Frontline. Other common allergies include certain foods, plastics, dust, fabric softener / washing detergent, carpet deodorizer etc.

This page gives more information on other conditions that can cause skin problems and may help you:

Cat Skin Problems

Cat Hair Loss

Feline Allergies

If the behavior is stress-related, a Feliway diffuser might help. It's a pheromone substitute which some cats find soothing, and it sometimes helps stop this sort of cat behavior. It's available as a plug-in diffuser from good pet stores and online (humans can't smell it).

A trip to the vet may be a good idea - they can test for allergies and can hopefully get to the bottom of the cause. Once this is known, treatment can be much more targeted and effective.

Thank you for your question ad good luck with solving this problem.

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