How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Dr Olja Jovovich Your Own Question

Dr Olja Jovovich
Dr Olja Jovovich, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 394
Experience:  BVSc (DVM equivalent)
13658106
Type Your Cat Veterinary Question Here...
Dr Olja Jovovich is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My cat eats the fur on her legs and stomach. She has terrible hairballs. What can I d

Resolved Question:

I used to think she did it only when she was stressed, but she seems to be doing it all the time. Her stomach is pretty bare now, and the backs of her legs are stripped of fur. She seems to be in reasonably good health, eats well, and is very affectionate. We give her lots of attention. She's about 10 years old. Is this behavior unusual? What are typical causes? Any treatment?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr Olja Jovovich replied 5 years ago.
Hi there,
It sounds like your girl is suffering from over-grooming. Cats that over-groom often cause fur to fall out resulting in a bald patch. The skin is not inflamed and the area is not itchy. The most commonly involved areas are the flanks, inner thighs and the belly.

Overgrooming is usually caused by some type of stress in the cats’ life, such as a new kitten/puppy/baby, change of diet, underlying disease. It may be even caused by the neighbours new cat/dog!However, sometimes even though the behviour is started by stress it becomes habit and the cat continues to overgroom. If it hasn't already been done I recommend you have her checked out by your local Vet and have them run a full blood and urine panel in case the 'stressor' in her case is an underlying medical condition of some sort.

 

Even though this sounds like a behaviour problem by your description, without a full Veterinary skin work up (including impression smears, hair exam and culture etc) it is difficult to rule out some of the other causes of hair loss. Diagnosis of overgrooming is often one of exclusion.

Other causes of hairloss include:

- ringworm (actually a fungus), usually the bald area is ring or circle shape. Very contagious to other animals and humans who develop red circles on exposed skin

- flea allergy dermatitis (usually see small 'scabs' over the bald area)

- mites (demodex or scabies- can be seen under a microscope following a skin scraping)

- allergic causes

- even some types of skin cancer

I do recommend you take your kitty to the Vet for a skin exam to rule in or rule out these conditions. Behavioural overgrooming is treated by behaviour-modifying drugs such as Clomicalm, which can be obtained on prescription from your Vet.

An over-the -counter product you can try first is called Feliway. 'Feliway' is a synthetic feline pheromone, or 'feel-good' hormone, that comes in a spray bottle and a diffuser and would be the first choice for 'stress' treatment.

Hope this helps, let me know if you have any further questions.

Regards,

Dr J

Dr Olja Jovovich, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 394
Experience: BVSc (DVM equivalent)
Dr Olja Jovovich and other Cat Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • It was so professional, so personally concerned (as we were) and you answered all of our questions. George and I are so happy that I found "JustAnswer" on my Google search -- you are now in my "Favorites" list! And, yes we do love our kitty - she makes our life complete! Bev & George Boca Raton, FL
< Last | Next >
  • It was so professional, so personally concerned (as we were) and you answered all of our questions. George and I are so happy that I found "JustAnswer" on my Google search -- you are now in my "Favorites" list! And, yes we do love our kitty - she makes our life complete! Bev & George Boca Raton, FL
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex Los Angeles, CA
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP Hesperia, CA
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin Kernersville, NC
  • Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around. Esther Woodstock, NY
  • Thank you so much for taking your time and knowledge to support my concerns. Not only did you answer my questions, you even took it a step further with replying with more pertinent information I needed to know. Robin Elkton, Maryland
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dr. Gary

    Cat Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    3053
    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RY/rydergar/2012-6-6_192240_IMG0328.64x64.JPG Dr. Gary's Avatar

    Dr. Gary

    Cat Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    3053
    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/VE/vetforyou/2012-6-20_33122_PearlPhoto.64x64.jpg Dr. Andy's Avatar

    Dr. Andy

    Medical Director

    Satisfied Customers:

    4146
    UC Davis graduate, Interests: Dermatology, Internal Medicine, Pain Management
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/doggfone1/2009-07-16_133633_vet_pic.jpg Dr. Scott's Avatar

    Dr. Scott

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    3980
    12 years of small animal, equine and pocket pet experience in medicine and surgery.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BI/bigislandvet/2013-2-21_214244_IMG0357.64x64.JPG Dr. Michael Salkin's Avatar

    Dr. Michael Salkin

    Big Island Vet

    Satisfied Customers:

    3268
    University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 41 years of experience.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/1I/1ISUDVM/2011-3-1_22028_Honeymoon2005075294928803490646858.64x64.jpg Dr. Bruce's Avatar

    Dr. Bruce

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    3188
    12 years of experience as a small animal veterinarian
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/AN/andrewDVM/2012-4-27_12585_iStock000011751407XSmall.64x64.jpg Dr. Drew's Avatar

    Dr. Drew

    Cat Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    2873
    Small Animal Medicine and Surgery
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PE/petdrz/2012-6-7_16239_MeandDoncropped.64x64.JPG Dr. Z.'s Avatar

    Dr. Z.

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    1936
    Over 25 years of experience in caring for dogs and cats.
 
 
 
Chat Now With A Cat Veterinarian
Dr Olja Jovovich
Dr Olja Jovovich
Cat Veterinarian
394 Satisfied Customers
BVSc (DVM equivalent)