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Cher
Cher, Feline Specialist
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 20961
Experience:  Feline Healthcare & Behavior Specialist 40+ years Experience
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Lori, I have a cat who can not seem to stop licking all

Customer Question

Hi Lori,
I have a cat who can not seem to stop licking all of her nipple area. She is bald there now from all the attention she has given the area. her tummy is bright red and even right now she's licking herself. i dont know what to do anymore, Ive tried so much, but Im not willing to give up.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Cher replied 1 year ago.
Hello, and welcome!
I'm so sorry to hear that Hartlyn is having these problems. It does sound possible that she's experiencing an allergic reaction to either a component in her food and/or something she's contacting in her environment. She also may have an OCD condition called feline psychogenic alopecia, which causes a cat to over-groom to the point of baldness and make sores in those areas. The belly and inside of the thighs are usually the places where they over-lick compulsively, but the fact that she's also bothering her face is of greater concern. Here is more information:
http://www.petplace.com/article/cats/behavior-training/behavior-problems/psychogenic-alopecia-in-cats
If she's currently eating food(s) that contain corn, soy, gluten, wheat, dairy, eggs, carageenan, artificial colors, flavors and/or preservatives, these are all common allergens for cats. Sometimes, the protein (meat) source in a food is the culprit. If you want to try a new food (you need to make the change very gradually) with alternative protein and carbs like Royal Canin or Natural Balance's Limited Ingredient Diets with duck and green pea and other varieties, you can see if that will help.
Yes, the steroid shots do help, but only temporarily, so the underlying cause of her over-grooming and scratching must be diagnosed so she can be treated appropriately.
If you feel she's itchy, discuss with your vet if you can give her an antihistamine like Chlor-trimeton. 1/4 of a 4mg. tablet once a day to start, may help. Here is more information:
http://www.petplace.com/article/drug-library/library/over-the-counter/chlorpheniramine-maleate-chlor-trimeton
Sometimes, it's also believed that stress/anxiety can be a contributing factor to this kind of behavior, so get some Feliway plug ins. These emit cat calming pheromones which help with stress and have no scent to humans. Only cats can detect it.
http://www.feliway.com/us/
Sometimes, a prescription medication may be needed, so discuss this with your vet and also, if allergies are suspected, it might be a good idea to ask for a referral to a veterinary dermatology specialist.
Instead of an ace bandage, you can take a small boy's (or men's ) 'A' shirt (ribbed, 100% cotton tank top-like underwear) and cut it so it makes a 'sleeve' to fit closely, but not too tightly over her torso. You can put it over her head and it should cover from right behind her front legs to right in front of her hind paws and cover her tummy area.
I hope all will be well with Hartlyn and please let me know how she's doing. Thanks!
Please kindly rate my answer with positive feedback and if you have any additional questions, just click Reply and I will always be here for you and Hartlyn. Rating will not cut off our ability to communicate. This question will always be open for you to reply to me.
Warmest wishes,
Cher
Expert:  Cher replied 1 year ago.
Hi Alyssa,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Hartlyn. How is everything going?

Cher