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. Andy Your Own Question
Dr. Andy
Dr. Andy, Medical Director
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 30041
Experience:  UC Davis graduate, Interests: Dermatology, Internal Medicine, Pain Management
Type Your Cat Veterinary Question Here...
Dr. Andy is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My cat is losing his fur on his belly, inside back legs, and

This answer was rated:

My cat is losing his fur on his belly, inside back legs, and a few patches on one of his front legs. He is not acting abnormal, but he is licking and biting himself more then normal. My other cat may be losing her fur in the same place, but I'm not quite sure. It does look like there is some missing, but I don't hold her much because she doesn't allow it so I don't know if it's normally like that or not. Saratoga has large patches missing. I think he's an anxious cat anyway, and he tends to overgroom. He's ALWAYS licking himself, but has seemed to turned to biting as well in the areas that are missing fur.
Welcome! I would be happy to assist you. I am a 2003 graduate from UC Davis and a Medical Director of a veterinarian practice.

I am sorry to hear about Saratoga.

Cat allergies
Generally, the first concern is always for flea allergy hypersensitivity. You may not even see a single flea, and that could be the primary problem. So, any time allergies are addressed, every cat must be on good flea control. No garbage stuff from the petstore, excluding a few products like Frontline for Cats or Advantage. The best is often a choice from the vet office.

For any outdoor cat, dermatophytes are a very common cause. That is, a fungal infection. If there are any lesions on the skin that look like ringworm (circular patchy areas of hair loss that are sometimes inflamed and scabby), your vet will recommend testing.

Also, very common is food allergies and environmental allergies.
Food Allergies
Environmental Allergies (Atopy)

Remember, if the skin is already inflamed or there are any hotspots to suggest infection, the pruritus (itchiness) will be worse from the infection. The secondary infection must be treated with the appropriate oral antibiotics and/or anti-yeast medication from the vet. Otherwise, the rest of the information and treatment is worthless.

With food allergies, you must pick a diet that has a new carbohydrate and protein your cat has never seen.
Examples would usually include:
Science Diet D/D formulas (ask your vet)
Royal Canin Hypoallergenic formulas (ask your vet)
Dick van Patton “Natural Balance” (usually at PetCo stores)
You must do an exclusive food trial (no other foods or treats) for at least 2-3 months to know if helpful.

Lastly, the quickest relief from allergies will be a steroid shot or oral steroids from your vet.
Sometimes, antihistamines can help a little bit. You can give Benadryl to a cat (easier said than done). A ¼ tablet of 25mg benadryl for a cat 6-8 pounds, and a ½ tablet if around 12 pounds. Up to every 12 hours.

I hope you did use a quality flea control product, and none of the cheap Hartz or Sargeant's. many cats can have reactions to these products, and actually exacerbate the problems.

Definitely, sounds well worth veterinary examination. Although allergies are suspicious, a blood test including a thyroid level would be wise (elevated thyroid hormone called hyperthyroidism can cause skin problems like this).

Hope that info helps
Dr. Andy

Please reply ANY time more information is needed using the REPLY TO EXPERT button.

Please remember to leave feedback by selecting a SMILEY FACE followed by “Submit”
This is necessary, so I may receive credit from the website for my response, even if you are a subscribing member.

Only rate my answer when you are 100% satisfied. IF you feel the need to rate "expected more" or "helped a little", please stop and reply to me via the REPLY TO EXPERT button. I would be happy to continue assisting further, and do everything I can to be of the greatest assistance.

REMEMBER: Even after you submit feedback, you can still review our discussion or reply if needed. Unfortunately, I cannot legally prescribe medications or offer a definitive diagnosis without performing a physical examination, which is necessary to establish a client-patient-doctor relationship. Any medical therapy and treatment should only be performed after an in-person examination with your veterinarian. While information may be discussed, this is not intended as an encouragement for you to self treat your pet.
After we conclude this question, I can be requested for additional questions through my profile at: Dr. Andy

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you! They are both indoor cats. I used Advantage on both of them. I know that the flea season is really bad this year from what I have heard. I thought I saw little black specks on him where he was missing fur a few days ago, but they were gone right before I put the advantage on him and is definitely gone now. But there were a lot there because I was trying to clean them off and they were coming off on my paper towel a little.

His skin is not red or puffy. It looks normal. He just won't stop licking or biting. Sometimes he seems to whip himself around really fast or twitch where he doesn't have fur.

Got it.

Yes, the fleas are highly suspect.

That black specks...that is likely flea poop. Literally.

But, even if the Advantage works, a flea allergy can remain for several weeks after the fleas are gone. This is often when a steroid shot at the vet can be so useful.

Dr. Andy

Dr. Andy and 3 other Cat Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you