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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20878
Experience:  Small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats, happy to discuss any questions you have.
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My cat has been systematically pulling her hair out, now she's

Customer Question

My cat has been systematically pulling her hair out, now she's got scabs on her back where she's been biting. I know it's not fleas. It's a guy who is living with us for financial reasons, but she can't stand him. He moved out for a month and she immediately got better! ONE MONTH!!! What can I do to stop her, b(esides moving HIM out?!?), from chewing her own skin?!?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.
Based on your history of Shelly's overgrooming, it does sound like this fellow is causing her stress and anxiety which manifests as overgrooming. Now in a perfect world, we would consider removing Shelly's trigger for these signs. Still, since that is not an option, we have to focus on helping her to cope with this situation.
To start, we'd want to make sure Shelly has a space/safe haven where she can go to avoid him. This site should have all her resources (food, water, litter box, bed, etc) and be somewhere quiet and off his normal track through the house.
Further to this, it would be worth starting her with some de-stressing tools to help provide her with a general peaceful environment, help her cope with him, and reduce her anxiety. In these situations, we often we will use Feliway, also known as Comfort Zone in the US pet stores, which is a synthetic cat pheromone that helps to relieve stress. This can be used as a spray or a plug-in diffuser. And this can be used in that safe haven you set up for her.
There is also a diet on the market called Calm by Royal Canin. This contains a number of supplements that have been found to provide stress relief to cats. As well, there are nutritional supplements like Kalmaid or Zylkene to soothe anxious cats. Some people have even found treats like Composure (available on Amazon) or Bach Flower Remedy to be helpful for settling kitty tension. And as these are not 'drugs', you can use any of these together to help settle her anxiety. Finally, you can also use environmental enrichment (ie play, perches, etc) to help give her other things to focus on instead of her worries about him.
Overall, Shelly has made it pretty clear regarding what is causing her stress and thus triggering her overgrooming. Still, since we cannot remove the trigger for her anxiety, do consider the above to reduce her stress and help her cope with what she considers a less then ideal situation.
I hope this information is helpful.
If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!
All the best, *****
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