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 nekovet Your Own Question
nekovet, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 20923
Experience:  Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian. I am happy to answer any questions you may have on any species.
Type Your Cat Question Here...
nekovet is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My 10 year old selkirk rex has recently started licking the

Customer Question

My 10 year old selkirk rex has recently started licking the hair off his back legs. We have had the same diet and same flea routine for several years. So I am thinking it may not be allergies or fleas. :(
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Did the cat have a fall?
Customer: Not that I know of, he is indoor only. His activity seems normal????
JA: The Veterinarian will ask you more detailed questions to find out what is causing this. It might be a fracture. The Veterinarian will know what to do. What is the cat's name?
Customer: his name is Fuzzo.
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Fuson?
Customer: Not that I can think of.
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Veterinarian about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  nekovet replied 1 year ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

How long ago did this start?

Can you confirm that his food company hasn't changed the recipe (usually we will see "new recipe", "now tastier" or advertisements of that nature on the food)?

Any changes to the skin in this area?

Any changes to Fuzzo's drinking, weight, or appetite?

Any changes to the routines at home (ie new people, animals in or outside the house, schedules, furniture, etc)?

Are you seeing him licking the hair off or excessively grooming?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Two months, food is the same, yes confirmed, no, he seems to be normal, no, and yes.
Expert:  nekovet replied 1 year ago.

Thank you,

Now as I am sure you can appreciate overgrooming and hair loss in cats can be due to a range of issues. If he isn't showing any change his skin then hopefully we can put bacterial, fungal, and parasitic lower on our list of concerns for Fuzzo.

Now since you noted that you do see him excessively groom means that stress based overgrooming is less likely but allergies would be a concern here. Allergies can literally be from anything he is in contact with and become an issue at any age. This includes allergens like food proteins, pollens, flea saliva (only one bite is needed to set them off), laundry powders, and dust mites. Again we can see them react to literally anything, so we do need to be aware of this.

With this all in mind, since you are seeing him grooming (as opposed to his being secretive and just doing so when no one is around as many stress groomers do), I would note that we can also try to rule out allergies via medical management. To do so, you could consider trying anti-histamines. Most often we will use Benadryl/Diphenhydramine (More Info/Dose @ A low dose (ie. 0.25mg per pound of their body weight twice daily) can just be enough to reduce that allergic irritation. Alternatively, you can also use Cetirizine (just 5mg for a cat) once daily. For either, we like to keep the dose low, since it can cause drowsiness (just like people). And of course, these shouldn't be used if your wee one has any known health issues or is on any other medication without speaking to your vet first.

Otherwise, we may need to keep him up to date on monthly flea treatment to rule out flea allergy, consider a diet trial with a hypoallergenic diet (ie Hills z/d), or at his age do plan to have a check up with his vet to make sure there are no systemic underlying issues (ie kidney troubles, thyroid issues, etc) since that too can dive inappropriate grooming in elderly cats.

Overall, his signs do raise a few suspicions here. Therefore, I would consider ruling out allergies with an antihistamine to start. If addressing that angle doesn't deter the behavior, then we'd need to consider those other concerns for his overgrooming. And in that case, we'd want to try the above steps to see if we can settle this for him. Though if it lingers, then we’d want to have a check with his vet to determine which issue is present and have them dispense treatment to nip this in the bud..

All the best,

Dr. B.


If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. Thank you! : )