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Cher, Feline Specialist
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 21333
Experience:  Feline Healthcare & Behavior Specialist 40+ years Experience
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I have a five year old neutered male ginger 🐈 who is

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I have a five year old neutered male ginger 🐈 who is pulling great chunks of hair out every day and now has a furless line along his lower backbone. I took him to the vet a couple of times and each time have been told it is a flea allergy which is fine but I have never seen a flea on him or any of our other 2 cats. Nor have I ever seen any black bits through his fur like I saw on our cats when we lived in 🇳🇿 and the fleas and their dirt were obvious. Could he have a mite or an eczema that is causing him to itch to the point that he is pulling out his coat? Please help.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Using the wrong medication for fleas can be dangerous. You should definitely talk to the Veterinarian. Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about the cat?
Customer: Nothing further than I outlined in the previous email.

Hi, I'm Cher. Welcome to JustAnswer.

I'm reviewing your question now and will post back with your reply, shortly.

Hi, Evelyn.

I'm sorry your kitty is exhibiting symptoms that are worrying you.

At this time, do you have him on any monthly flea preventative? If so, which brand?

What kind of food does he eat? Brand and dry or canned?

Does he spend any time outside?

Thanks for all your additional information and after you reply, please allow me some time to type up your detailed answer.

Warmest wishes,


Hi, again.

Even if you don't physically see any fleas or other external parasites on your cat, one flea could have bitten him and if he's allergic to flea saliva, he could have this fur-pulling reaction after the flea is long gone. This is called Flea Allergic Dermatitis or "FAD." You didn't mention if the vet prescribed any medication for a flea allergy.

If you treat him with a monthly topical flea preventative sold by your vet's office, this will prevent him being bothered by any possible fleas in the area. If this area on his back is itching him, you can give him an over the counter (or one given by the vet) antihistamine like 1/4 of a 4mg. Chlor-Trimeton every 12 hours and see if this helps.


There is a condition called feline psychogenic alopecia, where cats will lick or bite at certain areas of their body until it is hairless. This is typically attributed to stress or sometimes it is 'idiopathic,' meaning it has no known cause. Here is more information:


Another possibility that you can discuss with your vet is feline hyperesthesia syndrome. This causes the cat's back, where you described, to be very sensitive, the skin may twitch and 'ripple' and the cat will bite at the back (and often, the tail, too), frantically, and pull out fur. Sometimes, cats with this condition will run around the house as if being chased, all of a sudden, even from a deep sleep. This condition has been likened to seizures, so your vet may want to do a neurological work-up or refer you to a veterinary neurological specialist.


These symptoms may also be caused by a food allergy, so make sure your cat's food does not contain any soy, wheat, gluten, corn, careeganan, artificial flavor or colors and/or preservatives. Grain-free food is best and so is canned food. Here is an article written by a feline vet:


There are some limited ingredient diets that contain novel proteins and carbs like duck and green pea, venison and brown rice, etc. Many manufacturers make these, like Royal Canin, Natural Balance and Blue, plus, many others. You can find some in your pet supply store and others at your vet's office, or they can order it for you.

I hope all will be well with your ginger kitty!

Please be so kind as to rate my answer with positive feedback, as that is the only way I receive recognition from the website for my assistance. Thank you very much!

Providing a positive rating will not end our conversation, should you need me for any follow-up. Simply click 'Reply to Expert' for clarification or additional information, if needed.

Warmest regards,


Hi again, Evelyn.

Just a follow up to see how things are going with your ginger boy.

Did you find my answer helpful?

Please let me know.



Cher and other Cat Specialists are ready to help you

Hello again, Evelyn.

Your excellent rating is highly appreciated; thank you very much!

I hope your ginger boy is doing much better, now!

Warmest wishes,