Three Possible Reasons Why Your Cat Is Pulling Out Clumps Of Its Fur
It's not uncommon to see a cat groom itself and accidentally lick up a bit of loose fur, but if your cat is physically yanking out its own hair, that's a problem. Cats should never rip out their own fur, so don't ignore this warning sign of a potential problem. Here are three of the most common causes for cats yanking their own hair out.
Stressed animals often have erratic behavior. Pulling out fur is sometimes akin to a nervous habit in cats who are stressed out. Although it really serves no purpose and can actually hurt your cat's skin, it's a lot like biting fingernails for humans. It may not seem sensible that your cat hurts itself when it's anxious, but in reality, it's an attempt to comfort itself.
If your cat is stressed out, it needs help. Eliminating or controlling stressors like loud noises and activity from other pets or children may be helpful.
Pica is an eating disorder that some cats develop. Although it's not quite clear why some cats have it and others don't, the symptoms of pica include eating one's own fur and eating objects with no nutritional value. To make matters worse, this problem can be exacerbated by stress, so it may be more than one issue affecting your cat.
If you think your cat has pica, you should keep an eye on its overall activity and behavior. Cats with pica often don't stop at consuming their own fur and instead look to foreign objects. This can easily lead to fecal impaction, so get help if you suspect that your cat likes trying to eat foreign objects.
Finally, malnutrition can oddly rear its head in this manner. Most people who feed their cats a balanced diet of cat food won't have this problem. It's more common if you try to feed a cat a raw-food diet or a human diet, as those diets can often become unbalanced in the nutrition that cats need to survive.
If your cat's diet is to blame, simply changing it up to whatever your vet recommends may end this problem entirely. However, you may want to also have your cat's blood tested to ensure that they haven't experienced any critical problems due to a lack of essential nutrients, like taurine.
Controlling any of these conditions usually relies upon anti-anxiety medication. However, in the meantime, your cat may need surgery to remove any blockages it's developed in its intestines from eating fur or other objects. Contact a veterinary hospital, like Pitts Veterinary Hospital PC, for more information. Your vet will perform a scan using x-rays or ultrasounds to detect any blockages and will then operate to remove the blockages. Your cat may need to stay for a few nights in the animal hospital to recover.
If your cat is stressed out or experiencing a medical condition that leads them to rip out their own fur only to try and eat it, you need to talk to a vet. Help your kitty out, and give the vet a call today.