Large bald patch on long-haired moulting feral

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Hazel
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Large bald patch on long-haired moulting feral

Post by Hazel » Wed Mar 18, 2015 5:51 pm

As some of you will know Mama Cass is a feral/stray who has lived in our garden for a couple of years now. She has a massive winter coat which she is now moulting. She depends a lot of time grooming and her fur is really mattet in places, coming off in huge clumps around the garden.

We've just seen today that she has a huge pink bald patch around her neck, about the size of my hand. I'm guessing she's caught one of these matted patches on something and pulled the fur out freeing herself. It is very pink but doesn't look sore, swollen or scabby and doesn't seem to bothering her. I'd really like to avoid trapping her and taking her to the vets, I wondered if anyone with experience of long haired cats has seen anything similar. Do you think it's likely to get infected or will the fur just grow back and she'll be fine?

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Re: Large bald patch on long-haired moulting feral

Post by Lilith » Wed Mar 18, 2015 11:09 pm

Yes I'd be inclined to let her be, does sound as if a huge mat has pulled off, and unless there's any scaliness/irritation/other symptoms and as long as she's behaving normally, I'd just keep an eye on her - poor lass, good thing the weather ought to warm up soon.

You could always knit her a scarf lol.

Joking apart, hope she goes on ok - loving vibes to Mama Cass :)

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Re: Large bald patch on long-haired moulting feral

Post by Animal lover » Wed Mar 18, 2015 11:42 pm

I would definately not let her be. I know that trapping is very stressful for the cat and for the people involved. In this situation I would do it sooner rather than later. I groom and clip animals of all types. I taught myself clipping when I had my first dog and it went from there. People do not know from just looking at an animal how bad the matting can be. You need to be fully hands on with the animal.
It can cause limbs to be joined to other parts of the body, restriction in movement, the possibility of 'summer fly' is also greatly increased, there could be flea infestations or ticks, wounds or skin conditions are not noticeable, wounds that are infected or invested are not noticeable, the animal could be greatly malnourished, and matting can also cause loss of blood flow to limbs and tails which can result in amputation or in severe cases the limbs can die and eventually be cut off by the matting acting as cheese wire, and the pulling of the matts on the skin can cause the skin to be pulled away. Depending on where the matts are, she may not be able to groom herself fully or properly as the movement of her limbs and face can be resticted. If the animal is spending a lot of time grooming, this can also be an indication that she cannot deal with the problem, especially if they are spending a lot of time on one area, it can indicate an irritation or pulling, etc., which she cannot deal with herself.
Your vet should be able to sedate or fully put under the cat and either do the clipping themselves or be able to get a groomer in. I know that this option is not always cheap, depending on your vet. If you know someone willing to clip for a good cause for free, ask if your vet will allow them to do the clipping, this will make the bill cheaper.
After this urgently needed clip, in future, depending on the temperament of the cat, the vet can sedate them onsite and you can have someone clip them there, or give you sedation medication which will mean that someone can clip the cat at your home. This option of sedating at home is what I did for someone's rescue dog. Depending on the cats tempermant, your time available, etc., you can also ask a socialiser to start to get the cat used to certain things to get them on the way to be ok with a certain amount of grooming. Or you can do them yourself. If the temperament is a no no for this, then I would say the vet or sedation is best done regularly to avoid matts starting.

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Re: Large bald patch on long-haired moulting feral

Post by meriad » Thu Mar 19, 2015 1:36 pm

Hmmm difficult one - if the bald area is the size of your hand then that's actually quite huge and would give me a bit of cause for concern that there's more going on than 'just' a caught matted area.

Keep a very close eye on her but definitely get her to the vet if you think it's getting bigger

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Re: Large bald patch on long-haired moulting feral

Post by Hazel » Thu Mar 19, 2015 6:56 pm

I was surprised how large it is, you can't see it when she sits down as the rest of her fur covers it, she must have stretched out walking past the window when I got a look.
When I said her fur is matted, the matts of fur are dangling half off her, the fur that's left looks ok. She went through this last year and coped fine.
I was really hoping for lots of replies saying it's perfectly normal. Why do these things always happen to me? :roll:

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Re: Large bald patch on long-haired moulting feral

Post by Kay » Thu Mar 19, 2015 7:02 pm

I think a vet visit too - Trigger towards the end of his life developed a large pink area without fur, which was where his fibrosarcoma was, so although this bald patch on Mama Cass is most likely fur related, there is always a possibility something is going on internally

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Re: Large bald patch on long-haired moulting feral

Post by Hazel » Thu Mar 19, 2015 7:14 pm

I've contacted our vet to see if they have a trap I can borrow and check their policy on patching up feral cats at short notice! hopefully they'll be helpful.....

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Re: Large bald patch on long-haired moulting feral

Post by Walesgang » Thu Mar 19, 2015 7:18 pm

Hope she's ok Hazel.

Our vets were great with Squeak and Grey when they were still feral - and they were surprisingly easy (ish!) to get there.

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Re: Large bald patch on long-haired moulting feral

Post by Animal lover » Thu Mar 19, 2015 8:58 pm

The type of moulting that you are describing, where the fur matts in clumps and then falls off, sounds like the moulting you see in animals such as camels and llamas. I have not seen it in cats as a rule. Normally due to the type of fur cats have, the matts just get bigger and bigger. And having a bald spot could be where a matt got caught and then was pulled off. I would normally expect to see damage to the skin if this was the case.
I feel that it is a definite case of trapping her and getting her to the vets ASAP. Lots of things can cause excess moulting and bald spots in cats - ringworm, hormonal problems, bacterial infection, allergies, flea infestations, stress and something that she could be ingesting.
Also, as she has a large bald spot, if there are signs of soreness, cut skin, it could be more open to infection or infestation, especially if she is already run down or battling with an underlying problem.
As she is a feral cat, she could be going anywhere and could be scavenging anything. Do you have any idea where she goes? If other people feed her, etc? Depending on what it is, it can be a health risk to your cats and other people's cats. If could be something that could be treated very easily. Although, depending on what it could be might be a problem that you may need help with, ie if it is bacterial and she has to be bathed in medication every day, would she be ok with that?
The sooner she goes to the vets and gets answers, the sooner you will know and be able to get it sorted.

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Re: Large bald patch on long-haired moulting feral

Post by Hazel » Thu Mar 19, 2015 9:14 pm

Yes I suppose she does look rather like a camel! The same happened last year though so that in itself didn't particularly worry us. She is similar to a wild animal I suppose (not that camels are wild).
I don't know where she goes, but most the time she's asleep on top of our shed. She always turns up at meal times so probably nobody else is feeding her. She eats the odd bird and rat too.

I hope so Val, it's not the vets that the CP use, I think tht one is probably cheaper but can't hold animals overnight.

I know this sounds awful, but how can I stop any fleas or other nasties getting on me or my car which could spread to my cats? Maybe I should get a taxi :lol:

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Re: Large bald patch on long-haired moulting feral

Post by Hazel » Thu Mar 19, 2015 9:22 pm

....and no, daily medicated baths wouldn't be an option, we've fed and chatted to her for about 2 years now and she still won't let us touch her or come within touching distance when we put her food out, I think we'd have more chance with Lilith's scarf idea!

It's hasnt spoilt her looks, the boys are coming from miles around fancying their chances (she is speyed), our garden is like a cat youth club lately (much to the distress of my cats). I'm worried that she'll get in a fight with one if them and they'll scratch or bite her bald bit. Poor cat, as if she doesn't have enough to cope with.
Last edited by Hazel on Fri Mar 20, 2015 7:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Large bald patch on long-haired moulting feral

Post by Animal lover » Thu Mar 19, 2015 9:51 pm

It could be as simple as stress. If she is getting a lot of un-wanted attention, that will cause her to look for somewhere high up and out of the way, it could also be playing havoc with her hormones too. One thing I would be concerned of, is the eating of rats. Do you know anyone who is poisoning rats or had pest control out? Even though the matting and moulting happened last year as well, it could still be there is something underlying going on. If something is not be treated it will just linger. I would say get her sedated and full blood work and full clipping too. At least you will know if there is something or nothing, and then maybe you will have to think of what might be better for her. If treating her is not possible and it is something little or serious, or if it simply turns out to be stress, then you will need to think of the options open to you.

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Re: Large bald patch on long-haired moulting feral

Post by Hazel » Fri Mar 20, 2015 7:32 am

We saw her last autumn eating two or three small rats within a couple of days, I think she found a nest. We live in a semi rural area, I don't think anyone poisons the rats and apart from those ones I've only ever seen one a number of years ago and one about the same time as she was eating them which was huge and dead on the road (we disposed of that one so she didn't eat it and so people didn't get worried and put poison down). Last thing I saw was a load of feathers in the garden near where she sits, I think she'd caught a collared dove by the colour of them and we got a few dead blackbirds last year :(

I'm not sure about full bloods etc, they'll cost a fortune, I'm already having trouble persuading hubby to help me catch her, he thinks the stress of the vets will be a lot for her and that her fur will grow back fine. I must admit I kind of agree with him, but given the size of the bald patch I'm worried she'll damage the area and get infected. I'll see what the vets say when they get back to me.

I think she looks more like a sheep than a camel. x

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Re: Large bald patch on long-haired moulting feral

Post by meriad » Fri Mar 20, 2015 8:49 am

Hazel, where abouts are you in the UK? Just wondering if there are any rescues close to you that could help with the trapping and also give a bit of a hand with the financial side of things.

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Re: Large bald patch on long-haired moulting feral

Post by nannymcfee » Fri Mar 20, 2015 2:08 pm

I too thought ringworm , does it look anything like this...( well from as close as you can get :D )
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Re: Large bald patch on long-haired moulting feral

Post by HRHFluffy » Fri Mar 20, 2015 2:26 pm

Hazel I'm sorry to hear that the lovely Mama Cass is having problems. Years ago before Fluffy moved herself in with me she had a large bald patch on her neck and chest area. The fur was literally hanging off. It was tricky at the time because Fluffy belonged to our neighbour so I trusted she was being sorted. But by the time she took up residence with me I could see there were bald patches down her spine too. The vet diagnosed a severe flea allergy and gave her treatment. She was absolutely fine after that. I'm not sure if this is what Mama Cass has because Fluffy's bald area wasn't pink. But it could be a possibility. However looking at the pic below it could likely be ringworm especially if she hunts. Hope you can get help with catching her.

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Re: Large bald patch on long-haired moulting feral

Post by SarahT1 [PLLE] » Fri Mar 20, 2015 3:21 pm

Sending good thoughts your way, Hazel. Hope you can trap the lady okay. Jess and Mika are not happy with the cat youth club being on their patch then?

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Re: Large bald patch on long-haired moulting feral

Post by Animal lover » Fri Mar 20, 2015 5:59 pm

Just a note to say that when you, and also anyone who helps, has any contact with Mama Cass try to ensure that you wear gloves and your arms, etc., are fully covered. Ringworm can be passed from animals to people. If it does turn out to be ringworm, you may have to take in your own cats to be tested and let other people know so they can get their cats done too. If it is a flea infestation, the only things I can suggest to protect yourself is to wear such things as plastic macs, etc. A friend of mine swears by taking half a lemon (anything citrus) and rubbing it on your clothes. I have never tried it, but she swears by it, also she sometimes puts some Vics Vapour Rub on them too. Apparently it is the smell.

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Re: Large bald patch on long-haired moulting feral

Post by Hazel » Fri Mar 20, 2015 7:28 pm

OK so I managed to get a better look this morning and the patch goes right round her neck except about 2 inches at the back of her neck. I now think she's overgrooming or perhaps has a flea allery as has been suggested. She definitely hasn't just caught it. It's hard to spot because of the long fur on her face and shoulders so it might have been there a while.

I've got NASSL bringing me a trap on Sunday, they were lovely and will show me how to set it (and how not to set it) an said to make a vets appointment for the end of the week then we can feed her in it until the day to get her used to it. I've contacted my vets (only by email as it's always out of hours by the time I get chance) and explained the situation asking that any price reduction would be appreciated! It's going to be a fun week... :(
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Re: Large bald patch on long-haired moulting feral

Post by Crewella » Fri Mar 20, 2015 7:40 pm

The lemon juice (or anything acid, like vinegar) would also be helpful against ringworm as fungal infections need an alkaline environment. :)

I'm sure you're doing the right thing ..... but that doesn't mean it will be easy. It's a good idea to try to get her used to it. Good luck! xx

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Re: Large bald patch on long-haired moulting feral

Post by HRHFluffy » Fri Mar 20, 2015 7:47 pm

That looks just like what Fluffy had. Whenever I saw her in the garden she was always busy grooming herself. Very possible that Mama Cass has been doing the same. Glad you've got a trap on its way. It's going to be an interesting week for you all.

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Re: Large bald patch on long-haired moulting feral

Post by nannymcfee » Fri Mar 20, 2015 7:51 pm

I know you have had her a very long time, was she a stray? or ferel, she wouldn't have worn a collar ever in her life before you would she?

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Re: Large bald patch on long-haired moulting feral

Post by Hazel » Fri Mar 20, 2015 8:03 pm

She's timid (we can't stroke her) but she'll come quite close and chat to us. I don't think she was always feral, but she has lived in our garden for about 2 years. We ended up with her when my neighbours disturbed her in their shed with kittens. A local rescue took the kittens to rehome them. I believe they speyed her too (they said they were going to trap and spey her and she hasn't had any kittens since) but they didn't clip her ear. We leafleted the area at the time but no owner came forward.
If she was owned she therefore might have worn a collar, but if you're thinking that there is some remnant of collar still there I'm sure they'd have removed it when they speyed her.


Sarah, no, my boys hate the youth group! They all individualy seem quite nice sweet cats to me, I'm forever trying to see if they are neutered but can't catch a glimpse. Some have collars but that doesn't mean they have owners that are clued up enough to neuter :(
I think there's maybe a bit of brotherly protection going on! Or maybe they just don't want to share their territory with anyone else (they like Mama Cass so she's ok).

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Re: Large bald patch on long-haired moulting feral

Post by Hazel » Fri Mar 20, 2015 8:05 pm

Carol, a flea problem does seem likely, especially with that thick long winter coat.

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Re: Large bald patch on long-haired moulting feral

Post by HRHFluffy » Fri Mar 20, 2015 8:38 pm

Whatever it turns out to be she will feel a lot more comfortable once it's sorted. Fluffy was ingesting so much fur through over grooming that she was throwing up several fur balls a day before we got her treated. Wonder if Mama Cass has been doing the same.

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Re: Large bald patch on long-haired moulting feral

Post by Animal lover » Sat Mar 21, 2015 1:16 am

From what I can see on the photo she does need a good clip, bless her. One thing to think about is, and I am sorry for adding to the list, is not just the fur she is ingesting, but long fur can also cause terrible ear infections, lots of matted hair in the ears can also cause deafness. I would also be interested in seeing what her body condition is like. Animals can look huge, but once you clip away the fur.... I have seen some shockingly skinny animals that when you see with their fur on, you would think are huge! Also, a lot of fur means a lot of weight to carry, especially when it gets matted.
I feel so sorry for Mama Cass. The way she is with you clearly shows she once was owned and loved. How could anyone just leave or let their cat go? It is abandonment pure and simple. You would think that someone who would take on a long haired breed would be besoted with the animal, as they would have to know they would need more care and grooming, etc. One thing that makes me so mad is when people take on long haired animals and then do hardly any or no grooming!! Just being an owner does not mean they are responsible or care. Then it is the poor animals that suffer.

I would strongly recommend people take a look at The Furminator range of professional animal grooming products. http://www.furminator.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Some people say they are expensive, but IMHO they are definitely worth every penny. There are different brushes for the different types of coats animals have. I have in my grooming kit and I praise Wahl clippers and also The Furminator brushes. The only ones I use for dogs and cats.

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Re: Large bald patch on long-haired moulting feral

Post by Lilith » Sat Mar 21, 2015 10:26 am

There's one possible theory that has just occurred to me - if the lads have been round after Mama Cass, one of them may have tried to mount her, gripped her neck...and bitten off more than he could chew?

Even a neutered tom will sometimes have a go, and it could account for the large area of fur pulled off and also the pinkness, if it brought off unmoulted fur with it. I bet she gave him what for, if so!

Good luck at the vet's :)

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Re: Large bald patch on long-haired moulting feral

Post by Hazel » Sat Mar 21, 2015 5:57 pm

I don't think so Lillith, when I've had a better look I'm sure she's been over grooming (she is always grooming at the minute while she's moulting!) maybe it was brought on by stress or an allergy. The bald patch goes all round her neck apart from about 2 inches at the back where she obviously can't reach. It doesn't look particularly sore either so it doesn't look like it's been ripped out.

There are plenty of males fancying their chances with her though and I am worried that one will end up biting or scratching her. She's such a softie though, instead of giving them a good whack she hides or tries to walk away and they follow her round like love sick teenagers!

Vets books tentatively for Thursday, trap coming tomorrow..thanks everyone for helping, I'll post an update later in the week.

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Re: Large bald patch on long-haired moulting feral

Post by Hazel » Thu Mar 26, 2015 9:18 pm

Just a little update:
Getting hold of a trap was harder than I thought after the original people didn't turn up and a couple of the large charities I called were not particularly helpful. Eventually I found a local lady in her 70s who's been doing TNR for years, what an inspiration, more helpful than all the big names put together!
Well she nearly didn't fall for it, she left us waiting about an hour and a half going nowhere near the trap, even though she had been in (un-set) it the previous two days to eat. A trail of webbox leading to a heap of mackerel was required. Even then she managed to eat it all without standing on the step. Her downfall came when she tried to turn to get out and set the trap off.

The vet said she's in beautiful condition, no need to shave her (no matted fur apart from the bits coming off round her neck) and the bald patch appears to be self inflicted. No sore bits, scabs or bites, just fur-less. So after all that she got some profender and was released back into the wild (well, back into out slightly unkempt garden, it's about as wild as she is)

I'm convinced she is overgrooming due to stress from the tom cats hanging about our garden at the moment but Jess is on garden guard doing his best to scare them off. One was following her again this evening and she ran to hide. The lady who lent me the trap thought it could be a reaction to hormones. Either way hopefully she'll stop the overgrooming once her hormones die down, the boys get bored and her winter coat is gone.

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Re: Large bald patch on long-haired moulting feral

Post by Crewella » Thu Mar 26, 2015 10:39 pm

Well done for getting her, and at least she's now had a clean bill of health (and her Profender). :)

Hopefully, as you say, things will calm down.

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