cat licking himself raw -- better advice

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cat licking himself raw -- better advice

Post by winterfur » Tue Nov 12, 2019 8:07 am

[img]C:\Users\John\Desktop[/img]I adopted a shelter cat 2 years ago --- he was dumped by a family after 5 years. He hid for 3 months --- then, jumped onto my lap.
He had two small bare spots on his neck --- I did not know what they were --- until he began licking them raw [ again ].
I checked on-line --- found the usual assorted advice --- the diluted vinegar did not stop his behavior; only made him avoid me totally.
The evaporating hormone diffuser oil was not helpful, at all. He constantly begged for more attention --- I gave him as much time on my lap as possible.
I live alone --- was sick for a year --- home 24 hr/day. Nothing stopped his licking behavior --- he had 3 to 5 raw spots in assorted places of his fur, which continually changed.
I found a Way of Cats blog --- it recommended "Cat Music". I had been playing Classical music albums; but the Cat Music [ 12hr / 15hr recordings on YouTube ] were seamless, soothing music that immediately calmed my cat. It did not eliminate his licking behavior; but, reduced it.
Being encouraged, I looked for ways to to increase affection [ as opposed to attention ]; he had been a "challenge" up to this point --- now, I needed to "love" my cat. The Cat Blog mentioned that cats like us to " get down to their level" --- on the floor.
I began taking naps with him on the floor --- he would lie next to me, resting his chin on my arm --- for 30 min. to 90 min. It was difficult to stay still for these lengths of time --- but, his licking behavior began to abate, immediately. And he stopped begging for attention at the top of his voice.
We take two [ as long as possible = morning / evening] naps each day --- and, additional, shorter ones when there is time [ weekends when I don't
work ].
The music and naps have been in place only two months --- the raw spots have begun to be covered with fur; only a couple of the larger spots are still visible. In a couple of months, his fur will be complete.
Last edited by winterfur on Thu Nov 28, 2019 10:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: cat licking himself raw -- better advice

Post by Mollycat » Tue Nov 12, 2019 10:01 am

This is so lovely, I'm so glad you have found your own way to help him and your dedication and commitment to him is just beautiful. What a very lucky boy he is to have landed up with you. Just goes to show we can do everything right and provide calming drugs but in the end understanding our furry friends and giving what they actually need is really what it's all about.

The reason your story especially hits home here is my own rescue girl who also squeaks for attention but for a long time was in desperate need of affection but too fearful to really relax and accept touch. She still sometimes just needs me to be nearby, or to take a nap next to her. So many people have accused me of pandering or mollycoddling her but there are traumatised cats who you can't take short cuts with. Six years on she still surprises me when she makes progress I have long given up hope of ever seeing. Recently she has started to let me wipe her eyes when she gets gunge in the corners and it feels like an honour to be allowed to do this!

I know the kind of videos you mean, I have played them too and it doesn't seem to affect her much but they are lovely and soothing. If you're interested there are also reiki videos and guided animal communication meditations, I find those really help Molly.

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Re: cat licking himself raw -- better advice

Post by Catotum » Sun Nov 24, 2019 4:34 pm

Oh, what an excellent tail - sorry, tale. I admire your endeavours & applaud your success. The poor little mite has obviously found an absolutely perfect home. Long may you both thrive. Can we see a photo or two?

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Re: cat licking himself raw -- better advice

Post by lilynmitz » Thu Dec 05, 2019 6:42 pm

What a lovely story. Well done for recognising what your cat needed, and being willing to provide it. I've had cats at varying levels of fear and trauma, and each one has their own story and challenge, but lying down on the floor with them is always a good start for an anxious cat, and has shown your cat that you are trustworthy. I have a very timid gentle cat who has licked her tummy bald - it started with a scratch injury a few years ago and it's become a habit, so we're slowly working on her at the moment. She's been through quite a lot in the last few years, and it's time to focus on her needs now. WIsh me luck!

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Re: cat licking himself raw -- better advice

Post by Kay » Thu Dec 05, 2019 6:52 pm

my Penny has licked herself bald on her inner thighs and tummy, and I too think it's just habit with her - she's been with me since April but stays just in two rooms, so is I think rather bored a lot of the time

she doesn't make herself sore as far as I can tell so I haven't done anything to stop her - not sure what I could do anyway - she doesn't shed much so there is only the occasional furball

I will try to tempt her out into the enclosed garden when it's warmer, and I can leave the back door open, but is there anything I could do now?

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Re: cat licking himself raw -- better advice

Post by fjm » Thu Dec 05, 2019 8:28 pm

I had a cat that did this when for various reasons she was going through a stressful time. My vet prescribed a mild anti-anxiety medication, and I worked to make her feel safer at home, making one room into a safe den and only gradually opening up the rest of the house to her again. It took a few months for her to recover completely, after which she stopped licking herself bare and no longer needed the drugs.

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