Psychogenic leak alopecia: pathological cleaning instinct in cats

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Psychogenic leakalopecia is a behavioral disorder that causes cats to groom themselves excessively. It even goes so far that some velvet paws get bald spots in the fur. The diagnosis is often made after the vet has ruled out other causes of the behavior. For example, psychogenic leakalopecia can be caused by stress - Image: Shutterstock / turlakova

Your cat is constantly grooming itself for a variety of reasons. Perhaps she is struggling with fleas or other parasites that cause itching on the skin. Maybe your house tiger also suffers from psychogenic leak alopecia. But how can you tell if your cat's need for cleanliness is still normal or could be pathological? You should pay attention to important symptoms.

Psychogenic leakalopecia: recognizing symptoms

In the case of psychogenic leak alopecia, the cat cleans itself so often and intensively that it gradually loses more and more fur, especially on the back, stomach and hind legs. The skin begins to shine through the fur until even completely bare areas appear. Skin redness, mild inflammation and even wounds can occur.

If you notice such symptoms, be sure to see a veterinarian to find out why your cat is constantly grooming itself. In addition to psychogenic leak alopecia, various other causes, fleas and other parasites, skin fungus or an allergy are also possible. If it is actually a behavioral disorder, you need to work with the specialist to find out what could have caused it.

Possible causes of the disease

Detective work is most popular when searching for the causes of psychogenic leakalopecia. Try to remember exactly when you first noticed the symptoms in your cat and what has changed for your velvet paw before. Stress is a common cause of the disease and can be caused, for example, by moving house, a new family member, or moving in another pet. Maybe your cat does not have enough retreat or another four-legged friend is contesting the area. Constant cleaning can be her way of relieving stress and showing that she is not well.

How is the behavioral problem treated?

If you and your vet have been able to determine the cause of the psychogenic leak alopecia, an important step has already been taken. Only then can the treatment start. What is stressing your cat and how can you make your everyday life more pleasant again? With a little luck, changes in the housing conditions can work wonders. Your veterinarian may also suggest treatment with psychiatric drugs or sedatives. Dietary supplements, treatments with natural fragrances, but also alternative healing methods with Bach flowers or homeopathic remedies can be used. In any case, the therapy of psychogenic leak alopecia is very individual.

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