A recent enquirer said ‘My 13 year old Tonkinese cat has been pulling her fur out over the last couple of months. She is undergoing treatment for gum disease and has recently had some teeth out. She lives in a multi-cat household with two 5 year old Burmese sisters. I have a Feliway diffuser in the area they frequently occupy. Our vet can find no obvious reason for the fur pulling. We want to help her overcome this, can you suggest anything?’
Over grooming leading to hair loss in cats is quite often a stress response, rather like people who chew their finger nails. And your cat is a Tonkinese, who can be prone to behavioural issues. And you do have other cats in the home, which many cats (being essentially solitary animals) find stressful at times. And she has dental problems which may be painful and she probably found the whole process of going to the vets an unspeakable indignity.
The other common reasons for over grooming include fleas, other parasites such as ear mites or cheyletiella (otherwise known as ‘walking dandruff’), ringworm (not a worm at all, but a fungal infection) food allergies or atopy (an environmental allergy).
Make sure those dental problems are fully resolved. Make sure she has free access, without competition from the other cats, to food, water, preferred sleeping places and high vantage points. Keep on with Feliway and consider other supplements to reduce her anxiety such as Zylkene, SereneUm or Calmex. Some cats require periods of prescription medication to help them through periods of anxiety or stress related behaviour.