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One of our 2 cats has a recurring problem that I thought I'd explore with the Board to see if anyone else has had a similar experience.

Ruli is a mostly white (grey at the last 1/2 of her tail) DSH who is 7 years old. Periodically, starting about 4 or 5 years ago, she starts licking the inside of her back legs (in the 'thigh' area). She'll lick so much that she strips a patch bald, and then the skin begins to redden and sometimes will develop abrasions and scab a little. We've tried ointments (she licks them off and we're loath to use an Elizabethan collar just for that), laundering (where possible) the fabrics she sleeps on, scolding her when we catch her licking. A vet (in Indonesia where we were living at the time) said it was dermatitis and prescribed the ointment. A review of available information on the web suggested a contact dermatitis and recommended the laundering.

The baldness usually lasts from a few weeks to perhaps as much as a few months, and then clears up. We've never been able to attribute anything we've done to the clearing. Earlier this year we changed their diet to eliminate dry food and started feeding them exclusively grain-free low carbohydrate canned food and the baldness Ruli was experiencing at that time cleared up in a few weeks, so we attributed the clearing to the diet change.

She has started again, and I noticed the beginning of the bald patches earlier this week. Another web search yielded the term "Lick Dermatitis", hence the title of this post. According to this site it is psycogenetic meaning there is little if any physical component. Interestingly we have in the past thought that the condition would clear if we starting being more persistent with our demonstations of affection (cuddling, skritching, playing, etc - Ruli is NOT a lap cat and all such activities are strictly on her terms). I'm not willing to concede causal relationship, but we did go out of town for a week over Thanksgiving: did this affect her? How far can one go anthropomorphozing our friends? What really is going on in that little furry crainium?

Has anyone on the Board experienced something like this? Intermittent (periodicity not descernible) dermatitis, with associate licking to the point of scabbing, no identifiable cause? I just want to cure & prevent - it can't feel good.

Kevy, Boodle & Ruli's dad and sometime shrink(?)
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