Q. 10 yr old cat licks her flanks a lot since our other cat died (even often licking me) & her fur is thinning. Is a (scary for her) vet visit necessary?
JESSICA L DESROSIERS
A. It is possible that your cat may have developed a stress/grieving behavior of obsessive licking which is leading to the hair loss and thinning in those areas. Placing an Elizabethan (cone) collar on her for a week or so to break the habit and distracting her with toys, pets and love may help stop her from continuing to do so. However if the hair loss is everywhere and not just where she is licking, or if you are seeing any other signs of illness such as changes in weight, appetite, or bowel habits, then scheduling a wellness check at your vet to look for illness is best.