What is Psychogenic Alopecia?
Initially, psychogenic alopecia begins as a displacement behavior that the cat engages in to relieve stress. Cats don’t generally like change so any number of things can trigger a need to self-soothe through a displacement behavior such as ongoing grooming. With some cats, the excessive licking can eventually turn into actually pulling out clumps of hair or even chewing on the skin.
Any number of things could trigger the need for a displacement behavior but here’s a list of just a few possibilities:
The addition of another cat
Move to a new home
Renovation in the home
Addition of a new family member
Death or divorce
Living in a chaotic environment
Lack of environmental enrichment
Confinement (such as hospitalization or boarding)