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Cat wont stop scratching herself!

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by Caiti, Jan 22, 2021.


  1. Caiti

    Caiti PetForums Junior

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    Hi Everyone,

    I'm at my wits end here and need suggestions! One of my cats has developed sores on her neck and head, started with just 1 a few weeks ago and now she has more on her ears, shoulder blades and upper back.
    I took her to the vet who gave her a steroid and antibiotic shot, as well as some steroid cream to put on her. She keeps scratching at the sores and opening them up and I cant seem to stop her. Have tried using Clorexyderm to sooth the itch but no luck. I've had to resort to putting her in a body suit but she can still get at the sore on her ear and she doesnt seem to be coping well with the suit (typical stress response).
    My last resort is to bandage her back paws to stop her scratching but I know she will hate this. Does anyone else have any suggestions before I go this extreme?
     
  2. BarneyBobCat

    BarneyBobCat Slave to an AcroCat

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    Caiti, Jackie C and chillminx like this.
  3. Jackie C

    Jackie C Cat slave

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    Yes, it does sound like allergies. Chillminx is our expert on allergies. I am assuming your cat has been flea'd?
     
  4. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    @Caiti - as BarneyBobCat & Jackie C have said it sounds likely your cat has allergies. Itching on the face, head and ears are common symptoms of food allergy in cats.

    However the most common type of feline allergy is Flea Allergy Dermatitis. If your vet has ruled out fleas being the problem, then other possible causes need to be investigated, and this may involve taking skin samples to be analysed at the lab.

    Here is an article by Icat Care on causes of itching when it is not due to fleas.

    https://icatcare.org/advice/the-pruritic-itchy-cat-when-it-is-not-fleas/

    However diagnosing food allergies with blood tests or skin prick tests is expensive and unreliable. The most scientific method is to use an elimination diet. BarneyBobCat has kindly linked the pinned thread on the topic.

    How long ago was she given a steroid injection? Was it a "long acting" one? If so I would expect it to be effective at suppressing her immune system for about a month. If it has not been effective at all then a different drug needs to be prescribed, e.g. Apoquel or Atopica. This would bring the itching under control while you carry out an elimination diet.

    Most feline food allergies are due to the cat being allergic to one or more meat or fish proteins. The purpose of the elimination diet is to identify which ones. What I suggest you do right away in the hopes of bringing her some relief from the itching is to switch her to a diet that contains hydrolised protein. This means the protein has been processed in a way to break down the protein molecules much smaller so that, in theory, they do not cause an allergy. It doesn't work in every case, but may work for your cat, if her problem actually is food allergy.

    The foods which contain hydrolised protein are:

    Purina HA :

    https://www.purina.co.uk/proplan/cat-food/veterinary-diets-hypoallergenic

    Hills Z/D:

    https://www.hillspet.co.uk/cat-food/pd-feline-prescription-diet-zd-low-allergen-dry

    Hills Z/D also make a wet food in tins, but it is currently out of stock at all the usual stockists, and I can only find it on Amazon from a seller in Italy. The price has been inflated by the seller and the delivery costs are high.

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hills-Prescription-Allergy-Management-24x156g/dp/B0030UB920/ref=sr_1_5?dchild=1&keywords=hills+z/d+tins+cat+food&qid=1611320242&sr=8-5

    Normally I wouldn't recommend a dry food for use in an allergy control diet, but if your cat is used to eating dry food, she may be OK with the Purina HA or the Hills Z/D on a temporary basis, while you sort out the foods she would need for an elimination diet. Some of these may not be available at present because of Brexit having been finalised.
     
  5. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Just to add - if the itching turns out not to be due to food allergies, there is the possibility it is due to an autoimmune skin disease. This would be best investigated by a specialist in feline dermatology. Your vet can refer you. If you have pet insurance you will be able to claim.
     
  6. Caiti

    Caiti PetForums Junior

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    Thank you for the replies everyone. Flea treatment is up to date and she is an indoor cat - she never liked going out even if I encourage her to.

    The steroid injection was a long acting one, think the vet mentioned it could take up to 2 weeks to show any benefit.

    Will definitley look into the elimination diet, seems odd this has only just happened when shes had the same food since she was a kitten, but maybe the ingredients have changed.
     
  7. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Food allergies develop to ingredients the cat has been eating every day over a period of time, a year or more. For example if you have fed her chicken cat food every day sicne she was a kitten, that is likely to be one meat protein to which she has become allergic.
     
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