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my 8-year old cat is allergic to 'something'... so much that...

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Question by jules
Submitted on 9/5/2003
Related FAQ: rec.pets.cats: Medical Information FAQ
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my 8-year old cat is allergic to 'something'... so much that she scratches/licks her neck until it bleeds. It eventually scabs up, and then she starts in on it again. I have had her to the vet countless times, and they look at me helplessly,  only prescribing chlortrimeton, and prednisone chew tabs... (double doses when it gets bad)...which lately has been most of the time. I am at my wits end... as I never counted on having this much trouble with a house cat. She has been tested for food allergies already; so I am thinking it's airborne... but what? Any suggestions of how to proceed[? ] as I don't want this cat on pred. for the rest of her life! We use little or no chemicals in the apt., no perfumes, etc. Thanks in advance
Jules & Miranda (the cat)

Answer by Shirley
Submitted on 4/12/2004
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If you finally get an answer to that let me know...I'm going through the same thing.
The vet & I are at wits end. He said give our cat 2 weeks and if not he can refer him to a dermatologist cost 1500.00 and then the dermt. probably wont be able to do anything either. The lab test from the vet said "Severe Allergy". He said that or if we could'ntafford that to deal with our cat suffering everyday or we could put him to sleep. I cant kill the "Family cat" he's family! We've got rid of house sprays, put him in a room without carpet at night and when its cold and rainy, during the nice days he stays outside now. (He was a permanent house cat, the vet said to put him out a few days for fresh air and see if it made a difference) It did but very little, for the sun makes him sleep more and that is why he does'ntscratch when hes asleep, we have changed to special "sensitive skin" cat food vet office, changed to unscented laundry soap and I quit wearing perfume for 2 months now and no change in our cats hair loss and continously scratching himself to death. Now its been 2 more weeks and all he wants to do is sleep a bunch and its worrying me that he may be dying. Please if you've heard of anything please let me know asap ok.


Answer by Melissa
Submitted on 4/23/2004
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I don't like to frighten you, but I would have your feline friends tested for parasites (fleas, ringworm) if you haven't already, mange and even possibly cancer.  Three years ago my cat went through this same thing- it turned out she had skin/nose cancer.  Please, bring this up with your vet!  

I hope everything turns out OK,



Answer by Keith
Submitted on 5/26/2004
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Have you tried changing your kitty litter?  Could be that the manufacturer decided to add a new ingredient that irritates your kitty.  See if switching to another brand/type helps with the problem.


Answer by Melissa Marie
Submitted on 7/16/2004
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My cat (Reyna) is currently going through the same thing and all the vet could say was that she had severe allergies. Low and behold we soon found out that our poor cat was allergic to fleas of all things for a cat to be allergic to. My cat was given a shot and this usually works for about 1-2 months also you can try giving some benedryl liquid twice a day and depending on how much your cat weighs give about 1 ml. per lb. so if your cat weighs 10 lbs. give a 10 ml. dosage. The best way is to try and get rid of the fleas altogether but as we all know that's easier said than done. We had to fumigate, clean the carpets, use flea powders, bathe and dip both cats, and the list goes on. Also, The vet has a special pill called the star cap or something like that and this wonderful little pill kills all fleas on contact so just ask your vet whatever he thinks is the best option or treatment method for your cat. Best of luck to all and hope this may have helped in some way. I know it sure did for my kitty!!!


Answer by Braeli
Submitted on 10/13/2004
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I had the same problem with my cat. She went from being a perky social cat to pulling out all her hair and refusing to come down from the top of the shower. The vet told me she is allergic to fleas. She gave her a steroid shot and Advantage. The vet also has her taking some kind of female hormones to help with the itching. It has only been a week and my cat is back to her wonderful old self.


Answer by Debbie
Submitted on 1/2/2005
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I have a young cat that occasionally scratches herself until she has big scabs. The vet gave me Neo-Predef powder which they say doesn't need a prescription. After several days of rubbing it on her spot(s), they clear up. She is also pretty attuned to what is happening in the house and seems to break out in these when there are stressful times.


Answer by Victoria
Submitted on 2/26/2005
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My fat cat chevy is allergic to fleas we found out today. His back is all scabbed and feels sort of slimy. We took him to the vet after he went insane when i touched his back and he bit my arm repeatedly. The vet gave him two shots, a pill and said he'll be better by the end of the weekend. So take him to the vets to check for fleas and then they'll help you out.


Answer by Ray
Submitted on 4/19/2005
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My cat has been having the same symptoms for most of his life.  He is 10 years old and will lick his stomach bald and raw and keeps scabs on his head and back of his neck.  My vet was at her wits end and said for me to take him to a dermatologist.  After about $200 I found out that he is allergic to fleas and the only thing that could be done is to treat the problem when it comes up and try to kill the fleas.  The only problem is that with severe allergies one bite is all that it takes to send him right back over the edge.  He is getting Depo shots about once a month now to keep it under control.  The downside to this is that any cortisone product damages the animal in long term use.  Cat's are less at risk than dogs for any major problems like kidney failure and after about 3 or 4 years of my cat having shots every 1-2 months he has had no side effects.  I hope this helps some.  Also make sure that your home is free of fleas as well.  This is hard as they will come in on your clothes when you go outside.  If anyone has any other ideas please let me know so I can take a different approach myself.


Answer by kim
Submitted on 7/9/2005
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Try altering their diet.  For instance, I had to purchase food for my cat that does not contain corn or seafood and she's doing much better.  We think it was the corn.


Answer by Tina
Submitted on 7/15/2005
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Our cat has the same problem. He is allergic to fleas and possibly molds. Many indoor cats tend to have more allergies to these items. Try using Front Line or Advantage to help maintain the fleas. We also had to change out his diet for FUS, the new prescription food really made a difference. Try not to bathe the cat, that will result in drying out the skin and the cycle to continue. Good luck


Answer by kity
Submitted on 7/27/2005
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try lots of different choices and let your cat choose


Answer by rustyrue
Submitted on 8/9/2005
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Well, a lot of allergies are caused by cat food.  Amazingly, vets don't want to talk about this.  Nobody realizes how horrible the grade of meat is that is used for our animal's food.  Even the most expensive brands still do not contain "human-grade" ingredients. (To by knowledge, Wellness it the only brand of dog food that is considered human-grade.  Next, the manufacturers add colorings, flavorings, preservatives... you name it.  No wonder our poor pets scratch themselves to death.  To find out if this is the problem, do not give your animal any table food at all for 2-3 weeks.  Take away all cat food and instead cook up a small batch of plain hamburger and rice mixture (should last about 5-6 days in the frig.) You could also use a high grade of tuna fish.  My friend tried this and all symptoms disappeared in about 2 weeks.  Good luck...


Answer by alexsunrise
Submitted on 8/10/2005
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My cat had severe allergies that cleared up when I put her on food with no corn or wheat . . . no cereal grains.  I know of several other cats that have improved upon return to a more natural diet.
Good luck!


Answer by Kristen
Submitted on 10/4/2005
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We have a cat who went through the same thing--we spent nearly $1,000 at the vet trying to find out what was wrong.  Finally we switched vets, and the new vet diagnosed a flea allergy.  She gave him Frontline (the flea medicine that soaks into the cat's skin) and a shot of a steroid to stop the itching.  I guess the story is that all cats dislike fleas and get itchy spots from them, but some cats are highly allergic and go nuts.  Incidentally, I read that flea-allergic cats are exceptionally good at locating/removing their own fleas, so the problem often goes undiagnosed:  no evidence of fleas on the cat's body.  That was the case with our cat.


Answer by Mariah
Submitted on 11/19/2005
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My cat (Charlie) has the same issue. He breaks out in scabs around his mouth and then all over. We found out he is allergic to plastic. Just how do you live in this day and avoid plastic?? We have changed all eating surfaces, but he still gets it somehow. Has anyone had any luck with Benedryl?


Answer by cj from green street
Submitted on 1/13/2006
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you are a asshole if you dont tell me the ansers


Answer by Tammy
Submitted on 1/18/2006
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My cat has had the EXACT same symptoms.  (licking, chewing, bleeding, scabbing)I have taken him to the vet so many times I can't keep track. I found a herbal supplement that is for cats with flea saliva allergies and it has worked wonders!!!! I found that benedryl has very little affect on my cat because his allergic reactions are much too severe.


Answer by catsprat
Submitted on 1/30/2006
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Q: Dr. Mike, My cat has recently diagnosed with allergies. The treatment I tried was Children's benedryl liquid form. When ever I gave her the medicine she would start foaming profusely. The vet said she didn't like the taste. I can say that what ever she swallowed worked because she stopped licking. The vet recommended I try pill form. About a half an hour after I give it to her she throws up. I didn't get this reaction from the liquid. What I'm looking for is a cat flavored version of the benedryl, maybe liver flavored. I think that if I can find something she likes she'll be o.k. Is there something out there I can buy like this? Regards, S.
P.S. I think she has hay fever. We recently mowed the lawn and her licking was unending.
A: You can probably find a pharmacist in your area who still makes compounded medications (usually referred to as a compounding pharmacy or pharmacist). They can make many flavors of gels and liquids out of various medications.. Even though Benedryl is an over-the-counter medication it is possible you would need a prescription. I don't know the compounding laws well enough to know if changing the form of the medication would make a prescription necessary.


Answer by Lori
Submitted on 1/30/2006
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Vets couldn't help my cat.  He licked and scratched continously.  Changed food and kitty litter, nothing worked.  Went for months - lost hair, he had no energy, etc.

Changed his kity litter to WOODY PET  - it's bedding used mostly for horse stalls, but also can be used for other animals, too.  Noticed it had kitty litter on the bag so I tried it!  Long behold it worked.  As I'm typing this my cat is fast asleep on my lap.  Try woody pet! They must be putting something in all kitty litters as I've tried them all - even ones recommended for cats with allergies!!!!!  Get Woody PET (we get this from our local AGWAY) in Jersey.


Answer by Linda
Submitted on 6/25/2006
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My cat has a severe allergy problem also.  I have taken him to the vet time in and time out and nothing helps.  Spending money is not the option when the meds work.  My vet tried flavor compounds and my cat will not take any med without vomiting or salivating profusely.  Any suggesitions for people over the counter meds would be great.  Not liter problems, not bugs, parasites, etc.  Just plain air borne sinuses.  


Answer by boxsterlady
Submitted on 6/27/2006
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My cat is allegric to someting, he has been licking all his hair off his legs, belly and the only thing that helps is a shot every 3 months.  I've switched his food to organic chicken and rice per my vets recomend and we are hoping this will help.  The problem is we have three other cats too, and the organic food is so expensive, does anyone know of a chicken/rice formula that comes in large qty so I can switch all the cats to the same food?  I can't afford $20 for 3 lbs of food and that is what the organic is costing.


Answer by jenna61092
Submitted on 7/31/2006
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well sence you said it was airbborn maby you could stop using maby a type of cleaner or somthing my cat was allergic to frabreeze maby it was somthing like that well i dont know but best of luck to your poor kitty!!


Answer by Dee
Submitted on 8/21/2006
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my cat has an allergy to fleas too... It's the Flea's saliva that causes the allergic reaction.  my cat has always had this problem.  She grooms, scratches and bites eccessively, and her skin gets irritated.  Also, my cat gets a swollen "lip" (upper or lower) or chin.  My vet prescribes "Depot Medrol"  they can give an injection, or i also have the pills.. i only give her 1/2 a pill.. wait a day then give the other half and it usually makes the swelling go down... my poor "Squeek"


Answer by jul
Submitted on 9/13/2006
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THANK YOU MELISSA! My cat is having this exact problem, and I've been desperate to give her some relief. I'll try this right away!


Answer by charlotte
Submitted on 9/29/2006
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My cat Phoboe had the same problem this year and we finally realised it was my other cat Jessies tablets that were used to treat her hypertyroid. I crumbled them and put them in Jessies food and Phoboe was finishing it. The sideaffects were extreame bald patches which she constantly licked until they bled.


Answer by hilary
Submitted on 12/15/2006
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Miliary dermatitis is a common disorder that might be the cause- google it and ask your vet


Answer by Christi
Submitted on 5/11/2007
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My cat has allergies and was ripping up her own neck also.  Put her on Hill's science diet zd cat food and made an appt with a dermatologist.  ZD is for food allergies.  Found out before we even made it she was allergic to fish.  Kept the appt and he told me fish was one of the common food allergies.  Milk is high up there also.  I have friend with a cat with pollen allergies.  She finally figured out what pollen by trial and error.  Good luck.


Answer by bettybopper
Submitted on 6/30/2007
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try vagisil to keep it more comfortable. i know it sounds strange, but it cools the area and has an anesthetic that stops the itching and burning. it's pretty cheap too. works on humans or animals for burns, scratches, insect bites, anything that hurts.


Answer by Lisa C.
Submitted on 7/12/2007
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My cat coheed has been scratching at his neck until it bleeds just like all your cats. We took him to the vet yesterday and he said the cat was allergic to SEAFOOD! How this is possible i have no idea. He was given a shot of cortizone and we bought only chicken food but low and behold it contains fish. It's only been a little over 24 hours but he hasn't touched his neck.


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