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Why has my cat itched a bald spot under her neck?
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Why has my cat itched a bald spot under her neck?

My cat is less than a year old. She has a bare patch of skin now under her neck, which she keeps scratching at. It's getting red now, and it's the only spot she itches. She has never been outside, and we know she has no fleas. Her brother seems fine, and has no scratching issues. They both eat kitten chow. She is full of spunk and energy, and otherwise is healthy. Why is she scratching herself? It looks sore. I am now putting on hydrocortisone cream on her to help. What could it be? Thanks!!
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The hydrocortisone cream won't hurt but may not help either.  Itching in a young cat could be scabies, notodectes, flea allergy dermatitis,  or other ectoparasite (external skin parasite), or it could be dermatophytosis (ringworm).  The causes of these skin problems can start out as normal inhabitants of the skin, and your cat could have harbored them since before you adopted her.  The skin inhabitants only become a problem if your cat becomes stressed for some reason and the normal skin balance is altered.  You may never be able to determine what instigated the problem, but it is best to have her checked out by a vet who can perform a skin scraping, fungal culture and other diagnostics, and then can presribe the appropriate treatment.

Another common cause of the problems you describe is food allergies dermatitis.  Cats can become allergic to any ingredient in their present food.  A food trial is necessary to determine what she may  allergic to, also best done under a vet's supervision.

As I have stated many times before cats should only be on a wet or canned food diet, so cat chow is not the best diet for any cats.
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Aleda M Cheng, D.V.M., C.V.ABlank
American Animal Hospital
Randolph, NJ
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