I have a 10 year-old, orange, shorthair, indoor (though we could have tracked anything indoors on our shoes), female cat.
Approximately 2 months ago she started licking her back legs a lot. Over a few weeks she licked her inner back legs and lower belly completely bare. About 2 weeks ago I noticed very faint pink dots on the bare skin. They were not raised bumps. They were not there before. One week ago she has licked the pink spots so much they are much more noticable now, though still not raised even as much as acne bumps to make a comparison. This week she has licked a spot or two to rawness. She is also licking small bald areas to her front legs.
She has NO FLEAS. I do not think it is ALLERGIES as her diet/environment has not changed. I've seen her go hours and hours without licking her belly but then I'd come into my bedroom some afternoon and she's licking her belly and legs again. None of my other cats as of yet have begun to lick their fur off.
hi and welcome I hope we can help...
first of all your kitties symptoms are classic 'allergic' reaction, nothing needs to have changed in her diet/environment b/c allergies can develop at anytime d/t long time exposure just as with us. When we are in contact with an allergen we being to sneeze or get runny eye/noses, with cats the reaction shows up on their skin!!
the spots she is getting are called granulomas or ulcers and there are several types under the family of eosinophilic plaque. this can be caused by -contact allergy -inhaled allergy or ingested.(very commonly chicken or grains in the diet)
often stemming from a single flea bite...whether or NOT she now has fleas she could have at some point been bitten by a flea. OR commonly since the spots are showing up near her back legs and lower belly its often d/t a contact allergy to her litter, I would recommend trying to change the litter to something with as few additives as possible, and NON SCENTED...
rather than me typing in tons of info, it would make more sense to direct you to a good website that goes more into detail and shows photos that you can compare with.
I do want to add though I DO NOT AGREE with the treatment option of steroids for any reason!!! this treatment can lead to many nasty health problems for kitties.
Do the reading than post again and we'll talk, see if her spots resemble the ones in the photos....
I too had a cat with extensive eosinophilic plaque (EGC or eosinophilic granuloma complex)
Except that we do not have bed bugs OR fleas. All our cats are treated monthly with flea medication from our vet and are not outside animals.
I have changed her litter box to an unscented variety. Her food is Royal Canin Indoor Cat food. I find it hard to believe though that she could have an allergy to the food she has been fed since she finishing kittenhood.
Well her spots have disappeared and her flesh is now its normal pink, but she is still licking her belly and legs. Her bald spots are getting licked larger and she is now working on one of her front legs. Right now she's sprawled out on the carpet giving herself a wash as I type.
have you changed anything in your home like carpets? furniture? cleansers?....something new that she is reacting too....could even be scents. hairspray, candles, room freshners....etc etc.....stop using ALL household cleaners and polishes, anything with a scent...it can be slow process to find out what is giving her this reaction, remember it can be either -ingested, inhaled or just touched. if you don't suspect her food that it has to be one of the other two...:(
We don't really use cleaners in this house, I've long been a fan on water/vinegar spray for cleaning and I don't have anything fancy the would require polishing. She doesn't play in the bathtub where we use the foamy commercial cleaner. It think it has to be then the air freshener spay my sister uses. She doesn't like the "cat smell" and likes to spray the couches and her bedroom with it, a ferbreeze or something like it. If I stop her from using it how long until I could see results, when would my cat stop licking herself? I'm worried that it'll be a habit for her by now and she'll keep licking even if we get rid of the irritant.
I have 7 cats only one licks all her hair off. they all use the same litter and eat the same food. We have used other foods, other litter and have moved. She mostly does it in the warmer months. Her belly is bare and she is licking hair off behind her front legs now. she does this every year. I was told it is allergies. I gave her medication from a vet for allergies once and it did work. I have since purchased childrens allergy pills and cut them in half it helps but not a cure. I am not suggesting you try this. I am trying this as a more inexpensive remedy. Hope it helps to know it is an allergy and not always what you are doing wrong.
I have a cat that has the same problem. He was trapped as a feral to be integrated into my feral colony. There was something in his eyes that told me he just needed love & I was right! It was obvious he had been in a lot of fights & had led an unhappy life. He's now leading a charmed life, which he so richly deserves!
Anyhow, he has OCD. I only pet him around his face & belly. If I pet his back in the slightest, it will trigger him to lick. I use aromatherapy to keep him calm (you can also use a tincture in her water). Redirection also helps, using a favorite toy & then rewarding with a treat. The main thing is to get her focus off licking & be diligent in order to modify her behavior. Hope this helps! Keep me posted.
I have a kitty doing the same thing. We have moved from Phoenix to Norhtern Nevada, and he is still doing it. Tried un scented clay litter and that wasn't it, either. Tried switching to a grain-free food and it got worse. I understand grain and chicken a the main things cats develops an allergy to, so my next step is to try NO CHICKEN. Ugh. Good luck to all of us!!
My cat is doing the same now.. She started about month and half ago, maybe two. Hair on belly is gone, now she is working on outer hind leg. It almost seems she is hellbent to do it, even after I stop her. She also would only allow you to pet her head and never lay on me or by me. However, about a moNth ago, She started to occasionally lay by me. Two weeks ago, She started to lay by my side on couch constantly. My other two are fine, and I haven't changed anything from my normal routine around the house. ??
I am just chiming in to let you know my cat has food allergies. I was told to put her on Natural Balance Duck or Venison soft food as well as their hard food for treats.
You cannot allow your cat to have anything other than these 2 things--no treats, table scrapes, tuna juice etc.
This will take at least a month to 3 months before you know if it is an allergy. You need to give it time. My cat has now developed IBD and Pancreatitis so she is on the Prescription Hills Diet Z/D. Yuck! The wet food is like pudding, but she eats it and really likes the dry food.
I gave her some antihistamines (Zyrtec) 1/4 tab to cut down on the itching. You should not try any antihistamine until you speak to your vet for advice as to which one might work for your specific cat.
It is not easy watching these little guys scrath themselves raw--so try one of those satellite dish collars--they have soft ones now, just until the meds kick in.
I agree with ZQ in not giving steroids , that is a road you do not want to start if you can help it. Just not good for their bodies.
Good Luck and keep us posted
Sometimes it is stress induced. Has anything happened that would make your baby feel more anxious?? If not try starting it on a Limited Ingredient Diet, like Natural Balance Duck w/green pea or their venison.
It will take a while (3 mo) to know if it is food related. Stress induced is a lot faster.
Just my 2cents, but my Vet said same thing....nothing with 'feathers' so no duck, try venison or beef and some brands of fish do not have chicken, I know it's so limited....just about everything has chicken base :( if you go to good pet stores they have more choices...maybe CML can offer more tips, so frustrating but kudos to you for all the efforts
Chicken is what my cat was allergic to also. My vet put me on to the Duck or Venison from Natural Balance. Meezy loved the duck and pea, and it worked for her.
My Vet seems to think allergies to food are more specific than "general poultry"==Chicken and turkey was what Meezy had been eating and all of a sudden developed an allergy. The point is to find a food your cat has not ever eaten before.
Anyway Duck worked for the Meez, so I would try it if your cat has never eaten duck--or avoid it and just try the venison. I have tried various Lamb recipes but --Lamb was a no go , Yuck!
We've had Spencer on the Natural Balance green peas and Salmon for about 2 weeks now. We tried Blue Basics Fish and Potato, but he hated it. We are using unscented litter too. Very limited choice of food that doesn't have some type or form of chicken in it, both are grain free too.
We had to put a collar on him while trying the new food, he constantly licks himself to the point of no fur, and his one back leg is raw at the joint and bleeds heavily. The collar didn't work well, it made his neck very irritated and his leg would still bleed just from being rubbed on carpet. The past week I have taken the collar off and heavily bandaged and taped his leg so it is covered.
He's still chewing himself, shouldn't he have stopped by now if it is allergies? Our vet said since shots haven't helped, and if the collar and new food doesn't, the next step would be Prozac because it might be a behavior issue. I give him Benedryl, and that seems to help a little, but I can't give him that forever. I have to take him back Thursday, and hate to start on Prozac, but can't think of anything else to try. It is so frustrating
Oh poor kitty, and poor you too I know how frustrating this can be to solve....the new diet may take awhile yet. Never did ask you did I abt what your using for cleaning products, try just vinegar and water on floors where kitty walks as this could also be a contact allergy. Your bedding too that he lays on should be washed with as pure as possible detergent an for sure NO fabric softener
As far as the Prozac, it would be worth a try for a little while, to relieve his anxiety...which I don't think is the cause but is a symptom of the terrible itch he is feeling
I absolutely hate drugging a cat too, but must admit I too was forced to try it for one of mine, Nemo has anxiety issues and has been peeing around my house for years, man the instant cleaning believe me over a 4 year period I read and tried everything...nothing worked
15 months ago we began Prozac, he's a 10 lb cat so using the liquid oral suspension 0.75mls. At first was everyday than every second day...now there are times he can even go up to a week in between doses without peeing on something...I have pee pads all over my furniture( gotta really love these guys)
So I can say for him it works as long as he gets it regularly and I've not noticed any side effects, so for your kitty I'd say give it a try...maybe a short while would just be enough to calm him down and give the new diet and other measures a chance to work(?)
Got my fingers crossed that you will find an answer, man he's gotta be feeling pretty darn miserable
Thanks opus. It could be the rug shampoo, I use so many different kinds it would be hard to tell which one. Laundry soap is scent free. He's always been like this, but now he is so much worse.
We also have one of our cats on Prozac for peeing, and it works great for him. I'm glad you mentioned yours is on a liquid form, because Spencer is so hard to pill. If I used the pill pen he would work the pill back out while foaming, so I tried using my fingers, He struggled so hard he foamed and bit down on my finger (not purposely) and now my finger is infected. The liquid should be easier, hopefully.
Its very hard to give him his food and not have him get the other cats, but we've been doing really good considering.
You think 2 weeks time isn't enough to judge with the new food? If it is allergies, will the Prozac help the itching? I have to try it, I guess, his let is so bad I have to follow him around the house cleaning blood everywhere and I'm afraid it could become infected and he could loose it. I go back to the vet Thursday, I know he will leave it up to me he seems to not come up with any good ideas but Convenia and steroids, and that did nothing to help him last time for longer than 2-3 days
I took Spencer back to the vet today because of the leg bleeding. He put the collar back on him, and told me to try and pad the edges somehow so it wouldn't cut into his fur and skin, and bandaged his leg. He also put him on Amitriptyline because he feels it helps with preventing itching more than Prozac.
He also said if it is food allergies it would take a lot longer to see a difference, just as CML2014 stated. I hated to do it, but he is so chewed up on every spot he can reach, and his leg is so bad I had no choice. It would be nice if after awhile everything healed and I could get him off the drug, the vet is calling me Friday to see how he is.
We put our cat on grain free,chicken free cat food, plus are using unscented litter. He is also on anxiety pills (hopefully only temporary) and it seems to be working. He no longer is pulling out his fur, or chewing. The only problem is he has a huge sore on his back leg from chewing it raw, and for 3 months we have been trying to get it to heal. Don't let your cat get this bad, we have tried EVERYTHING to get him to try to stop licking the sore, but are having no luck at all.
in the same boat trying to get the back leg healed so the vet can stitch it together am at my wits end, feel so guilty keeping the hood on him even though it is a soft collar but he is so long he can still lick
Mixologist, I'm not trying to scare you, but it is imperative that you keep your cat from making the sore get larger. Our cats was on a back leg joint, and no matter what we tried (everything) Spencer would manage to reach it, and it kept getting bigger and would bleed.
After trying for months, we took Spencer for a second opinion, and after xrays the new vet said there was no way he could sew up the sore, and it had calcified so much it had gone through his tendon. He said the only thing left was amputation. We took him for another opinion, and she agreed with the amputation. It has been about a month since Spencer lost his leg, and things are slow but improving.
Have you found out why your cat licks his leg, is it allergies, OCD, or something else? He will want to lick the sore because it hurts, but you have to eliminate the reason the licking started in the first place. If you have any questions, ask. Unfortunately I've been through the same thing and know how frustrating it is
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