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Itching in cat with no clue what it is (3 replies)

1 year ago
nmscat 1 year ago

I am reaching out to see if anyone has had or currently has the same problem as I am going through. My cat Merle has been itching and biting on himself now for approximately 2 1/2 months. We have done the skin test and found nothing. I have done Frontline treatments for fleas. I have done Revolution treatments for mites or other parasites that might not show on skin test. I did Pred for a month with no results and I will never put a cat on that medication again. I hate it.

Merle finally had bit and licked himself raw on his belly and on one of his back legs and so we did a Depo shot to give him immediate relief. That worked somewhat. We also started him on this so called "wonder" drug Apoquel. Well, it sure didn't work on my cat. I have gone to two vets now and still no relief for my cat.

We are now trying to get him off his regular food and onto the z/d stuff to see if it is a food allergy. I am not convinced it is a food allergy.

I introduced three new cats into my home around the same time he started itching. Could he possibly be allergic to them? Is there anything else I can try without breaking the bank because I am at my limit for funds with all of this on him? Anyone else with the same problem?

I want to try the food trial to make sure it isn't a food allergy to his food. I feed him good quality food. I feed the Blue Wilderness bag food in the chicken recipe and the Rocky Mountain Recipe with Rabbit so it's grain free food. I am at my wits end with this. Any input would be appreciated.

Oh, I also did baths on him and that didn't work either. He does not have dry skin at all.

1 year ago
A.D. 1 year ago

Hi Mmscat,

I'm so sorry Merle is struggling and not feeling well.  I know all too well how stressful it can be.  You said that this all occurred around the time you introduced new cats into your home?  I'm betting that is the culprit, and here's why.  Introducing cats is a very delicate dance and can be very stressful.  The littlest environmental change can cause a cat to have the biggest meltdown, which in turn causes them to act out.  

Sometimes it's marking or defecating outside of the litter box, sometimes it's destructive behavior, and other times it's self-harm or mutilation.  Sometimes when cats are stressed, they will over groom to the point of hair-loss or bleeding.  Then you have open sores or broken skin that can get infected, which scab, and the scabs can be itchy.  

If my theory is correct, there are some options for you.  First, I would talk to your vet and see what they think.  They can prescribe medication for the behavior - like an antidepressant.  They can also prescribe medication to clear up any sores or broken skin that could be occurring.  However, another option is an animal behaviorist.  A lot of people associate behaviorists with dogs, but they can have a vast knowledge on cats and cat behavior.  They can come into your home and help resolve any stress or behavior resulting from the stressful environment.  

Some other options for you would be to purchase some over the counter stress-reducing remedies.  There are DAP pheromones, which are synthetic pheromones that mimic the pheromones a nursing mother releases to the young litter of kittens.  Studies have shown that introducing these synthetic pheromones into the home can help bring an over-all calm and reduce any stress-related behaviors.  The pheromones come in plug-ins, sprays, collars, etc.  

There's also a product called Rescue Remedy, which I love.  It's all natural floral essential oils in an edible liquid form.  You can add this to their water, food, put some on a treat, etc.  It helps reduce any anxiety or stress.  

In my honest opinion, I don't think it's a food-related allergy.  You're feeding some really good high-quality foods and I don't see many cats allergic to those.  Also, it's very uncommon for cats to have environmental allergies.  For peace of mind, do the elimination diet to rule out ay food allergens.  If you do that and see a change, then food was the culprit.  But, in my experience and opinion, I think this is probably more related to stress or anxiety than anything else.  

I hope my post helps!  Keep us updated on Merle's progress!

- A.D.  

1 year ago
nmscat 1 year ago

I have tried the calming things for stress thinking that may be it too. I have tried the Feliway plugin for 30 days and that did absolutely nothing for Merle. Rescue Remedy did nothing also.

I truly don't think it is a food allergy myself, but the vets in this very rural area are hard to deal with at times. I have tried the food they want me to put him on, but he gets diarrhea every time I try so I am not going to even try anymore.  I reached out to the rescue where I got him from and she told me to get him a Depo shot because she is having problems with many of the cats at her rescue too with this and she has about 110 there. She keeps Depo on hand and gives that to them. I think I am going to try one more Depo shot on him because he did get relief from it to 85%. This one is wearing off now and he is itching and biting more again.

The lady at the rescue says the environment is out of control, and I agree with her. There are many, many animals in our area that are having environmental allergies. It is happening more and more here with our drastic weather changes. It is not as uncommon as you may think. Vets here are having to prescribe more and more things to dogs and cats for environmental allergies.  

I am not sure if I really think it is stress or anxiety because he plays with them and sleeps with them. He seems to be more settled since he has friends to play with. I did mention that to one of the vets I saw, and he didn't think it was either since he plays with them and is with them. He would try to be away from them if it was stress or anxiety he said.

Do you still think it could be stress or anxiety, A.D.? I have ordered some homeopathic skin and itch relief to try. I wish more people would get on my thread and tell me if they have used any homeopathic stuff to get relief in a situation like this so I'm not going broke trying things. I am really stressed over this and don't know what to do. If we would get a hard freeze and he stops itching I would know it is environmental, but that could be a ways off yet.  

Karen Doll
8 months ago
Karen Doll 8 months ago

Hi nm scat, 

Our dog, Pip, had chronic itchiness. The groomer recommended a shampoo with oatmeal for it's naturally soothing properties. Now, having cats myself, I know most are not too fond of frequent bathing, if at all, so have you tried adding Omega fatty acids or fish oil supplements? They help improve a cat's skin and also block out any potential allergens. 

I know this must be unbelievably frustrating. Hugs to you and I hope you find answers ASAP. 

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