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Dr. Scarlett
Dr. Scarlett, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 4110
Experience:  I am a practicing small animal veterinarian with 18 years experience.
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hi i have 4 cats, i am trying to convert them all to a set

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hi i have 4 cats, i am trying to convert them all to a set feeding time because 1 is obese and 1 has scabs thats not a medical problem or so the vet tells me. they have only known dry cat food, i been feeding them purina 1 and whatever they were eating prior to me caring for them. these 2 cats are new to my family and are about 13-14 years old.

i have decided to move to blue buffalo wet and with some dry cat food. I have 1 cat that i am having a hard time converting, and at least 1 thats active and at the right weight. I am just trying to get them to eat healthier.

will a better quality food help with the cat that breaks out in scabs? how long till i see a difference?

will a better quality food and a set feeding time help the cat who is obese? she is currently 24 pounds. how long would it take to see a difference?

when i read the serving size to what i see them eat, there is quite a difference, they eat about half the serving, is this something i should worry about? i would think insted of eating all the time to being hungry at feeding times the amount of food they eat will increase till they eat the entire serving.

i also been reading and hearing about using extra virgin coconut oil on the food. any thoughts on using this?

Dr. Scarlett :


Dr. Scarlett :

Lots of questions! I do have a question for you about the kitty with the scabs--are they all over his body or just in one area? Are the cats all on a flea preventative? Any hairloss or raw areas of the skin? How long have the scabs been present?

Dr. Scarlett :

It can be very difficult to get a cat that has always eaten dry food to show any interest in canned food. So while I like cats to eat some canned food, it may just be easier to not push that issue at this time. So you may want to just concentrate on transitioning from the Purina dry food to the Blue Buffalo dry food first, then transitioning to meal feeding, then go from there.

Dr. Scarlett :

I also have 4 cats, with one of them being a bit pudgy and diabetic and one being a petite little girl. So I understand your issues! Each of my cats has their own food bowl and they all eat in slightly different spots. Three of them are on different levels of a cat tree and the diabetic one is on the floor apart from the other cats. Admittedly the petite one doesn't eat all her food and then the other cats scarf it down later. And the diabetic one nibbles on any food my dog leaves in his bowl. So it is a never-ending battle!

Dr. Scarlett :

An average, overweight cat that should weigh about 10 pounds, should get about 165-180 calories per day. So figure out how many calories in a cup of Blue Buffalo and divide that into 180 (so if BB has 400 calories/cup, then each cat should get less than 1/2 cup per day). I would look for a reduced calorie food--I've seen cats do well on Chicken Soup light and then feed all 4 cats the same amount. Divide the total amount into 2-3 feedings per day--they are more likely to finish when there is a smaller amount at each feeding. Plus it "revs up" the metabolism each time they have a meal. You mentioned that they are only eating about 1/2 of a serving, but do verify that serving size based on caloric need. Bags often put down a higher amount of food than is actually needed.

Dr. Scarlett :

As far as the scabs, they could be due to a food allergy. In which case you want to choose a food with completely different ingredients than what is found in the Purina foods you have fed. Any protein or carb source can cause an allergy, so a grain-free food may or may not be helpful. Maybe try a venison diet. The scabs could also be due to fleas, especially if the scabs are on the lower back and/or around the face and neck. If the scabs are mainly in the area in front of the ears, then a food allergy is quite likely. I would expect to see improvement with a diet change in 3-4 weeks.

Dr. Scarlett :

I wouldn't add any coconut oil to the food--just added calories at this point and no evidence that it helps with weight management. There is a new Science Diet food out that looks very promising for getting weight off cats (and dogs) and helping them maintain a normal weight. Not a limited or novel ingredient diet, but another one to consider.

Dr. Scarlett :

How that helps!

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The cat has scabs on her back near the tail and sometimes on her face but for the most part on her back which seems to be ongoing. The cat is my girlfriends and she seems to think its anxiety related.


she has brought the cat to the vet numerous time and she says, "the vet gives her a steroid shot and its pretty much a bandage for a few months."


no the cats are not on flea preventative care. again girlfriend says, "Its not fleas, i comb her and i dont see any eggs or fleas"


there is some hair loss in the area of the scabs.



If the hairloss and scabs on the cat go away (at least temporarily) with the steroid shot, then the problem is an allergy and not anxiety related. And if the scabs are on the lower back near the tail, then it is a flea allergy until proven otherwise. Cats that overgroom due to anxiety also don't have scabs--just no hair and pretty normal-looking skin.

Cats are fastidious groomers and often remove fleas and flea dirt from their coat before we see it. But for a cat with a flea allergy, ONE flea bite is enough to cause a bad reaction. The steroid shot calms down the immune system for a couple weeks, but once it wears off and the cat gets bit again, the problem returns.

Because flea prevention is pretty easy and convenient these days, I highly encourage you to apply a dose of Frontline to the cat (and ALL the other animals that might be in the house) every month for at least 3 months. This will help get rid of them in the house. If that seems to make a difference, then I would keep Frontline on this cat monthly for much longer.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

even though i plan to try the frontline product...what are the chances its a food allergy?

Food allergies generally cause hairloss and scabs on the face, particularly the area in front of the ears. They also don't respond very well to steroid injections. So fleas are my very first thought--well before a food allergy.
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