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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16512
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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We are trying to help a cat that belongs to an elderly couple that lives by us. They rece

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We are trying to help a cat that belongs to an elderly couple that lives by us. They recently got a dog this cat dislikes so he has moved in with us. He scratches constantly and has hair loss on his tail and lower back. Hair is real dry. They told me he was 10 and was like this when born. He is real small for his age. I am feeding him all wet food with small amounts of fish oil; I flead him but I see no fleas or eggs, no lice, skin is not red or inflamed or flakey, no pus or open sores. He grooms but not overly so. Is not nervous or anxious. Any suggestions? A lovey but loves to rub his face on your chin because his head itches so bad. Help please.

Hello, my name isXXXXX and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.

You re very kind to take in Snorkle, I am sure he appreciates not being harassed by a dog he doesn't like.


Hair loss on the back, tailhead area, abdomen and rear legs can be related to allergies (food, fleas, inhaled), stress, or anal gland inflammation. In rare cases it can be related to abdominal pain and internal organ disease.

Over grooming can be related to itchy skin or it can be a self calming behavior.
Grooming releases a calming neurotransmitter called serotonin, which is a calming neurotransmitter.

I would recommend continuing use of a flea prevention. I know that you couldn't find any but in allergic cats it only takes one bite a month for them to be very itchy and when they are grooming so heavily they may actually eat any evidence of flea being present. Some preventatives are more effective than others and if he is experiencing an occasional bite that can lead to him overgrooming himself. If you have other cats and they aren't affected than it may be the other cats aren't allergic. I like Frontline Plus or Advantage for cats. Many over the counter products aren't effective and some are toxic.


If he has an anal gland infection treating that should help. If it's a chronic problem then removing them may be indicated.

He may be allergic to a protein in his food. I recommend trying a true hypoallergenic
diet such as Hills D/d or Royal Canin Duck and Green Peas. If you choose to use a hypoallergenic diet then it must be the only thing that he gets for at least 10 to 16 weeks to see the full effects. No table foods or treats or flavored medication. Most people report some improvement within 8 weeks.

If this is stress related then decreasing stress by using Feliway may help.
Feliway is a synthetic analog of a facial pheromone which cats use to mark their home territory and is calming for them. Even though things may seem fine there may things that you aren't aware of. Sometimes anti-anxiety drugs like buspirone or fluoxetine prescribed by his veterinarian may be indicated.


If you think this may be inhaled or flea allergy related then therapy to prevent the allergic reaction with Chlorpheniramine at 4mg per cat once to twice daily and an omega-3 fatty acid such as Derm Caps should help him be more comfortable.

So in short you can have him checked by a veterinarian to make sure there's
no physical reason for his discomfort (full anal glands or abdominal pain). Or you can try flea preventatives, an antihistamine (chlorpheniramine) and an omega-3 fatty acid as well as a hypoallergenic diet and the feliway first and take him to be examined if those don't help. Because he goes outdoors other parasites like sarcoptic mites, demodectic mites, or cheyletiella mites are possible as well and should be checked for if he isn't improving.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you so much for the advice. I will try your recommendations first and then take him to my vet if I see no improvement. I may be wrong, but I don't think he is in pain, but I know they don't react to pain like we do. I used Advantage Plus on him as that is what I use on my other two kitties; one of which is another cat from these same people. They have a house full and should not have any! And yes, I'm sure there are fleas but I did bathe Snorkle when we first took him and saw very few on him; none now. I live by a park and people drop off their cats all the time. We can have, at any one time, 8 cats that are not ours. I try to find good homes for the healthy ones but when I can't I end up having to put them down. It breaks my heart, but I can't afford to take them all to the vet! So if they stay fairly healthy, I'll feed them. If not.... But once in awhile one will grab my husband or myself and we adopt them. Snorkle for example.


Again, thank you and God Bless!



Mila, you are incredibly kind people. Snorkle definitely knew who to use his charms on!

With all of the strays and drop offs coming and going fleas will be a repeated problem for him. I recommend applying the Advantage Plus every 3 weeks because for an allergic cat one bite is enough to make them miserable for weeks.

Using omega 3's and antihistamines hopefully will help keep his coat in better condition and at the same time keep his itchiness down to a dull roar.

Best of luck with your very, very lucky fellow. Please let me know how things go for him, thanks, XXXXX XXXXX

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