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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 16306
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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I have a mail cat that will not stop grooming himself. he

Customer Question

i have a mail cat that will not stop grooming himself. he some times gets so very raw i don't know what to put on him or to help him. my veet has given him stariod shots and nothing seems to work
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
he does vomit from time to time . i have tryed changing litter and food
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 11 months ago.

Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I'm really sorry to hear about your fellow's excessive grooming and scratching such that he gets raw, despite steroid injections from his veterinarian, and occasional vomiting.

Is it that the steroid injections make no difference at all or that they wear off in a short time and he begins excessively grooming/itching again?

The most common reason for these symptoms is an allergy of some sort. If the steroid helps at all at least part of his trouble may be flea bite allergy or inhaled allergies.

Flea allergy dermatitis is the most common allergy in cats. Flea allergy dermatitis is horrible. If you don't see any fleas he might not have a huge population. But in allergic cats there doesn't need to be many, it only takes one bite a month for an allergic cat to itch like crazy. If you have other pets who aren't itchy they may not be allergic. Ideally I recommend topical flea products be applied every 3 weeks during the summer/fall months in an allergic cat when fleas are at their peak or with a active problem, and then monthly as a prevention. Many over the counter products have a problem with fleas being resistant and some can be down right dangerous. I never recommend any products that Hartz or Sargent's make. I recommend Advantage II or Frontline Plus, or the new Seresto Flea collar. I don't normally recommend flea collars, but this one really works and lasts for at least 6-8 months. All pets in the house must be treated as if you don't the nonallergic ones serve as a flea reservoir for the allergic one and you'll never solve your problem.

Inhaled allergies (to pollens, dust mites or mold spores) are another possibility.

To control allergic symptoms you can try giving an antihistamine, either:

1) Benadryl (diphenhydramine only, the combination products with decongestants and acetaminophen are toxic to cats) at a dose of 1mg to 2mg per pound of body weight every 8 hours. That's a half of 25mg tablet every 8 hours for a cat that is 8 to 15 pounds. Benadryl is very bitter and some cats will drool excessively or may even vomit because of that. That doesn't mean it is making him ill, he just hates the taste. If that's the case with him try a different antihistamine.


2) Chlorpheniramine at a dose of 4mg per cat twice daily.


3) Zyrtec (Cetirizine hydrochloride) at a dose of 5 mg per cat given orally every 24 hours. Make sure it is NOT the formulation with a decongestant (such as Zyrtec-D) because cats cannot tolerate decongestants.

Combined with high doses of omega-3 fatty acids antihistamines may work to relieve his itchiness. I like 3V caps or Derm Caps as they are reputable, high quality products. I recommend a dose based upon the EPA portion (eicosapentanoic acid) of the supplement as if we do that the rest of the supplement will be properly balanced. Give him 20mg of EPA per pound of body weight per day. For example an 8 pound cat could take 160mg of EPA per day. Antihistamines and omega-3 fatty acids work synergistically, better together than either one alone. These should help reduce the itch. Be aware that antihistamines can cause drowsiness or hyperactivity which should resolve with continued use.

Food allergy is another reason for excess grooming. These cats often don't respond to steroids or are helped very minimally. If the steroids weren't much help then you might wish to try feeding a hypoallergenic food for 8 weeks or so. My suggestions are Hills Z/D or Royal Canin Duck and Green peas. He will need to eat only that food, no other treats or foods during his food trial.

If there are other cats in the home that he doesn't get along with or outdoors that upset him perhaps this is stress related. If so a product called Feliway, which is a synthetic version of a calming feline pheromone, may help. You can purchase this from petstores or online.

If he goes outside other parasites like Cheyletiella, demodex, or sarcoptic mange are possible causes as well, although both are highly contagious, so if you have other kitties I would expect them to get itchy too eventually.

For now I would start with continued flea control, an antihistamine and omega 3 fatty acids. If he's not significantly better in 2 weeks then it's time for a veterinary examination to look further for problems and/or a hypoallergenic food trial.

Please let me know if you have further questions by replying to this post.

Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 11 months ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Dr. Kara
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 11 months ago.

Hello, I wanted to make sure that you didn't have any further questions for me, and I'd like to know how things turned out for your kitty. If you could give me an update that would be great, thank you, ***** *****