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Cher, Feline Specialist
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 21445
Experience:  Feline Healthcare & Behavior Specialist 40+ years Experience
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For about three years our cat Sammie has been scratching at

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For about three years our cat Sammie has been scratching at the inner corners of her eyes. We've been to the vet several times, tried allergy medication, changed her diet. We even changed the bowls she eats from. Nothing seems to work. She scratches the same area on both eyes a couple of times a day to the point when she cries out because either it itches like crazy or it hurts. Half the time she draws blood, so she has some deep grooves in the inner corners and some permanent scratch marks on her nose. This started when she was about 10yrs old; she is 13yrs old now. For the last two years, she has been an indoor cat. We used to live in the country where the itching started, but now we live in the city. Nothing has changed. She eats grain free food - dry and wet. She is happy, healthy, and quite spirited for her old age. When she sees we are watching her, she itches and cleans the area with her paw instead of scratching. Sometimes her whole head twitches because it itches. We often find ourselves running toward her to make her stop before she does some real damage.

Hello, Customer and welcome back to Just Answer.

I'm so sorry to hear that Sammie has been experiencing these uncomfortable symptoms for about 3 years, now.

From your description, it does sound like an allergy to something, and as I'm sure you know the list is quite lengthy. She could be sensitive to the laundry detergent and/or fabric softener you use, if she sleeps on your bed and/or you wash linen (towels, blankets, etc.) for her bed in the same brand. She could be allergic to any cleansers or carpet shampoos/powders you may use; scented candles, plug in air fresheners, cigarette smoke if anyone smokes in the house, etc., things along that line. Here is more information about allergies in cats: Allergies

Changing her to a grain free diet was great, but some cats are allergic to the protein source (meat) in their food and need a limited ingredient diet (LID) containing protein and carb alternatives. Royal Canin, Natural Balance and other manufacturers make these types of foods and they are usually available from your vet if they are not carried in your pet supply store.

After all these years and your vet trying to resolve the problem to no avail, it might be a good next step to have Sammie evaluated by a veterinary dermatologist who will have the experience and equipment to hopefully, get to the bottom of this problem and then prescribe the most effective treatment. Taking a skin scraping (painless) from this general area for culture and analysis under a microscope would be helpful, as would checking her for ear mites which could be falling out of her ears onto the fur near her eyes/nose and causing this intense itching. Ear Mites

Other external parasites like fleas (you don't necessarily have to see them) could also be a possibility. Indoor only cats can get fleas brought inside by humans on shoes and pantlegs.

Keep her claws trimmed on a steady basis, so she does less damage with them when she scratches, and bathing the area with a warm dampened cotton ball, then gently patting dry, should help. I would recommend 'soft paws', which are vinyl nail caps put on the claws with a special adhesive, but they are usually difficult to get on and need to be replaced about every 6 weeks. They are inexpensive and sold in all major pet supply stores, so if you want to give them a try, they might cause Sammie to do less damage when she scratches in this sensitive area.

Discuss with your vet if she should be given antihistamines or steroids now, to decrease the itching, just until you can get her seen by a veterinary dermatology specialist. Specialists are usually found in ER vet centers and Veterinary Colleges. You usually need a referral, which you can get from your regular vet.

I hope all will be well with Sammie and the cause of the itching is diagnosed and treated, so she's feeling much more comfortable!

If you have any additional questions, please do not rate yet, but click Reply to let me know if you need further assistance.

If you are satisfied with the answer, kindly take a moment to rate positively so I receive credit from the site for my assistance. I'd appreciate it, thanks!

Best regards,

Cher and other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX is so much to consider.


Regarding household products...what if we have been using the same products for as long as we have had Sammie? Can she develop an allergy anyway?


Her dry and wet catfood is fish/seafood based only - she doesn't like meat. She eats BG (Before Grain) and either Fussy Cat or Weruva - do those have allergens?


I feel so defeated with the poor vet visits, but we'll give it another go. Is there a way for you to recommend a vet or derm specialist in the Seattle area?


I would like to avoid ANOTHER lousy vet experience. Thanks.

Hi again, Customer and you're most welcome.

Thanks very much for your excellent rating; it is greatly appreciated.

In answer to your questions: re: the cleansers, laundry detergents, etc., if there have been no changes over the years, Sammie is most likely used to being in contact with these products, but just keep in mind that a cat can develop an allergy at any time, even from something that never adversely affected her in the past.

Re: the food--some cats react badly to fish or meat protein in their food. The 'alternative' diets contain protein sources like rabbit and duck and carb sources like green pea and potato, which have been shown to not cause allergic reaction or less of a reaction.

The brands of food you are serving sound great. Check the labels for any meat or fish by-products, corn, soy, gluten, wheat, dairy products, artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, as these are common allergens for cats. If these foods are grain-free, they shouldn't contain any of the offending grains. The first ingredient should be real meat or fish.

I understand how frustrated you are with the many vet visits (and it's no fun for Sammie, either). If you can provide your zipcode, I will be happy to research general vets and dermatology specialists in your area.

Best regards,

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Ok. Good to know - I was not sure if cats could develop allergies over time although it makes sense.


The wet catfood is labeled "grain free." The first ingredient is usually tuna, tilapia, or salmon. And none of the items you listed above are in the contents - so that makes me feel better.


I live in Seattle, 98121. Thanks again, Marissa

Hi again, Marissa and thanks for your helpful reply.

I'm glad none of the common allergens are included in the food Sammie is not eating!

Thanks for your zipcode. Please allow me a little time to research this for you and I will get back to you with the information asap.

Best regards,
Hi again, Marissa.

Try these:

scroll down to:


Dr Alan Mundell, Animal Dermatology Clinic, 425-771-4600, Edmonds.


(I don't know how far Edmonds is far from you)






They don't list dermatology as a specialty, but you can call and ask and also see an internal medicine specialist.




Animal Dermatology Service

Dermatology for cats and dogs
6525 15th NW
Seattle 98117





Animal Skin & Allergy Clinic


16418 7th Pl W, #B
Lynnwood, WA 98037




Cats Exclusive Veterinary Hospital
Cat specialists
19203 Aurora Ave N
Shoreline 98133



If no one else can help:


Washington State University School of Veterinary Medicine
Free advice on ailments. Difficult to diagnose or treat, clinics available.
Pullman 99164




I found the last four above, here:




Check out these feline vets in your general area: 8377.1794337.2.1796620.,or.r_qf.&bvm=bv.46226182,d.eWU&fp=3e5278bae6458e76&biw=1024&bih=559


Please let me know how Sammie is doing and if another vet/specialist will be of help to her. Thanks!


I hope all will be well with your furry girl!


Best regards,


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Cher, this is so much more than I expected. Thank you! Marissa

Hi again, Marissa.

It's my pleasure to be of help to you and Sammie and you are more than welcome!

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If you can, just let me know how she's doing and what diagnosis/treatment you end up getting from one or more of these other vets. Thanks!

Best regards,
Hi again, Marissa.

Thanks very much for your most generous bonus; it is greatly appreciated!

Best wishes,

I'm just following up on our conversation about Sammie. How is everything going?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Cher,


Sammie hasn't done much scratching for the last few days - I always wonder if it has to do with the weather. But we are taking her to the vet next week. We should no more after that visit.



Hi again, Marissa and thanks so much for your reply with an update on Sammie.

I'm glad to hear that she hasn't been scratching too much for the last few days. It's very possible that it has to do with the weather.

I'm happy to hear you have scheduled a vet visit for next week. Please let me know what the vet has to say and how Sammie is doing. Thanks!

Best regards,