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Cher, Feline Specialist
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 21337
Experience:  Feline Healthcare & Behavior Specialist 40+ years Experience
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My cat scratches and has sores around his neck. He flinches

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My cat scratches and has sores around his neck. He flinches and runs around the house when he feels itchy. I've had him checked for fleas and I'm pretty sure he doesn't have them. What can it be?

Hello, Naomi and welcome!

My name is XXXXX XXXXX it will be my pleasure to assist you and Mew today.

I'm sorry he's having this problem.

From your description, if you're sure he doesn't have fleas, it sounds like he may have some type of mites which do burrow under the skin and cause itching. There are two types: demodectic mange mites and sarcoptic mange mites. Here is more detailed information:

A good next step would be to have the vet evaluate him in person and take a skin scraping (painless) to determine the cause of this itching and then prescribe treatment.

It's also possible that he is experiencing an allergic reaction to something in his food or to something he is coming in contact with inside and/or outside, so the vet might want to do some allergy testing, as well.

Sometimes, you don't have to see any fleas to have a cat experience an allergic reaction to just one bite. A condition that can come from this and other sources is called Miliary dermatitis

Also, from your description of him flinching and running around the house when he feels itchy, if he's also trying to bite at his back and/or tail and his skin is 'rolling' or 'crawling', this could be an indication he has developed feline hyperesthesia. Here is more information: Hyperesthesia

You could treat with a monthly flea preventative sold by your vet, to see if this will help, but since it's applied to the back of the neck/top of the back area, you don't want to put it there at this time if he has open sores.

Discuss these possibilities and treatments with your vet and I hope Mew is feeling much more comfortable, very soon.

If you need any additional information or clarification, simply 'Reply' back before rating and I will be happy to help with any follow up questions. Please do not rate negatively if you still need information. Just click "Reply" instead. Thank you!

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Warmest regards,


Customer: replied 3 years ago.

If it's some type of mites, are transmitted to other cats or people?...because we have another cat in the home and he's just fine.

Hi again, Naomi and thanks for your reply.

Yes, some types of mites are contagious to other cats and people. If your other cat doesn't seem affected, then it might not be mites, but some of the other conditions I mentioned. However, for a definite diagnosis, it would be a good idea to have Mew evaluated by the vet in person and a skin scraping taken by the vet, so it can be analyzed under a microscope for any parasites or other problems. Sometimes, the vet will do this in-office or it will be sent out to a lab. Discuss food or contact allergies with the vet as well as feline hyperesthesia. If Mew's food contains any corn, soy, wheat, gluten, dairy products, artificial preservatives, colors or flavorings, these are common allergens for cats and could be the culprit.

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Warmest regards,
Cher and 4 other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Hi Naomi,

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

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hello Cher,


Mew is actually doing much better. We decided to change the food he had been eating for many years. The bumps around his neck have nearly dissappeared. He's much more like himself now. Either way we are taking him in to the vet next week.

Hi again Naomi and thanks so much for your update on Mew.

This is great news and I'm so glad to hear that changing his food helped to stop the bumps on his neck. He may have had a food allergy to one or more components in his food, and/or other causes for the itchy bumps around his neck. I'm glad you are planning a vet visit next week, as some tests may be suggested, that will help pinpoint the source of the problem.

I hope all will be well with Mew!

Warmest regards,