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Cher
Cher, Feline Specialist
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 21446
Experience:  Feline Healthcare & Behavior Specialist 40+ years Experience
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My cat has started to excessively lick and bite and scratch

Customer Question

My cat has started to excessively lick and bite and scratch herself. I am very worried. Her Vet said she had fleas. We have searched and combed through her and have never seen a flea. She is also losing weight. She is not the same happy amusing little girl she was a few weeks ago she seems sad, no longer wants to play and clings to me. Please help.
She is my heart I love her so much and I am frantic.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Cher replied 1 year ago.

Hello, and welcome!

My apologies that no one had replied to your question earlier. Different experts are online at various times and I recently logged in and read your question. Your patience is greatly appreciated!

I'm so sorry your kitty is exhibiting these symptoms and has you worried.

When your vet said she had fleas, was she started on a monthly flea preventative, applied at the vet's office? If so, which one?

How old is your kitty and what is her name. Is she spayed?

Did this all begin a few weeks ago?

Have there been any changes in the household or her environment, at that time (a few weeks ago), or since?

What food does she eat (brand and wet or dry)?

What litter do you use?

Does she spend any time outside?

Thanks for all your additional information, and after you reply, please allow me some time to read through it and then compose and send your detailed answer.

Warmest wishes,

Cher

Expert:  Cher replied 1 year ago.

Hi again,

I was hoping to get some additional information from you, but, I didn't want you to go any longer without an answer.

There are various possibilities for your cat's symptoms. If she is itchy, but the vet said she doesn't have fleas, all it takes is the bite of one flea, in a 'flea-allergic' cat, to cause a system-wide reaction. It's possible this is what has happened and the flea is long gone. You can give her an over the counter antihistamine to help with the itching for the time being and discuss with you vet if an injection of an anti-itch medication might prove more useful. I prefer Chlor-trimeton, and you can give 1/4 of a 4 mg. tablet, twice a day, as needed. Here is more information:

http://www.petplace.com/article/drug-library/library/over-the-counter/chlorpheniramine-maleate-chlor-trimeton

In addition to fleas, there are other external parasites that are very tiny and can burrow under the skin, like certain types of mites, so discuss this with your vet, as well.

The excessive biting, licking and scratching may be due to an obsessive-compulsive condition called Feline Psychogenic Alopecia. The cause of this is difficult to determine, but sometimes, it's stress or due to changes in environment, boredom, and the vet usually treats it with a steroid shot and sometimes, antihistamines, to stop the itching and make the skin less sensitive. Here is more information:

http://www.catbehaviorassociates.com/psychogenic-alopecia-in-cats/

If this behavior may be caused by anxiety or stress, Feliway, a cat-calming pheromone will help.

http://www.feliway.com/us

Food allergies are possible, so try to feed mostly high quality canned food containing no grains or artificial additives, preservatives or carageenan, as these are common allergens for cats. Sometimes, cats are allergic to the protein (meat) source in their food, so you can try a 'limited ingredient diet' with alternative protein and carb sources. These are made by various manufacturers, like Royal Canin, Natural Balance, Blue and many others.

Her weight loss may be due to stress or not eating as usual, because her physical symptoms are bothering her. Offer her some 'Cat Sure', a cat version of 'Ensure' for humans, to help replenish her vitamins and essential nutrients.

If a blood test and urinalysis were not done at the vet's, that would be a good next step, to make sure all her levels are within normal limits.

I hope things improve for your furry girl and the cause of her symptoms can be identified and treated appropriately!

Please be so kind as to rate my answer with positive feedback; that is the only way I receive credit for my assistance. Thank you very much!

Providing a positive rating will not end our conversation, should you need me for any follow-up. Simply click 'Reply' for clarification or additional information, if needed, at no additional charge.

Warmest regards,
Cher

Expert:  Cher replied 1 year ago.

Hi again,

I'm just following up with you to find out how your kitty is doing, if you have any further questions and/or if you found my answer helpful.

Please let me know. Thank you very much!

I'll be looking forward to your reply.

Warmest regards,

Cher