alcohol on cats skin

by Grace
(hampden maine USA)

Is alcohol on a cats skin poisonous? Not to drink, but only on the skin.


Some cat owners use a small amount of rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball, to control fleas. The alcohol can sting if there is an open wound but it is not poisonous to the skin.

Very small amounts of alcohol licked off the skin will not harm your cat. However, alcohol is poisonous to cats when ingested in larger quantities because alcohol depresses the brain function and can cause a coma.

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little black dots

by Mike
(Orlando Fl)

One of my elderly cats , which just turned 16 last week, has been having tiny black dots on her lower back spine..and notice alot on the floor and bed..I have been combing her out these last 2 months..and do find live fleas on her...I have put hartz flea and tick medication on her 2 times within the last 3 months..She has always been an indoor cat...Are these little black "dots"...also fleas?....thank you Mike


Flea feces consist of digested blood, and are often excreted as a dark bit of stuff that looks like grains of dark sand or particles of dirt. Red blood-like streaks from the granules are a sure sign that you've found flea feces. Feline Allergic Dermatitis (F.A.D.) is where the cat develops a pattern of skin damage which vets refer to as "military dermatitis. The bite of only one flea can be enough to set off the allergic reaction in a cat who suffers from FAD. It's the flea saliva that they are allergic to. This problem can surface at any age but typcially it happens around 3-5 years. However, an older cat that hadn't been exposed to many fleas when it was younger can still develop it and this would account for the tenderness along the lower spine. Or, scratching the area constantly has left it raw. Either way, a full description of flea damage and solutions is on this site on the page called
Fleas on Cats.

Although your cat is an indoor cat it can still get fleas from you carrying a flea in the house, a visitor leaving a flea behind etc. It sounds like this has gotten serious if it's already on the bedding so I would treat the cat as well as clean all the bedding. Products like Advantage by Bayer are absorbed into the skin and hair of your cat. It kills fleas and flea larvae on contact by damaging the nervous system of the insects. Frontline and Advantage are available without a prescription. I've used Revolution which is a prescription available through your vet and is actually very similar. Read the page I've listed to get the facts and good luck on ridding your cat of this problem. Spring is noted to be "flea season".

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Cats can develop small bumps or larger lumps on their skin for a variety of reasons. Even the small bumps that you describe as “like pimples” could have a number of reasons for being there. The list of possibilities is quite extensive so I will only mention ones that refer to smaller bumps, not tumors or abscess-like lumps nor bee stings.

  • There is feline acne which is frequently caused or made worse by using plastic dishes and bowls, glass or stainless steel is preferable. This is normally located on the chin and around the lips.
  • Allergic reaction to materials like wool, plastic, carpet deodorizers and rubber can cause red skin and small bumps.
  • Antibiotic ointments applied to the skin can also cause these bumps. Drug or injection reactions can produce small bumps and ulcers.
  • Feline pox can start with a nodule at the site of a previous bite wound and then spread to multiple nodules.
  • Lymphoma, a form of cancer, can produce nodules with redness and ulcers. A biopsy is required to diagnose this.
  • Miliary dermatitis is actually part of a common eosinophilic allergic syndrome in cats and it can be associated with infections, autoimmune diseases and nutritional deficiencies. The bumps are small and crusty, usually over the hips, back of thighs or neck. Underlying causes can be parasites, fleas, as well as food allergies.
  • Urticaria is feline hives and can be an allergic reaction to insect bites, a drug, vaccine, sunlight etc.

  • Since there are so many possibilities I suggest that you take your cat to the vet to have it further investigated. In the meantime carefully check your cat for fleas. Use a very fine comb on your cat’s fur and check to see if there are any teeny black dots. These small black dots are flea feces…you would then have proof of fleas. Also try to think if you’ve made any recent diet changes like a different brand or type of cat food. Those are the most common reasons for bumps on or around the neck. Some outbreaks of bumps will resolve themselves on their own in the case of allergic reactions, once the cause of the allergic reaction is removed. I hope it’s just one of the simple solutions such as fleas whereby you can get a good flea control product like Advantage or Revolution to resolve the problem.

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