Itchy, bloody bald spots
by sarah Watterson
(isle of man)
My Cat Molly who is 3, about every 2 months gets bald patches they cause intense itching and she scratches tearing her skin. The skin becomes bloody and raw.
She reacted very badly to fronline and advocate topical flea treatments too. I think she may have a fish allergy. She has been to the vet 6 times in 10 months and they give her steroid injections.
I am now trying a hypo-allergenic diet (James Wellbeloved)
I am at my wits end and poor molly who is so gentle and sweet natured is uncomfortable and in pain. It is very upsetting to witness.
what else can I do please can you help?
I know it’s hard to watch our cats suffer…for any reason…but this does sound like an allergy. Usually fleas are the culprits and it’s their saliva that is the irritant but assuming she has no fleas, other allergies come into play. You say that this happens about every 2 months so it makes me wonder what happens every 2 months that could be setting off this reaction? First, is Molly an indoor cat? If she is kept indoors then she could have an allergy to dust or some other airborne allergen that takes a couple of months to cause a reaction…but I’m assuming you vacuum more than every 2 months (I’m teasing). You might consider trying an air purifier in the rooms where she spends a lot of her time. Many cats need to have to have windows kept closed during the heavier pollen season. Mold spores can also cause allergic reactions so if you have a moist area in a basement or a cupboard that she can access remember that cats do manage to snoop and explore… especially when they get bored.
There are also some common pet food allergens that cause more problems than others. Even if they’ve eaten the same foods for a long period of time, they can develop an allergic reaction. For cats, it is beef, dairy, and fish. The hypo-allergenic foods usually replace those items with duck, lamb or venison. Too much corn, wheat, and soy often cause allergies as well so you can look for one that substitutes peas and potatoes instead.
It sounds like you are on the right track with trying a hypo-allergenic diet and James Wellbeloved has a good reputation. However, this will take 3-8 weeks to see if the diet change is successful. In the meantime, write down all the ingredients that it contains (or simply tear a label off to do comparisons later). The allergy formula cat food should only have one meat protein. So, if your cat continues to itch and scratch you know to try one without it.
This is called the “elimination diet”. Ingredient by ingredient gets eliminated starting with those that are the highest percentage in the food. I’ve explained that on the Allergies in Cats page. Eventually you should be successful unless it’s a medical issue or a behavioral issue such as feline alopecia that one of my cats had and it was caused by stress. See Cat Hair Loss
Your hunch that it might be a fish allergy is entirely possible and the new diet or having to continue with an “elimination diet” should resolve the situation. In the interim you might also try an itch relief spray like the one I keep handy. This is the link to it but you probably have the equivalent at a store near you.
The topical above is one we use but you probably have a local pet store that has something very similar. I wish you and Molly luck in solving this problem and I believe you're on the right path.
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