Hi! I'm new here. Er. I'll put that aside for now. I'm the owner of two 'mutt' cats, as I like to call them. Both were given to us from family/friends as kittens, and in both situations, one or both parents were semi to fully feral. I have a short-haired calico and a long-haired tortoiseshell, and they'll both be eleven this year. ( Tortie is a little younger than calico. ) These are them: This is Callisto: The tortie! ( Taken this morning. She's easy to get pictures of, she's very social. ) And Artemis: The calico! ( Taken April 20th. She's hard to get pictures of, she's very skittish! ) I suppose I'll get straight to the point of why I've registered and am posting here. Over the eleven years I've had my two cats, they've on and off had interesting recurring 'ailments'(? Are they even real concerns) that I've worried about and that I've brought to the attention of my mother whom I live with. Unfortunately I've had fruitless searches online for the most part, and we can't afford veterinary care, so I do my absolute best with what knowledge I know of basic medicine to tend to my furry little children. Every since both were kittens, my tortie ( Callisto ) has had on and off dry/peeling nipples. They're actual nipples, not odd little bits of dead skin with larvae beneath or anything ( I've read a few topics on here and on other cat sites discussing botflies. ) She's never been in heat and has never been pregnant. Her skin is a very pale gray, as are her nipples, and they develop dead skin/flakiness/dryness/peeling, and sometimes small sores, as well as black specks. None of this seems to bother her too much, though of course she gets squirmy when I'm holding her, she'd much rather be moving about freely. She's also, on and off, all throughout her life, had issues relating to her skin. She rarely doesn't have a sore of some kind, and they usually appear around her shoulder blades, along her spine, and at the base of the tail, and no where else. When she was a kitten, at one point it had gotten so bad she had lost a very, very large amount of hair ( and looked naked with patchy hair on her underside, for she was covered entirely in sores at that time ). She got over it eventually and is, for the most part, very robust and healthy as of today. When we first got her however, she was very badly infected with a flea infestation ( her first bath was terrifying, her face was swarming and barely recognizable, coated in writhing black fleas. ) as well as a minor worm infestation. She was cured of both. She was the runt of the litter ( born with breathing difficulties, nearly died at birth, was much smaller than the other kittens ) but she's grown up to be a surprisingly big girl, height and weight wise. Just recently we got a new flea medication ( an expensive one from the vet, we can barely afford it but we want the best for our babies so it's a worthwhile investment, and much cheaper than actual appointments and operations ) and BOTH cats developed balding/thinning of the hair in the areas the medication had been applied. This had never happened before. I'll post pictures at the bottom of the thread. She's also recently developed thinning/hair loss on the underside of her jawline on either side. I guess, for her, I'm asking: What do you suppose caused these horrible sores? ( They'd occurred long AFTER the flea issue ) And why are her nipples always so dry/flaky? And why did she lose hair after a flea treatment, and why has she lost more long after? As for my calico ( Artemis ), she's always been pretty healthy, despite being very skittish and grumpy. When she was a kitten, however, at one point, she developed an odd sort of sore on the very tip of her tail. It went bald, dried, developed a deep red 'cap', and would come off, bleeding and red again. It looked ALMOST as if it had been degloved, yet she never went outside and the only other pet we had at the time was an adult female rabbit, who was not allowed alone unsupervised with the kitten. She's always had oddly dirty nails, ( the bit of nail closest to the base, often hidden in the sheath ) usually coated with an oily, kind of cheesy-smelling grayish brown substance. For a while, several years ago, the nail of her index finger(?) developed an odd sort of infection, where one side of the nail would become coated in a hard black-brown substance, and underneath, a pale greenish yellow film. The flesh underneath the sheath was very raw, moist looking, and often had small amounts of discharge. It went away, but she's had very, very mild cases of it on and off over the years. She also gets black chunks in little 'holes' in her chin, and when I remove them, they're almost like a plug. Inside the 'hole' is a glistening though not moist bald spot, a little deeper a pink than the rest of her skin. She also gets tiny chunks or 'seeds' of white and clear rock-like substances that build up along the edge of her lips and in the pores of her whiskers, and if I massage her lips, it comes out. Massaging her lips doesn't bother her, but she fusses when I try to get at her chin. Artemis also has an odd nipple that I believe is inverted/inside-out/etc. If squeezed and worked at, an oily almost clay-like substance comes out in very small amounts, maybe about the size of a small bug ( though certainly not a bug ! ). It doesn't bother her. My questions for her are: What do you suppose happened to her tail all those years ago? What do you suppose caused her nail to be infected, and what was the infection? Does she have acne? What is the white stuff coming out of the pores around her mouth, as well as the black bits in her chin? And lastly, what causes inside-out nipples? Is that common? Should I be concerned about the buildup inside? Photographs: ( Teeth ) ( Bald spot, inside-out nipple ) Peeling/flaky nipple after 'flakes/dead skin' was removed. Despite the apparent redness, there was little struggle in the removal process. Balding/thinning of hair beneath jawline. P.S Both of my cats have sensitive elbows ( they don't like having them touched ) but my Calico seems to experience pain upon the slightest bit of contact. She's bitten me while I've tickled/pet her and touched her elbows, and she's tried to bite me when I've experimentally blown gently onto her elbows. I've rubbed them, nuzzled them, etc etc, it all results in loud griping, demented sounds, and being bitten. Do you think she has arthritis? Also, out of both of my cats, my Calico has very nice 'front teeth' but very discolored, very bad looking 'back teeth'. The gums are raw and swollen, there seems to be build-up, and they're a very nasty color. The concerning part is none of this 'buildup' can be removed by hand, either by trying to scratch it off with my nails, a toothpick, etc, or by wiping it off with a small bit of toilet tissue. I've brushed her teeth in the past, and it hasn't seemed to help in preventing her teeth from what I can only assume is decaying. She's very tender in her back teeth and verbalizes when I try to check there. ( It was a pain getting the photograph. ) My Tortie doesn't complain as much when I check her teeth, and although a bit yellow in the back, they don't appear infected/raw/etc.