Cat constantly scratching face.

its_zubie

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My cat has consistently been scratching her face around her mouth and in front of her ears for about two years. She is scratching so hard that she is causing herself to bleed and lose fur. I have taken her to the vet multiple times and they're convinced she has a food allergy. She has been on a special diet for the past year, and still no relief. I feel horrible that she's so itchy, but also can't afford to take her to the vet multiple times a year for an issue they can't seem to resolve.
 

FeebysOwner

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Hi. Did the vet do any testing for allergies? There is a standard list of 'common allergen' foods that they can test for to start with. The other thing to do would to have a skin scraping of the area and have it tested for not only allergens (environmental) but bacterial issues as well. If your current vet isn't attempting to do further investigations, it might be time to find a new vet who will.

In the meantime, you can take a chamomile tea bag (standard grocery store variety which is generally German - you don't want English, and no flavorings/additives) and brew it in water, cool the liquid and dab it on the area with cotton balls or a soft cloth. The tea has both soothing and healing properties. You can do this multiple times a day, and it is safe for her to lick. It won't solve the problem, but might give her some temporary relief and help with healing a bit.
 
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its_zubie

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They did not, they said the first step would be to introduce this extremely expensive prescription food (Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Selected Protein-Duck Flavor). After eating it for a few months we noticed pretty much no difference and switched to a cheaper yet still select protein diet. The vet stated that cats are usually allergic to chicken, fish, and beef, so to avoid those three things. We have also been avoiding wheat products as well just to be safe. I have also tried chamomile tea as well as other remedies- nothing really seems to help except for putting her e-collar on, but she can't live in that forever.

I may also add that my cat is highly anxious and turns into a complete nut job at the vet- scratching, biting, hissing, growling, and hiding anywhere she can.
 

FeebysOwner

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Scratching to the point of bleeding - day in and day out - cannot be any better than turning into a complete nut job at the vets. Worse case scenario, ask the vet for a small sedative to be administered before the vet visit, which should help relax her a bit. Over time, just as a back up for later, you can try different calming products to see if any of them might help with her anxiety. Not all work on all cats, so there would be some experimenting to do.

I think the vet - new, or your current one - needs to take the next step in trying to determine what is causing this. A year long test with new foods is pretty much a confirmation that eliminating those items is not the issue. Maybe you should consider going to a vet that specializes in allergies/dermatology. Your poor girl has got to be miserable! :alright:
 
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its_zubie

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She's already on a daily dose of CBD to help with anxiety and has previously been prescribed sedatives and anxiety medication by the vet which had no affect on her, except make the behaviors worse. The only choice I have is to pay an extra $100+ every vet visit to have her completely sedated.

But you're right, I don't think the allergy is food related and haven't from the beginning.
 

FeebysOwner

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Maybe some of the anxiety is related to the scratching issue and when that can get resolved, some of her behavior will subside. :crossfingers:
Go for a specialist and see if they have some better ideas on what to test for - environmental is the next thing (dust, etc.). You can get a copy of all of her records to share with a new vet, which should help to reduce redundant costs/testing.

I still think a skin scraping would be beneficial.
 
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its_zubie

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I always believed the scratching was anxiety related as I used to live in an apartment with two roommates who she didn't like. We moved in July and now it's just my boyfriend (who she loves) and I and the anxiety has gone down so much just because of that. Now the only time she shows aggression from anxiety is when I have to take her to my parents and when we have visitors (which are both very rare). I have contacted a cat specific vet that has wonderful ratings, so when I hear back from them I will try to make a decision on our next steps. I already have copies of all of her medical records.
 

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Are you feeding dry or canned? Dry foods seems to have more ingredients that cats can be sensitive to. Prescription food isn't necessary at all. What brands of novel protein limited ingredient diets have you tried? Would you be open to trying a raw (commercially available brand or make from scratch) or home cooked diet temporarily to see if that helps?

cheeser cheeser 's cat has allergies / sensitivities to multiple common ingredients found in cat food. It's a process to determine what is causing the symptoms but at least then you know what to avoid feeding.

There's other info here on skin conditions:

 
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its_zubie

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Are you feeding dry or canned? Dry foods seems to have more ingredients that cats can be sensitive to. Prescription food isn't necessary at all. What brands of novel protein limited ingredient diets have you tried? Would you be open to trying a raw (commercially available brand or make from scratch) or home cooked diet temporarily to see if that helps?

cheeser cheeser 's cat has allergies / sensitivities to multiple common ingredients found in cat food. It's a process to determine what is causing the symptoms but at least then you know what to avoid feeding.

There's other info here on skin conditions:

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She has been eating dry food since she is very picky when it comes to wet food and of course prefers wet food that has all bad ingredients. She is currently eating Blue Buffalo Limited Ingredient Duck flavor, which seems to help a bit, but not completely. I have considered a raw diet, actually bought a small bag today to give a try, but she won’t even touch it. When it comes to making the food I’m worried about the correct ingredients not being supplied at my local grocery store and having to buy the equipment to make everything. It also worries me that if we go away for a short weekend that we would have to send someone to care for her (she does not like anyone except for those living in the house).
 

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My own cat is allergic/intolerant to several different grains. The worst is gluten. And even hypoallergenic foods contain at least one grain she happens to be intolerant to. Vets usually first consider a meat allergy but the problem doesn't have to be meat and it's also certainly possible your cat is allergic/intolerant to more than one thing.

How is her stool? If there is a problem there maybe the scratching is more like overgrooming out of stress. In which case, probiotics might help for digestion and its side effect scratching.

I'm not familiar with that Blue Buffalo food so maybe that's already that but go with the simplest formulas.

I wouldn't rule out environmental allergy. Unfortunately there is no realiable allergy test for cats (most vets don't even recommend getting one done). I would suggest following the rules of most common environmental allergies and see how it goes and do some detective work like if it gets worse when she does certain things. e.g. "She scratched more when she laid on this couch" or "she scratched less after she lied on the newly-cleaned couch" in which case for example this might be a sign of dust mite allergy and/or the material of the couch
 
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its_zubie

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Her stool is completely fine, I’ve actually had it evaluated by the vet and they said her digestive system was perfectly healthy.

As for other allergies, I clean the house once a week, but I do work full time and am unable to observe what she is doing at all times. When I am home she usually follows me around the house and doesn’t do anything out of the ordinary.

I also make sure to clean her food and water bowls multiple times weekly and she eats out of metal bowls.

The only other thing I can possibly think of aside from stress is her litter. I can’t say I consistently buy the same litter and it isn’t always a low dust formula.
 

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Her stool is completely fine, I’ve actually had it evaluated by the vet and they said her digestive system was perfectly healthy.

As for other allergies, I clean the house once a week, but I do work full time and am unable to observe what she is doing at all times. When I am home she usually follows me around the house and doesn’t do anything out of the ordinary.

I also make sure to clean her food and water bowls multiple times weekly and she eats out of metal bowls.

The only other thing I can possibly think of aside from stress is her litter. I can’t say I consistently buy the same litter and it isn’t always a low dust formula.
Dust mite allergy for example is like being allergic to air almost. I have it myself and I had to change my curtains and furniture to different material, use waterproof bed covers, etc Dust mites mostly live on fabric and only dies at washing like 60 degrees and even then they come back
 

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She has been eating dry food since she is very picky when it comes to wet food and of course prefers wet food that has all bad ingredients. She is currently eating Blue Buffalo Limited Ingredient Duck flavor, which seems to help a bit, but not completely.
Maybe give a different brand a try?

Rawz is filler-free but it's pretty pricey and not sold in a lot of independent pet stores.


I have considered a raw diet, actually bought a small bag today to give a try, but she won’t even touch it. When it comes to making the food I’m worried about the correct ingredients not being supplied at my local grocery store and having to buy the equipment to make everything. It also worries me that if we go away for a short weekend that we would have to send someone to care for her (she does not like anyone except for those living in the house).
Most cats who are used to eating commerical dry and canned food won't touch raw, particularly frozen raw, because they don't recognize it as food. You'd need to do a transition process and use toppers as necessary. Freeze dried raw is usually more appealing than frozen as it's kind of like a soft kibble when dry.

Making food is super easy if you use a pre-mix :) A pre-mix contains all the vitamins and minerals. You basically just measure out the powder, add to meat, add some water, and stir to combine. EZComplete is one popular brand that can be used for both raw and cooked meat of your choice. You don't need a grinder or other equipment. A sharp knife works to cut meat into small easy to eat pieces. Or just buy a chub of meat from an independent pet store or raw pet food supplier. For a cooked diet, it's fine to use ground meat from the supermarket and cook that up with no oil or anything. Whatever meat you buy from the supermarket, make sure it hasn't been enhanced with flavorings or broths or salt or any stuff. There's a forum here on TCS with more info on raw and home cooked diets: Raw & Home-Cooked Cat Food

For days when you go away, it's ok for the pet sitter to feed canned food instead.
 
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its_zubie

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Maybe give a different brand a try?

Rawz is filler-free but it's pretty pricey and not sold in a lot of independent pet stores.




Most cats who are used to eating commerical dry and canned food won't touch raw, particularly frozen raw, because they don't recognize it as food. You'd need to do a transition process and use toppers as necessary. Freeze dried raw is usually more appealing than frozen as it's kind of like a soft kibble when dry.

Making food is super easy if you use a pre-mix :) A pre-mix contains all the vitamins and minerals. You basically just measure out the powder, add to meat, add some water, and stir to combine. EZComplete is one popular brand that can be used for both raw and cooked meat of your choice. You don't need a grinder or other equipment. A sharp knife works to cut meat into small easy to eat pieces. Or just buy a chub of meat from an independent pet store or raw pet food supplier. For a cooked diet, it's fine to use ground meat from the supermarket and cook that up with no oil or anything. Whatever meat you buy from the supermarket, make sure it hasn't been enhanced with flavorings or broths or salt or any stuff. There's a forum here on TCS with more info on raw and home cooked diets: Raw & Home-Cooked Cat Food

For days when you go away, it's ok for the pet sitter to feed canned food instead.
Rawz is sold in a few independent stores nearby, maybe I'll give that a try... But like I said, she can be very picky when it comes to wet food. I will say, she loves jumping right onto the counter and trying to get a lick of the raw chicken when I'm cooking it. And the pre-mix is good to know. I'm able to get chicken for pretty cheap, so maybe that would work. Thanks!
 

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My cats scratch much more when I feed foods with by-products. I can't believe that Royal Canin food is so expensive for the first three ingredients being peas, pea protein, and duck by-products.
 

bitkit

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I might try something higher in protein and lower in carbs, the Royal Canin has 30% protein and 43% carbs, and the Blue Buffalo has 30% protein and 38% carbs.
 
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its_zubie

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My cats scratch much more when I feed foods with by-products. I can't believe that Royal Canin food is so expensive for the first three ingredients being peas, pea protein, and duck by-products.
I completely agree! That's why I switched her to Blue Buffalo, no bi-products and WAAAY less expensive. I unfortuantely am trying to budget the best I can so anywhere I can save money, I do! Completely considering getting the EZ Complete filler and buying meat to grind up. I already know that she loves chicken and turkey (she will try to eat them off of my plate).
 
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