Unknown Cat Allergy - Seeking Advice

Catstorulethemall

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Jun 25, 2022
Messages
19
Purraise
15
Unknown allergic reaction in 3.5 year-old cat. Looking for anyone who has/had a similar issue with their cat and has any advice. Below is information about the issues, treatments, and actions we've taken in consultation with our vets (general and dermatologist vets).

Early 2020 – November 2021

Issue: Beginning in early 2020 my cat would get ulcers starting around the edge of the main paw pads, which would then progress to the edges of the toe pads. Ulcers did NOT form on the surface of the pad. Sometimes the paws would become infected. He would lick his paws constantly during this time, making it worse. It would only be on one paw pad at a time. However, it varied between all four paws during each instance. It would happen every 2-3 months.

Treatment: The only thing that helped was us cleaning his paw every day and giving him steroids and antibiotics.

Diagnosis Theory: The vet diagnosed it as likely plasma cell pododermatitis. It never looked like the classic pictures of that condition so it was hard to say.

Actions Taken: Around the end of the 2021 summer we switched to sensitive skin and stomach food (from store) and newspaper cat litter. We thought it was working but then entered a new phase.

November 2021 — February 2022

Issue: At the end of November he started licking both his back hocks constantly. His back hocks had a single lesion spot with hair loss. He also started licking his whole body as if it was itchy (mainly hocks, stomach, top of front paws).

Treatment: He was given a Dex steroid shot and antibiotics, but that did not help. Later he was given Depo pills which did eventually help reduce the lesions and itchiness on the hocks, but not overall itchiness.

Diagnosis Theory: In addition to plamsa cell pododermatitis, the vet also thought he may have eosinophilic granuloma complex. His blood work showed extremely high eosinophils. Dermatologist vets thought plamsa cell pododermatitis and atopic dermatitis.

Actions Taken: We started administering cyclosporine for cats daily in January.

February 2022 – Now

Issue: My cat continues to be itchy although less so than previously. However, he started getting ulcers and inflammation on his upper lips, including one time with an infection. And he started getting the paw pad ulcer issues again. The paw pad edges get dark scabs on them. It cycles between lips and paw. Currently on the paw phase now.

Treatment: He was given antibiotics for one of the lip inflammations and it went down on its own. On another lip inflammation he was given Depo pills. We think there was another time where it went down on its own. We’ve been cleaning and treating the paws with an antibiotic/Dex topical ointment daily. It takes a very long time to heal but eventually they do. We continue giving cyclosporine daily. It’s not clear if the cyclosporine is really working.

Diagnosis Theory: Plamsa cell pododermatitis and atopic dermatitis.

Actions Taken: He’s currently on a vet-prescribed novel food diet for 12 weeks to see if food allergies play any role. It does not seem to be working as we’re on week 7 with the paw issues still occurring. We use paper litter (newspaper litter was discontinued). As noted above, we continue giving the cyclosporine and then for paw symptoms the antibiotic/Dex topical ointment.

Our Allergy Thoughts:

We do not have any idea of what he could be allergic to. The only indication we’ve had of something he reacted really itchy to was this year when I put his collar back on after taking it off in November. His intense itchiness calmed down after I took it off. That could be nylon, cotton, plastic, metal, or whatever else the collars are made of. All of those items are all over the house though since they’re so common.

House. The floor is all tile. His reactions happen when the house is clean and when it’s dirty. We have Blue Air filters in main rooms. We moved in 2022 from a very grassy and heavy tree area to a desert house with no landscaping.

There is no seasonal allergy line-up in when his symptoms appear.

He has a sibling in the house who has no itchiness or paw issues. She’s had two bottom middle lip inflammations: one in December but it went away. And one right now, that may be starting to get an ulcer on the upper lip. No infection. She’s on the same novel food diet.

His allergies have progressed from being less frequent to constant now. He can’t seem to go more than a week without another issue.

Happy Note:

Although he’s constantly undergoing these horrible incidents and doesn’t like us at times, he’s still a happy, deeply-loved kitty who gets all the toys and attention he wants.

My Plea:

Has anyone had something like this occur with their cats and have any advice? We are in such agony over him having to go through this and us with no idea of what may be causing it.

Thank you in advance.
 

Alldara

TCS Member
Alpha Cat
Joined
Apr 29, 2022
Messages
385
Purraise
489
His allergy diet, is that the completely broken down food where proteins can't be recognized? Are the other cats getting the same food? If no, is there a chance he's getting into something?

Are you cleaning the cats with anything? (Magnus's allergy wouldn't stop and then we realized our cat wipes had milk in them. He has a beef allergy)

Have you always used the paper litter or is it recent to treat the allergies?

Sounds like you're definitely have something he was allergic to that was periodic that now became consistent in his life, after the move and with the current changes.

(And I'm very sorry because I know how hard it is to diagnose cat allergies)
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #4

Catstorulethemall

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Jun 25, 2022
Messages
19
Purraise
15
Hi
What do you clean the tile with?
Good question. I use Pine-Sol. And have used that since he was a kitten. I've thought about whether it may be that, but he doesn't react differently when the floor is just mopped. It's worth a try switching though to a pet-friendly floor cleaner. If anyone has suggestions on a cat-safe hypoallergenic floor cleaner, I'm all ears!
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #5

Catstorulethemall

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Jun 25, 2022
Messages
19
Purraise
15
His allergy diet, is that the completely broken down food where proteins can't be recognized? Are the other cats getting the same food? If no, is there a chance he's getting into something?

Are you cleaning the cats with anything? (Magnus's allergy wouldn't stop and then we realized our cat wipes had milk in them. He has a beef allergy)

Have you always used the paper litter or is it recent to treat the allergies?

Sounds like you're definitely have something he was allergic to that was periodic that now became consistent in his life, after the move and with the current changes.

(And I'm very sorry because I know how hard it is to diagnose cat allergies)
Yes, his diet is a novel protein and then has hydrolyzed ingredients. The other cat is getting the same food. We're very careful about him not getting any human food as well on dishes to the best of our ability.

We do not wipe or clean the cats with anything.

We switched to a paper-based litter in summer 2021 from clay. He has a new litter brand this month, but still paper.

It is unfortunate it's constant now. A vet did say allergies can progress. I rack my brain thinking of what the differences could be.
 

LTS3

TCS Member
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Aug 29, 2014
Messages
18,737
Purraise
18,999
Location
USA
Good question. I use Pine-Sol. And have used that since he was a kitten. I've thought about whether it may be that, but he doesn't react differently when the floor is just mopped. It's worth a try switching though to a pet-friendly floor cleaner. If anyone has suggestions on a cat-safe hypoallergenic floor cleaner, I'm all ears!

Pin Sol is a toxic cleaner even if used as directed. The residue left on the floor, even if you mop with plain water afterwards, contains phenols which is toxic to cats.

Many people use a simple baking soda and vinegar solution for cleaning floors. You can steam mop afterwards to remove any tacky baking soda residue.

What do you use for litter? That could be a possible allergen to super sensitive cats. Do you use perfume, scented candles, scented cleaners, etc in in the home? What laundry detergent do you use? It sounds like something is getting in contact with the paws and irritating it.

You may want to seek out another vet opinion. A veterinary dermatologist would be helpful.
 

Furballsmom

Forum Helper and Cat Devotee
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Jan 9, 2018
Messages
31,690
Purraise
42,727
Location
Colorado USA
It's worth a try switching though to a pet-friendly floor cleaner. If anyone has suggestions on a cat-safe hypoallergenic floor cleaner,
Many people use a simple baking soda and vinegar solution for cleaning floors. You can steam mop afterwards to remove any tacky baking soda residue.
:yeah: Also, Bissell is a commercial company that makes pet safe floor cleaning products and supports pet rescue.

There's this too;

  • Eco-Me Natural Multi-Surface Floor Cleaner*
  • Aunt Fannies Vinegar Floor Cleaner*
  • Better Life Floor Cleaner*
  • Puracy Natural All Purpose Cleaner*
  • Aunt Fannies Vinegar Wash Floor Cleaner Eucalyptus*
  • Better Life Naturally Dirt-Destroying Floor Cleaner, Citrus Mint*
 

tabbytom

Happiness is being owned by a cat
Staff Member
Mentor
Joined
May 12, 2016
Messages
16,265
Purraise
27,667
Location
Lion City, Singa-purr
Good question. I use Pine-Sol. And have used that since he was a kitten. I've thought about whether it may be that, but he doesn't react differently when the floor is just mopped. It's worth a try switching though to a pet-friendly floor cleaner. If anyone has suggestions on a cat-safe hypoallergenic floor cleaner, I'm all ears!
Safest is to use a steam cleaner and it's non toxic to cats and humans. The steam cleaner can be used as a steam mop for the tiles and also used to clean fabrics , curtains, rugs (after vacuuming) beddings and many other purposes. Temperature from the steam cleaner is strong enough to kill germs and bacteria.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #10

Catstorulethemall

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Jun 25, 2022
Messages
19
Purraise
15
Pin Sol is a toxic cleaner even if used as directed. The residue left on the floor, even if you mop with plain water afterwards, contains phenols which is toxic to cats.

Many people use a simple baking soda and vinegar solution for cleaning floors. You can steam mop afterwards to remove any tacky baking soda residue.

What do you use for litter? That could be a possible allergen to super sensitive cats. Do you use perfume, scented candles, scented cleaners, etc in in the home? What laundry detergent do you use? It sounds like something is getting in contact with the paws and irritating it.

You may want to seek out another vet opinion. A veterinary dermatologist would be helpful.
Thanks for the tips. I use paper litter (oko cat). I don't use perfume or candles. My cleaners do have scents. I use Dawn with scents for countertops, so I'll try regular Dawn next. Laundry detergent varies.
 

Astragal14

TCS Member
Adult Cat
Joined
Jun 19, 2021
Messages
101
Purraise
103
Pin Sol is a toxic cleaner even if used as directed. The residue left on the floor, even if you mop with plain water afterwards, contains phenols which is toxic to cats.
...
Do you use perfume, scented candles, scented cleaners, etc in in the home? What laundry detergent do you use? It sounds like something is getting in contact with the paws and irritating it.
While these reactions could be caused by almost anything, I do wonder if this is a leading culprit, perhaps a sensitivity to terpenes.

Terpenes are often used to add fragrance (especially citrus and pine scents) to cleaning products, air fresheners, diffusers, etc. And one of the most common terpenes, limonene, is derived from orange peels so it's considered all-natural even though it can cause a lot of problems.

Limonene is not a chemical that poses a big hazard to health - in fact it is also used as a flavouring in foods. However, once sprayed into our houses, it doesn't stay as limonene for long.

Back in the laboratory, Prof Lewis analysed its reactivity, and discovered that on exposure to ozone - which is present in the air all around us - every two molecules of limonene could produce one molecule of another chemical, formaldehyde.
Is there a danger from scented products?

I recommend doing a cleaning trial and treating it like a diet trial - swap all cleaning products for either homemade versions (like baking soda and vinegar mentioned here) or fragrance free versions of non-toxic/all-natural cleaning products. Give it time to see how he does, and slowly add back various cleaners/ingredients if needed. I second Furballsmom Furballsmom recommendation of Puracy Natural All Purpose Cleaner, it works so well! And like tabbytom tabbytom I also recommend a steam cleaner. We have one and it is fantastic! I use it for everything!
 

LTS3

TCS Member
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Aug 29, 2014
Messages
18,737
Purraise
18,999
Location
USA
Maybe give fragrance-free / sensitive skin laundry detergent for awhile to rule out that possibility of being the cause of your cat's paw issues.

I assume your cats are indoor only?

Maybe far fetched but could you or someone in the house be tracking in an allergen from work or the general outdoors? Did anything change in the household (new job, etc) around the time your cat started having this paw issue?
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #13

Catstorulethemall

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Jun 25, 2022
Messages
19
Purraise
15
While these reactions could be caused by almost anything, I do wonder if this is a leading culprit, perhaps a sensitivity to terpenes.

Terpenes are often used to add fragrance (especially citrus and pine scents) to cleaning products, air fresheners, diffusers, etc. And one of the most common terpenes, limonene, is derived from orange peels so it's considered all-natural even though it can cause a lot of problems.


Is there a danger from scented products?

I recommend doing a cleaning trial and treating it like a diet trial - swap all cleaning products for either homemade versions (like baking soda and vinegar mentioned here) or fragrance free versions of non-toxic/all-natural cleaning products. Give it time to see how he does, and slowly add back various cleaners/ingredients if needed. I second Furballsmom Furballsmom recommendation of Puracy Natural All Purpose Cleaner, it works so well! And like tabbytom tabbytom I also recommend a steam cleaner. We have one and it is fantastic! I use it for everything!
Thank you. I've now purchased new cleaning products and a steam mop so it's worth a try!
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #14

Catstorulethemall

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Jun 25, 2022
Messages
19
Purraise
15
:yeah: Also, Bissell is a commercial company that makes pet safe floor cleaning products and supports pet rescue.

There's this too;

  • Eco-Me Natural Multi-Surface Floor Cleaner*
  • Aunt Fannies Vinegar Floor Cleaner*
  • Better Life Floor Cleaner*
  • Puracy Natural All Purpose Cleaner*
  • Aunt Fannies Vinegar Wash Floor Cleaner Eucalyptus*
  • Better Life Naturally Dirt-Destroying Floor Cleaner, Citrus Mint*
Thank you. Good to know about Bissell supporting pet rescues too!
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #15

Catstorulethemall

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Jun 25, 2022
Messages
19
Purraise
15
Safest is to use a steam cleaner and it's non toxic to cats and humans. The steam cleaner can be used as a steam mop for the tiles and also used to clean fabrics , curtains, rugs (after vacuuming) beddings and many other purposes. Temperature from the steam cleaner is strong enough to kill germs and bacteria.
Thank you. Steam mop purchased now!
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #17

Catstorulethemall

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Jun 25, 2022
Messages
19
Purraise
15
Maybe give fragrance-free / sensitive skin laundry detergent for awhile to rule out that possibility of being the cause of your cat's paw issues.

I assume your cats are indoor only?

Maybe far fetched but could you or someone in the house be tracking in an allergen from work or the general outdoors? Did anything change in the household (new job, etc) around the time your cat started having this paw issue?
I will try new detergent.

Yes, cats are indoor only.

I'm sure we and others could be tracking in things, although we try to remove shoes as much as possible. Yes, someone moved in so there was new furniture and items (shoes from work not accessible though) that are still here. We've gotten more things since that. I've tried to pinpoint what it could be from that because it's been top of mind but it could be a million things!
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #18

Catstorulethemall

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Jun 25, 2022
Messages
19
Purraise
15
Here are two photos of the paw issue. The main paw pad one is not as clear of a photo. The problem starts as almost like a rash on the edge of the main paw pad and then gets dark bacteria around it, ulcers, and eventually scabs. The problem then moves to the edges of the toe pads on the same paw.
cat-paw-1.jpg
cat-paw-2.jpg
 

BellaBlue82

I only get to live here because I feed the cats. ❤
Adult Cat
Joined
Mar 15, 2022
Messages
116
Purraise
285
Location
Pittsburgh PA
Poor kitty, I hope he gets some relief soon! I didn't see if you mentioned he was on any allergy medication? My GA cat Sonny had extreme atopic dermatitis from allergies; he pulled and chewed all the fur from over 3/4 of his body. We never were able to diagnose what he was allergic to, but after a trial on a few different allergy medications we finally found one that provided him some relief. Every once in a while he'd get a Depo shot, but otherwise his dermatitis cleared in 6 months.
 
Top