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We think our cat has a food allergy… but could it be something else?

fufu
December 6th, 2004, 11:46 PM
We have a cat that’s probably about 6 years old (we’re not all that sure of his age as he was a stray on our doorstep… interesting story actually; not only was he almost dead from starvation, but he had huge cuts all over him and a broken leg.… some sort of accident we figured… needless to say, we don’t know how old he is).

Right from the get go he started vomiting. Our vet at the time (in another city) told us he had an enlarged bowel and he needed an enema. Well about 6 enemas later we kind of figured out (from searching on the internet) that he probably had a food allergy. Poor guy had all these enemas… you think you’re cat doesn’t like vets… all he’s ever got there was shaven from head to toe – so we could dress his wounds, have his balls cut off, get needles stuck into him, and have a bunch of liquids injected into his butt… many times.

Anyhow, we got him on a hyperalogenic diet. He hated the food, and because our other two cats were still eating regular cat food, he’d get into the wrong food all the time. Finally we got them all onto a diet they like, and doesn’t cause him to barf (natural choice adult – it’s a chicken and rice food I guess). He still barfs as soon as he gets a hold of any other food. He likes to climb up on the counter every once and a while and lick at dirty dishes and things. Each time he does this he makes these horrible sounding cat pain kind of noises and barfs. He’ll also barf if he’s really stressed out… like if we move.

Anyhow, over the past year or so, we’ve been noticing that his hair around his back legs and butt is starting thin out a bit. And he’s looking a bit thin in the butt. Not as plump as you might like your cats ass to be.

Could this be tied to his throwing up problems? Anyone ever experienced anything like this?

Thanks for your help.

Lucky Rescue
December 7th, 2004, 10:30 AM
Gee, I have no idea what is making your cat vomit, but if you found a food he does fine on, then just try and make sure he doesnt' get into anything else, like stuff left on the counter.

Some cats who were stray have a habit of gobbling their food as fast as possible, and this can cause vomiting. Try giving him several small meals a day, or spreading his food out in a roasting pan so he can eat only one piece at a time.

The thinning of his hair on back legs and butt sounds like he is doing it himself. Over grooming is very common in cats who are thin-skinned and easily stressed.

Since your vet can't find any reason for his behavior, I can only suggest you try giving him "Rescue Remedy" - a natural calming substance found in health food stores. It's tasteless so you can add it to his food, and it's impossible to overdose him.

This should ease whatever stress he feels, and hopefully stop him licking his fur out.

Let us know how he does,and thank you for taking this guy in! :thumbs up

elfelda
December 7th, 2004, 10:35 AM
I wouldn't be surprising for him to lose weight if he's vomitting a lot. If you can't keep him away from other sources of food, you might need to restrict him to a room or basement when you aren't there to supervize. If it is just a food allergy, he may be developing a skin reaction that's resulting in hair loss (animals will often respond to ingested allergens by getting a rash).

Is there any redness or irritation on his butt? Is he grooming it more than usual? Some of the vomitting might also be due to hairballs if he is an obsessive groomer. Cats that are high-stress or neurotic will sometimes over-groom to calm themselves, and this can cause hair loss and hairballs. There are herbal and over-the-counter calming treatments and sprays for cats, your vet also might be able to provide you with kitty Prozac if you think this could be the problem. A product like Tonic Lax might help with the vomitting (if it's hairballs).

Has he been dewormed lately? Worms can cause vomitting and also make his butt uncomfortable, causing over-grooming. In the long term they also can cause weight loss and hair loss due to malnutrition. This could be treated pretty easily, possibly even without a vet visit.

I hope one of these sounds possible...

fufu
December 7th, 2004, 02:48 PM
Hmm... where to start.

I don't think he's stressed out. Well he doesn't act that way anyhow. He seems very relaxed. Probably the most relaxed cat I've ever encountered as a matter of fact. You can pretty much do what ever you want with him. Rub his belly, examine his toes and claws, bounce him up and down on your knee; he loves the attention. Very care free cat.

He really doesn't groom himself all that much. I don't think he does anyhow. Maybe when we're not there. Not sure.

No rash.

He doesn't eat his food fast. They have one large bowl of food that they all share from. He kind of just picks away at it from time to time... but that's about it.

He also DOES NOT barf that much any more. Only when he gets some other type of food in him (people food). Maybe once every couple of months... if that.

We kind of thought that his food allergy/barfing problems where fixed when we got him on this diet that doesn't make him barf. But now his hair on his back side is a bit thin... so we're wondering if it's the allergy thing still. He's been on the good diet now for probably 5 years. And it's not like he's all of a sudden started to loose hair and get thing. It's been gradual.

Maybe it's time to take him to the vet again. See what they have to say.
I just thought I'd check in with someone on the net first... see if it's a common problem or not... do some research.

Thanks for your help.

Lucky Rescue
December 7th, 2004, 03:02 PM
A blood test may be a good idea. This kind of hair loss can also be caused by thyroid problems.