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cat allergy possible, puzzled

July 31st, 2010, 05:03 PM
i have a 4 year old tiger cat, female and spade, with no health issues in her whole life. recent;y, i got scared by all the talk of bad processed animal foods and switched the cats diet to different organic, peta approved foods till i found one they both liked (2 cats in house). at the same time, the house acquired a breeder raised dog. soon after, this 4 yr old cat started to exhibit some problems. first, what looks like ear mites in her ears, very dirty. i had dealt with these before with many different animnals over the years and treated it accordingly. all the animals have been on revolution, and none of the others has shown these mite symptoms. also, i have been cleaning her ears regularly, but it does not seem to be lessoning. the hair on her ears disappeared, but since treatment, has been growing back. also, she has not been scratching at the ears as much, and never does the furious head shake. second, a growing bald spot has appeared on her abdomen, and is starting to climb up to her chest. no scars or scabs, but we have seen her scratching and licking both abdomen and ears over this time. third, just found some crusty formations on the top tips of her bottom foot pads. looked at pictures of cutaneous horns, and this is not it. they are same color as pads, no bleeding or pus, just crusty, extra bits at the tips. this is a complete, 100% indoor cat, as are other cat and mostly the dog, who is a toy breed and rarely outside. also, all animals have been treated by topicals, and all have been routinely checked thru the years for mites, worms, etc.
so this particular cat has no worms, the mites i thought i saw may be dirt as she has been hiding continuously under a dusty bed and closet since the puppy arrived. no mange. no fleas, ticks or any other parasites have been noticed on fur, or feces. feces and urine is same as always, no loss or increase of appetite, no change in behavior, no fever or erratic behaviors, no lethargy. cat is naturally skiddish, but is affectionate and cuddly with people. gums are normal color. breath smells regular. cat gets regular nail trims, teeth brushed and all around spoiled.
i feed cats natural balance dry and wet foods.
i am thinking that the symptoms may be from either 1)a food allergy, or 2) a psychosomatic disorder, where her nervousness from the dog is causing her to scratch and lick compulsively, but that would not explain the foot crusts or possible earmites. since she was scratching terribly at her ears at first, the junk i have been cleaning out may be self inflicted. i admit, i do need to go get it tested, but i was so sure that it was mites, i just treated it accordingly, though i have not uses topical mite treatment, just cleaning solution (epi-otic) and the revolution continuously, and again on all animals in the house, who have never shown symptoms of the mites.
so, i have switched to a limited food diet type of the natural balance slowly to see if it is a food allergy.
my question is basically, have i missed something? trying to hit the obvious, fixable bases before i start to get her tested for things. oh, and she already tested negative for leukemia and fiv. thanks for your time, very much appreciate any input.

July 31st, 2010, 06:08 PM
Well, you recently changed your cats' diet and got a new puppy. In all circumstances it is best to be vet checked when anything different happens. Especially with cats as they are masters at disguising illness.
Natural Balance is a good holistic food. Peta approved? Didn't know that but seeing as I disapprove of most things Peta that's not surprising. :rolleyes: Thanks for that piece of info.
So, based on the info you have given, I see one of three things. One being kitty is allergic to something in the food. NB does have a limited ingredient food for cats with allergies in its dry and wet foods. I would urge you if possible to drop the dry food all together as it does no good and can cause multiple health issues.
A great site to read to explain why cats should never eat dry food is
Two being the cat is stressed from the new puppy arriving. How were introductions done? Were they separated for a while or just put in the same room and "expected" to get along? That rarely works. Especially with a cat who is naturally skittish as you stated. The obsessive licking of fur until she is bald could be due to her stress. Here is a site to explain how to do a proper introduction.
It is possible to start over and do it the way it should be done if it has been done wrong to start with. If the cat is still obsessive about licking it would be an excellent idea to take her to the vet for a thourough check up.
Third thing could be that the cat is not well. There is something else bothering her. Her general unwellness (so not a word) in the last while would indicate something serious going on internally. The best course of action would be to take her to your vet for a complete check up including blood work, urine and feces checks.
Sorry this is so long. Hope it gave you some ideas. My feel is the vet check is the best way to go. Better safe than sorry.

July 31st, 2010, 06:23 PM
thank you for the reply. i do mix up the dry and wet foods, and have been doing more wet food because i have heard of the issues involved in dry food only diets. i will check out that site. and now, the cat and dog play together, and at times, both cats and dog sleep together, so i have seen a significant amount of her stress lessoning. i will also look at that site too. thanks a lot!!

July 31st, 2010, 07:07 PM
14+ has given you great ideas. As she suggested, I would ditch the dry food all together. After the vet visit and if you still feel it is a food allergy, I would try a different brand, perhaps Wellness or Nature's Variety. Both are great foods. You never know if it is just one small ingredient in a food that is affecting your kitty.

Good luck and keep us updated. :goodvibes:

August 1st, 2010, 10:10 AM
Don't ignore the possability of a flea allergy. I just say this because your cat's symptoms are identical to those my Molly had last winter.

Molly had always been very sensative to flea bites. I had used Frontline for years without a problem. At first I could find no indication of fleas. Over the course of several months she just kept getting worse, to the point where her ears where filthy and she had licked her ears, area around her ears, her belly, and rear end, bald.

What had happend was that the Frontline had stopped working. I'm guessing that I had somehow gotten some Frontline resistant fleas. Eventually the flea population increased to the point that I figured out that it was, in fact fleas. I switched products (to Advantage in my case) and Molly stopped licking and a week later she was growing hair back in the bald spots.

Brush your cat regularly and check the comb/hair for signs of fleas, either a flea itself or flea dirt. Flea dirt looks like dandruff. Try a different Topical for a Month to see if there is any difference.

With a dog in the house there is just no way to 100% avoid an occasional flea. I have 2 dogs and although they consider themselfs to be house dogs ( they are old and lazy :)) they do go outside to do their business.

August 1st, 2010, 10:35 AM
Good thought Hazmat. But I would disagree that flea dirt looks like dandruff. It is more like little specks of dirt. Thus flea dirt. Here's a pic and a site for another pic. RzAskNAuBPLIcH_4Ek&t=1&usg=__3ZXOgdHXjmN5iDs1U8VLh8dD16o=

Dr Lee
August 1st, 2010, 12:24 PM
True. dandruff will be white and flaky. One type of surface mite called cheyletiella does look like dandruff though. ;)

Flea dirt will be brown/red. One test is to run a moist paper towel over the dirt. If it is flea dirt, you will see the rust color that is consistent with dried blood. Flea dirt is flea poop :yuck: and as such, is digested blood. Thus it will have that rust blood color. Dirt will just look like wet dirt. :laughing:

Dr Lee
August 1st, 2010, 12:28 PM
Also fleas like the top of the hips / base of tail (good view? :shrug: balcony seat? :laughing: )

So when you find the majority of dirt, inflammation, redness, etc. in that area, then fleas should be top of the list. Other conditions (food allergies, environmental allergies, ringworm, mites, etc) will usually have a different pattern of distribution.

August 3rd, 2010, 03:54 PM
thank you everyone for your replies. to be honest, i had ruled fleas out entirely due to the fact that i've had them on prevention and i haven't seen any, but i do see that brown rust colored stuff on a tissue when i wipe clean her tummy where the bald spot is. i'll check it out tonight. thanks for all the input!!

August 3rd, 2010, 09:01 PM
well,i checked her over, and found no evidence of fleas. i looked at the pictures of the dark spots on skin and they don't look like her tummy does. i also looked up symptoms for cheyletiella just in case, and that doesn't seem to fit either. i did however read that sometimes ear mites migrate to other areas of the body... wondering if this is what happened. i'm going to take a sample of her ear goo in to the vet on friday and see what they say. thanks for all the help!

August 7th, 2010, 08:54 PM
well, the vet said she has no earmites, so yay for that! she's been eating the new limited food diet food that i have switched her on, so we will see if that helps. otherwise, does anyone know of a good moisturizing cream for her pads? they are the same, not getting any worse, but still kind of crusty. looked online at other pics and doesn't seem to match anything. just seem too dry. i saw a few products online, but have never used such things before on cats so would appreciate a reommendation of something i am absolutely sure that she will lick off. thanks!!!

August 8th, 2010, 06:58 AM
The gunk in the ears sounds like allergies to me. This can be a sign of allergies forsure. And if you only started noticing it when the cat started a new food then it is most likely related to the food. I agree with the others - get your kitties off of dry food and onto a simple line of canned grain free cat food (try for a novel protein - one your kitty has never tried before) - EVO 95% meat canned food line has some novel proteins and is a very simple line of cat food.

Good luck with your kitty!

August 8th, 2010, 01:41 PM
thanks for the reply, glad to hear the ears might be associated with the allergies.
i saw a product online for her pads, though it says for dogs, it is nutri-vet healing cream. anyone know if this would be good for cats? thanks!

August 8th, 2010, 01:49 PM
Anything geared towoard a dog should not be used on a cat....this goes for food as well.

Hopefully someone will chime in soon with a suggestion for your cats pads. Have you looked in the archived threads on this forum for any help with this? Is she licking her pads raw?

August 8th, 2010, 02:14 PM
thanks, i was very hesitant because it did not say for cats. no, i don't ever see her really licking her pads more than general cleaning. its just another symptom that has shown up. the pads on her back feet, at the top tips, have become crusty and dry. no blood or pus or change of color or pain is evident, i'm just super pro-active and like to fix things asap before they get worse. i was thinking that since i've never seen this on her before, it is probably tied into all the other allergy issues she is exhibiting. i have not changed the type of litter, i use non perfume and non dye litter, low dust, and i add baking soda to cut down on the smell. it works very well, and neither cats have ever had an issues with it before.
i've heard of bag balm, but it seems like it would take awhile to absorb, and to be honest, i think a cream would absorb quicker, enough time for me to hold her down before she takes off and hides and licks it all off.

February 10th, 2011, 03:59 PM
I have heard that dry paw pads can indicate a lack of Omega 3s in her diet. You might add a water-packed sardine once or twice a week.