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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 10869
Experience:  I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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our feline cat,12yrs,is scratching her ears and has a small

Customer Question

our feline cat,12yrs,is scratching her ears and has a small area around the ears nand eyes where the fur has gone.She is terrified when taken to the vets and becomes quite ill.Any ideas?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 4 years ago.

Hello, I'm Dr. Deb.
I recently came online and see that your question about Josie hasn't been answered. I'm sorry that you've had to wait for a response but if you still need assistance, I'd like to help if I can.

When presented with a case like this, I'd want to rule out a food allergy first. I know it doesn't sound logical or even intuitive that a cat with food allergies would scratch or itch their ears, face and possibly neck, but it's a commonly seen problem.
The allergies are usually to one of the ingredients in the current food that has been fed...usually to one which a cat has eaten for a period of time.

Changing to a more hypoallergenic diet may be helpful in these cases. Options include as grain-free, or Z/D (although you'd have to purchase this food from your vet) or Natural BaXXXXX XXXXXmited Ingredients, Nature's Variety Instincts line, Evo Duck or Venison, or Nature's Variety Frozen Raw Medallions (I recommend that they be zapped in the microwave for 10-15 seconds on each side).


2. Some cats with inhalant allergies will be itchy but this condition usually involves other parts of the body. And, it would be somewhat uncommon for a cat her age unless you've moved, or there's construction underway or something new in your house to which she might be responding.


Antihistamines can help in some cases.

Benadryl at a dose of 1/2 of a 25 mg tablet given twice daily or

Chlorpheniramine at a dose of 2-4 mg/cat or

Claritin at a dose of 2.5-5 mg/cat or

Zyrtec 5 mg/cat once or twice a day

It is important to ensure that the formulations used contain ONLY the antihistamine and are not combination products (e.g. Claritin-D contains pseudoephedrine, which could cause very significant adverse effects in a cat).


Sedation is a common side effect with these kinds of drugs.



3. Ringworm (LINK) which is a fungal infection can cause hairloss but typically these cats aren't terribly itchy. The hair just falls out.


4. Notoedric mange can be very itchy for cats. This condition can start on the ears and involve the rest of the head. This would be more likely if she goes outside but much less likely if she's an indoor cat. (LINK)


I hope this helps and gives you some possible explanations for her problem.


Again, my apologies for the delayed response. Deb