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Dr L Simmon
Dr L Simmon, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 6045
Experience:  Veterinarian MVB MRCVS
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Constantly grooming and scratching - no parasites or fleas.

Customer Question

Constantly grooming and scratching - no parasites or fleas. He is quite a nervious, jumpy and highly strung animal, but nothing has happened to cause undue stress recently, except I was away for two weeks recently and he is very attached. Eats well, a wide range of wet and dry foods - a bit fussy and likes variety. I brushed him today, which he loves, and noticed that the fur on his lower back is markedly thinner than it used to be. He is about 11 years old.
JA: I'll do all I can to help. Has the cat been drinking more or less water than usual?
Customer: As far as I know, he never drinks water inside and I have stopped putting it out for him (he has a very dominant brother in the house too and neither of them drink the water I give them). I tried a water fountain for a while, but that was immediately rejected.
JA: Any changes in the cat's appetite?
Customer: No, he is eating well.
JA: What's the cat's name?
Customer: Sorrell!
JA: Is there anything else the Vet should know about Sorrell?
Customer: He has always been a highly strung cat, very people shy when he arrived with his very sociable brother as a kitten. It took us ages to get him out of the corner and I have only ever managed to get him to the vet - for his vaccinations and neutering (so probably twice).
Submitted: 10 days ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr L Simmon replied 10 days ago.
Hello, you are through to Dr Linda, a UK based vet.I'm sorry to hear Sorrell has this issue and appreciate you must be concerned.Has he ever had this issue before?Does the skin on his rump appear broken or scabby?(Please ignore any phone call requests as the website sends these automatically and I cannot make calls).
Customer: replied 10 days ago.
No, first time and no rawness
Expert:  Dr L Simmon replied 10 days ago.
Thank you.Does Sorrell go outside?Do you have any other pets?
Expert:  Dr L Simmon replied 10 days ago.

Without further information it is tricky for me to provide the best advice for Sorrell but I will certainly try.

Please reply when you can and we can continue the conversation.

I appreciate you feel fleas are not likely, but this would have to be the top consideration.

Even a vet dermatologist who has examined a cat would never rule out fleas. We may not see evidence of them, but they can be there. The reason we might not see them, is because the cat grooms them off.

However, over-grooming at the rump combined with thin fur is most often caused by fleas.

If he has not been treated with a prescription anti flea treatment in the last 30 days, this is almost certainly our diagnosis.

Less likely considerations would include arthritis of the hips/spine causing him to lick and chew out of discomfort, an anal gland impaction or a cat bite abscess in the rump region.

If due flea treatment , go ahead and use an effective spot on. Advantage is one that can be purchased without prescription. On the same day, the home and other pets must be treated.

This means:


  • Hot washing all bedding and blankets over 60'c

  • Hoovering daily, focusing on dark and warm spots such as under sofas

  • Using a flea spray containing IGR such as Indorex

If the itching continues, he may need some prescription anti itch medicine from the vet to break the itch scratch cycle.

As fleas carry tapeworm, do ensure he is up to date with his wormer.

Expert:  Dr L Simmon replied 10 days ago.

I hope this has helped and please do let me know if there is antyihng else,

Take care,

Linda.