How can I prevent my cats from harming themselves?

  • I have 2 cats that are very self abusive to the point of cutting themselves where they bleed besides getting them a cortisone shot what can I do to help them 

  • Hi there Sara, I'm Dr Linda, one of the vets working with Tuft and Paw.

    I'm so sorry to hear about your cats over grooming and damaging their skin.

    As cortisone works, this indicates they over groom due to itching/skin inflammation. This will generally be triggered by either allergies (to food or something in the home like dust mites) or parasites (like fleas).


    When 2 cats are affected, fleas would be my top suspicion. However, it is possible they both have allergies, especially if related.

    From home, I'd eliminate fleas as an option. They can be hard to see the cat grooms them off quickly, and eats them.

    We should use a prescription product, as many over the counter flea products are ineffective.

    Once both cats are treated, we need to move on to the environment. This has to be done on the same day. While 5% of a flea burden live on the pet, the remaining 95% are in the bedding,sofas etc. We need to hot wash bedding over 60'c, hoover thoroughly and use a flea spray such as Indorex or RIP Fleas to eliminate the issue. These sprays contain an Insect Growth Regulator, so work well. Sometimes this needs to be repeated a few weeks later in case any eggs/larvae have escaped the initial cleaning.

    Should signs persist, I'd consider allergies. They may benefit from a hydrolysed diet and I'd also consider using e.g. hypoallergenic bedding and keeping them off carpets and fabric sofas, to see if this helps.

    When their skin is flared, medicine like steroids are really important to break the itch scratch cycle and prevent skin infections. So we should use them when the cats are very itchy.

  • @Linda Simon very informative... thank you..

Please login to reply this topic!