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silverfly's avatar

My cat has scabs all around her neck, any ideas what caused it?

Asked by silverfly (4027 points ) October 8th, 2011

Stella is an indoor cat, but she occasionally goes outside (maybe once every two weeks in our backyard). She keeps getting pretty bad bites or scabs all around her neck. She does have a dirty ear that I need to clean out – could it be ear mites? Please help before I spend a ton at the vet.

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12 Answers

syz's avatar

An adult cat is unlikely to have ear mites unless it has immune issues or is hanging out with some unsavory characters.

The location of the scabs sounds as if they are self-inflicted, as the result of a chronic itch. If she has a bad ear infection, she may be scratching. An allergy to fleas is also possible (and the most common), as well as some other environmental allergy, or a food allergy.

Your best bet is to follow up with your veterinarian or a veterinary dermatologist. Depending on the severity, treatment with a steroid and possibly an antibiotic may be required.

(Make sure that you understand the risks associated with steroid treatment – many vets are too prone to treating steroids as a completely innocuous drug, which it is not.)

Coloma's avatar

Is she spayed?
If not she could be being molested by male cats and you might have kittens on the way.

It might also be an OCD scratching thing. I had a rescue kitty with anxiety related OCG grooming issues. She was given a hormone shot to calm her down and now, 6 weeks later her scratching has all but stopped and her coat is returning to normal.

I’d have her checked out by your vet asap.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Do you have a collar of any sort on her? We’ve had cats before where the flea collar chemical rashes them.

silverfly's avatar

Hey guys, thanks for the info… My cat is spayed and she is definitely not being molested by male cats. We typically keep an eye on her when she’s outside so she doesn’t run away or kill any birds.

She does not wear a collar since she’s indoors most of the time.

She’s typically a pretty relaxed cat with the exception of her hyper bouts of excitement. I haven’t seen her scratching much either so I don’t know that she has a nervous tick.

It’s kind of a mystery. Perhaps it’s time for the vet.

spykenij's avatar

I’ve been a life long cat owner and it sounds like fleas to me.

lillycoyote's avatar

I’m going to agree with @spykenij. My cat started getting lots of little scabs all around his neck and on his butt and it turned out that he had a flea allergy. Treating him for fleas and giving him a corticosteroid medication took care of it. At first the vet gave me Vetalog tablets and they worked, but had to be given every day and pilling a cat isn’t all that much fun so the vet gave Casper a couple of corticosteroid injections and that worked longer term. Eventually the problem just went away and no further treatment was needed.

tedibear's avatar

Do you regularly clip her claws or are they long and sharp? We have a cat who will not let us clip his claws unless he’s almost asleep. He scratches (primarily around his neck and chin.) and because his claws are sharp, he gives himself what the vet said was akin to razor burn. He scratched because he has an itch, ends up irritated, the scabs start to heal and they itch, so he scratches and the whole cycle goes on. The vert gave us an antiseptic (I think that’s what it is. We just call it “the blue stuff.”) to use on the scabs. It helps them heal so that they don’t itch. When we’re faithful to using it, it works well. If her skin is dry, she may be doing what our boy does.

Buttonstc's avatar

Have you ever gone over her with a REALLY FINE-TOOTH comb? You can get one for a few bucks at any pet store.

If you put her on a white sheet or piece of paper to comb through her fur, this will tell you if there are fleas on her. Look for black specks that sort of look like coffee grounds. Even if there’s only a few, that’s the evidence of fleas.

silverfly's avatar

I took her to the vet – no fleas. They’re not sure what’s causing the scabs. We’ve cleaned her ear out and I’m going to keep her fully inside for a while and see what happens. Maybe she’s just getting bites outside.

lillycoyote's avatar

@silverfly What could it be? It doesn’t take a flea infestation to cause a lot of scabs on a cat that’s allergic, like mine was, but I would think the vet would have found at least one flea or some evidence of “flea dirt” on your cat. Did your vet have any ideas as to what might be causing the scabs if it’s not fleas?

silverfly's avatar

@lillycoyote No, they didn’t have any ideas on what was causing it. They checked for fleas. They said she might have an ear infection. I think she’s allergic to something outside so I’m going to keep her in and see if that helps.

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