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susanc's avatar

My cat has odd little scabs in various places on his back. What are they and what should i do?

Asked by susanc (16104points) January 24th, 2014

It’s not fleas. There’s no flea dirt when I comb his fur. Also, the scabs are around his neck and up and down his back. He isn’t itchy. YES I will take him to the vet if I have to, of course. Just wondering.

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16 Answers

shrubbery's avatar

He might have just gotten in a cat fight a while ago, the scabs could be from the other cat’s claws.

Emmy1234's avatar

My cat sometimes gets scabs on his neck and has problems with losing fur. Vet always says its allergies and gives him a shot and it clears up. We have been experimenting with trying to find the right foods to keep him from losing fur but no luck yet.

susanc's avatar

Thank you @Emmy1234, I bet you’re right. My guy isn’t losing fur but it’s irritated skin from something or other. It doesn’t seem to bother him though. Yours?

susanc's avatar

And thanks @shrubbery. I’m sure it’s not fight wounds – too widespread and not hurty.

shrubbery's avatar

@susanc fair enough, that’s just what scabs on my cats are usually from!

livelaughlove21's avatar

My cat gets these scabs on the back of her neck as well. We took her to the vet for it and he said Chloe has an allergy to fleas. I couldn’t find a single trace of a flea on this cat (she never goes outside and we had no other animals at the time), even when I dug through her white fur. She never scratched or acted as if the scabs bothered her. Even a couple of fleas can cause this reaction. Sure enough, applying flea treatment made the scabs go away. If he’s an indoor cat and it isn’t likely he got into a fight, that could be it.

hearkat's avatar

My cat had rough dry skin – not scabs, but they felt similar – so I started squeezing a fish oil capsule onto her food once a day (after researching on the web), and it seemed to help. However, in our case she did also have fleas, despite using the Frontline – the Vet gave us some new flea stuff last month, and said that fleas do develop resistance to the drugs. Now she seems much better.

Emmy1234's avatar

@susanc the scabs on his neck do not seem to bother him but when his fur falls out on his sides and hind legs it drives him nuts! It must absolutely itch him to death. He licks himself and nibbles constantly (that always gives us an indication its vet time)

syz's avatar

He’s allergic. Cats and dogs express allergies through their skin rather than through sneezing and runny noses.

Most folks will tell you that it’s a food allergy, but that’s actually quite rare. By far, the most common allergy is to flea bites. Remember that a flea only spends 5–10% of its life on the pet, so if you have a very low load, it can be hard to know that they are there. (a single bite can cause a cascade that makes an animal itch for several weeks). Other items can be molds, mites, grasses, etc. The only way to know for sure is through testing by a veterinary dermatologist. The most common treatment for allergies are steroid injections, but use with care – they have significant health risks for long term use.

If he typically also has a bare belly and thighs and he doesn’t get better on steroids, he may instead have psychogenic allopecia, which is a fancy way of saying that he’s a nervous cat that overgrooms. This can be treated by drugs that affect behavior.

KaY_Jelly's avatar

Funny I was just talking about something like this today that happened to my cat about 5 or 6 years ago.

It was only at the base of my cats tale and she licked all the fur away. She went straight to the vet.

The vet found “scabs” and immediately said it was fleas and so home we went with flea stuff.

Seems strange because I never found any fleas. Plus I do have 2 dogs but they were treated for fleas at the time.

But at the time the dogs were at a different vet which had them on the pill version of the flea stuff which I wasn’t told was not good and only killed the fleas and not the eggs or is it the other way idk.

Anyway the cat came home with flea stuff even though I never found any on her. And she still licked her back end so that was fun.

Eventually I bought some spray that elviated itching and hot spots and she started leaving the area alone.

Another thing I realized was that she started pooping outside the box.

Unfortunately, things got really stressful my dad got cancer and then my husband passed away…I almost lost my dog and she spent 3 weeks in doggie ICU, I did lose my guinea pig and my poor cat got sort of put to the side because she wasn’t the most sick, I only had so much $$.

Now that everything has settled down I realize, it wasn’t fleas at all anyway and the flea stuff, imho, was a waste of $$. It never helped the problem. And as I said the dogs were treated for fleas and I never saw fleas before my life got stressed out. Plus my cat is an indoor cat.

My cat has issues going to the bathroom still to this day. I have since found a wet food that she doesn’t yak up after eating. She is a Siamese and yakking her food up has always been an issue lol so that was not a symptom.

And she still has some issues going #2 but she has been to another vet (a new one) and she was given a laxative and she only is supposed to use it when she is crying in pain, which she did and that is why I took her straight to the vet and why she has the laxative now cuz she freaked me out.

She still poops outside the box, she’s 18 and her poop basically looks like rabbit turds but she is not screaming in pain so I’m not supposed to use the laxative. :/

But in general she looks much healthier and more happy.

I just want to post this

After reading that it’s easy to see why the first vet would think fleas.

There is more than just one sign to look for if your cat is in pain. If I had of known this then I might of made a better judgment, my cat exhibited more than 3 on the list and no fleas.

Is your cat in pain?

I hope it works out for you and your cat. :)

Buttonstc's avatar


If your cats poops are like rabbit pellets then she’s obviously constipated.

There is a very simple natural remedy which does no harm that you can try (if she will go for it; you can try having her lick it from your finger or mix it with a little chicken broth).

Its pumpkin purée. NOT the pumpkin stuff for pie filling, since that has a ton of spices in it. But try the plain Pumpkin purée that comes in cans. It’s not as harsh or powerful as laxatives typically are and works really well for constipated pets and its gentle due to the fiber content.

Hope that helps.

KaY_Jelly's avatar

@Buttonstc either fortunately or unfortunately I do know that she is constipated. I have a laxative from the vet which I’m only supposed to used when she is in pain.

My cat is a Siamese. She won’t eat pumpkin. I realize she needs more fiber I will have to see if there is another additive that I can find that will help her, the vets around here are obviously not that helpful. :/

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Buttonstc's avatar

Yeah, cats are so notoriously finicky and pumpkin definitely doesn’t taste like meat :)

The only other thing which comes to mind is Psyllium powder or husks. It’s a great source of fiber and pretty cheap, even at health food stores.

You can likely mix it thoroughly into some canned food and she wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. As little as ¼ to ½ tsp. to begin with should help.

If she accepts that, you can slowly increase the amt until no longer constipated. Also try to mix in some water with the canned food since that helps the effectiveness of the Psyllium. I can’t imagine any Vet having a problem with that since its all natural and certainly not as harsh as prescription laxatives, but check with your Vet if you feel hesitant about it.

KaY_Jelly's avatar

@Buttonstc Thanks for that. I will check that out.

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