Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: June 27, 2023 by Crystal Uys
Welcome to our regular “Ask the Cat Doc With Dr. Lynn Bahr” segment! Once a month, Dr. Bahr answers as many of your questions as she can, and you can leave new questions for her in a comment.
Dr. Bahr graduated from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine in 1991. Unlike most veterinarians, she did not grow up knowing that she would become a veterinarian. “It was a cat who got me interested in the practice and I am forever grateful to him,” said Dr. Bahr. Over the course of her veterinary career, Dr. Bahr found that the lifestyle of cats has changed dramatically. As the lifestyle of cats has changed, so did Dr. Bahr’s client education. In addition to finding medical solutions, she also encourages owners to enrich their home environments so that their cats can live long, happy, and healthy lives.
This new understanding led Dr. Bahr to combine her passion for strengthening the human-animal bond with her veterinary background and knowledge of what animals need and want to start her own solution-based cat product company, Dezi & Roo, inspired by two cats of the same names.
For more information about Dezi & Roo and their unique and innovative cat toys, please visit their website.
Cat overgrooms her sides and belly
We moved to Israel last November with our cat. I started packing and preparing for the move last June. About 2 months later, I noticed that Nene had bald spots on one side. I assumed that the vet had shaved her there when they gave her rabid shots and withdrew blood for tests. Over the next months the area got bigger and she started doing the same on her belly. In Israel, I have brought her to the vet 5 times. She was put on prednisone for a week, given shots for parasites (the mites are gone now) and she is still licking the same areas until she’s sore. I have tried leaving window open and keeping her amused! I had her wearing a cone for 4 months, hoping it would break the habit but now that it’s off, she’s back to the same behaviour. She is about 7 years old. What next? – Rachelle Kaufman
While it is difficult to diagnose a problem without seeing the patient and without an extensive history, I can offer several reasons why a cat might excessively lick their fur. Allergies, pain, boredom, parasites, and stress are just a few of them. Cats develop allergies to many things and I would suggest you look for something within her environment that could be the cause. I once had an interesting case similar to yours, where a cat had begun licking her fur, had seen multiple vets, and tried various treatments. After a lengthy discussion we discovered that her owner had inherited her mother’s wool rug which was the root cause of the problem. Once the rug was removed, the kitty stopped excessively over grooming.
Certain food ingredients cause itchy skin and investigating her diet would be key to figuring out if she is experiencing a food allergy.
Animals lick their wounds, and pain is something I would look for too. Do you hear your kitty’s stomach growling or could she be experiencing gas pains? Has she had an abdominal ultrasound performed?
Parasites often cause itchy skin and other problems. You mentioned that you cat was given a shot and the mites are now gone but I am not sure what shot she received or what mites she had. It would be interesting to know more about that and I would recommend that problem be investigated more extensively.
Finally, stress and boredom are common problems for cats and contribute to many medical and behavioral issues. Playing with your kitty several times a day and adding enrichment into her life will help both physically and mentally. You can do this by adding vertical spaces, bringing the outdoors in, playing more, and allowing her to forage for food. Please let me know if you are able to solve this mystery or if you found a good solution. Good luck!
Home remedy for eye injury?
I have male cat about 2 years old very active goes in and out a lot i found him last year near my hous , he got himself injury under his eye. Puss come out, I cleaned it but still puss come out under his eye. What can i do to help him. I can’t go to vet for help, I do not have money to spend. Is there home remeedy i can do for him. Please let me know Thank you. – Souzan Hattar
I am sorry to hear about your cat’s injury. It really depends on the extent of the wound to know whether or not it will heal on its own. Typically, fight wounds contain bacteria and require antibiotics to resolve the infection. I don’t know if that is what is going on with your kitty or not. Is he neutered? If not, that is something you should consider doing as soon as possible. Most counties have low cost or no cost clinics that can assist you and I encourage you to do that immediately. It will help keep your beloved furry friend happier and healthier. I hope he gets better soon.
Diabetic cat with early stage kidney disease
Hi Dr. Bahr. I have a cat that is diabetic and in the early stages of CKD. Are there any up to date therapies for cats with CKD and do you see a cure anytime soon for cats that are experiencing this disease? – Vanessa
Thank you for your question. Chronic kidney disease is a common problem affecting not only people, but cats like yours, as well. While we know how to diagnose it earlier now, there currently is no cure. Until one is found, all we can do to help cats is to attempt to slow down the progression of the disease and to increase quality of life for those cats dealing with it. There is a lot of research being performed both in human and veterinary medicine and I am very hopeful a cure in on the horizon, and hopefully soon.
Current therapies are aimed at helping cats maintain adequate hydration, minimizing the buildup of toxic waste products in the bloodstream, controlling hypertension and other conditions that contribute to renal failure, maintaining adequate nutrition, and slowing the progression of the disease. Cornell Feline Health Center provides more information on the subject here https://www2.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/cornell-feline-health-center/health-information/feline-health-topics/chronic-kidney-disease
I have multiple treatments plans that are individually tailored to my CKD patients. How I treat depends on what they need to be as comfortable, happy, and as healthy as possible. Diet is one of the most important areas we work on, as well as, what therapeutics they need for controlling nausea, appetite, weight, hydration, and pain. Addressing quality of life is important to how I am best able to help my patients and their guardians and I base our treatment plans around that. Fortunately, there are many options available and we are able to keep cats comfortable and living longer with the disease.
I hope you are able to get your kitty’s diabetes into remission which will help slow the progression of her kidney disease too. Proper diet, exercise, enrichment, and adequate hydration will help both of her conditions and improve her prognosis greatly. Good luck and thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk about this important disease that affects so many cats like yours. I appreciate it.
Do you have a question for Dr. Bahr?
Leave it in a comment and she’ll answer it next month!
About the author
Ingrid King is an award-winning author, former veterinary hospital manager, and veterinary journalist who is passionate about cats.