Itchy Cat with Diarrhea

Itchy Cat with Diarrhea
Food and Airborne Allergies Likely

Pippi, my 4 year old Maine Coon cat first suffered with indolent ulcers at six months of age that has been controlled with z/d diet. Since January Pippi has formed stools for weeks and then reverts to “little cow pies”. Lately, she startles with itching and then frantically grooms her lower abdomen and the insides of her legs and arms. I know the excessive grooming and diarrhea can have an emotional component. We love this girl and want her to be comfortable.

Dr. Nichol:
Emotional component? I can only imagine the queen’s horror. Here’s Pippi, sister of the Duchess of Cambridge, courted by Britain’s most eligible bachelors, suddenly jumping and licking her arms and thighs. And then cow pies. Maybe if she changed her name to Pippa she could fly below tabloid radar.

Pippi is the picture of food reaction, recently complicated by the airborne assault of springtime allergens. While many affected cats have either itchy skin or stomach/intestinal upset, this poor girl has both. Her bout with the indolent ulcer (a concave skin erosion on a cat’s upper lip) was likely an early indicator. As with nearly all allergic pets, Pippi’s symptoms are worsening.

The meat proteins in z/d are hydrolyzed – altered so they don’t trigger an allergic reaction. But over time z/d can actually cause diarrhea. It is best used in the initial diagnosis. Pippi’s veterinarian can switch her to a prescription novel protein diet like duck, venison, or rabbit. The sister of her royal highness could become less itchy and pass more attractive stool.

The recent increase in Pippi’s itching is likely caused by pollens, house dust, or molds. Antihistamines plus fish oil may help but oral cyclosporine in the springtime could make a very big difference. Fear not; there is better living through modern chemistry.
Cat Behavior Class
Do your cats fight and bite? Is your home their bathroom? Are they de-upholstering your furniture? I’ll address any behaviors that damage your feline relationships in my seminar at the Animal Humane Adoption Center, 9132 Montgomery Blvd. NE on Monday July 15 from 6-9 PM. Cost: $40. To register go to or call 792-5131. Bring plenty of questions. I’ll give individual help.

Dr. Jeff Nichol treats behavior disorders at the Veterinary Specialty Centers in Albuquerque and Santa Fe (505-792-5131). He cares for the medical needs of pets at the Petroglyph Animal Hospital in Albuquerque (898-8874). Question? Post it on or by US Mail to 4000 Montgomery Blvd NE, Albuq, NM 87109. Unpublished questions may not be answered individually.