The strange matter of my cat's fur
December 5, 2016 9:29 PM   Subscribe

This is my cat, Daisy. She produces little clumps of matter in her fur. Her veterinarian is stumped, so I’m asking the Hive Mind for help.

Daisy is four and a half years old. She came to us in late February as a rehome when her owner couldn’t keep her. She’s got a sweet temperament, although she’s the first cat we’ve known to do “love bites.”

She is allergic to chicken, which does terrible things to her skin. We’re feeding her special food with hydrolyzed protein to help prevent a reaction. She enjoys it and gets along with it well. The food is no panacea, however, and we also put Tresaderm on her ears to keep her from scratching holes in them. And we’ve twice given her steroid injections, which I’m not a great fan of and I don’t think they helped a lot.

Daisy develops tiny little clumps of some unknown matter in her fur. These are primarily found on her head a little ways behind her ears, a little further down her back, and under her chin. They’re too small for me to get a photo of. The ones under her chin are spaced out more, but the others are together in little patches. The vet doesn’t seem to know what’s going on. We can use our fingers or a fine-toothed comb, such as a flea comb, to get them out. Daisy doesn’t mind this.

Sometimes she goes for a week without producing many of these, but right now she’s making a lot of them. Have any of you dealt with such a thing?
posted by bryon to Pets & Animals (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Are you sure they're not just scabs, maybe ones that have loosened from the skin? When my cat is having a particularly bad allergy time (like right now!) she itches little scabs onto her skin, which eventually loosen and become little clumps of grainy scabby stuff, sometimes with a little hair. They cluster around the base of her tail, her neck and behind her ears. They clear up when the allergies clear up. Just a thought!
posted by Cloudberry Sky at 9:48 PM on December 5, 2016 [6 favorites]

nthing scabs or little flakes of skin from allergic reactions. Our previous cat lived to a ripe old age despite having a huge number of allergies and other issues. It was not uncommon for her to develop little scabby bumps or to throw of flakes of skin, both of which resulted in something like what you describe, depending on what she was reacting to at the time.
posted by slkinsey at 5:34 AM on December 6, 2016

A Board-certified veterinary dermatologist would be the next step.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:53 AM on December 6, 2016 [2 favorites]

Your photo links aren't working for me. But what you describe sounds a lot like the scabs my Ted gets when he's having an allergic reaction. Like your buddy, Ted is allergic to chicken (actually ALL poultry) so he's on a special diet. Anytime I slip and he has something with even the tiniest bit of poultry in it he develops these scab balls along his neck and ears. As long as he only eats the approved food he's fine and the scabs go away.

Right now he gets Natural Balance LID venison and green pea wet food. He, and my other cats, love it.
posted by joan_holloway at 7:39 AM on December 6, 2016 [1 favorite]

Mod note: Fixed photos, carry on.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 4:45 PM on December 6, 2016

My cat got similar little scabby things, scratched his ears and chin til they bled, etc ... it was an allergy to gluten, of all things. Keeping him on a gluten-free diet healed him right up, and we could tell if he'd snuck over to eat Whiskas from the other cats' feeder on the other side of the farmyard, because he'd start up with the scratching and scabbing right away.
posted by bluebelle at 7:30 PM on December 6, 2016

My cat also had similar issues -- and it was cat herpes. She did a week on half a pill 2x a day of a human herpes Rx (I can't remember what it was, now) and it cleared things up. She'll flare a little bit if she gets stressed, but as long as we keep her stress-free she is by and large scab free. She didn't really have any of the other herpes symptoms.
posted by danielle the bee at 8:17 AM on December 7, 2016

Response by poster: I'm going to go with scab material at present, but I'll keep the other suggestions in mind, too.

Daisy now has two hard little bumps on her: one on top of her head and one her undercarriage between her back legs. We haven't figured those out, either. It may be vet time again.
posted by bryon at 12:33 AM on December 10, 2016

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