Weird bumps on my cat's head
May 27, 2007 6:47 PM   Subscribe

My cat has recently developed several bumps on his head, and I'm wondering whether or not I should worry, and how worried I should be.

A day or so ago, I noticed that my cat (a male, neutered cat just over a year old) has a couple of small bumps just behind one of his ears. At first I thought it was food crust (though he only eats dry food) but now the bumps seem to be spreading--there are 6-8 on top of his head and behind his other ear. They're small, hard bumps, and don't seem to cause him any pain (certainly he still enjoys having his head and ears rubbed). My family has owned many pets over the years and none of us have any clue what this could be.

He's an indoor cat so I don't think these are bites, but internet research hasn't been very helpful. I'm hoping one of the many cat owners on AskMefi have experienced this or have some idea of what might be going on.

I'm going to call the vet on Tuesday, but if any of you can lessen my worry till then, obviously I'd appreciate it.
posted by leesh to Pets & Animals (15 answers total)
Zits, maybe?
posted by kmennie at 6:50 PM on May 27, 2007

These bumps are on the top of his head, though they do feel like they could be tiny hard zits.

I just started adding some adult food to his kitten food--could the change in diet affect his skin?
posted by leesh at 6:53 PM on May 27, 2007

I don't have a cat but I think you should have them checked out to make sure they are not swollen lymph nodes.
posted by bkeene12 at 7:01 PM on May 27, 2007

Maybe Feline Miliary Dermatitis? It says that one of the potential causes is food allergies. I'd take him off the adult food for now, at least until you talk to the vet.
posted by Liosliath at 7:08 PM on May 27, 2007

I had a cat that got bumps somewhat like you're describing, only under his chin. They were diagnosed as being the product of an allergic reaction.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 7:14 PM on May 27, 2007

It definitely looks like it could be Feline Miliary Dermatitis--I'm going to buy him a new bag of kitten food tomorrow and see if that helps. Thanks, all!
posted by leesh at 7:18 PM on May 27, 2007

Does your cat have claws? He could be scratching himself vigorously, causing sores/scabbing. This happened to one of my cats once during a surprise flea situation which occurred after a move into a new apartment which hadn't been treated.

If you're able to part the fur and see what the bumps look like. Obviously, IANAV, but maybe they're bites of some kind, dermatitis, or an allergic reaction to something? A Google search turned up this site, which suggests several possible reasons for kitty head bumps.

Maybe the new diet is causing some kind of skin reaction. I'm sure that your vet will be able to tell you and treat them if necessary.
posted by mewithoutyou at 7:19 PM on May 27, 2007

Or, what everyone else said!
posted by mewithoutyou at 7:20 PM on May 27, 2007

I say cat acne. my cats get it.
posted by danb1 at 7:41 PM on May 27, 2007

Looks like you've already figured it out, but I agree that it's probably an allergic reaction to the food causing dermatitis. My cat has food allergies also.

Keep an eye out for him scratching at the bumps. My cat has a tendency to scratch at them until they bleed--and then he keeps opening the wound after it's healed. I've had to put him on antibiotics twice because of it... :/ If your cat seems to be scratching at them, it might be worth it for a trip to the vet for a cortisone shot to stop the itching.
posted by gwyn at 8:06 PM on May 27, 2007

Compare the ingredients lists of the kitten food vs the adult food. It's unlikely the issue is a kitten food vs adult food problem, if it's a food allergy, it's normally an ingredient issue, which is normally related to the main protein source and the presence or absence of grains - find an adult food with the same meat protein source and see if that helps (and you do know that foods with no grain are better for the cat, not least because cats are obligate carnivores, and grain is a very common allergen, right?).
posted by biscotti at 10:34 PM on May 27, 2007

If it does not respond to dermatitis treatments, ask the vet about antibiotics -- I just heard someone else talking about their cat's Demon Horn Buds and the happy ending to the story involved antibiotics.
posted by Hey, Cupcake! at 5:10 AM on May 28, 2007

biscotti, I didn't know that, and now I'm sure it's the Purina Ones Naturals salmon and brown rice flavor (I didn't know what kind of adult food to try and there was a coupon!). Now I feel like a stupid cat owner, but hopefully the vet can recommend something else and get this cleared up.

Thanks again, everyone!
posted by leesh at 5:40 AM on May 28, 2007

Don't feel stupid, the companies which make pet foods do a very good job of convincing you that you don't actually need to read the ingredients lists or learn anything, just feed their food (just like McDonald's). And unless your vet is "into" nutrition, please keep in mind that vets don't actually spend much time at all learning about nutrition (which is why some still recommend crap like Science Diet) - vets are medical experts, not necessarily nutritionists. There's a wealth of great information about pet nutrition on the internet (here's one site) - as always, though, seek information from a variety of sources.
posted by biscotti at 9:23 AM on May 28, 2007

Yeah, I didn't mean that it was "adult" food causing the problem, just that particular brand of food. BTW, great site link, Biscotti!
posted by Liosliath at 8:10 PM on May 28, 2007

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