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Our cat is ~3 years old, female domestic short hair. She's happy and playful, eats normal, drinks normal. She's had a CBC where everything was normal according to the vet except for borderline high glucose, which was attributed to extreme stress at the vet. She also had a high EOS%, but normal EOS, so the vet said do not worry. enter image description here

She's had this on and off since a kitten. We don't believe it's feline hypersthesia, because her licking seems to be less erratic. She both licks and gnaws at the same time, and it seems that she just really likes to be clean. She does not groom for most of the day, but when she does groom, she licks and gnaws and this creates bald patches, as well as sometimes small scabs at her nipples.

We've tried antibiotics, oral steroids..and we just moved (which was very stressful on her). I have the feliway, and now she's wearing a small fuzzy cone that prevents her from licking so that her spots can heal. She doesn't play as much when in the cone, but she's otherwise normal.

The vet recommended a dermatologist, and kidney/thyroid tests. The more i observe her behavior, the more it seems like she just has a certain cleaning style that's damaging..and i'm not sure if it's actually something that can be fixed medically. Any ideas or potential solutions? Anyone go through something similar with their cat? Help greatly appreciated!

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  • you need to get your cat tested for diabetes,the moderately elevated glucose level might cause your cat to itch more than normal. Commented Apr 7, 2023 at 4:38
  • I wouldn’t skip the dermatologist - there are a few conditions where scratching a slight itch or other gentle stimulation of the skin can start an avalanche of real itching. Speaking as a human who suffered from atypical neurodermatitis. Antihistamines (Cetirizine) saved my sanity and it can even be given to cats and dogs. Talk to your vet again.
    – Stephie
    Commented Apr 7, 2023 at 17:44
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    @trondhansen seems together we agree with the vet - checking the endocrine system and/or skin issues makes sense.
    – Stephie
    Commented Apr 7, 2023 at 17:48
  • will add diabetes to the list of things to check. we've already been to the vet twice, and everytime we go it's an insanely stressful experience for our cat, and given that this popped up once we moved (an insanely stressful experience)...we want to make sure we only go when necessary. will do though, thank you! Commented Apr 7, 2023 at 22:33

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Several of the comments recommend running further testing for diabetes — but I disagree. I think this would be a waste of your money and subjecting your cat to unnecessary tests. In a 3 year old cat with no clinical signs of diabetes, she is extremely unlikely to be diabetic. Most diabetic cats have glucose levels in the 200s-700s. A slight elevation of 133 mg/dL is, as your vet says, just a minor stress hyperglycemia and unlikely to be of any significance to the skin problem. If you are really concerned about diabetes, your vet could run a fructosamine level.

Before running lots of tests for very rare endocrine disorders, I would rule out the common things first.

Most young cats with these symptoms are either allergic to something (i.e. feel itchy), or compulsively overgrooming. Before running more tests, I would recommend thoroughly ruling out flea and food allergies, as best as possible:

  • Keep the cat on strict flea and parasite preventatives (even if you do see any fleas or is indoors only). Some cats are so sensitive to fleas and it only takes you bringing one in on your clothes to set off a skin reaction.
  • Strict diet trial on a hypoallergenic diet (e.g. hydrolyzed protein or novel protein food). Ask your vet about this, as you will probably need a prescription. This new food needs to be feed strictly for a minimum of 6-8 weeks, it will take some time to be effective. This means no other treats or foods during the trial period.

If you have already done these things, great. I see little point in going to a dermatologist before trying these, as this is surely what they will recommend before turning to steroids, desensitisation injections, or other medications.

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  • Yes, we just started the flea treatment. Before that, she wasn't on a strict regimen so it could've been that. She's only 1 month in. We're also going to try the food. FWIW, anecdotally, we don't believe it's itchiness. She wears a soft e-collar now and when taken off, she does not itch. She grooms, and likes to be very clean...but she does not erratically itch/groom..it's very organized and particular. from this, we're starting to believe she just targets spots that are already mowed down, and if we give those time to grow, she might forget about it. Commented Apr 13, 2023 at 0:43

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