Be ready to be shocked and upset. This is a cat flea allergy dermatitis picture, a photograph taken by the veterinarians or their associates at the Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic.
This photo has been used with permission for teaching/educational purposes at www.pictures-of-cats.org (PoC). I want to thank Ryan G. Gates, DVM of the clinic for granting permission.
If people want to use the picture please ask the clinic first.
It is a particularly shocking picture but I suspect that it is not that rare.
Some cats are resistant to flea bites and can cope with a lot of fleas without symptoms but some suffer an allergic reaction even to one or two flea bites.
The two most common sites on the cat for fleas, flea bites and itchiness are (a) the base of the tail, just at the end of the spine and (b) around the neck spreading, perhaps to the shoulders.
Fleas can be found in other places but these are the places to check with your 32 prongs to the inch flea comb. A flea comb is a useful part of the cat caretakers kit.
This horrible flea allergy dermatitis picture shows the neck area. I wonder if this cat had a human companion and if so what happened? We should be aware of fleas on a daily basis and flea comb and treat regularly. To let thing go this far is shocking but there may be a good reason. Perhaps this was a stray, homeless cat, rescued by a kind person.
I feel sorry for the cat but pleased that he or she was being treated at last because it is very, very unpleasant for the cat – intense itching. Itching persists long after the fleas have been eliminated. Always check for fleas. Make it as routine as feeding your cat particularly if your cat goes out. If your cat is scratching – check slowly and thoroughly with a proper flea comb around the areas specified above. And kill those ghastly parasites.
This cat required comprehensive veterinary care in response to the severity of the condition. It is far better to take preventative steps and that is our job as decent cat caretakers.
As the cat flea allergy causes scratching the symptoms overlap with with other conditions that cause overgrooming and scratching. OCD (caused by anxiety) is one condition that causes overgrooming and overgrooming can also include scratching. So it can be tricky to diagnose this allergy. It only takes on flea bite so you might not even see a flea on your cat.
You really need a vet to diagnose it. In the comments a 16 year old person says she can’t afford a vet. Although I sympathise etc. I cannot condone that approach because the cat flea allergy is unpleasant for the cat. Responsible cat ownership dictates that the owner deals with an illness that is this nasty and deals with it promptly.