For probably more than a year, Fred has been suffering from a very minor health concern. He has been losing hair in spots on his feet. It likely took us awhile to notice because it started around the same time as one of his dental cleanings. The patched they shaved for his anesthesia was not growing back quickly. Very, very slowly, the patch started to spread and small patches began to appear in other areas and on his other back foot.
He has been checked out by the vet multiple times, and they’ve done every test they could think of (along with the thyroid test I suggested based on his irritability). He has a clean bill of health. Further, there is NO redness in these patches. No signs of discomfort. He doesn’t appear to be causing the hair loss himself from over-cleaning or anything like that. The spots don’t seam to bother him AT ALL. I think they bother me more than him.
Our best guess is an allergic reaction, but to what? Around the time we noticed the problem, there had been no changes in the home.
The really big wrinkly patch is from his most recent dental appointment. Though, his siblings’ spots are already fading.
A closeup….no redness, no signs of irritation, no bite or scratch marks…
My poor baby Fred.
Well, Jimmy remembered something that may help us. A while ago, like months before we ever noticed Fred’s problem, Costco switched their litter from unscented to scented. Same exact litter. Since we have 7 litterboxes, we can’t afford the litter I really want to use (clump & seal), so we make do with Fresh Step. I have tried other litters (particularly those with less dust) and my cats all prefer Fresh Step (though they also liked Clump & Seal). The litter formula and texture was the same, it was just scented. We’ve decided this is the most logical correlation to pursue since it made sense that a minor allergy to litter would probably show up mainly on the paws.
Our usual litter…
The new stuff. Sadly, it is very challenging to find the same kind of Fresh Step in unscented these days. We found Triple Action which appears to be close. This costs twice what our current litter does. Since we are scientists, we are trying to change as few variables as possible in this experiment. Additionally, we have 7 other cats to consider when making changes, some of which are very picky about litter. That’s why we’ve chosen to go with the litter that most closely resembles our old litter.
I’m only changing over one litter box at a time, so I don’t waste a bunch of litter. I’m hoping Fred will be able to tell the difference and use the converted litterboxes. If he doesn’t, I will switch them all over, but I’d prefer not to. Dixee and Lefty don’t handle litterbox changes very well. I will report back with an update in a few weeks.