My 10-yr-old domestic short hair cat has developed small sores with scabs on her back near the base of her tail. They don't seem to bother her, but they make her hair raise up and i want to know what's causing them and how to alleviate the problem. I'm not sure if its related, but she also has a large patch of hair missing on her left flank near her rear leg. There doesn't appear to be any of these sores/scabs in this area. I thought she was losing hair due to it rubbing off on the doorframe when she goes outside, but I've resolved that and it doesnt seem to be growing back. Please help. I will make a donation of $25 for a good answer. I love her. Thanks!!!


Hi, James,

Your cat's symptoms fit exactly that of flea bite allergic dermatitis. She goes outdoors, she has scabs and cat hair loss, and the lesions are at the tail base. This is classic for flea allergy. Add to that the fact that 99% or more of cats with these symptoms have flea bite allergic dermatitis and it's pretty much a sure thing.

She is causing the scabs and cat hair loss by licking, biting, and scratching at her skin. You may not see her do that - some cats seem to do it far more when their owners are not around. You may also never see a flea on her, but that's because cats that have FBAD, react to even one flea bite and also because they are busy licking and scratching because they are so itchy. They ingest the fleas in the process and you may never find a single one.

The cat allergy medicine to treat this is cat flea medicine. It must be applied every month to the back of her neck. My favorite is Frontline and Frontline Plus flea and tick medicine. It has to be applied at the same time every month and it may take some time for all this to resolve. If she goes outdoors year round, you should apply it every month year round. Also, cats that have this allergy should get it year round even if they live where the winters are cold.

Other things you can do include purchasing a specific comb called a JW Gripsoft Flea Comb and combing her daily to help get any flea(s) that may be there. Also, vacuum your home as frequently as possible and throw out the vacuum cleaner bags.

Adding oil to her coat with oral tablets of essential fatty acids daily indefinitely has been helpful in the many cases I have treated. Cat hair loss and itchy, scratched skin, in general, are helped by adding fish oils.

If she has the disposition that would allow you to bathe her, a bath before you begin Frontline could be helpful. Make sure it is for cats and is a mild flea shampoo. DO NOT use flea collars, dips, sprays, or any other chemicals that cats can have deadly reactions to.

If her skin gets worse to the point that it is making her miserable before all your efforts start to work, a veterinarian would probably give you a few tablets of an anti-inflammatory to stop the itching temporarily. NEVER give your cat over the counter anti-inflammatories. They will kill a cat.

Persistence and patience and Frontline and the above additional measures I have suggested will almost certainly lead to the alleviation of her condition.

There are many places online where you can find the above items.

US Pets frequently has the lowest prices on pet supplies, medicine, treats, and more. You can often save up to 50% on major name brands, plus free shipping!

Some of my other favorites are Pet Care Choice who has good prices on pet meds plus free shipping and PetCareRx who always seems to have some sort of promotional going on that will save you money.

Best to you and your kitty,
Dr. Neely


My cat had lost a lot of hair above her tail and on her belly. Its seems like its getting worse. What is the cause of this?


My answer to this question would be the same as above. Until proven otherwise, cat hair loss is from allergy and the most common allergy is flea bite alleric dermatitis. A cat can have a severe case of FBAD and yet you will never find a flea.

Dr. Neely

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