Scratches on cats face

by Nisa Johnson
(Chicago, IL, )

Hello Dr. Neely,

Over the last week, I have noticed strange scratches on my 4 year old cat’s face... Two of the scratches are on the left side of my cat’s face (equivalent to his cheek bone) and two are on the right side of my cat’s face (equivalent to his cheek bone).

It almost looks like something bit my cat, as I can see dried up blood. I have spent hours watching him and I don't see any change in his cat behavior, no extra scratching, etc. Please help!!! My cat is an indoor cat that has never been ill.

Dear Nisa,

Your cat's scabs could be resulting from an underlying medical condition or from environmental causes.

You didn’t mention whether you have other animals at home or not, but that certainly could be part of the problem. Bites from other animals are always a possibility. Due to the symmetry of your cat’s scabs on his face, is there anything he might be trying to get under or into in your home, such as a low shelf, cans of food in the kitchen, etc.?

99% of the time, any scratches, scabs, or hair loss on a cat can be attributed to a cat allergy, the most common of which is a flea allergy. From your photos, the location of your cat’s scabs does not look like the typical location of flea allergy scratches, but cats can become itchy from a single flea bite and begin to scratch themselves anywhere. Other bug bites are another possibility.

Food allergy scratching most often presents on a cat’s face or paws, so this may be an additional cause to explore with your veterinarian. It should also be noted that, because the location of these scabs are on the white areas of your cat, another possibility is skin cancer. Cats can develop skin cancer, even being indoors only, just from spending time in sunny windows.

Because of the number of possible medical causes for the scabs you are seeing on your cat, it would be well worth your while and in the best interest of your cat to have your kitty examined by a veterinarian.

Best wishes,
Dr. Neely

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