"Hot spots" are typically lick granulomas. Lick granulomas are more common in dogs, and in places (like their forearms) where they can reach them easiest to keep licking them. You can identify them because they're nearly always moist and look "bumpy" or bubbly due to the skin irritation. Cats will occasionally pull hair, but if they're "licking", it's more likely they're using their little tongue rasps to scratch the area. And, the very few lick granulomas I've seen on cats have always been on their paws.
The most likely thing your cat has is a miliary dermatitis, which is caused by fleas. Since your cat is outdoors, I suspect you won't ever be able to absolutely "cure" this -- but you can certainly reduce his/her discomfort by bathing regularly and applying some insect-repellent dip. ***Be certain any shampoos or topicals you may use have a specific statement that they're safe for cats!!!*** Many products meant for dogs will kill a cat.
I used to use Mycodex™ shampoo and Adams™ flea dip on our outdoor cats. I also used the Adams™ spray on that area (on their backs, right ahead of their tails) while brushing the hair there backwards so the spray reached the skin. If your cats aren't already on a worm preventive, see if you can switch to one which has some capacity to repel surface pests. I don't know what's out there these days, as I've been out of clinical med for some years.
Your best bet is to take your cat(s) to the Vet for a checkup and the initial thorough bath-n-dip... and then maintain it yourself afterwards. I bathed all my cats all the time. They do get used to it if you go about it in a calm and gentle-but-firm fashion. You might consider spraying their environment with a cat-safe insect repellent, too (one meant for animal parasites, not ants and roaches!). Perhaps the Vet can suggest an oral heartworm/parasite preventive which could help with this problem, too. It sounds like you've got the orals down pat, though...
You might consider having the yard sprayed. There are companies which can apply products meant for yards with animals, and while it won't absolutely prevent any infestations, it can certainly reduce them.
I don't know of any dietary things you can do to control fleas (and no, garlic doesn't work and actually creates blood dyscrasias in dogs and cats - along with onions! don't give those to your pets, even granulated!). You can add some oil to the food, if the skin is dry. I'd tend to the animal oils - never the vegetable oils. In fact, bacon drippings or (real) lard might be good choices. Just be sure you don't leave them down for long periods of time. Cats are "obligate carnivores", which means they evolved on meat proteins. Our feeds contain too much grain-based products for the most part... so if you add "oil" (fats) try to make them animal-based. Butter (REAL butter, not spreads or margarine) would also be okay. I had a kitty who loved butter so much he'd eat it right off my finger. I think the bacon renderings would be joyfully accepted too! lol
And, as with any other health issues - ours or our pets' - your best resource is your healthcare provider. In this case, your Veterinarian. S/he may also have some recommendation on diets. They do make hypoallergenic diets for pets now... *IF* that's your cat's problem. You can't know that unless you get her checked.
Good luck. Fleas are notoriously difficult to eradicate.
I tried antibiotics, coritsone/neosporin mix, allergy pills, etc.
Finally when I changed his food to a limited ingredient diet (expensive), his hot spots went away.
With a cat it could definitely be stress.
5/13/14 9:13 A
My cat has a spot that appears every time I go out of town. I go at least 2 times a year for up to two weeks at a time. My cat care givers tells me that the cat gets very stressed out when I'm gone and pulls her hair out in the same spot. She also misses the liter box a few times. She is very attached to me, it's getting where I can't leave home without her! Could your cat be having trouble with a dog or other animal when she roams that is stressing her out?
Fitness Minutes: (40,353)
25,631 5/13/14 6:08 A
My understanding of hot spots is that it is often allergy based, but sometimes the result of a little injury (and sometimes a bit of dirt getting into it) and generally requires a vet to determine the cause and get the cat onto the right type of treatment.
Fitness Minutes: (36,342)
2,545 5/12/14 11:18 P
I have a cat with skin issues that the vet isn't sure what it is. We tested for mites, fungus etc but all tests have come back negative. She loses hair in clumps and her hair mats and her skin is very flakey, almost like a seborrhic dermatitis.
We are trying l-lysine supplements in her food which seems to have helped a little bit. We crush a tablet and mix it in with her wet food. The vet says it should help boost the immune system.
We have also been using Pyoderm which is a medicated shampoo which also seems to help a little bit. I'm sure you can guess how much she loves her baths!
I asked my rescue friends and some have had some success with Burt Bees Hot Spot treatment for dogs. Some have had a bit of success with using lanolin on the spots.
Unfortunately no one has had really good luck with topical products. Switching to non allergic foods seems to help the most with all of the skin issues. I can't switch foods as one cat has urinary tract issues and needs a urinary formula and all of the cats eat the same food. We also give them Friskies wet food every day. Blue Buffalo makes a good product that most of my rescue friends have had good results with but it is really expensive.
Sorry I can't be of more help but I would like to hear if you find something that works!
5/12/14 9:50 P
My cat has a large bald spot on his back. At first we thought that he was caught in a fence or something, but there's no injuries to the spot. Today, my mom's boss suggested that it might be hot spots. I've been doing some research and it sounds like that may be what it is. My vet doesn't think he needs to be seen right now. My cat is about 10 years old, and unfortunately lives in the garage. A person in the house is allergic, and when the cat showed up on our porch, my brother started feeding him. I do maintain flea/tick medications and vaccinations. He has access to food and water at all times in the garage, but he does go in and out to some extent as he wants. I'm wondering if anyone else has ever experienced this, and if so, what worked for your cat? I was reading about a cone being effective, but that wouldn't be a viable option for him since he does spend so much time on his own. I couldn't let him roam outside with a cone on since he would have fewer defenses. Switching his food is a possibility, but does anyone have any other suggestions on what has actually worked for you.
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