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Experienced and professional animal trainer provide their insights in answering this question :
A. There are many possible causes of hair losss as I’m sure your veterinarian has explained to you. At 13 years old, your cat is in the right age-range for diseases of the thyroid gland to develop. Itchiness and hair loss can sometimes be a symptom of thyroid disorders. It may be necessary to have a full senior blood work up to check the thyroid levels and overall health of your senior cat. Other causes of hair loss include allergies to fleas and contact dermatitis (allergic to some chemical in the enviroment such as scented cat litter, air freshners, laundry products, floor cleaners, etc). Hair loss is a symptom of a larger problem and can be frustrating to treat. Try to get to the underlying cause.

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If a cat requires more than three to four months of steroid usage, the condition should be re-evaluated or other treatment options should be pursued. Cats on long-term steroids are usually monitored with quarterly examinations and urine cultures and blood tests every six months.
Some animals may become aggressive while on prednisone or prednisolone. Although cats are less likely to develop side effects than dogs, increased thirst, increased urination, increased appetite, weight gain, GI problems, and behavioral changes occur occasionally.
This medication will take effect quickly, in about 1 to 2 hours, and improvement in clinical signs should follow.
Depo medrol is a steroid injection that will stay in your cats system for a month, but can have effects up to 2-3 months for some cats.
Side effects can include increased infection rates and the development of diabetes. According to VCA Animal Hospitals, about 30 percent of cats on long-term steroid treatment suffer a urinary tract infection. Older cats are more susceptible to steroids` effects than young ones.
Oftentimes, if a cat has a hormonal imbalance or a high level of steroids, it may experience a loss of hair. With abnormal hormone levels, the hair follicles tend to die and the hair may not grow back.
Reduction of inflammation is the most common reason a steroid will be used as they are a powerful anti-inflammatory. Conditions or diseases which steroids are used to treat include: Allergies such as food or skin allergies. Problems with the immune system.
Cats with allergies or joint pain are typically given prednisolone as an anti-inflammatory solution. It`s also an immunosuppressant for autoimmune diseases, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease or as a cancer chemotherapy agent, Dr. Aliya McCullough, DVM, Fetch by The Dodo`s on-staff vet, says.
If given once daily, prednisone or prednisolone is usually given in the morning to dogs and horses, and in the evening to cats, as this will more closely mimic their natural hormone cycles. Your veterinarian may prescribe a tapering (reducing) dose of this medication.
How Long Might Prednisone Withdrawal Symptoms Last? The duration of withdrawal symptoms depends on many things, like how long you were taking the steroid and the strength of the dose. However, experiencing mild to moderate physical symptoms for 1 to 2 weeks as you taper off the medication is average.
Steroid hormones are used to treat many types of diseases and it turns out that by altering the dosage of a steroid, a completely different effect is achieved. This means steroids can treat inflammation, improve appetite, suppress an over-active immune system, reduce secretions, relieve itching, and more.
The most common use of prednisone for cats is as an allergy and itching treatment that reduces inflammation and suppresses the immune system to reduce symptoms associated with the condition. However, prednisone may also be used as a long-term treatment option for serious health conditions to suppress the immune system.
Herbs such as anemarrhena, burdock, rehmannia and dong quai are contained in a liquid supplement I like to use, called Xiao Allergy Drops. This supplement works so well that I call it a “natural steroid”, since I find it as effective for many pets as prednisone and other steroids.
Side effects of steroid use include increased drinking (and urinating) along with an increase in appetite. You might notice your cat being more lethargic than usual. These short-term side effects will usually return to normal once the medication is stopped.
Ringworm, ectoparasites such as fleas and mites, allergies and psychogenic alopecia are the four most common causes of hair loss in cats.
Certain medications can lead to pet hair loss. For example: High doses or long-term use of steroids. Topically applied flea medications can cause hair loss at the application area.
Addison`s disease, also known as hypoadrenocorticism, is a condition in which the adrenal glands do not produce enough glucocorticoids (steroids) to allow normal body function. This condition is considered rare in cats, but numerous cases have been reported.
Hyperadrenocorticism is also known as Cushing`s disease or Cushing`s syndrome. It is an uncommon disease in cats that develops when there is a persistent excessive production of the hormone cortisol from the adrenal glands (located close to the kidneys in the abdomen).
Steroids have a powerful anti-inflammatory effect and are often used to reduce inflammation. Steroids can be used in the treatment of allergic conditions such as flea allergy dermatitis (skin inflammation and itchiness), asthma-like diseases, food allergies and bee stings.
How long can my cat go without pooping? A typical healthy cat should defecate at least once per day. Unless they just had surgery or are recovering from diarrhea, a cat should not go longer than 48 hours without pooping.
To sum up, it`s safe to take most antibiotics with steroids—and the combination may even help you recover from infection faster.
Taking steroid tablets for less than 3 weeks is unlikely to cause any significant long-term side effects. But you may get some side effects if you need to take them for longer, at a high dose or if you need frequent courses.
Cats on long-term steroids tend to gain weight from the increased appetite and may lose muscle mass. Hair coats may become thin, and some cats will develop thin, fragile skin.
Does prednisolone make cats sleepy? Cats tend to tolerate prednisolone well, however, a reduced energy level may sometimes be observed. If your cat is very sleepy, this is unusual, and your veterinarian should be contacted.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Q. My cat is lossing a lot of hair she is 13 yrs old and been to the vet twice and had antibiotic and the next time steroid and advantage plus . I’m at
ANSWER : A. There are many possible causes of hair losss as I’m sure your veterinarian has explained to you. At 13 years old, your cat is in the right age-range for diseases of the thyroid gland to develop. Itchiness and hair loss can sometimes be a symptom of thyroid disorders. It may be necessary to have a full senior blood work up to check the thyroid levels and overall health of your senior cat. Other causes of hair loss include allergies to fleas and contact dermatitis (allergic to some chemical in the enviroment such as scented cat litter, air freshners, laundry products, floor cleaners, etc). Hair loss is a symptom of a larger problem and can be frustrating to treat. Try to get to the underlying cause.

Q. Why do cats meow?
ANSWER : A. Cat parents often wish they could better understand what their favorite feline friends want or desire. A cat’s meow can be interpreted in many different ways and can indicate an array of feelings and needs. Here are some of the most common reasons for your cat’s vocalizations:

1. Greeting- Many cats will meow as a greeting when you enter your home or walk into a room. Cats will also meow at another cat or animal in the household to extend a hello and acknowledge the other animal’s presence.

2. Attention – An exuberant meow followed by leg rubbing or another attention seeking behavior may indicate your cat is looking for some quality time spent together. Some petting or rubbing behind the ears may be in order.

3. Hunger – A meowing cat is often a hungry cat. This is one of the most common reasons for a cat to vocalize to their owners. A cat will meow to get your attention at feeding times or even when they want extra food.

4. Sickness – A sick or hurt cat may begin to meow excessively, warranting a visit to the veterinarian. There are numerous reasons for a cat in distress to meow—whether it is related to an upset stomach, an injured leg or a urinary blockage. These meows should be carefully investigated.

5. Entering or leaving – Most cats will vocalize when they want to be let in or out of a room. You may notice when you are in the bathroom or behind the closed door of a room that your cat begins to meow, scratches at the door, and often reaches its paw under the door. This is a clear indication that the cat wants to be where you are.

6. Angry – An agitated cat may meow to warn their owner or another household pet that they are upset and would like to be left alone. This angry meow may increase in sound volume as the cat becomes more stressed or agitated. Often a cat will exhibit this type of meow at the veterinary office when they are unhappy with their examination or restraint.

Each feline is different and so are their vocalizations. Learn to understand the variety of meows your cat uses on a daily basis. This will help you develop a better relationship with your cat and help them live a more trusting and happier life.

Q. My cat continues to scratch on furniture and carpets. He has plenty of scratching posts around the house. Please help!
ANSWER : A. Scratching is a natural behavior in cats that can be frequently frustrating for pet owners who want to keep their furniture from being shredded on a constant basis. The texture of furniture and carpet is very appealing to cats and this why they frequently choose to spend their time on this activity as opposed to playing with their own cat toys. Here are some suggestions to help curb this unwanted behavior:

1. Purchase a cat scratching post or cat tree that is covered in carpeted or textured material. Place it in an appealing spot that your cat would be inclined to spend time (eg. in the sun). You can also place catnip on the scratching post or cat tree to make your cat even more interested in the new object.

2. You can utilize double sided tape on the ends of the furniture because you cat will not like the sticky feeling and will learn to not scratch in that region. Use the tape that has a lighter adhesive in order to prevent any permanent damage. Other materials, such as aluminum foil or bubble wrap can also be placed on the furniture to discourage the scratching.

3. Keep nails trimmed short by either learning to do this on your own at home or using a veterinary technician, or groomer. Nails can usually be trimmed every 6-8 weeks.

4. Redirect the unwanted behavior. If your cat begins scratching, use a favorite or new toy to distract the cat from the scratching. Give your cat positive praise for not scratching.

5. As a last resort you can use a spray bottle full of water to spritz your cat when he or she is scratching inappropriately at your furniture. Generally, cats do not like water and this will discourage them from continuing the behavior.

Have patience with your cat because it can takes time to understand this is an unwanted behavior and that furniture is not another toy for them to use. You can always consult your veterinary or veterinary behaviorist to help with ideas or further solutions to this problem.

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Q. I have a 17 year old cat and he has been shedding a lot the past 3 years. Is there anything I can do. I brush him but he doesn’t like it.
ANSWER : A. Brushing or providing objects that your cat can use to brush himself on (such as a scratching post with a brush attachment) are often the best ways to remove excess hair. If your cat doesn’t like the particular brush you use, you may want to try a different kind, or even use a warm wet washcloth to wipe your cat down with instead. This will help get rid of some loosened hairs without being as “annoying” to your cat. If he is grooming himself a lot, adding in a hairball paste to his food or placing some on his paw will help keep the hair from forming into a ball or becoming problematic as he removes the excess hair himself.

If you are seeing patches of hair loss, or any other signs of illness in addition to excessive shedding, then scheduling a senior wellness exam with your local vet is always best to check for aging-related issues which may be causing hair loss or other symptoms.

Q. Russian blue mix cat – usually velvet soft coat but hair on back hind qtrs. is thinning, remaining hair seems less velvety than normal
ANSWER : A. Changes in coat appearance can be caused by a number of things. In older cats, hair loss or changes in coat and skin confirmation may indicate a metabolic issue such as thyroid problems. Cats can begin to lose hair and may also show other changes such as weight changes or appetite changes. Blood work is usually done to check for this, and most pets do very well with a daily medication treatment.

Hair loss can also be caused by mites on the skin, external parasites or even skin and fungal infections. These may cause red bumps or sores to appear on the skin in addition to the hair loss and coat changes. Your vet can take a skin scraping of the area to check for mites and infections, and a preventive flea treatment can remove any external parasites. If an infection or mites are present, your vet can also prescribe an antibiotic or topical cream to treat.

After any treatment it may take a month or two for completely bald patches to grow back in. This is normal as the skin and follicles need some time to heal prior to beginning the hair growth cycle again.

Q. My cat started to pee outside the litter box. What should I do?
ANSWER : A. Inappropriate bathroom use in cats is often a behavioral problem rather than a medical problem, so the first step is to have him seen by your vet to eliminate any kind of illness or condition as a cause for his defecating outside the box.

Once medical issues are ruled out, it’s time to take a look at other explanations. Has there been a lot of activity that wasn’t normal? Were you away and your cat was left at home or boarded? Is the litterbox located in a busy area? Has anything happened recently in this area to make him reluctant to use it again? Is there another cat, pet, or person that is preventing him from getting to the box? Have you changed it from a hooded to an open box, or vice versa? Have you changed the brand of litter or kind? Or is there something about the spot he has chosen to use that is attracting him in some way? Cats dislike disturbances to their routine and may act out as a way of expressing their dissatisfaction.

The general rule of thumb is one litter box per cat in the household, plus one. That way each cat can have a place of their own to go in case the box is occupied or another cat has claimed it as territory. They should be scooped at least daily, if not more often and changed completely on a weekly basis, and washed with soap and water.

You can also offer one kind of litter in one box and another kind in another to see if there is a preference. I don’t recommend the crystal kind, since it makes a hissing sound when wet that can startle some cats and make them reluctant to use it again.

The litter boxes should be located in a quiet, low-traffic area so that the cat can use them in peace. Make sure other pets or people aren’t giving them a hard time around or in the litterbox. It may take some investigation and experimentation to find your cat’s preference and accommodate him so that everyone is satisfied with the situation.

Q. Our cat of six years has on two separate occasions has defecated on the living room rug and recently pee’d on the skirt of the Christmas tree.
ANSWER : A. Inappropriate elimination in cats is often a behavioral problem rather than a medical problem, so the first step is to have him seen by your vet to eliminate any kind of illness or condition as a cause for his eliminating outside the box.

If medical issues are ruled out, take a look at other reasons. Has there been a lot of unusual activity? Has you cat been left at home or boarded? Is the litterbox in a busy area? Has anything happened recently in this area to make him reluctant to use it again? Is there another cat, pet or person that is preventing him from getting to the box? Have you changed it from a hooded to an open box, or vice versa? Is it big enough? Have you changed the type or brand of litter? Is there something attractive about the spot he uses? Cats dislike disturbances to their routine and may act out to express their dissatisfaction.

The general rule is one litter box per cat in the household, plus one. That way each cat can have a place of their own to go in case the box is occupied or another cat has claimed it as territory. They should be scooped daily, if not more often and changed completely weekly, washed with soap and water only. You can offer one kind of litter in one box and another kind in another to see if there is a preference. I don’t recommend the crystals, it makes a hissing sound when wet that startles some cats and make them reluctant to use it again. The litter boxes should be located in a quiet, low-traffic area so that the cat can use them in peace. Make sure any other pets or people aren’t giving them a hard time around or in the litter box. It may take some investigation and experimentation to find your cat’s preference and accommodate him so that everyone is satisfied with the situation. And, when cleaning up pet accidents, don’t use any cleaner containing ammonia. This leaves behind a scent similar to urine.

Q. My cat is pooping outside of the litter bix. He is 2 1/2. He did this as a kitten. It stopped then started about 3 months ago. Litterbox is clean.
ANSWER : A. Inappropriate elimination or house soiling can be a frustrating problem but with a bit of detective work on your part, there is hope. First, before deciding that this is a behavioral issue, any medical problems (diarrhea, constipation, fecal incontinence, pain on defecation, etc.) need to be ruled out and/or treated. If your cat receives a clean bill of health from your vet but is still eliminating outside the litterbox, then we need to consider that something about the box itself might be aversive to your cat. Cats can be quite finicky about their litterbox and toileting habits. Below I have listed common recommendations and cat preferences for litterbox use. Review the list and make any changes that could account for your cat’s aversion to defecating in the litterbox:
* Soft, fine-grained clumping litter (vs, coarse-grained, non-clumping litter)
* Unscented
* 1 – 1 1/2 inch depth (especially older cats or cats with hip problems)
* Larger pans (especially for large cats) – want to get whole body inside – poop just outside the box might mean the box is too small
* Open, non-hooded
* At least one shallow side to get in and out easily
* Easy to get to – not hidden away, preferably in areas they spend time in or near – and not near appliances that make scary, unpredictable noises (washers, dryers, refrigerators)
* Scoop minimum 1X/day – preferably 2
* Clean the litterbox with soap and water and put in fresh scoopable litter at least once/month (instead of just continuously adding)
* Some cats prefer to urinate in one box and defecate in a separate box, so you may need 2 boxes even if you just have 1 cat. Multi-cat households should have 1 box/cat plus 1 extra.