The Cinnamon Puzzle

Cinn`s current garb.

We have 3 cats: Kyber (tri-pod), Sugar (queen of the house) and Cinnamon.

This is the story of Cinnamon.

She has an itching, licking (mostly licking) issue where she will lick herself so raw she causes wounds and scabbing. It could be allergies, mental issue, or a thin skin issue. She does seem to have thinner skin than our other cats, but also cleans herself pretty roughly. One time so bad that she had to have several attempts of stitches around her hock area in attempt to close a hole that had opened down to the bone (thankfully that healed amazingly).

We’ve gone though several (I think we’re on #7 now) food trials. The 2 prescription food trial did not go well as her body just didn’t like it. It made her stool very watery and the scent was just sickly. Currently (as of 5/18/2018) we are almost done with the gradual switch to Natural Instinct Grain Free Turkey. Next on the list is their rabbit version. We’ve also tried various sprays, food or water supplements, etc.

Currently she is off the prednisalone ( I think she was on it about a year and it was an alternate to the depo-medrol shots) and the plan is to give her a month break from any steroid. Newspaper litter and the Turkey food (good thing everyone loves it!). Powder when needed, though in her current gear it’s not often she gets to her areas. Oh! And her commonly irritated areas are her front armpits and inner back legs. That seems to be fairly consistent though when it was really bad it was on her belly too.

Despite all that she has been through, she is quite a happy kitty. She is SO purry. Plays with her 3-legged sister. Loves laps and watching birds and lizards. I’m not giving up on her and am looking for anyone that may have or is dealing with this kind of puzzle of an issue. She’s pretty much our Vet’s puzzle-cat.

Here’s her timeline! 

  • August 2014
    • 8/21/2014 Cinnamon adopted  
    • 8/22/2014 Cinnamon taken to Vet for emergency care due to a cold.  
    • 8/23/2014 Physical: Nutri-Cal, Ranitidine Inj, Vetropolycin HC 1/8oz, Enisyl-F Paste, Coldwater bath, Vit B Inj, Convenia, Fluids.  
    • 8/25/2014 Med Prog: More fluids, clavamox drops 
      This was a a fairly long, really bad cold. Had to feed her via syringe until she wanted to eat on her own.
  • October 2014
    • 10/7/2014 Physical: Rabies Vacc, Prednisone Tablet. Itching/scabbies began around this time
    • 10/28/2014 Med prog: Depo-Medtrol inj, Convenia  
  • January 2015
    • 1/3/2015 Med prog: Allergy Blood test, Gentocin spray  
    • 1/15/2015 Med prog: Depo-Medtrol inj  
  • March 2015
    • 3/7/2015 Med Prog  
    • 3/20/2015 Suitical Recovery Suit for Cats XX-Small in Black Camo Too big for her
    • 3/25/2015 KONG Cloud E-Collar for Cats and Dogs, Small Works well but noisy at night when she attempts to scratch/clean
    • 3/27/2015 Med Prog: Depo-Medrol Inj  
  • May 2015
    • 5/19/2015 Second opinion on itching. Same results.  
    • 5/19/2015 Natural, Premium Clumping, Ultra Light, Odor Controlling Cat Litter, 99.9% Dust Free and 24/7 Cat Wellness Monitoring. too light, stuck to feet, very messy.
    • 5/23/2015 Skin & Itch Irritations For Felines KingBio Natural Pet Didn’t seem to have any reactions when adding to their water as instructed, but didn’t seem to help
    • 5/26/2015 Precious Cat Ultra Premium Clumping Cat Litter Still using this for their litter. Not AS dusty but still some dust.
    • 5/30/2015 Physical: Laxatone, Cerenia inj Was hacking/vomiting watery
  • June 2015
    • 6/1/2015 Prescribed Atopica for Cats  
  • July 2015 
    Allergy Results
    • 7/15/2015 Allergist Appointment. When it started to get really bad
    • 7/20/2015 KONG EZ Soft E-Collar for Cats and Dogs, Small Got this when things started to get really bad.
    • 7/23/2015 Big allergy skin test for Cinn, also told to try ZD food.  She had a big (bad) reaction during the night, extremely itchy/licky/twitchy and could not sit still for 1 second.
    • 7/24/2015 Physical: Diphenhydramine inj, Dexamethasone inj, Prednisone Taken to local vet to check out reaction. She was given a short-term steroid and antihistamine shot and to take 1/2 prednisone pill this evening, then one in the morning. If any further excessive itching to give another dose. Halt on the injection and the Atopica dose until further notice. May have been reaction to all the testing and 1st shot was too much in one day.Seemed to have perked up and was pretty much back to normal this evening.
    • 7/26/2015 Itching & licking a lot this morning, have 1/2 pill of prednisone. Seems to have calmed down a little. Keeping an eye on stool as it seems a bit mushy and not the usual solid. Still hard to tell, will check next time she goes. Vomited up a small amount of clear liquid. (make that x2) =( Did not seem interested in food/water in the evening. Kyle did spot her drinking some water.
    • 7/27/2015 Seemed to be sleepy this morn. Not very perky. Not interested in food or water. Still wants to play though and loves rubbings.
      Dermatologist called for an update. Provided details from the weekend. Suggested try Pepcid AC 0.25 a pill. Otherwise no other meds unless the itching get bad then give her another dose of the prednisone. Let Cinn clean out her system of all the meds/test, then we will try again.
      Next follow-up on Thursday.
      Got home, Cinn acting normal.
    • 7/28/2015 Seems normal, back to itchy n licky. May cone her for a bit and neosporin some hot spots
    • 7/29/2015 Still at 100% and licking/itchin some usual hot spots. Though having a few sneezing fits here and there. Happens randomly but its just sneezing and nothing else.
    • 7/30/2015 Put cone on her as she is licking her hot spots red and raw. Put neosporin on daily to help, but only when cone on. Will ave donut on this weekend as we are away. It’s a bit cleaner for her than the cone. The cone can get litter stuck on it.
    • 7/31/2015 Cinn still normal. Wearing donut.  
  • August 2015
    • 8/4/2015 0.75 Zyrtec dose at 4pm. Shot given at 4:50pm. Took donut off, still has red hot spots from licking. So far no other symptoms. May donut & neosporin if licking continues. Will give full Zyrtec dose tomorrow.
    • 8/5/2015 No breakouts. Cone on to let scabs heal. Applied Neosporin. Threw up food at 6:30pm but we ran out the of the special food so had to give Blue Buffalo. May have eaten too fast as it was still whole. Giving a full dose of Zyrtec later this evening.
    • 8/6/2015 Same as,yesterday but still unsure of the stool texture. Gave 5mg zyrtec pill. Three up 2x, fairly clear.
    • 8/8/2015 Dose, done. She freaked out a little and we think the needle bent a lil but she seemed ok after.
    • 8/10/2015 Diarrhea for a few days. Took a bit for us to actually be sure. Calling Vet tomorrow. Otherwise acting normal.
    • 8/11/2015 Silver Wound and Skin Care Spray (4 oz) with Chelated Silver. Antimicrobial Spray. Same as above. August was her worst month.
    • 8/12/2015 Heard from vet. Was advised if diarrhea take to vet. was after 48 hours and we stopped giving her anything on Monday to clear out her system.. again. Still acting normal otherwise.
    • 8/14/2015 Was healing nicely.. decided to take cone off to let her clean. Big mistake, she undid all the healing for the past week. =( Donut is on now. Applying Silver spray on head and neosporin at night. Still waiting for normal stool. And still acting normal.
    • 8/16/2015 Yay normal stool! Will give her another day or so just to make sure but still acting normal.
    • 8/17/2015 Threw up early AM with an actual hairball. Threw up a little again and seemed to here and there throughout the day. Gave a little laxative to see if it helped as the last time this happened it was a one day thing. Will keep an eye on her as far as eating and drinking.
      Also bought some omega 3 fish oil as a supplement to give her a bit every day when I get home. Of course.. she doesn’t like it so I need to syringe it. =(
      Since stool has been normal and she is acting normal we are going to try the 5mg of Zytec this evening (as well as tomorrow) and see if the diarrhea starts again. Will try for starting up the shots on Wednesday.
    • 8/18/2015 So far so good, normal stool in the afternoon. Eating and drinking normally. Came home to her donut turned and she undid one of her legs again. Was able to clean it a little with the silver water and get some old scabs out of the fur. Will slowly work on that in the afternoon and use neosporin in the morning.
    • 8/21/2015 Cinn taken to vet for another steroid shot . NOTHING is stopping her itching so we had to. We’d like to get her cone free while trying more treatments. Still giving fish oil though i don’t think she’s getting as much as she should as she gets uninterested in the food after a few fingers of it.
    • 8/23/2015 Gave Cinn a bath! Went OK. Only a bit of scrambling. Of course she wants to lick like crazy after it so we had to baby sit and watch her carefully while she cleaned. When she licked the hot spots way too much we had to cone her but she was pretty much dry by then. Ordered the preferred shampoo as the local store did not have what I wanted.
    • 8/24/2015 New bottle of Atopica.
    • 8/24/2015 SynergyLabs Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Hot Spot & Itch Relief Medicated Spray  
    • 8/24/2015 Still licking hot spots till they almost bleed. Coned her to protect her. Most the scabs that were stuck in her fur are pretty much all gone. just the new skin and hot spots remain. Ordered a new anti-itch spray to try, reviews were good so another thing to hope works on her. This one numbs the area a bit so hopefully that is what she needs.
  • September 2015
    • 9/11/2015 Kept an eye on Cinn’s stool for the past week as it looked like diarrhea or a case or 2 of it may have been going on. Confirmed today. She is not on any meds or anything besides the z/d food. It’s been 2 months since we started the z/d diet so we are gradually switching them back to the blue buffalo grainfree/basics. If the diarrhea/really bad scent goes away we will stick with that food and her stool is normal for the next few days we will start up the Atopica again.
    • 9/12/2015 Gradually switching to Blue Buffalo Basics – Salmon  
    • 9/15/2015 Started up Atopica doses since Cinn was completely back to normal.  
  • October 2015
    • 10/13/2015 Switched to Blue Buffalo Basics Fish Adult Indoor Recipe-Grain Free Dry
    • 10/16/2015 2 months since Steroid shot  
    • 10/24/2015 Found 3 little bumps under Cinn’s left front armpit. Will keep an eye but they did not look too irritated and it did not seem she has been going after that area that we noticed.
    • 10/25/2015 Noticed a pink spot on forehead =(. Keeping an eye, may give Zyrtect tomorrow. So far not itching or going at those areas.
    • 10/26/2015 Cinn getting a bath. Still keeping up on Atopica.
  • November 2015
    • 11/1/2015 Noticing more tiny bumps/scabs under her front arm pits. They don’t seem irritated and she isn’t going after them like previous outbreaks. Noticing cleaning around her usual wake-up time in the morning but in studying her seems fairly normal as far as areas she is focusing on.
      Considering starting up the shot again just in case and to avoid harsher reactions down the road. Diluted vial says expired 9/15 regular vial is good until 7/16. Calling Pet Dermatology tomorrow to see what they suggest. Update: diluted is OK.. just as less potent.
    • 11/30/2015 It has been 3 months and 9 days since the steroid shot. The baths continue 2x a week, still the same ‘hot spots’ under her front armpits. I noticed a scabby on her chest last Saturday and this morning a small one behind her ear. =( I’m hoping to keep it at bay until new meds become available for cats per the allergist. She is still getting her Atopica shots along with half a zyrtec. I will be upping the Atopica dose age by 1lb as she has gotten larger since her initial appointment with the allergist. Right now we are giving her 10lb dose.
      Started using the anti-itch spray on her then giving her laser toy play time after wards. Hopefully she won’t hide from me when I pick up the bottle down the road.Current treatments are: Baths 2x a week (shampoo and starting up a conditioner this week), Daily Atopica doses and fishoil in her wet food mix. Anti-itch/numbing spray on her hotspots 2x a day for the rest of the week. Also getting in Coconut oil to apply to her hot spots/scabs as well and it’s ok if she ingests it. The main issue is when applying treatments she will eventually lick to clean them which in turn irritates the hotspots/scabs and makes them worse. I do not want to donut her again this time.
  • December 2015
    • 12/6/2015 Baths continue as well as the Atopica. She will lick a bit of coconut oil but applying anything to her raw areas just causes her to lick them more so stopping that for now. Just doing the daily meds/oil supplement and bath (every 2-3 days). Raw/scabby areas still in the same spot just can’t reduce them. Some spots on tummy now. =/
    • 12/14/2015 3 months and 23 days since the steroid shot. Licking was really bad last night. It was a very restless, sleepless night for all of us. Going to give her a good bath and really let the shampoo and conditioner sit. Trying to keep it in check though she’s gradually itching and licking all over now. She may need the shot 3x a year.
    • 12/17/2015 Very raw under the armpits, applied some salve to her worse area. Kept an eye on her didn’t seem to go after the salve too much. Will give the medicated shampoo bath today and let it sit about 5 min as directed, then conditioner. Will try to dry her with the hair dryer on low to reduce the licking.
    • 12/23/2015 Vet appt today to update shots. Did not want to give the steroid shot. Still believes its a food allergy. 
  • January 2016
    • 1/3/2016 Switched to Blue Buffalo Cat Rocky Mountain Recipes Adult Red Meat Dry
    • 1/8/2016 4 months 19 days since steroid shot. Very red and scaly scabs inside all 4 legs. Neck all scabbed up. Almost constant licking. Will give bath tomorrow then donut after shes dry. Cinn has not been normal at all. No playing, no coming to bed. Stays by her tree and food water. Seems feverish under her body. Also started sneezing 2 days ago, may have small cold.
    • 1/13/2016 4 months, 24 days since shot. She had 3 last year. Still scaly and scabby. The raw spots are sometimes wet and she has a sickly/sweaty scent. I try and pat with a damp cloth to help clean but she really hates that. When she hasn’t licked a while (after sleeping for a good bit) they look better. Still acting abnormal. Will not play like she used to. She stays by/on her tree by the slider and her food/water. Will sometimes venture to the office if we both are in there. Does not greet us anymore when we come home, nor follow us around when we move to another room. Does not visit her sunny spots/windows during the day. Does not skid across the house in her cubes like she used to. Ever since putting the donut on for a few days it changed her. She is very wary of us nearby until we pet her then she starts purring/relaxing.
      We had to take her in. Was given Depo-medrol, convenia, prescribed zeniquin.
    • 1/20/2016  Atopica refill & progress exam.

I didn’t keep up the log after that as I think we pretty much came to terms with our PJ cat. That being said, I am not giving up on figuring her out. =)

Here’s some health history from her appointments though.

  • March 2016
    • 3/18/2016 Prescribed Apoqel, given a blood test to check on any steroid issues. She’s fine. Atopica stopped as issues persisted.
  • April 2016
  • June 2016
    • 6/10/2016 Trip to Vet #2 (2nd opinion/ideas). Given Depo-medrol shot and prescribed Amitriptyline (was given until prescription ran out, no side effects, no changes).
  • September 2016
    • 9/2/2016 Had to take Cinn to the ER as she was vomiting blood. Was not eating, hiding in closet. All sorts of test done including ultrasound. Annnnd guess what, nothing could be found wrong, she was fine later in the day. *sigh!* 
    • 9/22/2016 Trip to Vet #2. Given Vetalog and Dexamethaone shot. 
  • November 2016
    • 11/4/2016 Another visit with the allergist. Due to it being pretty impossible to give cinnamon injections, we started up oral immunotherapy (WAY easier). Was also given another Depo-Medrol shot.
  • January 2017
    • 1/27/2017 Progress Exam
  • February 2017
    • 2/3/2017 Yearly Physical and shots updated. Depo-Medrol shot.
  • April 2017
    • 4/21/2017 Progress exam & Depo-medrol shot.
  • September 2017
    • 9/19/2017 Wound repair (hole on back of hock). Wrapped.
    • 9/25/2017 Progress exam and light wrap for wound.
    • There’s a few missing appointments here. She had 3 attempts to stitch her hole closed. It was in a really difficult spot (imagine having a hole on your elbow that you are constantly using). Finally keeping it unwrapped, in all her ant-lick gear, stitched again with daily light dabs of neosporin it healed up nicely.
  • November 2017
    • 11/20/2017 Progress Exam
  • January 2018
  • February 2018
    • 2/7/2018 Yearly Physical and shots updated.
  • March 2018
  • April 2018
  • May 2018
    • 5/10/2018 Predisalone dosage stopped. It doesn’t seem to do anything anymore. Poor Cinn has not been out of her Pjs & cone since last August.

If you actually skimmed through all this… just wow! Pass it on or let me know of anything else to try or ask my vet about. We’ve been told she is a post-it note above his desk. Such a puzzle-cat. 

5 thoughts on “The Cinnamon Puzzle”

  1. Another update as Cinn is still on the steroids. She’s had some good naked-cat stretches though there are some episodes of her getting a little too attentive to her armpits at times. When that happens she gets put in her cute unicorn PJs and some cat leggings from Etsy that are velcro’d on. Other that that she’s actually pretty chill. Not tearing through her PJs anymore or itching like crazy or constantly trying to lick.

    When it’s been a bit long (few weeks) in PJ-time we up her dosage to 2 half pills a day for about 2 weeks or so until she settles down. Then if she can safety be naked we drop her back to one a day until the next episode (less time she’s on a steroid the better). I think she’s only had 2 episodes since this combination has been working, but they last (from discovery to pj-time/full dose) for probably over a month or 2.

    As long as the episodes are like this and the PJ-leggings combo works. We’re pretty happy and so is she (no cones or donuts or bandages!). We still have no idea what triggers it but at least her episodes are very light compared to her past. We almost have the food situation figured out. Kyber, our tripod piggy, is on her own timed feeder. Sugar is going to be put on a chipped-feeder once its on a good sale. =) Cinn gets her special food up on a windowsill since Sugar is the one that really wants it but won’t climb, and Kyber won’t touch it.

  2. And UPDATE!

    As of last week Cinnamon is NAKED. =) NO gear or anything!

    A month or so ago we took her back in to check her out since things were just escalating with her licking despite the all the gear. I could not focus on ANYTHING else but her and be worried when I wasn’t home. SO after attempting to contact her allergist.. who only seems to reply once a week. WHICH BTW is NOT convenient when you kinda can’t wait and need details/specifics of what was recommended because your vet is out of their own ideas…./sigh.

    Anyway.. with lack of response from her allergist I asked our vet, who has dealt with her from the beginning (she’s well-known at the office lol), which other steroid might we try on her and that a food called Ultamino was recommended.

    She’s currently on dexamethasone and the Ultamino food. Nothing else except a half a dose of probiotics (we give it to all our kitties). So far so good! We are hopeful.. but not 100% hopeful due to her history. But we will keep on this combo for as long as its working. =)

  3. Contacted the allergist who said there was a drug study going on that she would be good for. Unfortunately, It’s for a limited time and we are going away for a long vacation during it so that won’t work.
    Per her suggestion we are trying 1/2 tab of Zyrtec once a day for 2 weeks. (Started Friday).
    Current regime is:
    – 1/2 dose of zyrtec once a day (mixed in her wet food)
    – Half dose of probiotic (mixed in her wet food)
    – Hills Sensitive Skin & Stomach dry and wet food. Dry food = 25g 2x a day.
    – A bath every Monday until we can get her scabby areas cleaned up and fur mostly back.

    Current gear is:
    – Large donut
    – Cone
    – Pjs
    – Bandaged lower leg/foot as even in all her gear she can still get to them.

    Oh! and she somehow popped her donut so now we need to get another and I think I’ll see what other options there are for cones.

  4. Switching the drinking water to distilled. Considering starting the switch to the Nature’s Variety rabbit cat food, but will go to to the end of July with the turkey.

    We had to cone her today as she is (somehow) getting her back legs out of her tighter PJs. /Sigh.

  5. Today we took her in to the vet as she was just not leaving her legs alone if she could figure out a way to access them (with larger donut and all!). Got a shot of Depo (steroid) in hopes we can calm her down long enough to see what else we can do. We also ordered hemp treats for pets to give it a try (we’ll try anything lol). There’s another drug meant for dogs that our vet is looking into to see if we can try it on Cinnamon.

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