Puck Visits the Vet… Again

Puck’s last vet visit left us with some hope. We went to a new place called The Animal & Bird Medical Center of Palm Harbor for Puck’s over-grooming problem. The vet put him on a limited ingredient diet and didn’t push the steroids and antibiotics that most vets use to solve all problems that cats have. He did suggest antibiotics as an option but did not push it. He also suggested a Feliway diffuser to help with Puck’s stress, which we bought and plugged in between the Catio and living room.

Unfortunately, after giving the diet and Feliway a good amount of time to work, we saw little improvement. I then tried changing their water and gave them bottled spring water. Puck seemed to improve slightly after that but then got worse again. I hesitated to bring him back to the vet for fear that they would use the nuclear option of steroids and antibiotics but I had to do something so I made an appointment for last Saturday.

My wife went with us this time and just as we were ready to put Puck in his cat carrier, Frankie went inside of it and I couldn’t get him out. I tried reaching in and pushing but that didn’t work. I then picked up the carrier and turned it so the opening was facing the floor but Frankie held on like he was Spidercat. I finally had to shake it to convince him that maybe there were better places to nap.

Puck was good and didn’t cry one time on the way to the vet but when the vet tech needed to get him out of the carrier he decided to apply the lessons he learned from Frankie and made it very difficult for her.

IMG_20160423_103135 IMG_20160423_104040 IMG_20160423_104057

After the vet tech left, Puck just stayed where he was. If that was Chris, he would be exploring the exam room.


We saw Dr. Murphy, the owner of the clinic. Dr. Murphy had a lot of good reviews when I was originally looking for a new vet and I noticed he was trained in traditional and holistic medicine, which is what I was looking for. Puck saw another vet the first time we came but I wasn’t disappointed. He seemed to know what he was doing.

The Doctor ran a flea comb through what was left of Puck’s fur and found no sign of the little buggers but he still suspected fleas might be the culprit. I have not been a fan of putting poison on the cats and even bought a container of Diatomaceous Earth, which is a natural, edible product that kills fleas, to spread around their napping areas. Rose is more concerned about effectiveness and has insisted we treat our cats with Advantage for several months now. That started when Frankie escaped and came home with a flea.

We told the vet we were using Advantage and he said it no longer works in our county because the fleas have become resistant to it. Later he said that it doesn’t work in the entire state of Florida. That was a shock because it is very expensive. It’s $58 for six treatments on Amazon but we were buying it locally at Petsmart and paying around $80 or so, with the two pack being much more per dosage. A lot of money for a product that doesn’t work.

He said Revolution works 90% of the time and it has the added benefit of preventing heartworm. He seemed to think it is very safe for the cat. He also recommended another product that was even better but only controlled fleas. That product was called Activyl.

In the end, Puck ended up getting a shot of Steroids and antibiotics. I think I should find a supply of steroids and antibiotics and start treating cats in the neighborhood for a fee because that is always the solution. Do you think I’d get in trouble? Actually, the vet was very nice and really seemed to care so I need to trust that he knows what he is doing.

We also got a tube o Activyl for each of the cats and the doctor put it on Puck. He said he wanted us to use that for six months and by then we should know if fleas are Puck’s problem. After six months, he recommended we switch to Revolution for the added heartworm protection.

Rose was also convinced she saw tiny black spots on Chris and Frankie’s tails, indicating fleas were there, even though there were no fleas found on any of the cats. Nevertheless, she also had them add a shampoo to our bill which ended up to be about $230.

When we got home, Chris and Frankie were more interested in Puck’s carrier then they were in Puck.


It wasn’t long before they forgot about that because Rose decided to wash their tails and backside. Chris was first and he was miserable to deal with. He spent the entire time growling, hissing and crying while he struggled to get free.


He then went into the living room to groom himself. Frankie was very curious what happened to him but he soon found out. At least Frankie was a little better behaved than Chris.


It wasn’t long before Frankie was in the living room grooming himself too.


I sure hope this works for Puck because I don’t know what else we can do.


23 thoughts on “Puck Visits the Vet… Again

  1. elizabetcetera

    I’m sorry that Puckie, Rosé and you are having to go through this with your black little sweeie pie. I have given Revolution to several cats over the years with great results. I have found both Feliway and Advantage to be worthless.

    When I got my lovely black cat he was an overgroomer at the top part base of his tail. I put Vaseline on that area and he stopped overgrooming that area. The hair finally grew back in.

    We also changed his diet to completely grain-free canned food when we don’t make our own food.. I have read on some cat sites that fish products can exacerbate skin sensitivities and allergies. We follow the raw chicken thighs and chicken heart diet by Dr. Lisa Pierson. I’d send the link to you but don’t know how since I’ve just started using WordPress from my smartphone. Sorry.

    Surprisingly making a fresh diet isn’t hard. All the ingredients are human grade and we have a dedicated food processor we bought cheaply online. My husband cuts the meat and I do all the rest, we can do the process in just over one hour and the food lasts almost 10 days. We do mix in canned food we order online to stretch the food and the online cans are from Chewy.com — much cheaper than Petco/Petsmart. We do NOT use the bone grinder Dr. Lisa Pierson recommends, but instead the bone meal powder as her other alternative.

    Both cats LOVE the food and I can give you more tips should you be interested in making your own food. I never thought I would become “that” cat lady who makes her kitties food! It’s also cheaper too! We have been doing it for over 3 years with no problems except the one time I added in pumpkin and the furbabies balked at my addition.

    I keep my cat indoors, but do let him into a screened in porch but not when cedar, oak or ragweed allergies are high.

    We use unscented clumping litter — no perfumes.

    I also find that dried catnip every so often helps to calm my once over grooming cat down. I wish you the best of luck Cat Daddy and hope ol’ Puckie finds some things that help him!!! I can tell you truly love and care for your little friends! 🙂

    All my best, Elizabetcetera ❤

    1. Charles Huss Post author

      Thank you for that great reply. I have been wanting to get a meat grinder and make my own raw food but I can’t seem to find a local market that sells high quality organic meats and I don’t want to risk feeding raw meet to our cats that come from an industrial farm. here is an article I wrote two years ago about the subject. Things have changed a little since then but I still need to get off my butt and make a change. I will look into Dr. Lisa Pierson.


      Notice I used the https:// to create the link?

  2. Espirational

    I feel for you. We’ve just been through a year of Callie being sick, over grooming and just not being herself after getting out of the house without us noticing and getting lost. The vet finally decided it was fleas and said some cats are actually allergic to flea bites. She showed us fleas on Callie, but we had not been able to see them before. She suggested a high dollar flea collar — we got it for about half price on Amazon. She wanted to do steroid shots because Callie had lost a lot of hair, but couldn’t because she got her yearly vaccinations that day. The collar did the trick and now her fur is back in and she has stopped the licking/scratching and also the vomiting. I feel bad that it took us so long to find the answer, but am so glad we finally did. Hope you find answers for Puck.

  3. pilch92

    Poor Puck has been tortured a lot lately. I hope these treatments work and it doesn’t start over when they are done. Our cat Prancie chews all the fur off her belly and back legs, we give her kid’s Benadryl and it helps, but she drools the medicine all over because it tastes bad. You could ask about using that if the problem comes back.

    1. Charles Huss Post author

      Thank you. I understand using benadryl to give relief to your cat but I worry that long term use of ANY medication will be worse than the original problem in the long run. Addressing the root cause of a problem is difficult because doctors and vets are mostly trained in what drug to use for what condition, which is almost always steroids and antibiotics.

  4. rumpydog

    Even though JuneBuggie does not go outside, he has managed to pick up fleas thanks to Rumpy and me. I have had good results with Revolution. My mom’s cat has problem with flea allergies and she alternates products at her vet’s advice.

  5. kittiesblue

    If the vet and you are not certain this is a flea problem, Mom suggests trying a calming collar. They have worked for us with the over-grooming situation. Sorry the Advantage no longer works in your area. We have used that successfully for years. Good luck to Puck. We sure feel badly for him. XOCK, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo

  6. onespoiledcat

    Poor Puck and Poor You! It’s so frustrating to see our kids with problems and the process of trying to figure it all out can be so overwhelming. It sounds like you’re doing everything humanly possible though to solve the mystery of what’s up with Puck – maybe it is flea allergy and the Advantage just wasn’t doing anything to help……..Hopefully you’ll get things figured out with the help of your caring vet. I know how miserable it is from the human’s point of view feeling so helpless but imagine it’s quite miserable for our cats too!


  7. The Island Cats

    We hope this works for Puck, though we wonder why he gave him the steroid and antibiotics if he thought it was fleas. Wouldn’t you try just the flea medication first and see if it helped?


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