When Your Maine Coon Has Allergies

For those who know Matthew Lucifer, they know he is a very unusual cat.  Actually, he is just not a normal cat at all.  He is highly intelligent and understands everything.  He also knows how to communicate what he wants very effectively. We’ve been through some stuff, including dealing with Maine Coon allergies. Here’s what happened. Scroll to the 2023 Update at the bottom of this page, if you want to learn more about what we learned from Matthew’s allergies.

Surita’s Passing

Back in August 2018, I made the difficult decision to help Surita die.  She was 21 years old.  When I told Matthew it was time to let Surita die, he became so upset.  She was in the kitchen at the time.  He ran up to her, collapsed in front of her and started crying.  I was so worried he was going to tell her.  I wanted her last week of life to be a happy one.

Those two never got along.  Surita hated him, but he loved her.  

He wanted to be there when we euthanized her, but Surita did not want him there.  I didn’t want her to go into death seeing Matthew staring back at her, so I kicked Matthew out of the apartment.


He cried on the other side of the door wanting back in.  That is unusual for him, because when he goes out into the hall, he runs around.  This time, he wanted to be there for her.  

I held her until I felt her spirit leave.  After she had passed, I let Matthew back in.  He sat down next to her, checking out the two strangers in his home.  Then we motioned to Surita and he looked down.

He said a few words, kissed her and walked away.  I asked him, “Is that all you are going to say to her?”  He responded in the affirmative.

They boxed her up and took her away.  My baby girl.  

He was depressed for a month.

Letting Surita go was very difficult for me. I think I struggled with if I made the right decision. I realized during that last week that she was asking me to help her die. She was in a lot of pain. I miss my baby girl.

These two never got along.  This is what happened when we received a Kitnip Box.  Matthew wants everything in the box.  Surita just wants the treats and maybe one toy.  All of the rest belongs to him.  And yet, that one toy I would give to Surita, he would manage to steal it back and that would be the only toy he would play with out of the entire box.  Christmas was no different.  He only wanted her gifts.

The Bloody Mouth

So Matthew Lucifer had a medical emergency.  He was showing signs something was amiss for some time, but it was hard to figure out if this was something serious.  

Saturday morning, he woke me up.  His kiss was a little wetter than usual and then I saw the blood on his chin.  I got out of bed to wash the blood off of my face.  When I turned to check on him, the blood was gone.

The rest of the day was fine. But when he showed up for bed that night, his mouth was bleeding again and it wouldn’t stop.  The animal hospital was closed for the night, so we had to wait until the next morning to call them.

I sat there watching him bathe himself in blood.  I just stared at him in shock and disgust thinking…this is why your middle name is Lucifer.  You bathe yourself in blood and you don’t care.

The bleeding continued after he fell asleep.  He woke me up at 3AM (like he does every night), shook his head and sprayed blood everywhere.  It was so bad, I had to change the sheets.  I started Googling what was wrong and the only thing that came up was that he had gum disease and possibly a bad tooth.  

When we got up a few hours later, his mouth was still bleeding.  I read that I should try cleaning the blood with a cotton swab, so I handed one to him.  He chewed on it like he normally does.  We did this three times and then the bleeding stopped.  

When I called the vet hospital, Matthew sat next to the phone waiting for the receptionist to pick up.  The second she did, he started talking into the phone.  I assume he was telling her what was wrong.  We made an appointment for that afternoon.

I had him take an early nap with me, because I knew this was going to be a long day for him, especially since the doctor visit was during his nap time.

When it was time to go, I put his coat on, made a little blanket cocoon in his stroller, and we walked the mile to the hospital, going farther away from home than he’s ever been.  He actually enjoyed this little adventure.  I could tell he was nervous, but excited.

At the vet’s office, we discovered that Googling at 3AM is not wise.  My baby did not have gum disease.  He was having an allergic reaction.

The vet noticed there were scabs on his back, which I knew were from a mosquito bite.  We had a few flying around a few weeks ago, and I know he started scratching right after we encountered them.  She double checked to make sure it wasn’t fleas and luckily, it wasn’t.  

That bloody mouth of his was all about that mosquito bite.  Add the fact it is allergy season, and he has allergies, it sent his body into a white blood cell tornado frenzy.  His lips were swollen (which I noticed right before his sister died, but couldn’t remember if this was normal for him). 

All of these different allergens were just too much for his body to handle, so that’s why his mouth started bleeding.

Come Monday morning, the doctor says his blood tests were fine, except he had anemia.  He’s three points below what was considered normal.  I asked if this may be because he bled so much the night before.  She replied that is what she thought, but the specialist said it was more likely due to a blood disorder or a parasite or…

I’m thinking, “Doomsday much???”

So we have to go back for more blood tests the day before Thanksgiving.  He has another round of steroid shots in a month.  He also has to take a daily medication (which he ironically likes to take via syringe) for the next 30 days. 

Luckily, he is responding very well to the steroids and medication.  His lips are no longer swollen (the swelling disappeared the next day).  He’s running around with more energy (good sign he is not anemic).  And he stopped scratching.  

Here were the warning signs something was wrong that was very hard to determine if something more serious was going on:

  1. The scratching (he scratched his face, ears and his back).  Scratching is not normal for him.  I could not determine if this was fleas, mites or something else because it was a new spot every time.  
  2. Swollen lips.  He had 2 little open pockets under his upper lip.  I could not remember if this was normal for him or not.  Ends up, it was not normal.
  3. Itchy nose and lips.  He would use his brush to aggressively scratch his nose and lips.
  4. Scabbing on his back (from the mosquito bite).

I am surprised Matthew started bouncing back so quickly.  He loves his medicine.  I explained to him that he needs to eat right after he takes his medicine or his stomach will hurt.  So he eats immediately after each dose. 

With this little guy, communication is very important.

He Brushes His Teeth

He heard the doctor and I talking about brushing his teeth daily and how he likes to brush his teeth himself.  I just have to hold the toothbrush for him. 

Matthew is extremely intelligent.  He understands everything.  Since the conversation about brushing his teeth, he now goes into the bathroom and tries to brush his teeth by himself without my help.

He still hasn’t mastered turning on the faucet yet, so I still need to help him.  

The Baby Gets Spoiled x10

As of right now, I think he likes all of the attention he’s getting.  He likes being told he’s a good boy and he’s doing a good job.  I think he’s taking advantage of all of this attention…you know, worrying the hell out of his Mama.  He is not eating right now because he knows it’s worrying me.  Loss of appetite is not a side effect for what is going on. 

The side effects for his medicine are actually eating more and drinking more fluids.  So I think this whole ‘loss of appetite’ is an attempt to get my attention.  Either way, I’m going to pick up his favorite Friskies (that he’s not had since his sister died, because they don’t sell them in individual size and god forbid the food come from the refrigerator) and Korean fried chicken for dinner tonight.  

When Surita was alive, I would get Korean fried chicken.  I ate the skin and gave the meat to Surita.  Matthew preferred the skin too, so he’d grab an entire piece of chicken from out of the box and go crazy.  He can eat three all by himself.  [He is a sugar fiend, so the sweet fried chicken is cat nip for him.]

So if Friskies and Korean fried chicken do not revamp his appetite, I’m going to have to let the doctor know he’s not eating anything except dry food and a few bites of wet food after his medicine.

Unfortunately, for Matthew, he’s medically grounded from going outside.  I broke the news to him this morning and he looked at me like…you’re telling me the doctor betrayed me?  

He’ll be able to get around that grounding by being confined to seeing the world through his stroller.

2023 Update

When I first published this back in 2018, this was just the beginning of Matthew’s allergies. Ends up, that bloody mouth was due to an allergic reaction to his food (plus, add in being allergic to mosquitoes and fall seasonal allergies). We switched him to a hydrolyzed protein diet, then slowly started adding foods back to see what he was allergic to. Ends up, he’s allergic to processed chicken and turkey, which seems to be the case with many cats and dogs these days.

He’s currently on a vet diet eating only Royal Canin PR and PD, along with Tiny Tiger and Sheba seafood. He gets Thrive Market’s wild caught tuna on Sundays. He also eats whatever I’m eating. He’s not allergic to chicken or turkey, unless it is processed. If you think about it, we have no idea what they are putting in processed foods.

His food may cost more than mine does, and it scares me if Royal Canin can’t get their food into the US (it’s sourced and made in France), but this is the only thing he can eat without turning into a bloody mess.

Another issue that came up for Matthew during this time was a swollen paw. It got worse and worse. It ended up being allergy related. When we moved, it healed within a month. So it is possible that the previous apartment was an environmentally bad place for us to live, as far as his allergies went. Moving someplace more modernized helped him completely.

He hasn’t had any major allergy issues since we moved. He doesn’t need steroid shots anymore. [Long term use of steroids is bad for him.] He’s still running around outside. He still has seasonal allergies in the fall, but luckily, he hasn’t ripped the hair off of his face. During the fall allergy season, every other day, I give him a little bit of local honey harvested from the bees in our area. That seems to help him a lot.

Some tricks I learned when the allergies got really bad: 1) use cornstarch to stop the bleeding (vet suggested this); and 2) use unrefined organic coconut oil on areas where they’re scratching a lot (especially, if there’s a wound there from the scratching). I need to stress that you need to use UNREFINED organic coconut oil. Refined coconut oil has stuff in it that can be potentially harmful to your animal.