A couple have come up with an innovative solution to stop their cat from licking its wounds.
Proving that feline fancy dress isn’t just for Halloween, Giovanna D’Annunzio and her husband, Ryan, have been experimenting with food-related attire for their tabby Luca.
In a post shared to Facebook‘s “This Cat is CHONKY” group, 9-year-old Luca can be seen dressed up as avocado and toast, thanks to some plush neckwear. Ordered from Amazon, the outfit has won him new fans and almost 3,000 likes since being posted on November 9.
What is FIV?
D’Annunzio told Newsweek that Luca has been struggling with lesions due to testing positive for FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus). FIV is a common infectious disease that attacks the immune system, leaving affected cats at a higher risk of other infections.
Symptoms may not show up for a long time, but their compromised immune system means that usually mild conditions can develop into serious illnesses. Although there is no cure, infected cats can live long lives if precautions—such as keeping cats indoors—are taken.
In Luca’s case, he was infected in the womb. D’Annunzio got Luca as a kitten, free with a $20 purchase of cat supplies from a pet store in Salisbury, Maryland, in 2013. Kittens are regularly dropped off at the store, and the promotion was a way to find them homes.
“My three college roommates and I were all supposed to get one kitten to share, but on the way there, we all decided to get our own kittens,” D’Annunzio said. “We all got one from the same litter.”
Unfortunately, Luca’s recurring skin lesions, known as “eosinophilic plaques“, appear as oval, often ulcerated, marks.
“They can be triggered by allergies or bug bites, and they cause him to be really itchy, so he doesn’t stop scratching or licking, which of course makes them worse,” D’Annunzio said.
“I have taken him to the vet several times about them, with the last time being in late September, so I have been trying to treat it at home with the remaining medicated cleaning solution they gave me, but he’s been pretty relentless, so it’s looking like I’ll need to take him back again,” she added.
Besides FIV, there are a number of reasons that your cat might be overgrooming, from skin conditions such as dermatitis to stress and anxiety.
‘He’s Definitely Plotting Your Death’
Initially, Luca wore a cone to stop him from licking his wounds, but he struggled to get around while wearing it.
“We have a small cat door to his litter box and the cone was too restrictive for him to get in and out, made it hard for him to eat and drink, and he can’t be trusted without it on so I decided to look for soft-cone replacements,” D’Annunzio said.
“I was scrolling Amazon and looking at all the different kinds and found the toast, which made me laugh hysterically. Then I came across an avocado-and-toast 2-pack that was too good to pass up.”
Luca is still wearing his avocado and toast get-up most of the time, but, as soon as D’Annunzio removes them, he starts licking his lesions again.
“He seems to aggravate his chin back to the point where it is not healing well again,” she said. “He has learned how to get them off using the cat door, so it’s been hard to get his chin to heal.”
D’Annunzio added: “His stomach is looking a lot better now, but his chin is still having issues, so I’ve had to keep a watch on him to make sure he doesn’t take them off to gain access to his chin again.”
Commenters couldn’t get enough of Luca’s outfit, with user Faqihah Radzi calling pillow collars “one of the greatest inventions on this planet.”
“I never knew about these but love them!” commented Cody Miller.
“He was a cute toast but is an even cuter avocado!” wrote Barbara Kronick, while Ashley Roberts commented: “Absolutely precious though – he’s definitely plotting your death.”
D’Annunzio isn’t the only one to ditch the cone for more innovative solutions. A cat called Pepé—who has acute dermatitis—went viral in February 2022, after his owner crocheted him a “cat-igan” to stop him licking his wounds.
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