OK, so I brought my baby Pancho to the vet this morning. He's a cat who is a 15 year-old Ocicat. He's silver-gray with black spots and he's my absolute love. I've had him for over 8 years and I adopted him when he was 6 or 7 from a local shelter in Chicago. He's moved twice with me. There's almost nothing I wouldn't do for my baby. Well, he's had red, inflamed, ears lately. He's been scratching to the point of making himself bleed. Also he licks his fur off on his lower belly to the point where he can get himself bald down there. So, I thought that maybe he had an ear infection. I thought that the belly-licking was neurotic behavior (from what I've read on the internet). It turns out he's allergic to his food. Damn! That means that he needs the expensive hypo-allergenic food that the vet sells at $19 for a 4lb. bag. I've already been feeding him the more expensive Wellness wet food and the Purina high protein dry food for stomach and skin sensitivity which are both a little more expensive. He used to be chubby like his Daddy. Now he's what the vet would consider a "perfect" weight. The vet did assure me that his belly-licking behavior is neurotic behavior. LOL! That so figures... Me, a psychotherapist with a neurotic cat. Anyway, I feel so bad for him because I can tell that his ears itch terribly and there's nothing that can be done to make him feel better faster unless we gave him steriods. Steroids aren't a good idea for an oldish cat like him. So this vet is going to be treating him conservatively with new food. The vet said it would take 3-4 months before we would know if the food is working. Damn, that's a long time to be uncomfortable. I use a special gel on his ears to soothe them and that seems to help for a while even though he usually gives me dirty looks for ten minutes after I've applied the gel. LOL Also, my cat is the biggest sweetheart at home. He never growls or hisses at me or my (his) guests. However when he goes to the vet, he becomes another cat. He's vicious. He growls, he hisses, and he tries to bite everyone except me. He's very strong even though he's getting old. He's very energetic and agile still and can squirm his way out of the vet's hands and attack! Yes, you read right, he can attack the vet! The vet seems to understand and smiles even as my cat goes ape-shit on him. And he's got AGGRESSIVE stamped in giant red letters on his file at the vet's. You can definitely see that cats can be very dangerous creatures when you watch my cat at the vet. Well, so who else loves their animal babies here? Oh and he has to eat the Veterinarian Version of Hills Science Diet Z/D. Does anyone know of any cheaper equivelants to this food? Then again the vet warned me that if he had any other food over the next 3 to 4 months we wouldn't know whether or not changing his food will work because it takes that long for the skin to grow back.