The Three Most Common Causes of Cat Itching
Itching, scratching, licking, biting and rubbing up against objects are common issues that cat owners frequently have to deal with. Often, after a closer examination of their cat’s fur and skin cat owners may notice scabs, sores, dandruff and other worrisome signs. For some cats, the itching and scratching can become so bad that thinning hair occurs in some spots and large clumps of shedding hair may be found around the home. Some cats may also lose their usual spunk due to the discomfort they are in.
So what exactly is going on and what can cat owners do to help alleviate their cat’s itchiness? There are actually a number of possible causes. Learn some of the common signs of cat itching and what steps can be taken.
Cat Allergies are quite common in cats and are triggered from contact with a substance that a cat is allergic too. Contact allergies are triggered by direct skin-to-skin contact and one of the most common causes are Cat Fleas and Cat Flea Allergy Dermatitis, or flea bites. Most cats are allergic to flea bites and this allergy can show up in the form of redness, skin crusts, itching and even trigger unpleasant odors. Fleas are active in warm, humid climates and a thorough examination of a cats fur and skin is usually the first step done to figure out the cause of skin itching. It only takes one flea, however, to cause damage and by the time the skin is examined, a grooming obsessed cat may already have eliminated the parasite. Instead, look for bite marks, lesions and other signs of irritation on the tail, rump and hind legs. Maggots, Cat Lice, Cat Chiggers, and even kitty litter may also be the culprit.
Have a cat that tends to chew on her feet or maybe scratches a lot around her face? Then inhalant allergies may be the cause. Inhalant allergies can be caused in cats by simple particles in the air that are breathed in. Some of the most common causes are mold, pollen, tobacco smoke and dust. These allergies also tend to be more severe in the summer months but if untreated they can become a year-round problem.
Though Cat Food Allergies are less common than inhalant and contact allergies they still affect a significant portion of cats. Because of the nature of food allergies, they can affect cats of any age. These allergies can be caused by natural foods such as beef, fish, soy, wheat and dairy products but preservatives, dyes and other synthetic ingredients found in commercial pet food are often the culprit. To eliminate the problem, cat owners can switch to all natural cat food and slowly introduce new foods to their cat’s diet to check for allergies.
A veterinarian can be consulted to determine the exact cause of a cat’s allergies and determine the appropriate treatments. Depending on the severity of the allergies, a veterinarian may suggest giving the cat a very low dosage of an over-the-counter antihistamine for relief from the itching.
For at home treatments a cool sponge bath may be suggested to temporarily help soothe inflamed skin in cats. A veterinarian will typically recommend not rubbing their skin dry with a towel or using a warm blow dryer, both actions can further irritate the skin. Instead, air dry your cat dry or use a blow dryer on the cool setting. Cat owners can also consider adding in oatmeal or salts to the water for additional relief.
There are also many herbal solutions that can either be taken orally or placed on your cat’s skin to help alleviate itching.