Why is My Cat Itching So Much?
Cats in general are pretty into preening and cleaning. Sometimes, though, an innocent scratch turns into more. If you are wondering why your cat is itching so much all of the sudden, Cat Care of Vinings may just have your answer.
Cats do groom themselves and may use their paws to fastidiously clean in places that they can’t reach with their tongue (ears anyone?). Not all cat itching is normal, though. So how is a pet owner to know if their cat is itching too much?
It is likely not normal itching and scratching if:
- Your cat is scratching more than occasionally
- You notice patches of hair loss or very increased shedding
- The skin looks red, irritated, or otherwise abnormal
- Your cat seems distressed
- You cannot distract your cat from itching
You spend more time with your cat than anyone. If you are noticing a change in behavior, it is usually best to assume that something is going on.
The Reasons Behind Cat Itching
When your cat is losing hair or causing self harm, the itching has gone too far. Pruritus, the medical term for cat itching, is often a symptom of something else.
The reasons cat itching occurs can often be divided into a few categories. These include:
- Allergic—In humans, allergies often equal a stuffy nose, watery eyes, and sinus pressure. In pets, allergies often manifest as pruritus. Environmental allergens like pollen or dust, food allergies, and even allergies to flea bites can be to blame for cat itching. Contact allergies are also an occasional culprit.
- Parasitic—The feline skin coat can be a host environment for parasites like fleas, lice, or mites. These unwelcome ectoparasites often cause itching.
- Infectious—Overgrowth or imbalance of normal skin flora like bacteria or yeast can lead to itching. Fungal infections such as ringworm can also cause skin problems.
- Other diagnoses—When some of the more common causes of itching have been ruled out, some of the more unusual diagnoses might be considered. Genetic disorders, behavioral issues, auto-immune diseases, and even cancer can cause itching.
If you have an itchy cat, you might choose to try a bath with a hypoallergenic shampoo and/or applying a dose of recommended flea prevention (don’t forget to check the label to better understand when you can apply before or after a bath!).
If that doesn’t seem to do the trick, though, it is probably time to contact us for an appointment. We can help to arrive at a diagnosis and prescribe medications and treatments to get your kitty some relief fast.
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