Scratching is perfectly normal behavior for cats and there usually isn’t any cause for concern if your cat has a little itch every now and then. However, aggressive or excessive scratching and biting at the fur or skin might be worth investigating. If your cat appears to be itchier than normal, for example, if they are scratching a lot throughout the day or scratch for longer periods of time, it might be worth having a word with your vet. Itchy skin can be very uncomfortable for cats and shouldn’t be ignored. Here are some common causes of itchy skin in cats and what you can do about it.
Fleas are one of the most common causes of itchiness in cats and if you suspect that your cat has fleas, it’s best to deal with the problem sooner rather than later. Fleas can be really difficult to get rid of and they don’t just stop at cats; eventually, you’re going to be itching too. They can get in your bed, your couch and even on your carpet and clothes. You will be able to get a tablet or a spot-on treatment from your vet to kill any fleas and flea eggs in your cat’s fur. Be sure to go to the vet as many of the flea prevention spot-on treatments that you can get from supermarkets don’t work to kill a flea infestation. You will also need to fumigate any rooms in your home where your cat has been; a pest control company can do this for you or you can buy fumigators to use.
If you’re sure it’s not fleas, then another very common cause of itchy skin in cats is an allergy to their food. If you have recently changed your cat’s food, or the recipe has changed for the one that you normally give them, this could be the culprit. You should see your vet and rule out any other causes of skin itching; they will also recommend an exclusion diet for at least twelve weeks to help you determine what it is that your cat is allergic to. In the meantime, you can try these home remedies for cats with itchy skin to help soothe the itch and make sure that your cat is comfortable.
Fungal infections of the skin like ringworm can also lead to itchiness in cats. It is very contagious and easily spread, so if you suspect that your cat has ringworm, they should be treated immediately at the vet and isolated from any other pets. Your vet may prescribe an anti-fungal shampoo to use to help kill the ringworm, but bear in mind that this can take several weeks to work and you will likely need to use it a few times. Vulnerable cats such as older cats or cats with preexisting health conditions tend to be at a higher risk of catching ringworm.
Most of the time, itching is completely normal for cats and nothing to worry about. But if your cat appears to be uncomfortable or is itching more often, rule out these common causes.