Even the most fastidious feline can become a little itchy from time to time. But why do cats get itchy, can how can we soothe irritating itches and ease the urge to scratch?
Our pets can’t really speak up when something’s not quite right. So how can you tell if your cat has dry, niggly, itchy skin? There are lots of signs to keep an eye out for...
There are six tell-tale symptoms that your cat’s itchiness is something that needs addressing. Keep a look out for:
There are lots of reasons your cat might be feeling a bit itchy, but we’ll start with the most common ones, then explore how you can help your cat feel more comfortable in their skin.
Itchy invaders like fleas, ticks and mites tend to be the most common reason for itchy skin in cats. Modern, centrally-heated homes mean that fleas can be a problem all year round, even when it’s not ‘flea season’. Symptoms to look out for include:
Cat’s Protection League produces a great guide to all the different pests cats can pick up – read it here, and scroll on for advice.
When it comes to pesky pets like fleas, prevention is always better than cure. It’s a good idea to use a high-quality spot-on treatment every 4-6 weeks, all year round.
Even if you can’t see fleas, an infestation can happen quickly, so take steps to keep these itchy biters away. If it’s too late, and fleas have already taken hold, you can read our guide to getting rid of fleas here.
Some cat foods don’t contain everything every cat needs to stay in tip-top form. Some cats have dietary allergies (meaning they can’t eat certain foods) whilst all need plenty of ‘good fats’ to keep their skin supple, healthy and moisturised. It’s tricky to spot if diet may be making them itchy, but some pointers include:
A food allergy – your vet will be able to give you advice on testing for this.
Talk to your vet about hypoallergenic foods or do your research online. Then gradually change your cat’s diet and see if it’s sayonara scratching!
Don’t forget that treats can cause reactions too, so whilst you’re working out what might be the cause of the itch, don’t feed treats that aren’t 100% natural (dried fish skins are a purrfect choice!)
This covers environmental irritants and things like central heating. We tend to keep our homes very warm and dry, which can dry out human and feline skin. It’s easy for us to slather on some moisturiser but not so easy for our furry friends. Cats can also be sensitive to chemicals; from washing powder and cleaning products to the anti-cat spray your neighbours might be using around their garden!
Here are some signs that may mean environmental factors are the cause:
You’ve moved your cat’s bed somewhere very warm and dry to keep them snug as the weather is chilly.
If you think your cat is itching due to environmental factors, the first treatment is to enrich its environment. This can help cats who groom because they’re stressed or bored. There are lots of reasons cats can be stressed including changes to routine, having to share resources with other cats, or being lonely if they are left alone for much of the day. Work on the causes where possible, and in the meantime give them a happier home by:
Everyone knows that cats are clean creatures who like to groom themselves. But did you know that they also like to groom as a calming mechanism? The action of ‘washing’ feels really soothing to them. However, too much grooming can lead to itchy skin and patches of fur loss and this can be a sign that your cat isn’t very happy. They also sometimes groom because they’re bored.
Here’s how to tell if psychological factors are causing your cat’s itching:
Are they an indoor-only cat in a smaller home? Do they have enough to do to keep themselves entertained if you leave them home alone?
Have a think - what have you changed recently? It may be that your cat is feeling itchy because you’ve opted for a fragranced washing powder, changed your bathroom or floor cleaner, or spritzed the sofa with an odour destroying spray.
If you have made a change recently, revert to your old product routine if you can, and with a little luck, your kitty will be thanking you with lots of purrs and less scratching. It can also be helpful to support the skin barrier with a supplement like YuMEGA Cat too.
There are many medical reasons your cat might have itchy skin. This can range from simple infectious things like ringworm that can be easily treated to more complex causes. It can also include trauma if your cat gets in a fight with another feline, through to sun damage and inconsistencies with the way your cat’s skin forms. Lots of washing can even be a sign that your cat is in pain, so if the itching doesn’t seem to be covered by pest, environmental, psychological or dietary factors, it’s best to talk to your vet.
If your cat is itchy and you can’t work out why, it can be an early sign that something more serious isn’t right. A trip to the vets will help to pinpoint what’s happening, and help your feline friend feel on top form again.
Even if your cat is getting some of this nutrition in their diet, providing a supplement with a specially balanced combination of the right natural oils helps to support their skin and coat condition from within.
A great way to further soothe itchy skin caused by allergies and environmental factors is to build up the skin’s natural barrier with a supplement like YuMEGA Cat.
Dry skin affects cats in a similar way to people – if the moisture barrier isn’t well looked after and regularly topped up, it can lead to dry skin, itchiness and flaking. Your cat can’t rub in some soothing body lotion, but you can add moisture from the inside out. By providing Omega 6 oil and Linoleic acid you can help maintain your cat’s skin natural moisture barrier from within.
We hope you’ve found our top tips for itchy cat skin useful, and it’s helped you to understand why your cat is itchy and how to help. We’d love to meet your cat on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – so if you’ve got some kitty pics and videos to share, you’ll make our day!
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