Cats

What are the causes of itching in cats??

Itching in cats is one of the most annoying problems

itching in catsWhy do cats scratch themselves more than usual? itching in cats

Itching in cats is completely normal behavior – often cats scratch themselves from time to time. However, always make an appointment with your veterinarian if your cat seems to be scratching itself more than usual, since itchy skin causes a lot of discomfort to cats and should not be ignored. There is nothing more frustrating than seeing your pet scratching himself a lot and you have nothing to do to him, knowing that he is uncomfortable and very upset

You can notice this on your cat, but if you don’t notice, your first clue might be the disappearance of your cat’s fur, often in the form of strips along its back or abdomen. Let’s talk about some things that you and your vet can do to help

Why do cats scratch themselves?

If your cat feels uncomfortable with her skin, she will automatically try to reduce irritation by scratching herself. However, it is also possible for the cat to groom that part of its skin as another way to relieve itching. Their rough tongue can “scratch” or rub their skin easily, and licking is a way to clean the area of any possible irritants. Certainly, frequent or violent scratching or itching in cats causes the cats to suffer from something that cannot be easily eliminated.

Signs of itching in cats:

Cats scratch themselves or lick the affected part in private or out of sight. Watch these symptoms to make sure any scratches are detected. Some signs of itching include the following:

  • Scratch (more than 4-5 times a day and / or more than a few seconds at a time)
  • Lick or bite off a lot
  • redness of the skin, ulcers, or rash
  • Cat fur color change – usually brown or pink due to excessive licking
  • Bald spots (alopecia areata) or the appearance of a thin, patchy layer of skin
  • Infectious dermatitis (flaky skin or scaly skin that you usually feel when your cat gets itchy)
  • Always scratching or licking the same part of the body
  • Pain when scratching

Causes of itching in cats:itching in cats

Itching in cats has many causes and, in many times, it is difficult to find the difference between them

Among the most important causes of itching in cats: 

1- A cat’s flea is one of the first causes of itching in cats:

  • The easiest problem is the flea problem, where you will notice fleas around the cat’s neck, back, or around the tail, causing the cats scratch themselves repeatedly.
  • If you cannot find the flea, you may find its droppings …. It is preferable then to consult a veterinarian.
  • The veterinarian will direct you towards the most appropriate treatment for the condition, according to age, weight and health status.
  • In the case of other cats in the house, it is preferable to undergo treatment or preventive doses, while cleaning the house to get rid of fleas for good.

2- Scabies:

  • Another common insect causing itching in cats is scabies.
  • Where the infection is caused by leaving the house and contacting other cats suffering from scabies.
  • The treatment will be some anti-insect medication after consulting the vet and it is possible to use a sulfa treatment bath

3- itching in catsear mites:

  • Very small parasites that live deep inside the ear canal and cause itching in cats severely.
  • It is most common in kittens or cats with immune deficiency.
  • Cats scratch themselves in their ears or head, then the cause is ear mites, and ear mites must be diagnosed with a suitable veterinary endoscopy examination by the vet, and often requires treatment with medical ear drops

4- Ringworm:

  • Cats can become infected with ringworm, which is not actually a worm but rather a fungus that causes baldness in cats’ hair in small areas of the skin in a circular shape with red spots with appearing itching in cats with severe or white crust ferry on the surface of the skin
  • These lesions sometimes go away on their own, but it is usually best to seek treatment with an antifungal shampoo and medication. Neglecting ringworm can lead to a secondary bacterial infection as well
  • Ringworm can be killed by repeatedly soaking the area with iodine-based products such as Betadine – but Betadine should be diluted in a ratio of 1: 5 with water before applying it to your cat’s skin
  •  The vet will perform a full examination, recommend some tests and prescribe antibiotics or antifungals to treat the infection if necessary

5- Malnutrition:

  • If your cat’s diet does not meet all its nutritional requirements, this may lead to a poor skin layer which can cause itching in turn.
  • For example, if their diet does not include the right mix of omega-3 fatty acids and other vitamins to help their skin retain moisture and strengthen and keep the role of the skin as a barrier to irritating substances, the skin may dry out, fall out, and lead to itching in cats.

What is the appropriate food for cats??

Four small kittens eat a milk porridge

6-Food allergy:

  • Food allergy is one of the most important causes of itching in cats, which appear in the form of scales on the skin and hair fall in the neck and face, but this does not prevent their presence in other areas.
  • Contrary to the norm, food allergies do not have to infect a cat when changing the type of food immediately. Some allergens require time for symptoms to begin or to appear.
  • The most allergens are meat and dairy products, while corn, flour, chicken and eggs come in the last list of allergens.
  • Unfortunately, there are no laboratory analyzes that confirm food allergy. However, the existing ones are very expensive and require a long time.
  • Therefore, trying a new type of food for a period of 8-10 weeks, noticing itching and hair loss.
  • Some cats improve within 3-4 weeks, but it is preferred that we complete the experiment for 8-10 weeks so that we can properly judge.
  • Therefore, it is preferable to exclude any pathogen before thinking about the sensitivity of food to the cat, as in many times cats do not accept the idea of ​​changing the type of food
  • It is possible to try a second solution, which is the use of medical food intended for allergic states, which is the source of allergens.

7-Seasonal allergies are another cause of itching in cats:

  • Allergies due to environmental or seasonal conditions usually start with the cat from a young age and are seasonal, such as the one that reappears with each spring.
  • Unfortunately, by time, symptoms are worse and may persist throughout the year.
  • The most important organ affected by seasonal allergies is the skin, unlike humans, as the first organ affected by it is the respiratory system.
  •  Seasonal allergies are a chronic disease and require frequent treatment
  • Many areas of the skin are affected, which makes the diagnosis with some difficulty … Here are some signs that may mean that environmental factors are the cause:
  1. There are no insects on the cat and the cat’s diet has not been changed.
  2. Cats scratch themselves unprecedentedly – they rub suddenly after returning from the garden, for example
  3. You recently changed something at home – new scented candles, washing powder or cleaning products.
  4. It is wintertime, heating is very high at home
  • The veterinarian may often be advised to use cortisone and the dose is given either orally daily or injections every 6-8 weeks.
  • Always prefer daily doses because they are less in terms of the amount of dose and less in their side effects, but this is difficult in most cases in practical terms to catch the cat daily to take the drug
  • Cortisone can be replaced by another compound, cyclosporine, which is more expensive, but its side effects are less as long-term treatment with cortisone poses risks such as diabetes in cats.
  • The vet will best determine your cat’s most appropriate treatment schedule.
  • Diagnosing dermatological problems in cats is not always easy, as it needs patience because you will become a frequent visitor to the veterinary clinic and try out many treatments in order to be able to reach the diagnosis and then the proper treatment. 
  • Symptomatic treatment may take weeks to months and a long period of care in order to keep the causes of itching in cats under control.

8-Dry skin:

  • Dry winter air or food deficiency can contribute to dry and scaly skin, causing your cat to start licking or cats scratch themselves in search of comfort.

Dehydration in cats & treatment

9-Boredom, anxiety, or behavior disorder:

  • Itchy behaviors often develop, or the cats scratch themselves when it is bored, stressed, or anxious.
  • These psychological disorders are more likely to occur in cats raised indoors, which may be caused by the fact that they receive less exercise and entertainment than cats living in the open air or outdoor.
  • Behavioral disorders often begin in cats when there are changes in the cat’s environment, including a new animal or new child at home or a move to a new location.
  • Also, disorder behavior may continue in response to a new health problem in cats
  • Here’s how to find out if psychological factors cause a cat itch:
  1. Does your cat now spend more (or less) time alone?
  2. Has a new family member like a baby been added?
  3. Has something changed recently – is your routine different?
  4. Did your neighbors recently get a new pet?
  5. The occurrence of family gatherings, such as holidays and events

How can I prevent cats from scratching themselves?

Eliminate parasites:

  • Since it may be difficult to diagnose flea infestation in cats, some veterinarians recommend trying reliable flea control products purchased from a veterinary office.
  • Also, treating mites or other parasites, if infected, can eliminate cat disturbance and the appearance of behaviors that cause itching in cats.

Changing the food system:itching in cats

  • Placing cats that show itching in cats on a diet for 6-week is a good way to find out if food allergies are the problem. You may need to try several diets before you find an appropriate diet
  • You should not provide any other foods or meals while trying to exclude food allergens
  • Veterinarians may also prescribe the addition of some fatty acids or other supplements if dry skin is the cause of itching in cats or that the cats scratch themselves continuously

Use of the medicine:itching in cats

  • Depending on how damaged your cat’s skin is due to licking, chewing or scratching itself, your vet may prescribe the use of steroids, antihistamines, and antibiotics.
  • In addition, some cat behavior caused by psychological factors can be treated with clomipramine, an anti-anxiety drug, or amitriptyline, which helps to combat anxiety and also acts as an antihistamine

Treat anxiety or boredom:itching in cats

  • If you and your vet determine that there is no physical cause for your pet’s behavior, there are things that you can do to improve the cat’s psychological state.
  • It is important to ensure that your cat feels safe, loved and comfortable in your home, as is the case for providing enough stimulation and exercise.
  • Counterconditioning, by training your cat to bind something fun to something it is afraid of, such as adding a cat or other pet to the home. However, there is always a risk that the second cat will put new stress on your pet’s environment which can make the behavior of itching in cats worse.
  • Be careful to take small steps if you try this in order not to confuse your cat and not lead to increased licking or biting behavior or cats scratch themselves Aggression Between Cats in Your House

Resources: 

https://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/lhuston/2013/april/itchiness-in-cats-30052

https://www.pdsa.org.uk/taking-care-of-your-pet/pet-health-hub/symptoms/itchy-skin-in-cats

https://pets.webmd.com/cats/guide/cats-and-compulsive-scratching-licking-and-chewing#1

https://www.royalcanin.com/us/cats/health-and-wellbeing/why-does-my-cat-have-itchy-skin

https://www.petcircle.com.au/discover/causes-of-itching-in-cats#ringworm

https://www.lintbells.com/blogs/blog/is-your-cat-itchy-signs-causes-and-solutions-explored

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