Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Cat Scratching And Licking But No Fleas

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Allergies to flea bites are the most common cause but the causes can be varied. Treatment protocols are based on the specific cause that has been determined by your veterinarian. But one thing to remember, when one allergy is present, often there can be others. Therefore your cat may need a combination of treatments.

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It is important to follow the treatment that your veterinarian recommends. Failure to comply can cause your cat to have a relapse and prolong the entire recovery process.

Remember, an itchy cat is not a happy cat and if your cat aint happy, aint nobody happy! So, once the cause is determined, be sure to actively work on preventing it.

Why Does My Cat Lick And Scratch

Cats spend a lot of time grooming themselves, and that’s normal and healthy for them. Their rough, barbed tongues remove loose hair, dirt, and parasites from their skin.

However, sometimes a cat might over-groom, licking too much and irritating themselves. This can result in skin lesions and infections. An overly itchy cat might also scratch with the hind claws at their face, ears, or neck.

Environmental Or Contact Allergies

While not as common as in dogs, environmental or contact allergies may be the cause of itching in some sensitive kitties. Contact allergies in cats may occur to dust, perfumes, fabrics, cleaning products, or even to certain types of plastic food bowls. Contact allergies may cause an irritation around the mouth as well as feline acne.

Contact allergies are best treated by limiting exposure to the causal allergen – for example, by removing plastic bowls and replacing with ceramic alternatives. If limiting exposure is not possible, your cat may require ongoing treatment with corticosteroids or antihistamines.

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How Do I Get My Cat To Stop Scratching Itself

If your cat keeps scratching, you probably want to get her to stop. For one, you know that your kitty is uncomfortable imagine how frustrating having a persistent itch is!

But secondly, scratching will only make matters worse. It causes additional inflammation and makes the skin more prone to secondary infections. Whats more, your cat will ingest a lot more hair when shes constantly scratching and biting at her coat. This can lead to your cat throwing up hairballs daily, yet another unpleasant issue for you and your cat.

Thankfully, there are some methods you can implement to help soothe your cats scratching. Be sure to speak to your vet first though. Theyll be able to let you know the cause of all the itching and advise you on the next best steps to take.

Though for now, try these tips:

Primrose And Fish Oils

Cat Excessive Grooming And Scratching

Primrose oil and fish oil supplements provide minimal relief for itchy cats by themselves but can work synergistically with other therapies already being given to those cats. Because these supplements are so cheap, safe, and widely available, many cat owners will administer these supplements anyway in an attempt to reduce the chance that their cat will develop skin disease.

The efficacy of this method is currently unknown.

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Hot Spots Or Areas Of Extreme Irritation

Hot spots, or areas of extreme irritation, are a common symptom in cats who have fleas. Cats will typically scratch and lick at these areas until they become raw. If you suspect your cat has a hot spot, be sure to take him or her to the vet for treatment.

Its important to distinguish between a hot spot and just regular scratching behavior if your cat is scratching his/her neck, head or shoulders excessively without any redness around the area then chances are its just something he/she does .

Other Reasons Cats Itch

Cats that are in pain will sometimes itch or chew at the site of the pain. For instance, a cat with arthritis pain may regularly chew or bite or itch the area as a way to try to alleviate the ache. If your cat suffers from some kind of injury, he may also itch the area, again as an attempt to relieve the pain.

Cats that are bored or anxious or have some neurological issue may itch and scratch obsessively. It seems more prevalent in Oriental breeds, but it doesnt mean other cats dont do it, too. Indoor cats especially are prone to boredom, especially in single-cat households where he has no other playmates. If you only have one cat, its important you keep him busy and stimulated so he doesnt fall into negative behaviors. Your cat can also itch from anxiety or stress, especially if there are big life changes happening. Moving into a new home, bringing a new member into the house, or even having a lot of people over during holidays can all be stressful experiences for your cat. It disrupts his lifestyle and routine, causing him to lick, itch, and chew as a way to alleviate his feelings.

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Do Cats Scratch Themselves Even Without Fleas

When we see our pet scratching, it’s almost automatic to think they have fleas. … However, as we mentioned above, it’s normal for cats to scratch, even when they don’t have fleas. If the behavior is excessive and the suggestions above don’t help, it might be wise to consult your vet about the behavior.

Why Does My Dog Keep Scratching But No Fleas

What will happen if your cat licks their flea or tick top spot treatment?

There are a few reasons that could be contributing to your dog scratching at their skin that are not fleas. Some of these could include food allergies which will require careful monitoring from your vet, sensitivity to pollens, mites, or other causes. If your dog appears to be scratching but there are no fleas, it may be worth consulting your vet to determine what other underlying issues could be causing your pets discomfort.

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What Cream Can I Put On My Cat For Itching

Topical therapy can effectively reduce discomfort in itchy cats, especially if itchiness is confined to a specific area.4 Look for non-irritating antipruritic creams. If the cream is placed in an area where your cat can easily reach it, consider making them wear an Elizabethan collar to allow the treatment to work. Please consult with your veterinarian before applying any treatments or medications to your cat.

Cats And Compulsive Scratching Licking And Chewing

Common reasons why your cat might be biting, chewing, or scratching itself.

Most cats are meticulous groomers, but what happens when the behavior goes into overdrive? For a variety of reasons, some cat licking, scratching, and chewing behaviors become compulsive, which can annoy you and damage your pets skin and coat.

If your cat is scratching, licking, or chewing themselves compulsively, it is likely you regularly catch them in the act. But if you dont, your first clue may be the disappearance of your cats fur, often in strips along their back, stomach, or along the inner side of the hind legs. Cats with self-mutilating behaviors may also cause red, irritated areas called hot spots to form, but they are less likely than dogs to do so.

Although compulsive cat scratching, licking, or chewing behaviors can develop in any animal, they are more commonly observed in Siamese cats and other Oriental breeds. Female cats are more likely than males to lick, chew, or pull on their fur.

Because there are a number of medical problems that may result in scratching and licking behaviors, be sure to consult with your veterinarian to help determine the cause and the best course of action.

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What Can I Give My Cat To Make Him Stop Itching

What you can give to your cat depends on the underlying condition causing their itchiness. If your cats itchy skin is caused by parasites, for example, flea and tick preventatives are essential to stop their skin problems from worsening. Alternatively, if theyre itchy because of allergies, antihistamines are an appropriate option. However, make sure to check with your vet before administering any medication.

Flea Dirt Is Small Black Pellets That Look Like Dirt And Are Slightly Moist

5 Easy Ways to Improve your Catâs Skin

Flea dirt is small black pellets that look like dirt and are slightly moist. Flea dirt is made up of undigested blood that has left the body of fleas in their feces. The color of flea dirt changes depending on how long it sits on your cats skin, with the darker colors indicating more time has passed since they were deposited there by fleas feeding off them. When you first notice flea dirt, it will be dark brown specks at first glance, but if you allow things to progress further perhaps several days later then you might find yourself seeing larger black specks or even actual chunks of dried blood!

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Some Fancy Terms For Itchiness

Silent Grooming: Even when cats increase their grooming significantly, they may do this hidden from you. They may quietly hide in a private space and groom away. Or, they may simply over-groom at night. This behaviour is called silent grooming. This is likely due to cats being the friend that will keep their problems to themselves. Increased hair loss, skin rashes, and hair balls around the house can help us find out that kitty is silently over-grooming!

Barbering: Cats have tiny barbs on their tongue, called papillae. These hooks can lead to fine trimming of hair at areas where a cat is grooming excessively and repeatedly. The skin doesnt always become bald at these areas but is just shorter like a barber may trim hair. This is where the term barbering comes from. Over-grooming of the belly commonly causes such hair loss.

Fur Mowing: Similar to barbering, the papillae on the tongue can cause the hair on belly to look like a nicely mowed lawn!

Dr. Bajwa: I wish I was half as good at keeping up with my home lawn mowed, as some of my patients hair is mowed when I first see them. But I even things out by making them mow their fur less and help their fur grow back, just like the grass in my yard!

Home Remedies For Cat Scabs Neck & Back

Are you aware of the following natural remedies that you can apply to effectively treat or lessen the scab symptoms on the back and neck areas of your cat?

  • The use of complete oil
  • In your cats diet you can add a complete oil such as corn, peanut, safflower, and sunflower oils to lessen the itchiness of the scabs. You can give the cat 1.5 teaspoon during each meal in a day.

  • Use a clean towel to wipe off the allergens from your cats neck and back
  • This is the simplest process which you can do at anytime to help lessen the pain and itchiness that your cat is undergoing when it is suffering from scabs.

  • To the affected area apply equal quantities of baby oil, water and Listerine
  • The mixture should be sprayed and massaged on the cats neck and back at least two times a day. However, always remember to consult with the specialist in case the condition gets worse.


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    Testing For Skin Infections

    Your vet will likely perform these tests to see if your cat has a skin infection that is causing itchiness:

    • Cytology involves transferring material from the cats skin to a microscope slide, either directly, by pressing the slide to the skin, or by using transparent tape to pick up cells and deposit them onto the slide.

    • Skin scrapes are another routine test in which a small blade is scraped across a small patch of the cats skin. The cells collected from the scrape are also examined microscopically for mites such as demodex.

    • Hairs are generally plucked from the most-affected areas and submitted to a lab for ringworm testing.

    • Occasionally, veterinary clinics will perform fungal cultures in-house, but this practice is becoming increasingly rare.

    Ways To Stop Your Cats Itchy Skin

    Cat scratching its neck

    To ensure the safety and health of your cat, then you need to know the ways to stop your cats itchy skin. So, you may want to consider these simple tips:

    To avoid dietary allergies that cause itchiness to your cat, you may need to ask a vet for some hypoallergenic food for your cat. Alternatively, you can also search online for some recommended dietary food, which is best for your cat.

    If are taking care of two or more cats at home, you may want to create a separate feeding pot for each of them. This way, if your one cat has itchy skin or has some disease, other cats may not be affected. Also, you can train them or allot a place for them to scratch their coat or skin if needed. It helps to contain the bacteria or fungi away from other cats.

    Although youre giving your cat a nutritious meal, it is still advisable to give them supplements with a balanced combination of natural oils. It maintains the health of their skin or coat from the inside to the outside.

    Another tip is, you may want to use a mild detergent or cleaning substances. Cats exposed to strong substances or chemicals may lead to harmful effects on their skin and health. If your cat has its own bed, you might as well use cat-friendly detergent powder to avoid allergic reactions. This can minimize the risk of itchy skin.

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    Your Cat Has Skin Issues

    Cats can suffer from several skin disorders, some of them more common than others. Dry skin is probably more common than most. Cats can get dry skin due to dehydration, environmental factors, allergens, poor diet, and even seasonal changes. Dry skin is treatable, once you figure out the underlying cause.

    Lighter colored cats can suffer sun damage to the skin and itch because of that. Sunburn mostly affects outdoor cats although any cat can get sunburned with enough exposure. You will usually notice sunburn on areas like the nose, ears, and eyelids of a cat.

    Feline acne can make a cat super itchy. A cat can get bumps and blackheads that transform into red and itchy pimples. In some cases, these pimples can rupture and become abscesses. The accesses crust over and itch, causing your cat a lot of angst. You will usually notice feline acne on areas like the chin, although its not nearly as common as some of the other causes of pruritus.

    Some cats develop bacterial skin infections, especially if he has feline acne or an overgrowth of yeast. In most cases, bacterial infections are something that develops in conjunction with another underlying cause, they dont usually just come on out of nowhere.

    Treatment Of Itchiness In Cats

    The treatment prescribed by your veterinarian will depend on the underlying cause of the itchiness. Treatments may vary considerably depending on what is causing the animals itchiness. Some of the common treatments for itchiness include:

    Flea or Pest Control Treatments

    If fleas or other skin parasites are determined to be the cause, treatment will focus on eliminating those pests. Your veterinarian may recommend several different treatment methods, including those for the cat and the living environment. Eliminating fleas is especially important if your pet is having an allergic reaction or sensitivity to their bites. Some flea treatments include topical medications, medicated shampoos, and powders or sprays to use around the house. Most pest control methods recommended by your veterinarian will be considered safe for pets, but take care when using any insecticide in your home.

    Dietary Changes

    If a food allergy is identified, the most successful treatment method will involve eliminating that food from your pets diet. Changing pet food brands may be required depending on the item determined to be causing your cats allergy. Dietary changes carry very little to no risk to your pet.



    This steroidal treatment is commonly used to reduce itching and associated symptoms. It may be given orally or topically. In more severe cases it may be given as an injection. This treatment carries a low risk of side effects.

    Fatty Acids

    Anti-Anxiety Medications

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    How To Treat A Hot Spot

    When I treat a hot spot, it usually requires several steps.

  • First, I shave off the matted fur. Sometimes this requires sedating the cat to make shaving the area of the lesion possible. Shaving allows me to see how big the lesion is and how deep the skin infection is. It also helps the skin to heal faster.
  • Next, I clean the skin with a surgical scrub like chlorhexidine, which is mild on the skin.
  • Now it is time to stop the itch. This is usually done by giving an injection of cortisone. Fortunately, cats are not prone to most of the side effects from cortisone that people and dogs get.
  • The fourth step is to treat the skin infection. This can be easily accomplished with an injection of Convenia, which is a long-acting antibiotic. Ringworm infections require either a topical anti-fungal medication or an oral anti-fungal tablet.
  • Finally, an Elizabethan collar is placed on the cat to prevent her from licking and chewing at the skin lesion. This process clears up most hot spots, but you also have to treat the underlining problem that caused the itchy skin, and hence, the hot spot, to develop in the first place.
  • In my experience fleas are the most common cause of hot spots. Thus, strict flea control for your cat is a must. Consult your veterinarian about the best flea control to use for your cat. In more severe flea infestations, spraying the yard and treating the house may also be necessary.

    Response To Treatment Approach

    Feline Skin Lesions and Pictures of Cat Skin Problems

    Often, a cat owners budget will be stretched too thin to pursue further testing. Therefore, response to treatment is often used as a diagnostic:

    • Cats with suspect food allergies can be fed a hydrolyzed diet. If they respond well to the diet and stop itching, but quickly resume itching when the diet is switched back, a diagnosis of food allergies has been achieved.

    • If administration of Bravecto or another flea/tick preventative takes away the itch, a parasite infection was probably the cause.

    • Similarly, if your cat seems to always do better after steroid administration, the problem is probably not infectious, and is more likely to be allergic.

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