Wednesday, February 28, 2024

How To Stop A Cat From Scratching Himself

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Infestation By Parasites Like Fleas And Ticks

How to Stop a Cat From Biting and Scratching

Sometimes, parasites attack your dog, causing itchiness and irritations from the bites. Unlike ticks, fleas are microscopic, which means you can barely see them. That way, they might be operating behind your radar. Therefore, ensure that you use our recommended dog shampoo to bath him regularly to keep fleas and ticks off his skin.

Understanding Why Cats Bite And Scratch

  • 1Determine if your cat was hand-reared, or orphaned and raised by humans. Hand-reared kittens missed the roughhousing associated with litter life and did not necessarily learn how to moderate their play attacks. These cats often grow into adults who seem to lash out viciously for no reason.XResearch sourceBSAVA Manual of Canine and Feline Behavioral Medicine. Horwitz & Mills. BSAVA publications. 2nd edition.
  • Hand-reared cats that are aggressive usually give subtle signs for humans to back off. Learning these cues can prevent biting and scratching.
  • 2Figure out if your cat is stressed or anxious. A cat that is stressed and has no escape route is likely to lash out. Stress can come from being cornered by a noisy toddler, change in environment, or new people, so obviously it is important to be aware of your cat’s emotional needs and reactions. Avoid labeling the cat as aggressive; it may simply be responding to stress.XResearch sourceFeline Behaviour for the Veterinarian. Bonnie Beaver.Publisher: Saunders. 2nd edition
  • The best response is to restore calm and a settled atmosphere. Turn down noisy TVs, ask children to be quieter around the cat, and if anyone is upset, ask them to cry or shout out of the cat’s hearing.
  • An older frailer cat that may resent being picked up or cuddled and might bite or scratch to get some peace. Ask family members to be mindful of the cat’s age and need for gentler handling. Giving the cat plenty of space should help any behavior issues.
  • Medicated Shampoos And Rinses

    These products can be very helpful in the long term controlling of many skin conditions. In some cases, medications they contain suppress itching and inflammation directly. In others washing toxic or inflammatory substances from the cats skin surface are their primary mode of action. They are rarely a cure in themselves, but they are often part of a successful treatment plan. They include products that contain colloidal oatmeal, topical steroids, antiseptics, petroleum distillates or parasite-killing sulfur. Not all dog or human medicated shampoos are safe to use on cats. Be sure the product states somewhere on its label that it is approved for use in cats.

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    Manifestations Of Feline Pruritus

    Common manifestations of pruritic skin disease in cats include:

    • Overt itching, scratching and self-induced skin damage
    • Symmetrical hair loss
    • Miliary dermatitis this form of skin disease is characterised by the presence of tiny 2-3 mm diameter crusts throughout the body surface. The skin and coat may also be greasy and have excessive dandruff
    • Eosinophilic granuloma complex see eosinophilic granuloma complex in cats this is a variety of skin lesions (indolent ulcer that affects the upper lip, and eosinophilic plagues or eosinophilic granulomas that can affect various areas of the body and also the oral cavity. They are usually associated with allergies. All of these manifestations of pruritus look completely different, but can all be caused by the same things in most instances the cause is fleas but other parasites and allergies can be involved. Some cats may have more than one manifestation of disease present simultaneously eg, indolent ulcer and symmetrical hair loss.

    What Can Cause Cats To Itch Other Than Fleas

    How to Get Your Cat to Stop Scratching Furniture

    Important causes of pruritus other than fleas include:

    • Food intolerance/allergy
    • Ear mites and other mites
    • Bacterial infections

    Food intolerance or allergy

    No-one knows the exact mechanisms by which certain foods can make animals and humans itch. Allergy may be involved, but in some cases, it is possible that the pruritus may result from chemical reactions to the food or to additives and preservatives.

    However, it is well recognised that changing the diet to a food that cats have not previously been exposed to can cure some cases of pruritic skin disease. Most of these are probably food allergies but the terms food intolerance or food-responsive skin disease are sometimes used as a specific diagnosis is often not made.

    Cats may need to be fed an alternative diet for a period of 6-8 weeks to rule out food-response dermatitis, and the choice of food is important. This is not simply switching one brand of cat food for another, as the ingredients are often very similar. Your vet will advise you on the most appropriate diet to use this might be a home-prepared diet, or your vet may suggest a special hypoallergenic diet for the trial period. Many cats also hunt or may be fed by neighbours, which can complicate the trial as it is important that no other foods are eaten during the trial period.


    Insect bites

    Ear mites ;Otodectes cynotis

    Other mites

    Bacterial skin infections and fungal infections

    Read Also: Teach Kitten Not To Bite

    Which Is More Likely A Dog Or A Cat To Scratch

    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.

    What Treatments Are Available For My Cat

    Treatment options are harder to carry out in cats than dogs because cats are considerably harder to medicate. Owners need frequent encouragement and support from their veterinarians or many of them are likely to give up rather than face a constantly struggle to get medications into their cats. Some cats are more obstinate about taking meds than others. Unfortunately, it seems like the obstinate, high-strung ones are the ones most likely to have the problem.

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    Why Is My Cat Scratching But Has No Fleas

    When we see our pet scratching, its almost automatic to think they have fleas. And its a good idea to check them to be sure there are no fleas or ticks. However, as we mentioned above, its normal for cats to scratch, even when they dont have fleas. If the behavior is excessive and the suggestions above dont help, it might be wise to consult your vet about the behavior.

    A Cat Might Lick Too Much Because Of Stress

    How Do You Stop Your Cat From Scratching Your Furniture?

    Cats sometimes develop psychologically-induced over-grooming. This is usually limited to licking and doesn’t involve scratching with the back claws. It can also be limited to a specific body area like the front legs or paws.

    If a cat is showing other signs of stress, like inappropriate elimination, scratching inappropriate household items, hiding, or clingy or aggressive behavior, stress might be the culprit.

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    Is Your Pet Driving You Crazy With Excessive Licking And/or Itching Now To Be Fair All Dogs And Cats Will Lick And/or Itch Themselves As A Normal Behavior Its When They Are Persistently Performing This Behavior That Would Raise Concern Here Are The Top Reasons Behind Their Behavior And What You Can Do About

    Reason # 1: I am itchy!

    The most common reason for your pet to be excessively itching, scratching, and licking themselves is due to an allergy. ;There are different types of allergies with the top 4 being reactions to fleas, environmental allergens, food, and contact allergies. ;It can be challenging to diagnose the exact cause of the allergy. Based upon the age of your pet, the areas your pets body that is affected, evidence for fleas, and any seasonality to the displayed behavior are all used by your trusted veterinarian to help determine what is the cause of the itchy-scratchies. ;Bee stings resulting in hives and allergic reactions to vaccines are other causes for itchiness and would be noted within a few hours of the sting or vaccine.

    My favorite allergy from the list is flea allergies ! ;I knowcrazy right? Here me out though. Flea allergy is the only allergy that can be easily controlled with monthly flea prevention! ;Food allergies and Atopy are tough to control without major medical efforts and lengthy strict hypoallergenic food trials. Below is a classical picture of a dog with FAD. ;Note, the focalized hair loss over the rump aka filet mignon for the flea.;

    Image courtesy;

    Reason # 2: I am in pain!

    Image courtesy of;

    Reason # 3: I am really anxious!

    Image courtesy of;


    Carrie Vigeant D.V.M., mother of 3 boys, entrepreneur, wife, and foodie.

    Infectious Causes Behind Itchiness In Cats

    When a cats skin becomes infectedbe it with bacteria, fungi, or parasitesitchiness is usually the result.

    When an itchy cat comes into the animal hospital, testing for the most common skin infections is one of the first diagnostic steps in the workup.


    Dermatophytosis is the medical word for a ringworm infection, and its among the most common infectious causes of feline pruritus. Dermatophytosis can be passed to people, so testing for ringworm, either by fungal culture or a more modern laboratory test called PCR, is an important step, even if pet owners dont believe ringworm to be the cause.

    Parasitic Infections

    More commonly, parasitic infections can cause cats to become itchy.

    Parasites that live on the skin are called ectoparasites, a term that includes fleas, ticks, mites, and other organisms.

    Because many cats live exclusively indoors, administration of flea and tick preventatives is far less common in cats than in dogs. The reluctance of cat owners to administer these products in a consistent manner is due partly to the false perception that indoor cats cannot contract parasitic infections.

    The owners of itchy indoor cats are almost always surprised when told that their cat has fleas, even though fleas are present in over 50% of itchy cat cases.

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    Make Sure Surfaces Are Clean

    It could simply be that your cat is licking surfaces because they like the flavor. This is most likely to be true of tables and countertops where food is prepared or eaten and is most likely to be a problem if you have children or other pets. Clean these surfaces regularly, and also ensure that surfaces below and around the cats food bowl are also kept clean and debris free.

    How To Stop Cats From Scratching On Furniture:

    Paws Need Claws
    • Provide a cat scratching pad or a scratching post thats tall enough for your pet to fully stretch and give them a full workout. Choose one with plenty of texture to provide sensory enjoyment and give your cats claws something to dig into. It should also be stable enough for climbing. A cat condo or a cat tree may be a good choice.
    • Use essential oils to surround off limit items and make them less appealing. Cats dont like citrus or menthol scents, so spray them around furniture you need to protect. Use scents that your cat enjoys around the scratching post and other scratch-friendly areas.
    • Use textures your kitty doesnt like to surround furniture or items that are off limits. Putting down plastic, foil, or a knobby vinyl runner, where your feline would normally stand to scratch, can be a good way to discourage them.
    • If these suggestions dont help your cat scratching behavior, talk to your vet about whether your kitten may have an unrecognized problem. Your vet may have additional ideas on how to stop cats from scratching carpet, doors, and furniture.

    If your cats scratching leaves you in need of some comic relief, try one of these Top 10 Cat Movies. A cat movie might help relieve the stress and remind you of how precious your own pet is. No time for a movie? Check out the Ultimate Field Guide to Caticorns to lighten your day.

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    How To Prevent Itchy Skin In Cats

    Keeping your cat on a flea and tick preventative life-long is the most important strategy for minimizing the risk of itchy skin disease, even if he never goes outdoors and shows no obvious of skin disease.

    Beyond that, prevention strategies are mostly aimed at reducing itch or decreasing the frequency and severity of flare-ups in animals already known to have skin disease.

    How To Stop The Overgrooming

    Youll need a veterinarian to rule out any medical conditions and confirm the diagnosis of psychogenic alopecia. In the meantime, try to figure out the reason your cat is feeling anxious. If you can identify the cause and eliminate it, the behavior may gradually go away on its own. You can also try a few tips to help ease your cat’s anxiety and overgrooming behavior:

    • If your cat is stressed by the absence of someone, ask the person to leave behind;an unwashed shirt or blanket in a sealed ziplock bag. This could give your upset kitty a scented pick-me-up.
    • Introduce a new cat gradually to reduce stress levels in both. Even confident cats may suffer from hidden stress that manifests itself as nervous licking.
    • Play therapy is also a great stress reliever. It can help build your kitty’s self-confidence and help it associate a positive experience with the new house or a new pet or person. Interactive games are best, such as chase-the-fishing-pole lure or laser tag for cats.
    • A spray or plug-in pheromone product, like Feliway, can be helpful to relieve stress. Feliway and other synthetic-pheromone products are similar to the scent cats naturally produce. You can spray it or rub it on objects, and it has a calming effect.

    Know that any treatment solutions for psychogenic alopecia may not be permanent. If your cat has a tendency to overgroom, this may recur at any time and could be an indicator that your cat is feeling stressed again.

    The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

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    Your Hands Are Not Toys

    One of the first rules for human companions is: don’t teach your cat that hands are toys. This is a behavior that you must develop and correct when they are young kittens. If you ignore this advice, those tiny claws and teeth will soon grow into razor-sharp “meat hooks,” and you’ll bear the scars. Do not use your hands as toys and rough house with them as they will not likely hurt you when they are kittens, but once fully developed they will think they can still play this way despite having larger and stronger jaws and claws. Hands should only be used for petting and carrying. It should be established early that any “mouthing” is painful to you, even when it may not be painful. Once this is established, you will need to direct playful behavior onto other objects.

    Your Cat Might Not Enjoy The Petting

    How To Keep Your Cats From Scratching Your Stuff

    Some cats seem to find pets and scratches delivered by a human uncomfortable. They may not like to be touched anywhere, or there may be certain parts of their body where they’d rather not receive petting.

    Other cats have a condition called feline hyperesthesia syndrome, which causes their skin to be highly sensitive, so a small pet or scratch might be painful or extremely uncomfortable.

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    Use A Cone To Prevent Scratching

    As simple as it sounds , putting an E-collar on your cat for a week or so is a safe method to try at home of reducing your cats itch, especially if the skin disease appears to be focal rather than generalized.

    Using E-collars will simply prevent your cat from licking the affected skin. Excessive licking increases irritation and inflammation in the skin, worsening the itch. By preventing the lick, you reduce the itch.

    This will not fix the underlying issue, but you can use an E-collar to buy time between noticing your cats itchiness and being able to make a veterinary appointment.

    Help My Cat Is Scratching Till He Bleeds

    Austin, Tx

    twistie said:I have a male indoor cat and he’s about a year old and He isn’t neutered . lately hes been scratching the back of his neck till the point its creating bald spots and bleeding, but he won’t stop at that he continues to scratch until I stop him. I’ve been cleaning out the wounds and putting polysporn and bandages over it trying to stop him from scratching it even though its only stopping the contact of his nails. He’s also got like black kinda clumpy looking stuff on his chin. I just changed his food dishes from plastic to glass in case it has anything To do with it. We recently moved a guy in and he owns a cat who is very aggressive and hisses at him and bullies him a lot.hes also been peeing out of the litter box every Now and then. I can’t afford a vet so I’m a little worried and want to see if I can fix it before it gets to bad and have to resort to a vet.

    boellp said:Have you looked into if he has flees? maybe the new cat brought flees in? The peeing could be from him not being neutered, or maybe he is feeling bullied and is making his territory so the other cat knows. I would try to find a way to not allow the other cat to bully your cat. Your cat feels threatened or scared and you need to look out for him.

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    How To Stop Cats Itching Due To Psychological Factors:

    Have a think – what have you changed recently? It may be that your cat is feeling itchy because youve 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 YuDERM Cat too.

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