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Why Is My Cat Scratching So Much

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What Can Cause Cats To Itch Other Than Fleas

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

Why Do Cat Scratches Itch And Swell

If youve ever had a kitten, you may have asked the question, Why do cat scratches itch and swell? or even Why do cat scratches sting? Here is the easy answer.

The itching and swelling that comes quickly after a scratch is part of your own bodys reaction to any damage done to your skin. But it could be more

In this article:

  • Or a Nasty Bacterial Infection
  • Where Does the Infection Originate?
  • My Cat Isnt Sick!
  • How to Treat Cat Scratches or Bites
  • Final Thoughts: Why Do Cat Scratches Itch and Swell

Be Patient With Your Cat

Finally, the most important part of managing overgrooming is to be patient.

If you see your cat licking excessively, dont punish her or try to interfere. This will only add to your cats stress and make her overgrooming problem worse.

After youve sought help from your vet, it may take a month or so for an overgrooming behavior to resolve, and even longer for your cats fur to grow back.

Featured Image: Aksenov

An Examination With An Ultraviolet Light

Most vets follow their physical exam with an examination of the affected areas using an ultraviolet light source in a darkened room. Individual hairs of cats with fungal infections often glow under this light source. You can see how its donehere    Your veterinarian will then probably go on to a microscopic examination of a skin scraping from an affected area. They will be looking for parasites or evidence of fungi. If the hair loss is characteristic of fungi but none were found, they may pluck out some likely hairs and submit them for fungal culture.

What Treatments Are Available For My Cat

Why Is My Cat Itching So Much?  Missing Link Products

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.

Symptoms Of Itchiness In Cats

When itchiness is severe cats may display various symptoms, the most obvious of which being excessive scratching or licking. The itchiness and related symptoms may occur seasonally or could happen year round. Additional symptoms unrelated to itchiness may also be observed depending on the underlying cause of the cat’s condition. 

Symptoms include:

  • Biting or chewing at one or more spots
  • Alopecia or hair loss
  • Bumps or blisters on the skin
  • Self-inflicted wounds or sores
  • Pus or oozing from the skin
  • Greasy coat


If Your Cat Is Still Biting

Make an appointment with your veterinarian. They will likely have many questions to ask about the type of behavior, circumstances of the behavior, the household environment, and your technique in correcting them. In some cases they will ask to run bloodwork for specific conditions that can cause elevated aggression. If they can’t help eliminate the behavior they may refer you a behavior specialist.

editorial process

  • Feline Behavior Problems: Aggression. Cornell Feline Health Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University.

  • Barone, Georgina. “.”The Cat: Clinical Medicine and Management, edited by Susan Little, Elsevier, 2011, pp. 734-767. doi:10.1016/B978-1-4377-0660-4.00027-2

  • Hyperesthesia Syndrome. Cornell Feline Health Center, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University.

  • 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 animal’s 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 pet’s diet. Changing pet food brands may be required depending on the item determined to be causing your cat’s 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 


    Your Cat Has Other Parasite Or Insect Bite

    Your cat can itch because of other types of bugs and parasites too, not just fleas. Especially if your cat spends a lot of time outside. Outdoor cats run higher risks of being exposed to other animals, as well as the parasites they carry. Mites can be a problem and are highly contagious, feline ear mites especially. However, ear mites arent just relegated to your cats ears. Cats can also suffer insect bites, like mosquito bites, fly bites, bee stings, and wasp stings. Insect bites are usually on a cats face or ears, where there is less hair. This makes it easy to differentiate from something like fleas or mites. Cats can also pick up ringworm from being outside and around other animals. Like mites, ringworm is highly contagious and causes extreme itchiness. Ringworm is easier to recognize as well because your cat will usually develop flaky lesions that look red in the middle, along with hair loss in the area.

    Why Is My Cat Itching So Bad

    Pruritus can be a symptom of several conditions, including skin parasites like fleas, or more severe medical problems, like immune disorders. If your pet is exhibiting signs of excessive scratching or grooming, seek medical attention to aid with proper diagnosis of the itching and appropriate treatment.

    How To Stop Cats From Scratching On Furniture:

    • 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 . 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.

    How To Prevent A Cat From Shedding

    Once you have identified the reason for your cat shedding so much, we can take a look at some of the solutions. Of course, prevention is always better than cure. Be vigilant and keep an eye out for insects or other reasons you may have problems with fur loss in your cat. Here are some tips to make sure your cat’s coat is thick and healthy and only sheds when necessary:

    Once you have dealt with these reasons why your cat may be losing more fur than usual, you can invest in a good vacuum cleaner to get rid of it all. If your cat is still shedding excessively, then go to the vet and get a professional diagnosis.

    If you want to read similar articles to Why is My Cat Shedding so Much All of a Sudden?, we recommend you visit our Fur care category.

    Top Five Causes Of Itching In Cats

    Do cats like being scratched or petted on the head?

    Lizzie Youens BSc BVSc MRCVS

    Cats are known to be fastidious creatures, and regular grooming alongside the odd scratch is perfectly usual for our feline companions. However, excessive scratching and itchy skin is not, and can be very uncomfortable for our pets. Itching is a symptom, rather than a diagnosis. So some detective work may need to be undertaken by your vet to pinpoint the cause. 

    Is Your Cat Itchy Signs Causes And Solutions Explored

    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 cant really speak up when somethings 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…

    What Is Over Grooming

    Oriental breeds are more prone to obsessive grooming than other breeds, although any cat can engage in these behaviors. If your cat is going overboard with licking and grooming, its probable he has some underlying condition you may not know about yet. In fact, you may not know there is anything wrong with your cat until you see him losing hair or developing redness and irritation. Cats are super sly on the best of days, making it difficult to tell when something is off.

    Even when you notice your cat is grooming excessively, you may not realize its because he is itching until you see him scratching a lot or developing other signs of skin irritation. This article is going to discuss the major causes of cat itching and review potential treatment options and preventative measures.

    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 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.

    Final Thoughts: Why Do Cat Scratches Itch And Swell

    If your skin is punctured or torn by your kittys claws it might itch or swell.

    Dont be alarmed as it might just be a normal skin reaction. But, if you develop an infection or other symptoms following such an injury, you might have CSD. Seek medical help.

    We conclude that the best answer for your fur baby is to keep fleas away from your cat. Therefore, a really good flea protection program is essential.

    Additionally, and away from other cats that might not have such caring parents is also a good plan. Ultimately, the surest answer to cat scratch issues is to practice good first aid when kitty gets rambunctious.

    Abscess Dermatology Problems In Cats

    Its symptoms is a collection of painful pus at the site of wound or bite. It causes firm swelling, which softens with time as the pus discharges. , which often cause abscess, are highly transmittable to other animals and humans as well. If your cat shows central hair loss with a red ring, then it is likely caused by ringworm. Some other dermatology problems are sunburn, stud tail, and psychogenic alopecia.

    Also Read: 

    Lost In The Night Howling

    Although no one knows for sure why some cats do this, it is most common in geriatric cats due to cognitive dysfunction and/or decreased vision or hearing. This kind of mournful calling, in cats of any age, when associated with suddenly racing around the house with the fur on the back rolling, can also be the result of another physical condition, feline hyperesthesia, commonly known as rippling skin disorder. Other medical disorders that can cause excessive vocalization include hyperthyroidism, cancer, neurologic disease, and pain. For all of these conditions, veterinary intervention and treatment are indicated.

    My Cat Scratches A Lot But Is Healthy

    If we see our cat is scratching or licking a lot, but there are no other visible symptoms, it is possible the issue is psychological. This is much less frequent, but it does happen. The veterinarian will usually be able to discern if the problem is psychological once physical possibilities have been ruled out.

    What we see when a cat keeps scratching, especially when the skin becomes raw and they don’t stop, might be due to compulsive grooming. This a response to stress. In these cases, there is no physical itching, but the anxiety from which the cat is suffering makes them feel like they need to do something. The result might be alopecia or even broken skin. The initial treatment will be for the skin damage. This may include antibiotics for cats to treat any secondary infection. After this, we will need to treat the psychological damage which may require the help of an ethologist.

    Cats are animals which are very susceptible to change. Practically any change in their routine can trigger a serious stress problem. In these cases, they may develop constant scratching which eventually will cause skin damage if not stopped. Check out our article on reasons why your cat is stressed to learn more.

    What To Do If Your Cat Is Licking And Scratching Excessively

    Why Is My Cat Shedding So Much?

    If your cat is licking areas of the body to the point of baldness or causing redness on their own skin or if he is scratching excessively with his back claws, make an appointment with the veterinarian right away.

    Your vet will take a complete history from you of what you noticed and when and might ask some questions about diet changes, parasite control, and exposure to other cats. Then, the doctor will do a thorough physical exam. Once that’s done, he or she might recommend some testing to narrow down the problem. Those tests might include:

    • Skin cytology

    Recovery Of Itchiness In Cats

    In most cases, the prognosis for recovery from itchiness is good. Once the underlying cause is determined, proper treatment will commonly resolve the issue completely. Some animals may continue to exhibit signs of itchiness more than others, but it is generally not life-threatening. In some cases, the underlying cause may be a more serious condition, which can affect your pet’s prognosis. While your cat is receiving treatment and recovering, be sure to follow all instructions provided by your veterinarian. This includes proper dosing of prescribed medications and returning for any requested follow-up visits. If fleas or other skin parasites were determined to be the cause, continue to manage the condition by using regular pest treatments for both your pet and its living space.


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    Itchiness Average Cost

    Look For Medical Issues

    First, your veterinarian will need to rule out medical problems.

    Infections or allergies can be treated with the appropriate medications, which may include antibiotics, antihistamines, and/or anti-inflammatory drugs.

    Keep your cat on flea medication year-round to help with flea allergies and ear mites.

    If your cat is in pain, your vet can determine whats causing it and how to manage the pain.

    Provide Your Cat With Something To Scratch That From Their Point Of View Is More Desirable Than Your Couch Or The Legs Of Your Dining Room Table

    Cats prefer to scratch tall, sturdy objects that allow them to dig their nails in and get a good grip. Thats why cats tend to scratch furniture. Most cats prefer a scratching post that is at least 32 tall, will not wobble when scratched, and made of a type of rope called sisal. Some cats prefer to scratch horizontally, in which case you can either place the vertical scratching post on its side or find a sturdy sisal-covered horizontal scratcher. Some cats like scratching corrugated cardboard as well. Another ideal scratching surface is wood, so if you are handy you can create your own scratching post or pad. Just make sure its tall or long enough and sturdy.

    What Makes Our Cats Itch And Scratch

    Cats are good at hiding the early signs of any disease, which makes them known as secretive beings. But is your cat scratching itself raw? Well, Cat itching, licking, or biting are usually symptoms of fleas. But just remember, fleas and allergies are not the only reasons behind itchy skin.

    Visit Our Guide To The Best Flee Treatments.

    There are other problems which cause both scratching around the ear and excessive licking in cats that at times may get infected after a bite. Scabies, demodectic mange, notoedric,

    pyoderma, and ear infections are among other reasons for itching and cat skin irritation. If your cat keeps licking itself continuously for a few days, then it needs immediate treatment because little negligence can convert into a serious infection.

    Sometimes the cat bites itself, which can often lead to serious infections. Cat bites are visible to the naked eye, so if you observe any such thing, dont hesitate to consult your veterinarian.

    Other Itchy Conditions In Cats

    Some other conditions that can result in itchy skin and its resultant over-grooming and scratching in cats include:

    • Mites. Scabies and demodex are two types of mites that can inhabit a cat’s skin and cause severe itchiness.
    • Ringworm. This is a fungus that can infect a cat’s skin and cause itchiness and hair loss. It’s transferable to humans, and it doesn’t usually create the typical ring appearance on cats’ skin that it does on humans’.
    • Autoimmune skin conditions. Cats can develop autoimmune diseases like lupus that may affect the skin or nails and cause licking and scratching.

    Your Cat Is Seriously Ill

    Sometimes cats will itch because of more serious issues, like ulcers, lesions, tumors, and even feline cancer. Ulcers and lesions can manifest as a result of disorders like feline eosinophilic granuloma complex or pemphigus foliaceus, while tumors could be benign or cancerous. Cowpox virus can also present with itchy ulcerations although the condition is relatively rare.

    Itchy Cat When It Is Not Fleas

    07th September 2018

    Fleas remain the most common cause of skin disease in cats, although this is not true in all countries , and fleas are not the only cause of pruritus in cats. Where fleas are not the answer, often a much more detailed and meticulous approach is needed to find the diagnosis.

    In some instances in cats, it can be very difficult to differentiate between skin disease due to pruritus and skin disease induced by other causes. For example, in humans and dogs, hair loss is almost always hormonal in origin. However, in cats, hormonal skin disease is so rare as to be virtually non-existent. Hair loss in cats is actually almost always caused by excessive self-grooming due to pruritus but cats may be secret groomers and often we may be unaware that the cat is grooming more frequently or more aggressively.

    Severe pruritus and eosinophilic plaques associated with flea allergy  note matting of the fur with saliva

    Why Do Cats Scratch

    Why Does My Cat Itch

    Scratching behavior is common in cats. It brings them comfort and is one way they mark their territory. Here are a few of the many reasons why cats love to scratch:

    • Scratching helps cats keep their nails clean and trim
    • Cats scratch to express themselves and share their joy and other emotions
    • Scratching leaves a cats scent behind and marks their territory
    • Some kittens scratch to relieve stress or boredom. They might even be playing a cat scratching game
    • Your kitty may be relieving an itch
    • Cats enjoy the tactile sensation of scratching

    Did you know that June is National Adopt a Shelter Cat Month? No need to wait, however, today is a good day to add a shelter cat to your family.

    Cat Hasnt Fleas But Keeps Scratching Main Causes

    In pets of all ages, fleas, food allergic reactions and exposure to chemical irritants such as cleaners and soaps can be a cause. Anyone of these may not be enough to trigger the breakouts, depending on how sensitive your pet is, but a combination can be enough to start the itch-scratch cycle. Finding out the cause and removing it is the best strategy. With flea allergic reactions, if your pet is sensitive enough, a single bite can trigger them to break out scratch sufficient to tear their skin.

    Look for fleas with a flea comb. Look for fleas and/or tiny black granules, like coarse black pepper. This is flea feces, including digested, dried blood. You may discover tiny white particles, like salt, which are the flea eggs. Using a good topical regular monthly flea treatment and actively treating your house and lawn will assist break the flea life process.

    If you utilize plastic bowls, this is a possible cause for loss of hair, though this tends to be on the chin, where their skin touches the bowl while they eat. If you suspect this to be the culprit, try changing the bowls to glass, metal or ceramic.

    Food allergies are typically brought on by sensitivity to a protein in the food. Hills Science Diet uses some non-prescription choices for delicate skin as well as prescription hypoallergenic foods for more severe cases. Royal Canin brings limited protein diet plans that may also offer some relief. Your vet can advise a particular diet that will assist.

    Why Is My Indoor Cat Scratching So Much

    Boredom, anxiety, or compulsive disorder. Compulsive cat chewing, scratching, or licking behaviors often develop in cats who are bored, stressed, or anxious. These mental disorders are more likely to occur in indoor cats, which may be due to the fact that they receive less exercise and excitement than outdoor cats.

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