Cats are known for their impeccable grooming habits, but what happens when your feline friend can't resist the urge to scratch and itch? If you've noticed your beloved pet constantly scratching or nibbling at their fur, it's time to dig deeper into the possible causes behind this behavior.
Today we’re discussing various causes of itching and delving into some potential natural solutions to provide them with relief.
Common Causes of Cat Itching
Let’s dive into some of the most common reasons cats start itching their ears, tail, and other areas.
Fleas and Parasites
No one wants to think about it, but a common culprit behind cat itching is fleas. These tiny pests can infest your cat's fur, causing relentless scratching. Other parasites like ear mites and ticks can also trigger itching and discomfort.
While cats that spend time outside are at a higher likelihood of issues, fleas and other pests can impact even indoor-only cats. They can hitch a ride on other humans or pets that spent time outdoors or sneak in on shoes, jackets, furniture, etc.
Fleas and ticks are especially problematic during the warmer months, but homes provide an ideal place for them year-round.
Just like humans, cats can develop allergies to various environmental factors such as pollen, mold, dust mites, or even food.
Allergic reactions can manifest as itching, redness, and skin irritation, sometimes localized to one area of the body. You might also notice other typical “allergy symptoms” such as discharge from your cat’s eyes and sneezing.
Like humans, these allergies can be worse during certain times of the year when pollen and other allergens are in the air. You may also notice a flare-up of itching if you switch your cat’s food or offer them a new type of treat.
Cold weather, indoor heating, and frequent bathing can strip a cat's skin of natural oils, leading to dryness and itchiness.
This is particularly common in the winter months when the air is much dryer and you’re constantly running the furnace in your home.
Bacterial or fungal skin infections, like ringworm, can cause intense itching. These infections may be a result of an underlying health issue or due to excessive scratching that damages the skin barrier.
Ringworm and other skin infections can easily be passed between pets and even between humans and pets or vice versa, so it’s important to be on the lookout.
Stress and Anxiety
Cats are sensitive creatures, and stress or anxiety can cause issues. While you’ll usually see an anxious or upset cat scratching at furniture and walls, you may see it manifest in physical symptoms like over-grooming and itching.
If your cat doesn’t find another outlet (usually toys, scratching posts, and a safe area), you may start to notice skin irritation and itching, especially in specific areas.
Natural Solutions for Cat Itching
If you want to help your cat or get to the root cause of the problem, there are a few natural remedies that may provide relief to itchiness.
While cats are naturally good at grooming themselves, sometimes they can use a little help.
Brushing your cat's fur regularly helps distribute natural oils, promoting a healthy coat and reducing dry skin. Grooming can also help remove any potential allergens or irritants from their fur.
Cats — especially those that are independent — are also pretty good at hiding potential health issues. Weekly brushing sessions are a great opportunity to check for signs of parasites, bald patches, or any lumps and bumps that may otherwise go unnoticed.
Ensure your cat has access to clean, fresh water at all times. Proper hydration supports skin health and digestion.
As any cat owner will tell you, their furry loved one can be incredibly picky. Even the littlest change can cause them to drink more or less than normal.
If your cat doesn’t seem to be drinking enough, you may want to try different bowls or cat fountains to see if anything prompts them to drink. You may also want to try moving the bowl to different areas of your house to see if that makes a difference.
As noted above, sometimes stress and anxiety can cause itching. With that in mind, you want to give your cat healthy ways to reduce stress.
Create a stimulating and stress-free environment for your cat. Interactive toys, scratching posts, and comfortable hiding spots. Designated playtime with laser pointers or wand toys allow cats to tap into their natural hunting instincts and can help tire them out.
Probiotics & Supplements
People have been talking about the benefits of probiotics for centuries and scientists continue to research how many common pet health issues — including allergies and skin conditions — actually start in the gut. With that in mind, you may want to consider adding a probiotic supplement to your cat’s diet to provide itch relief.
However, it’s important to note that many pet probiotic supplements contain additives and artificial ingredients that can actually make itching worse and cause allergies to flare up. And many just don’t contain enough of the “good bacteria” to make a difference.
That’s why Maya Pet, created by Priority IAC, goes beyond a probiotic to give your beloved cat a gut and immunity boost. With 10 targeted Smart StrainsTM of good bacteria, this anthrobiotic actually regulates the immune and digestive systems, meaning your cat gets the most impact from every dose.
Plus, it’s all-natural and dye-free, egg-free, dairy-free, nut-free and more — so you don’t have to worry about potential reactions that can make itching and other issues worse.
No More Itchy Cats!
Cat itching can be distressing for you and your feline companion. Understanding the potential causes behind this behavior and exploring natural solutions can provide relief and improve your cat's overall well-being.
By addressing itching promptly, you can ensure your cat's comfort and happiness for years to come and maybe even save some money on vet bills and medications.
Want to learn more about Maya Pet and how we’re changing the game when it comes to gut health? Don’t hesitate to contact us.