If you've got an itchy cat in your hands, chances are you've seen these behaviors in your own home: constant scratching behind the ears, non-stop chewing, and licking of the paws or legs. Witnessing an uncomfortably itchy cat can be heartbreaking, but locating the cause behind the itch can help you ease his discomfort and eliminate scratching. While there are a number of possible causes for an irritated cat, an itchy skin home remedy may be the answer to his problem.
Home Remedies for Cat Itching
Why is she itching?
Before you can effectively treat an itchy cat, you'll want to locate the cause of her itchiness. Sometimes, cats itch because of an allergy to certain environmental irritants. Other times, their food may be disagreeing with them. The Merck Veterinary Manual refers to this as pruritis, which is the term used to describe a cat's sensation to itch. Usually, a cat will respond to pruritus by biting or scratching her skin, but some cats can excessively lick the affected area, which can lead to severe dryness or even hair loss over time.
Causes of cat pruritus
Cat pruritus is not a disease or even a diagnosis, but it's a symptom. Pruritus is usually caused by parasites, like fleas or mites, which lead to an allergic reaction and usually inflamed skin. Other allergies can also be responsible, which can include any number of triggers ranging from food ingredients to seasonal environmental allergies. Sometimes, a skin infection, like a bacterial or yeast infection, can also be the cause of pruritus in cats. Luckily, treatment is available, however, the ideal cat pruritus home remedy will depend on why your cat is itching in the first place.
Once you've identified the cause of your cat's itch, ideally with the help of a medical professional, you can begin treatment so that he will find relief. Fortunately, there are several standard anti-itch treatment options. If fleas or other parasites are the cause, your doctor may prescribe a chemical flea treatment, most often in the form of drops, which will kill fleas in a matter of hours.
Antibiotics or steroids may be prescribed to ease allergy-related itching, which is usually applied either as a cream or taken systemically as a pill, says WebMD. If the allergen that's got your pet scratching is from her food, your doctor will likely switch her to a restricted diet to isolate the ingredient and may add fatty acids or other supplements to her meals, which may help moisturize her skin. If your cat is itching a lot and needs relief fast, PetMD assures that Benadryl can be a safe and effective way to ease the itch, just be sure to adhere to the recommended dosage of one millimeter per pound.
Feline dermatitis home remedies
What is feline dermatitis? According to VCH Hospitals, dermatitis is a skin condition that occurs in pets who are experiencing an allergic reaction. Most commonly, this allergy is caused by fleas, but it can also be triggered by an allergic reaction to certain foods or something in your cat's environment, like grass or laundry detergent. Whatever the cause, feline dermatitis will make your cat scratch or lick herself due to discomfort, which can lead to scabbing, dryness, or even hair loss.
To ease her itching naturally, there are several feline dermatitis home remedies to consider. If fleas are the issue, PetMD recommends a homemade dip made from diluted peppermint or rosemary oil. Make sure to water the oil down with a carrier oil, and keep it out of your cat's mouth because ingestion can be very harmful to pets. If you wish to soothe a cat's dry skin, a catnip bath can provide relief, as will a humidifier, which can moisturize and itchy complexion. If it's a bacterial infection, like yeast, a rinse with apple cider vinegar (ACV) can help kill bacteria thanks to the naturally antibacterial and antiseptic properties found in ACV.
While holistic remedies may reduce itching, and even treat fleas, you will want to consult your doctor beforehand to rule out any other issues. If your veterinarian has not found fleas to be the cause of dermatitis, he will take a further look to rule out other parasites, like ear mites, or he'll offer an allergy test to determine if an ingredient in her food is the cause of the problem.