All cats scratch themselves at one time or another throughout their lives. Scratching is a natural response to irritants of many kinds. Scratching should not be a regular or consistent occurrence, but occasional scratching is typically nothing to worry about. Excessive scratching, referred to as feline pruritis, is not normal and should not be overlooked. There are a few reasons that your cat might be scratching themselves excessively. We discuss these reasons and whether there is anything that you can do to alleviate your cat’s scratching.
Commons Causes of Why Cats Scratch so Much & How to Stop It
1. Flea Allergies
Many cats are allergic to fleas. When a flea bites them and their skin and bloodstream are exposed to the flea’s saliva, their immune system overreacts. An overreactive immune system can result in extensive episodes of itching and scratching. The scratching may be accompanied by other signs of flea allergies, such as skin rashes, hair loss, and raised bumps.
2. Airborne Allergies
Another reason that your cat might be scratching frequently is airborne allergies. Cats can be allergic to pollen and other airborne allergies just like humans can. They can sometimes show symptoms in the form of runny eyes and sneezing, but they typically show their discomfort by scratching themselves, sometimes incessantly.
3. Food Allergies
Food allergies can affect cats, and when it does, excessive scratching tends to be a prime sign. Some cats are allergic to wheat, while others are allergic to fish. Other common allergens include chicken, beef, fish, and dairy. Specific proteins found in these foods are responsible for the allergy reactions that cats may have. The major signs of food allergies in cats are chronic skin inflammation and scratching.
Scabies is a skin disease brought on by parasites. It is extremely contagious, and if left untreated, it can result in the development of crusty lesions anywhere on the body, along with consistent scratching. This disease will not go away on its own, and until it is eradicated, the lesions and scratching will not only stick around but also get worse.
Both ear and burrowing mites can cause scratching problems for your cat. Ear mites live inside the ear canal and can be extremely irritating. The irritation drives cats to incessantly scratch at their ears as time goes on. Burrowing mites eat the surface of a cat’s skin away, which causes irritation and scratching. Both types of mites can be transferred to other animals and even humans, so your cat should be treated as soon as possible after the first sign of mites is noticed.
Pyoderma is a condition that involves puss buildup in the skin. This illness may be the result of various health conditions, including infections, allergies, and even cancers of many kinds. Luckily, this is not a common condition in cats. But if it does develop, it typically results in bacteria overgrowth on the skin and symptoms of consistent scratching. Hair loss and scaling behind the ears and on the tail are other symptoms of pyoderma to keep an eye out for.
There are many different reasons that your cat might be scratching. If you cannot determine the root cause yourself, it is important to schedule a checkup with your veterinarian as soon as possible so you can get to the bottom of the problem once and for all. Do you have any tips or tricks to share that could help an itchy cat get some relief? Share them in our comments section!
Featured Image Credit: Susan Santa Maria, Shutterstock