There are several reasons why your cat can become so itchy, ranging from new habits or underlying skin conditions. Before skipping ahead and searching up home remedies for your itchy cat, it’s essential to understand why it’s happening in the first place. Many times, paying careful attention to your cat’s behavior and noticing any changes, can help treat any issues before they get worse. Here’s an overview of signs to look out for, as well as home remedies for itchy cats you can easily replicate.
WHY IS YOUR CAT ITCHY?
An itchy cat is not immediately a cause for concern. However, if your cat is excessively itching and you sense it’s due to some discomfort, it’s best not to ignore it. Especially since it can lead to hot spots, hair loss, and skin infections. Your primary veterinarian is the best resource for cats with excessive itching which may need to be addressed quickly.
The most notable signs for an itchy cat include hair loss, scabbing, and excessive grooming. Unless your cat is showing these visible signs, it can be tough to notice why your cat is so itchy all of a sudden. Another clue can be found in the litter box. If your cat is overgrooming, you may find a large amount of hair in the stool, or you may find more hairballs being expelled in vomit.
Since cats are fairly private creatures by nature, it makes things even trickier to spot when something is off. Luckily, there are a few things you can look out for once you realize some of the most common reasons why cats develop itchy skin. One of these reasons might be causing your cat to be itchy:
Fleas can be a nuisance to find on your cat, but the flea-bite sensitivity that follows is easy to pick up on. If you can’t immediately see any fleas on your cat, the most noticeable sign is the flea “dirt” they leave behind. Flea dirt is digested blood that fleas leave on a cat’s fur.
A simple way to determine if this is actual flea dirt versus regular dirt or dust is to place some of the “dirt” onto a wet paper towel. If it is flea dirt, it will dissolve and turn a red color, indicating digested blood, if it’s dust it may remain the same without dissolving, or dirt will turn a brown/sandy color. This will usually be on the back, tail, or around your cat’s neck.
Skin parasites, like mites, can also be the culprits of an overly-itchy cat. The best way to spot skin mites is by having a vet conduct multiple skin scrapes. They can be tricky to spot, so getting a vet's help on this one is recommended.
Whether you have recently changed your cat’s food or not, they may be experiencing an allergic reaction to it. New food can induce sensitivity; however, even feeding the same food, some cats can develop a food hypersensitivity later in life.
Cats with food allergies will usually scab and lose their fur around the face or neck. Specific ingredients in cat food like fish, beef, and dairy are often to blame for food allergies, however, anything that is fed can be a source of the allergy. An upset stomach, loss of appetite, or diarrhea may also be signs of a food allergy in cats.
Cats instinctively love to groom themselves, which is a reason they lick their hair. There’s nothing wrong with a clean kitty. However, their behavior can, at times, turn into bad compulsive habits. Compulsive scratching, chewing, and licking can become a habit cats pick up.
This behavior is called “psychogenic alopecia” and it can be challenging to diagnose. Your veterinarian would need to rule out other causes of overgrooming prior to making this diagnosis, as this is fairly rare.
When it comes to grooming themselves, cats who overdo it can end up losing their hair in patches, and also opens the door to other skin issues. Excessive licking can lead to skin irritations, hotspots, scabs, inflammation, infections, and even open wounds.
Cats can develop environmental allergies, or atopic dermatitis, at any stage in their life. Sometimes it’s seasonal and only happens during the spring or fall. Other times it extends throughout the year. Additionally, cats can develop indoor allergies to dust mites, human dander, dog dander, and even good old house dust.
Cats with these allergies will often have excess grooming, bald bellies, ear or skin infections and some can have runny noses, watery eyes, congestion. Other signs can include inflamed paws, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Trying to diagnose a cat’s skin issues on your own isn’t easy and might not be the best option. If you are stumped and can’t figure out the cause of your cat’s itchiness, it’s probably best to get your vet’s advice. Once diagnosed, you can determine whether a prescription treatment or a home remedy for your cat with itchy skin is in order.
Natural Home Remedies for Cat's With Itchy Skin
If you have successfully determined what the cause of your cat’s scratching is, considering home remedies for your itchy cat can prove to be a safe route. Based on the root of your cat’s excessive itching, there are different home remedies or at-home treatments you can try. Keep reading to find out some of the best itch relief home remedies for cats.
Home Remedies For Itchy Cats (General)
For general itch relief, cats can benefit from homemade dips. Several cat owners have made bath dips using peppermint, pennyroyal, and rosemary to relieve itchiness associated with fleas and dry skin. Essential oils can get tricky if a cat ingests them, so be on the lookout for that.
If your cat is especially reluctant to baths, adding catnip or aloe can help them stay calmer in the water. Adding one of those in an oatmeal or tea bath can also help soothe their irritated skin without worrying about them licking anything off.
Another home remedy for itchy skin is adding CBD to your cat's diet by using CBD oils, CBD catnip, or CBD treats. Giving your cat CBD can help prevent skin irritation from developing or worsening.
A cat's endocannabinoid system, in which CBD helps balance, plays a huge role in their skin health. CBD helps soothe dry skin and calm itchy areas. This can prevent them from excessive scratching that damages or infects the skin.
At HolistaPet, we take pride in being the #1 veterinarian trusted CBD brand for cats. We have an impressive selection of CBD treats, CBD catnip, CBD capsules and CBD oils that can all boost your cat’s overall health.
Not only will our CBD treats support your cat’s health, but they can also soothe a cat as they promote calmness and reduce nerves. Many times a cat overgrooms due to stress or boredom that comes from a lack of physical activity and pent-up energy. Aside from compulsive scratching and licking, built-up energy in cats can also lead to scratching furniture, lashing out, and other aggressive behavior.
Providing exercise and positive stimulation for your cat can work wonders for stress relief. If overgrooming is causing skin irritation, extra playtime might do the trick. When you combine physical activity and our highly recommended CBD cat treats, your cat is less likely to over-groom and take part in excessive itching.
Home Remedies For Fleas And Parasites
When a cat gets fleas, it can be highly unpleasant. Between over-the-counter solutions, flea collars, and home remedies for fleas, eradicating a flea problem can be easier than you think. Here are a few at-home treatments you can try if your cat has fleas:
- Lemons: The citric acid in lemons makes it one of the most effective natural flea killers. Put some diluted lemon juice in a spray bottle and spray your cat in the affected areas. Gently work it into their fur, avoiding their eyes. To make this spray, thinly slice a lemon, add it to a pint of water, and bring this to a boil. Let the mix cool and seep overnight then strain the lemon out and add the mix into the bottle.
- Oregano oil: Oregano oil has natural compounds that can effectively remove fleas. Mix one teaspoon of oregano oil and three teaspoons of olive oil to create a solution you can apply directly to the affected area.
- Cedar Chips: Did you know that fleas hate the smell of cedar chips? Try spreading cedar chips around your cat’s sleeping and play areas to keep them at bay.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Mix apple cider vinegar and water (2:1) and spray it on your cat’s coat. Try this a few times before calling it quits.
- Lavender and Chamomile: Applying lavender and chamomile spray on your cat’s coat is excellent for soothing their itchy skin. Both are also known to repel or possibly kill fleas. To use lavender, fresh is best, let it seep in some water for about 8 hours, strain the liquid and use a spray bottle to apply it as a topical spray. With the chamomile simply brew some tea bags of it and allow the tea to cool off all the way. Apply the tea using the spray method as well.
Interested in more flea fighting home remedies? Read this article next: Home Remedies for Fleas on Cats [Helpful Tips Inside!]
Itchy Cat Home Remedies For Food Allergies
When dealing with food allergies in cats, eliminating common allergy-inducing ingredients can do the trick. Cat food with beef, lamb, seafood, dairy, corn, wheat, and soy should be avoided if your cat has suddenly developed a food sensitivity.
Opting for an organic, grain-free, and limited ingredient cat food can help tremendously--that includes treats too. While transitioning foods, refrain from giving your cat any treats or medications to see better results.
If you’re confused about what diet will work best with your cat, consult with a veterinarian. They will help you select the best food for your cat.
Home Remedies For Environmental Allergies
If your cat is showing signs of atopy, or environmental allergies, it's best to take them to the veterinarian. They can provide exams that will pinpoint what is triggering their reaction, which can be difficult to know and treat without specific testing. Usually, atopy in cats is lifelong and will have to be managed for the rest of their lives.
However, there are a few things you can do to remove certain triggers and reduce the chances of symptoms:
- Vacuum rooms when your cat is not present.
- Take them to the vet regularly or as recommended.
- Try giving them Omega 3 & 6 supplements, if your vet gives you the ok. Omega 6 is best for coat health.
- Use CBD to help decrease irritation and swelling around itchy areas.
- If your cat doesn't mind, give them regular baths using anti-itch shampoo.
- If grass or pollen is the culprit, keep the air conditioner on during warmer weather.
- Whenever you notice dust, grass, or pollen on your cat, clean it off them immediately.
These steps will not completely alleviate your cat from experiencing environmental allergies. However, they can help provide your cat with a more comfortable living environment, free of allergy triggers.
Preventing A Cat's Itchy Skin With Home Remedies
If you’re reading this, chances are you love your itchy cat and want to find the best solution to rid them of their itchiness. Or perhaps, you’re searching for ways to prevent skin issues like itchiness in your cat. Either way, we’ve compiled a few home remedies to prevent a cat’s itchy skin.
Simple things like taking your cat to the vet regularly and monitoring their hygiene can prevent itchiness and other skin issues. Cat’s with dry skin and dandruff can benefit from a complete omega 3 & 6 oil combination in their diet to hydrate their skin.
Maintaining their coat allergen-free is easy when regular grooming and maintenance takes place. Overall, the best way to promote healthy skin from within is ensuring your cat has good hygiene and feeding them a balanced diet. Incorporating vitamins and supplements to their daily routine can also prove to be effective in their good-health department.
Taking proactive steps like using flea or tick collars and using prescription flea prevention medicine can help decrease the chances of a parasite infestation. Using CBD oil for cats can also help prevent skin issues by soothing and calming irritated skin, it reduces your cat’s need to scratch incessantly, which decreases their chances of developing skin infections.
Final Thoughts On Itchy Cats And Home Remedies
So you see, there are several paths you can journey on that will help you soothe your kitty’s itchy skin. Making homemade dips to relieve dryness and inflammation and using CBD to soothe irritated and itchy skin are just two ways to help an itchy cat. If you're looking for a more natural route to relieve your itchy cat, always consult with a holistic veterinarian for the best advice.
Holistic vets will carefully and accurately diagnose the reason for your cat's itchiness. They will weigh out your options for home remedies and other natural treatments if a stronger prescription is not needed. Once you've pinpointed the problem, you can choose the best natural treatments and home remedies for your cat.