Aug 27
cat with a scratch

Reasons Why Your Cat Might Be Itching Or Scratching

Have you noticed your cat to be itching more frequently or scratching non-stop at their skin, ears, paws or bum? Here’s our
Vets’ take on the most common causes for scratchy, irritable skin.

Why is my cat itchy?
There are many reasons for cats to scratch. Sometimes it’s for pure, blissful relief: just like us, they get an itch, so they scratch it. When it starts to get compulsive or all too frequent however, it’s important to get it looked at right away. There are many causes for non-stop scratching, so working out exactly what’s happening with your cat is essential to get on the best treatment plan for their wellbeing (and your sanity too).

Top five causes of itchy cats
Our vets identify the most common causes of itching for you below, starting with the top perpetrator.

1. Fleas:

A single bite can cause your cat to be very itchy. Lesions tend to be more at the back of the body. If you’re looking for
evidence of the flea/s, you might not always find it (your cat may have already removed it). So it’s always best to see a Vet.

2. Inhaled allergies (atopy):
This itch is due to allergens such as dust or pollen inhaled in the air. It’s more of an all-over body itch. You might notice it starts seasonally, but it can build up to being year-round too.

3. Food allergies:
This is usually due to a protein in food––believe it or not, fish and beef are common causes. The itch can be anywhere on the body and tends to occur all year round.

4. Contact allergies:
When your cat gets itchy after physically coming into contact with a plant. A ground cover called trad (or Tradescantia albiflora) is a major cause. The itch is wherever the allergen touches, which tends to be the underside of the body and
the paws.

5. Insect bites:
Biting flying insects such as mosquitoes can cause intense itch and tend to bite non-haired areas such as the bridge of the nose. These cats tend to have lesions over their nose, face and ears.

6. Ear Mites:
These are a major cause of ear inflammation and infection, and also cause itch over the head and neck.

Every cat is different
It’s important to note there may be more than one cause for your itchy cat. Also, there are other less common causes we haven’t listed above that might be the culprit too. Use this list as a handy guide, and if you’re still unsure or concerned, chat with a Vet.

Want help? Chat with our Vets.

Our 5 years + experienced Aussie Vets are on stand-by to help your pet via video and text from 6am - Midnight, Sydney Australia time every day.

Dr. Claire Jenkins

Claire is a QLD graduate with over 15 years experience as a neighbourhood Veterinarian in Australia and the UK. Animal lover and the founder of Vetchat, born from a passion to help pet carers everywhere access trusted advice earlier, for healthier, happier pets. Grateful to be carer to her beautiful Red-dog.

2 Comments

  1. How do I manage my itchy cat? | Vetchat
    June 29, 2018 at 9:14 pm AEST ·

    […] already talked about the causes of itchy cats here, now we turn to the management of itchy cats. Once we know the cause, we can most effectively treat […]

  2. How To Treat And Manage An Itchy Pet | Vetchat
    August 28, 2019 at 1:58 pm AEST ·

    […] on from our last post that listed the reasons why cats get itchy, our vets now have some tips for helping you manage your itchy patient, even at […]