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What's Causing Your Cat to Scratch?

A common health problem for cats is skin diseases, including allergies. Frequently, when your cat has a skin disease, you will notice that he or she is scratching more than usual—a symptom that your veterinarian may refer to as pruitis. If your cat is scratching more than normal, here are some of the reasons your veterinarian in San Jose will consider when making a diagnosis. cat - scratching

Fleabite Sensitivity

If your cat has missed a dose or two of flea medications, he or she may contract fleas that leave behind itchy bites. Although fleas make all animals moderately itchy, some cats are hypersensitive to fleabites and have a more extreme allergic reaction to them. If this happens with your cat, you will notice him or her scratching more than normal, particularly around the neck, lower back, and base of his or her tail. There may be hair loss and/or tiny scabs. Your veterinarian will treat your cat for fleas to eradicate this problem. If you have other animals in your home, they will also need to be treated.

Skin Parasites

Fleas aren’t the only parasites that can make your cat itchy. Skin mites in particular are common culprits behind scratching kitties. Mites are more common in cats that go outdoors, so if you have an outdoor cat who is itchier than normal, make an appointment for him or her to be evaluated for mites. If your vet does find mites, he or she will likely prescribe a topical parasiticide. Your vet may also treat your cat for mites even if he or she doesn’t find any if no other reason can found for the itchiness.


Cats can experience allergic reactions to both food and environmental triggers. Food allergies are often accompanied by other symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, or loss of appetite in addition to itchiness. Environmental allergens may cause symptoms that appear in cycles, such as during spring and fall, or if the allergen is indoors, they may cause symptoms yea round. Typically, cats with allergies have mild symptoms at first that get worse over time.

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