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'Feline' itchy?

Everybody has an itch to scratch every once in a while, and this includes our feline friends!

Now that the weather is getting warmer, you may notice them doing so more frequently as Spring is usually the time when parasites start to become a real annoyance. External parasites like fleas or ticks thrive when the temperature rises and they can cause significant discomfort and itchiness.

However, parasites are not the only cause of itchiness in cats, and even though they might be the first ones we think about this season, they may not be the ones to blame!

Allergies are fairly common around this time of the year as we can easily find our cats in contact with pollen, grass, and other seasonal allergens that may cause these conditions. If your cat suffers from allergies, you can notice signs ranging from skin irritation, itchiness, and discomfort to hair loss, skin lesions and infections secondary to excessive grooming and scratching.
The funny thing is, parasites and allergies can join forces and cause a condition known as flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) in which the allergen that causes cats to have a reaction is found in the fleas saliva. This means that your cats don't need to have fleas to feel itchy, they just need to get bitten by a single one and, surprisingly enough, this happens more often than we might imagine!

There are also other conditions that can cause your cats to itch that are not seasonal such as food allergies, mite infestations, other insect bites, and skin infections, which are usually secondary to an underlying disease.

Also, there are some behaviours that we might associate with pruritus such as excessive grooming, for example, that can be a manifestation of pain or boredom.

As there are many causes for your cats to feel itchy if you notice they are scratching more than usual, don't hesitate to talk to your vet. He or she can make sure your cats parasite treatment is up to date and evaluate if there's an underlying health issue that needs to be addressed.

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Published: 31 May 2019

Read the previous article: Outdoor adventures with your furry friend