If you notice your feline friend itching and scratching more than usual, she could have a case of cat dandruff or fleas, or she may simply need some skin conditioning. After a trip to the vet to find out what's causing the itch, try washing your kitty in a vinegar bath. Vinegar can kill fleas, help remove dandruff and soothe your kitten's skin without using harsh chemicals or commercial powders.
Before using a vinegar wash, visit the veterinarian so she can establish the cause of your kitten's skin problem. Possible culprits include dry skin or dandruff, a fungal infection, diabetes, poor diet, fleas and mites, sunburn and even pregnancy. The vet might recommend medication or a diet change. Ask her if you can help your kitten relieve her symptoms with a vinegar wash.
Bathing Your Kitten
Brush your kitten to remove loose hair. Place cotton balls in both ears to keep water out. Fill a sink or basin with about 5 inches of warm water that is 102 degrees Fahrenheit, or 39 degrees Celsius. Fill a plastic bucket with water and begin gently pouring the water onto your kitten's back and underside. Use a wet wash cloth to wet the face and head. Shampoo using a mild cat-dandruff shampoo. Rinse the coat thoroughly at least twice to be sure to remove all the soap residue, which is an irritant.
Using the Vinegar
Reassure your cat by talking, praising and touching her. Mix 1 tablespoon of vinegar into 1 pint of water that is 102 degrees Fahrenheit, 39 Celsius. Gently pour it onto her coat, working it into the cat's underside. The vinegar rinse will acidify the cat's skin. Rinse the vinegar thoroughly. If your kitten's itch is from dandruff, you'll see a soft, shiny coat that is free of flakes after she dries. When fleas and ticks are the culprit, the vinegar could shoo them away.
Ways to Keep Kitty's Skin Healthy
Veterinarian Jean Hofve has more than 20 years' cat experience and is an adviser to the Association of American Feed Control Officials. She says that in addition to the vinegar rinse, you can add a high-quality cod or fish oil supplement to your cat's diet to keep skin healthy. However, it's crucial that it be from marine animals since they are the only reliable source for EPA and DHA omega-3s. "Cat owners can simply squeeze a few drops of omega-3 from a capsule into their kitten's wet food," Hofve says. "Within weeks, owners will notice how this anti-inflammatory will also help improve a cat's skin and coat."
Based in Los Angeles, Lisa Finn has been writing professionally for 20 years. Her print and online articles appear in magazines and websites such as "Spa Magazine," "L.A. Parent," "Business," the Famous Footwear blog and many others. She also ghostwrites for mompreneurs and business owners who appear regularly on shows such as Ricki Lake, HGTV, Carson Daly and The Today Show.