How to Stop a Cat's Itchy Skin

The head and neck are the common areas a cat will scratch.

The head and neck are the common areas a cat will scratch.

Your kitty's itchy skin may be the result of external parasites, seasonal allergies or food allergies. Once you know what is causing the scratching, chewing and licking, you can control the itchy skin. However, if your kitty has an allergy, you can't stop it; you can only lessen her symptoms.

Find out the causes of the itchy skin. Begin by examining your cat for fleas, mites or ticks. These external parasites can cause itching. Using a flea comb, comb the hair in the opposite direction of growth. If you see small, black dots, it is the flea excrement. Check your cat's ears. If you see dark brown debris, your cat has ear mites. Ticks bury under the skin, but you can see them under swollen skin.

Remove the external parasite. Take out the tick with a tick remover -- a small plastic spoon with a V-cut. Remove ear mites with a veterinary recommended product. Use a cotton ball and swab the ear canal. If your cat has fleas, begin a flea control program -- spot applications, flea collars or flea powders.

Observe your cat to see if she is sneezing and coughing -- the symptoms of outside pollens, mold, mildew and dust. These allergens can also cause itchy skin.

Bath your cat with a veterinarian-recommended shampoo to relieve itching and remove pollen. You can also spray your cat with an oatmeal and aloe spray to sooth the skin. Your vet may prescribe cortisone or steroids to control the itching.

Eliminate mold and mildew by cleaning with bleach or a bleach product. Mold and mildew can collect in the bathroom or any area with moisture.

Remove dust by vacuuming twice a week and washing your kitty's bedding once a week. Purchase a dust-free kitty litter, as well.

Examine your kitty's coat for fluid-filled lumps on the skin. This is usually the symptom of food allergies. Consider a novel diet for your kitty to diagnose the food causing the irritation. Most cat foods consist of beef, pork, lamb, chicken, turkey, eggs, wheat, barley and/or corn. A novel diet consists of foods that are not part of your kitty’s normal diet such as venison, kangaroo and potato. Your kitty stays on the diet for 10 weeks and then you reintroduce the former foods one at a time to see which one is causing the allergic reaction.

Items you will need

  • Tick remover
  • Ear mite medication
  • Flea comb
  • Flea preventive product
  • Cat shampoo
  • Oatmeal or aloe sprays
  • Cortisone or steroids
  • Dust-free kitty litter


  • Always consult an experienced veterinarian regarding the health and treatment of your pet.
  • Antihistamines such as Benadryl work best if given before the cat is exposed to the allergen.
  • Fatty acid supplements may relieve itching.


  • Don't let your cat suffer. If there are no parasites and you have removed all possible allergens in her environment, but she still is scratching, take your kitty to the vet.

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About the Author

Pauline Gill is a retired teacher with more than 25 years of experience teaching English to high school students. She holds a bachelor's degree in language arts and a Master of Education degree. Gill is also an award-winning fiction author.

Photo Credits

  • scratching cat image by Lucid_Exposure from