If you notice that your cat is scratching incessantly, losing hair, or developing a rash, they are likely having an allergic reaction of some kind. Skin allergies are fairly common in cats, affecting around 10% of felines, with causes ranging from fleas to foods and flora. Chronic conditions should always be referred to a vet, but there are easy remedies to try at home first to provide instant relief for your cat. Many of these are inexpensive and simple, and most are preventative too. Try each method alone first, to help you eliminate potential causes so you can find the correct source of the itchy skin.
The first check to perform is to make sure your cat is getting a healthy diet. A well-rounded diet of mostly meat (cats are obligate carnivores) will go a long way in preventing and even curing many skin issues. With that in mind, here are common tried-and-tested remedies to give your feline friend relief from itchy skin.
1. Flea Allergies
Most issues with itchy skin in cats are caused by an allergic reaction to fleas. Controlling the lifecycle of fleas is the first important step to stopping allergic reactions in your cat’s coat. Natural flea powders, flea combs, and cleaning your carpets and pillows often will help prevent a flea infestation in your home and go a long way in preventing allergies in your feline. If this is covered and your cat is still having an issue with itchy skin, you can move ahead with other remedies.
2. Oatmeal Soak
While you can be sure that most cats will not be amused at being slathered in oatmeal, they will likely thank you afterward. A slurry of oatmeal mixed with water can be applied liberally to your cat or via a bath that you can leave your cats soaking in. The mixture should be left on their skin for at least 10 minutes to provide optimum relief. The oatmeal should ideally be ground up into a fine powder in a food processor first to make it easy to apply and spread.
Oatmeal will soothe, nourish, and moisturize your cat’s skin and provide immense immediate relief against itching. The moisturizing properties will also help soften any dry skin and prevent any itchiness for at least a few days. Oats have anti-inflammatory properties, which is what gives the soak its soothing properties. There are also premade oatmeal sprays available for purchase, but homemade is best!
3. Epsom Salt Bath
Epsom salts have several benefits for your cat, including relief for itchy skin. They can also be used for treating wounds, relieving muscle aches and pains in older cats, and assist in flushing toxins. The dissolved salts are easily absorbed through the skin and can provide immediate relief for rashes or itchy skin. Again, your cat may not be pleased, but a 10-minute soak in an Epsom salt bath will usually provide immense relief.
Epsom salt is also known as magnesium sulfate, and despite its name, it is very different from table salt. It has been used to treat ailments for hundreds of years in animals and humans and is a safe and natural method to treat your cat’s itchy skin.
4. Add more oils to their diet
Dry, flaky, and itchy skin can often be a result of a lack of natural oils in your cat’s diet. If they are fed on primarily dry kibble, they may be lacking certain oils. Oils from fish are a great addition, as are hemp oil and olive oil. Half a teaspoon added to their usual diet may help, or one spoon every few days, but be careful of giving them too much, as these can be fattening. You’ll soon notice their coat getting shiny and smooth too!
A simple but often overlooked remedy for itchy skin is regular brushing, especially in cats with long, thick coats, like Persians. Cats with thick coats can easily get matted or knotted, and this can cause dandruff or dry, flaky skin. Regular brushing with a fine-tooth comb will go a long way in stopping knots and matting and causing skin issues.
6. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has been used as a home remedy for a variety of ailments for hundreds, if not thousands of years. It contains acetic acid and is particularly helpful for itchy skin in cats. Applying it via a soak or spray will help kill pathogens and bacteria and thus reduce itchiness and flaking.
7. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil contains plenty of fats that will help keep your cat’s skin moisturized and promote the growth of a healthy coat. It will also soothe itchy skin by coating it with its soothing oils. Gently rub the oil onto the affected areas every day, or give orally for best results as it has several nutritional benefits too. A teaspoon a day mixed into their meal, in combination with a surface application, can cause great relief.
8. Plain Yoghurt
Plain, unsweetened, unflavored yogurt can have tremendous soothing effects on your cat’s skin. Apply gently to the affected area for immediate, cooling relief. Even better, if they’re not allergic, mix a few teaspoons into their food once a week. Plain yogurt contains beneficial bacteria that will aid in your cat’s digestion, boost their immune system, and thus help them fight any skin allergy or infection they may be suffering from.
9. Baking Soda
Baking soda has some antifungal properties and may provide relief for your itchy feline. Making a paste with water or better yet, mixed with coconut oil, and applying it to the affected area will help provide relief. Alternatively, you could make a bath with infused baking soda and soak your cat for 10 minutes.
Hopefully, some of these home remedies will help provide relief to your cat’s itchy skin. We recommend trying one at a time to see which works best, and of course, making sure their diet is healthy and well-balanced. These remedies will not replace the expert advice of your vet, and be sure to take your cat for a visit to rule out any serious genetic or environmental causes that may be causing the problem.
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