Why does my cat scratch a lot?

In felines, a lot of scratching is synonymous with excessive licking, rubbing the body against different surfaces or even pulling hairs out with the teeth. When you notice that your cat is scratching a lot, it's most often thought to be itching, but while that's most likely, there may be other reasons.

Cats naturally spend a lot of time grooming themselves, often rubbing themselves against objects in their path and occasionally scratching different parts of their bodies with their nails and teeth.

Therefore, on many occasions, a slight increase in the frequency or intensity of these behaviours may go completely unnoticed. However, when the behaviour is sufficiently exaggerated or the animal begins to show skin lesions or a lack of hair in some areas, it becomes clear that your cat is scratching a lot and that there is a problem.

The most common reasons why you may end up saying "my cat scratches a lot" are related to itching and behavioural disturbances.

Itching is the sensation that causes the desire to scratch. It can be caused by a multitude of causes and expressed in different ways, and is one of the most common reasons for skin disorders in cats.

Depending on its cause, pruritus can be localised or generalised. Depending on this, which is a factor that can help in diagnosis, the location of the lesions will vary.

The most common causes of pruritus in the cat are:

Causes of an allergic nature: food intolerances or allergies and some types of dermatitis.

Causes of a non-allergic nature: Mites, a type of fungus that causes ringworm, some autoimmune diseases, other types of dermatitis or secondary bacterial infections.

Behavioural disorders
There is a group of skin diseases (psychogenic dermatoses) caused by compulsive grooming behaviour. The main causes of this behavioural disturbance are often various stressors that provoke anxiety in felines.

These illnesses, in addition to causing the cat to scratch a lot and precisely because of this, can become visible in the form of lesions on the animal's skin and the appearance of areas where the cat loses hair, especially on the inside of the hind legs.

If your cat scratches a lot, it may end up suffering from serious dermatological problems, which can take a long time to treat and require a lot of effort. Moreover, if the problem is not dealt with properly, it could get worse.

Therefore, if you notice that your cat is scratching a lot, it is essential to visit your vet to determine the root cause of the problem so that appropriate and effective treatment can be applied as soon as possible.

It is important to reduce or control the symptoms quickly to avoid major problems. The use of Elizabethan collars may be a good option to control lesions and itching.

It is important to reduce or control symptoms quickly to avoid major problems.

Subsequently, and only when organic or physical causes have been ruled out, the possibility of a psychological or behavioural disorder should be assessed.

For the treatment of any stress-related behavioural alterations in cats, it is essential to eliminate the factors that cause anxiety and create an environment in which your cat is safe and can develop its natural, instinctive behaviours.

Otherwise, prevention is essential. Parasite control through the preventive use of cat-friendly dewormers, creating a suitable and enriched environment, providing an optimal and appropriate diet in each case and regular check-ups are very important factors in preventing your cat from scratching a lot, as well as preventing other problems.

If you notice that your cat is scratching a lot, it may be due to something simple and without major repercussions, or it may be something a little more complex. In any case, to avoid major problems, it is always advisable that your feline receives professional and personalised attention from your trusted veterinarian.


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