Itchy Cat

by Jo-ie
(North Hollywood)


My 10 year old cat has been scratching herself until she bleeds. She doesn't have any fleas and we're not sure what's wrong with her. I know it sounds silly but my friend seems to think it is something to do with the fact that she's a white and gray cat. Due to her white and some gray cat also scratches herself.

Thank you for all your help.

Hi, Jo-ie,

No offense to your friend, but I have not heard or read or witnessed that gray and white cats are itchy due to their color.

Itchy cats are almost always allergic to something. Although fleas are the most common reason, there are certainly many others. Cats can be allergic to pretty much anything in the environment or to food.

However do not think that just because you can't find a flea on your cat that she isn't itchy from fleas.

The cats that are the most allergic to fleas are the ones on whom you can't find a single flea. They are so busy scratching and licking that they are ingesting the fleas. Also, in a really allergic cat, it only takes one flea to make them insanely itchy.

In my experience, the cats that scratch until they bleed pretty much always have flea allergy.

So what do you do? If you don't own one, buy a flea comb. It must be a true flea comb. Comb daily or more often and look not just for fleas but for black specks. If you find any, rub them on a wet white paper towel and see if a rust-colored stain appears on the paper towel. If so, there have been fleas on your kitty.

At the same time, I recommend applying Frontline Plus on your cat once monthly, even if you do not find "flea dirt".

If she continues to scratch herself in spite of the above suggestions, a visit to the vet for further diagnostics as well as medication to relieve the itch would be best for your kitty. There are allergy tests for food, fleas, trees, grasses, household items ...just about anything you can think of.

Thank you for writing,
Dr. Neely

Return to The Role of Cat Flea Medicine in Feline Allergies.