Q:

Why do cat scratches itch?

A:

Quick Answer

Itching after a cat scratch is likely due to an allergic reaction to proteins in the cat's saliva, according to WebMD. Outside cats can also bring in pollen, mold and other allergens that can cause an allergic reaction.

Continue Reading

Full Answer

Oversensitive immune systems in people with allergies attack substances such as cat dander or saliva proteins as if they were bacteria or viruses. The allergy symptoms are the side effects of the body's fight against the allergen, states WebMD. Symptoms of cat allergies include: coughing and wheezing; hives or rash; red, itchy eyes; runny, itchy nose; and redness of the skin where a cat has scratched, bitten or licked a person.

A less likely reason for itching is cat-scratch disease, a bacterial infection spread by cats, states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The disease spreads when an infected cat scratches a person hard enough to break the surface of the skin. About three to 14 days later, a mild infection can occur at the site of the scratch, which appears swollen and red with lesions and pus. The infected person might also have fever, headache, exhaustion, and swollen, painful lymph nodes near the site of the scratch or bite.

About 10 percent of the U.S. population has pet allergies, states WebMD, with cat allergies twice as common as dog allergies.

Learn more about Cats
Sources:

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are some causes of a cat not eating?

    A:

    Illness, vaccinations, unfamiliar surroundings and psychological issues are some causes for a cat to avoid eating, explains WebMD. One of the first outward signs of feline illness is a loss of appetite, so it is important to consult a veterinarian if a cat refuses to eat.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are some cat exercise equipment options?

    A:

    Cats benefit greatly from object play, with common toys being laser pointers and wands that imitate the movement of bugs and birds, according to WebMD. Multi-tiered cat towers can encourage overweight animals to climb and jump, writes Everyday Health. One company has also developed a kitty treadmill, reports CNET.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are some causes of a cat not using a litter box?

    A:

    Some causes of a cat not using a litter box include behavioral problems, medical problems, a dirty litter box, changes in the type of litter used and too much litter in the litter box, according to WebMD. Cats who are no longer using the litter box need a veterinary exam.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why is my cat's hair falling out in patches?

    A:

    A cat's hair can fall out in patches because of hyperthyroidism, ringworm, compulsive grooming, cortisone excess, mange and feline endocrine apopecia, according to WebMD. Feline hair loss is referred to as alopecia and can be partial or complete, according to PetMD. Alopecia also occurs in older cats with cancer and skin allergies. WebMD notes that cat hair loss often makes the coat coarse, brittle or greasy.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore