Why Do Cat Scratches Itch?

Cat-scratch disease is an infection you can get after a cat scratches, bites, or licks you. It is caused by bacteria in cat saliva. Cats likely get the bacteria from fleas.

If the scratch is on your arm, the glands in your armpit or near your elbow may become tender and swollen. A red area around a cat scratch or bite that continues to get bigger for more than 2 days after the injury.

Fever that lasts for several days after a cat scratch or bite. Dont let your cat lick you, especially around the mouth, nose, eyes, or open wounds. Control fleas to decrease the chance that your cat will contract the bacteria.

In rare cases, the infection can travel to your bones, liver, or other organs. Rarely, they could develop inflammation of the heart that could make it hard for them to breathe. If you are worried that your cat may be experiencing symptoms from the bacteria, contact your vet.

If you get scratched or bitten by a cat, wash the area with soap and water. In most cases, you can manage your symptoms at home with pain relievers or warm compresses.

Why does a cat scratch itch so much?

This could be a fungal infection, such as ringworm, which enters the skin via a lesion, bite or direct contact, and then begins to irritate the outermost layer of the skin. Another cause of scratching can be acne, which causes itchiness and shows as inflamed, red lesions commonly found on their chin.

Why do I swell and itch when a cat scratched me?

Cat scratch disease is an infection caused by a bacterium in cat saliva. The disease causes redness and swelling at the site of a cat scratch or bite, and flu-like symptoms. If you are scratched or bitten by a cat or kitten, it is important to promptly wash the area with soap and water.

Can you be allergic to cat scratches?

If a cat has scratched, licked, or bitten someone who is allergic to cats, redness and sometimes even swelling of the affected area will occur. For those severely allergic, a reaction may resemble that of someone with a severe food allergy, and such reactions require emergency medical care.

How do you stop a cat scratch from itching?

Put plastic, double-sided sticky tape, sandpaper or upside-down vinyl carpet runner (knobby parts up) on furniture or on the floor where your cat would stand to scratch your furniture. Place scratching posts next to these objects, as “legal” alternatives. Clip your cat’s nails regularly.

If your cat kisses you on the lips, it’s showing affection for you. Cats are not always fulsome about expressing their feelings. For a cat to show this level of

The difference between a minor scratch that will heal quickly and a painful infection often has little to do with the cut itself but rather the state of the cats claws that inflicted the wound. An infection, such as Bartonella henselae (cat scratch disease), can also cause the skin to become itchy.

Other infections that make the skin itch include tetanus, cellulitis, ringworm, and toxoplasmosis. We will look at how human skin reacts to a cat scratch and what factors determine the wounds severity and healing time. Cats rarely show any reaction to Bartonella henselae, passing it on unwittingly to humans through scratches.

The Swiss Archive for Veterinary Science reviewed 3 cases of cats with lameness due to tetanus. Any contact with a cat can potentially pass ringworm onto humans, including scratches. As the skin is so dry, scratching the itch risks creating open wounds and scars.

A dirty litter tray means that feline waste can become trapped in a cats claws. According to The Journal of the American Medical Association , cats can pass on the plague to humans via scratching.

Playing with your cat is fun, but every now and then your kitty may get aggressive and bite you. Even worse is a cat scratch. Weve all been scratched before, but for some reason, cat scratches seem to be more irritable than other types of scratch. So, why do cat scratches itch?

If you work in an animal rescue or at a vets office, you will not be able to avoid the talons of a feline. In CSD, your scratch doesnt heal; it continues to swell and may produce sores.

The disease is caused by a bacteria (Bartonella henselae) that is passed from the cat when they bite or scratch you hard enough to break the skin. Not every doctor may feel the need to prescribe antibiotics, but a prescription does help resolve the symptoms faster. A person allergic to cats will react to scratches, bites, as well as licks & kitty kisses.

A person with a cat allergy can have an outsized reaction to a scratch, including profuse swelling and redness at the site. If this isnt possible (or you work with animals in a rescue or veterinary setting), make sure you take proper precautions. Wear long sleeves and thick gloves to protect yourself from the upset feline.

Pet Wellbeing’s own Dr. Jan has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years. Since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, she’s founded two veterinary clinics and lectured extensively on pet herbal therapy, nutraceuticals, acupuncture, rehabilitation and pain management.

What is cat-scratch disease?

Cat-scratch disease is an infection you can get after a cat scratches, bites, or licks you. It is caused by bacteria in cat saliva. Cats likely get the bacteria from fleas.Cat-scratch disease is also called cat-scratch fever. It is not a severe illness in healthy people. But it can be a problem for young children or people with weak immune systems. These include people with cancer, diabetes, or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

What causes cat-scratch disease?

A red bump, sore, or blister may develop where a cat has bitten or scratched you. This could happen 3 to 10 days after the bite or scratch. The sore or blister may take a long time to heal. You may experience a low-grade fever (under 102°F), headache, fatigue, or poor appetite.An infection of the lymph nodes can also develop. This happens most often in the glands closest to the scratch or bite. If the scratch is on your arm, the glands in your armpit or near your elbow may become tender and swollen.Call your family doctor if you notice any of the following problems:

How is cat-scratch disease diagnosed?

Your doctor will examine the bite or scratch and ask you about your symptoms. He or she will check your lymph nodes for swelling or tenderness. If a diagnosis is not clear, they may order a blood test.

Cat-scratch disease treatment

You can prevent cat-scratch disease in the following ways:Young cats are more likely to carry the bacteria than older cats. Households with kittens have higher rates of infection. If the kittens have fleas, the infection rate is even higher. If you are planning to adopt a cat, consider a cat that is at least 1 year old.

Should cats be treated?

Most cats with the bacteria do not get sick or need treatment. Rarely, they could develop inflammation of the heart that could make it hard for them to breathe. If you are worried that your cat may be experiencing symptoms from the bacteria, contact your vet.

Living with cat-scratch disease

If you get scratched or bitten by a cat, wash the area with soap and water. Look for signs of infection over the next 2 weeks. Call your doctor if you have symptoms.In most cases, you can manage your symptoms at home with pain relievers or warm compresses.

Why Are Cat Scratches So Itchy?

Most cat scratches cause surface-level injuries, and the body will automatically start repairing itself. However, your body doesn’t consider the damage significant enough to release pain-reducing endorphins. According to The British Journal of Dermatology, the brain processes itching similarly to pain.Itching is considered low intensity. Unless the itching becomes painful, the brain will acknowledge the discomfort but ignore it. In most cases, the itching will only last for 1-2 days. In some cases, it will take much longer to pass due to a bacterial or fungal infection. Others experience sustained itchiness due to an allergic reaction.

Allergies

If you are allergic to cats, a scratch will cause intense itching. The skin’s surface area will redden, and you may experience streaming from the eyes and sneezing. In some cases, the area around the scratched skin may break out in hives. Allergy, Asthma, and Clinical Immunology said that cats are the second most common cause of human allergies.

Infection

If you have symptoms following a cat scratch, consider whether you may have developed an infection. Your cat should be immunized against anything dangerous. All the same, it will be helpful to recognize the symptoms of an infection:

Bartonella Henselae (Cat Scratch Disease)

Bartonella henselae is the most common explanation for itchiness after a cat scratches you. This condition is known as “cat scratch disease,” or CSD.Fleas usually cause Bartonella henselae in cats. When the cat scratches itself to relieve itching, the bacteria is trapped under the claws. It can also travel into the cat’s saliva. When a cat licks its paws to groom, the bacteria will start to multiply. Cats rarely show any reaction to Bartonella henselae, passing it on unwittingly to humans through scratches.The scratch will start to itch naturally as the skin repairs itself. CSD can manifest later, sometimes as long as 14 days after the event. The itching will intensify, and the skin may swell. You may experience fever and lethargy.Kittens were responsible for the vast majority of 1,200 CSD diagnoses profiled by The American Journal of Diseases in Children. Young cats are more susceptible to disease and far likelier to scratch during play.Left alone, CSD will eventually run its course. If the itching and other side effects are particularly uncomfortable, antibiotics will be prescribed to resolve the problem.

Tetanus

Tetanus is a bacterial infection that is usually passed on by animal bites or scratches. Thankfully, it is also commonly vaccinated against, and a tetanus shot will remain effective for 10 years.Tetanus is commonly called ‘lockjaw’ because of one of the most prominent side effects. Tetanus bacteria attack the nervous system, mainly around the neck and jaw. Moving these body parts becomes increasingly difficult, which can restrict breathing.Tetanus will cause stiffness throughout the body. In cats, the legs are most affected. The Swiss Archive for Veterinary Science reviewed 3 cases of cats with lameness due to tetanus. All 3 cats recovered fully with the aid of medication.If you have a cat, it is advisable to protect yourself against tetanus as scratches and bites will happen. Get a booster every 5-10 years. If you are infected due to a lack of protection, antibiotics will be required.

Cellulitis

If a cat scratches hard enough to break the skin, cellulitis becomes a risk. This is a bacterial infection that enters the body through cuts. In addition to significant itching, cellulitis will cause the skin to redden and swell. A rash will quickly form that feels hot to the touch.Cellulitis is a result of the Pasteurella multocida bacteria. As The Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery explains, symptoms usually present themselves within hours of the scratch taking place.Left untreated, cellulitis can become problematic, even life-threatening. It can lead to MRSA in some cases. If the itching from a cat scratch turns into a rash, you’ll need a course of antibiotics.

Ringworm

Ringworm is a contagious fungal infection that can live within a cat’s skin and nails. Any contact with a cat can potentially pass ringworm onto humans, including scratches. A cat with ringworm will constantly scratch, leading to flailing legs. Consequently, you may be unintentionally scratched and infected with ringworm.The infection is defined by dry, scabby skin. This manifests as circular markings, which is what gives the infection its name. Ringworm is not a parasite and does not involve worms of any kind.Aside from unsightliness, ringworm can cause significant itching. If you notice the physical symptoms of ringworm on your skin, it should be treated ASAP. As the skin is so dry, scratching the itch risks creating open wounds and scars. Ringworm is easily treated with the aid of a topical ointment. This will resolve the itching and kill the fungus.Ringworm is also contagious, so quarantine yourself and your cat until you’re both fully recovered. You will also need to clean and sterilize everything you came into contact with, including clothes and furniture. Failure to do so may result in a recurrence of ringworm and the associated itchiness of the skin.

Toxoplasmosis

There is a slim chance of being infected with toxoplasmosis from a cat scratch. The chance is slim because the disease is not carried in feline saliva. Simply licking paws will transfer the bacteria to a cat’s claws, and cats shed the bacteria that cause this infection through feces.According to Veterinary Parasitology, most infections involve handling contaminated waste. A dirty litter tray means that feline waste can become trapped in a cat’s claws. If the cat scratches and breaks the skin, the infection can be passed on to humans. This is unlikely, but it’s not impossible.Most cats show no symptoms of toxoplasmosis. If your cat has the condition, it may display run a fever, become lethargic, and lose its appetite.Be mindful of toxoplasmosis risk if you are pregnant or have children, as it can cause a range of health concerns in children and fetuses, including blindness.

Bubonic Plague

Bubonic plague is caused by a strain of bacteria called yersinia pestis. Cats can catch the plague by eating infected mice or being bitten by fleas. According to The Journal of the American Medical Association, cats can pass on the plague to humans via scratching. Caught sufficiently early, the plague can be treated with antibiotics.

How Do You Treat A Cat Scratch?

If you have owned cats for as long as I have, you will get scratched at some point. If you work in an animal rescue or at a vet’s office, you will not be able to avoid the talons of a feline. A scratch can happen as an accident or because your cat is annoyed with you. For example, if you want to scratch your cat’s belly and they don’t enjoy that, expect a smack with their paw. Attempting to scratch is also a response to fear for cats.More often than not, a cat scratch is not a big deal. To treat the scratch, immediately wash the area and treat it with an antibiotic ointment. The antibiotic will cut down on the itching you feel. You may need to apply a band-aid or a gauze covering to stem any bleeding.If your scratch is more profound and the bleeding won’t stop, you will need to seek medical care for the scratch. You may need stitches if the wound is deep. When this happens, the risk of infection is very high. More often than not, your doctor will either inject you with antibiotics or write you a prescription for one. Don’t skip this step of the treatment! A deep cat scratch will swell, and you will want the antibiotics to fight it.