Dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin and is very uncomfortable for your cat. Symptoms typically include persistent scratching which may lead to lesions, constant licking of a particular area, the appearance of a red, painful-looking sores, often overnight or scaly, rough or oozing areas on the skin, usually accompanied by hair loss. There are various types of dermatitis such as:
- Flea-bite dermatitis
- Allergic contact dermatitis
- Atopic dermatitis
- Seborrheic dermatitis
- Autosensitization dermatitis
- Pyotraumatic dermatitis (also known as hot spots)
- Notoedric mange
Conventional medication for dermatitis includes corticosteroids and oral antibiotics to calm the itching and inflammation. However, these medications may have side effects. Home remedies for cats offer an effective alternative for the treatment of dermatitis. There are many herbal and homoeopathic remedies which will lessen inflammation and soothe itchy skin.
Home remedies for cats with flea bite dermatitis
If your cat’s dermatitis results from flea bites, you should take action to rid the home of fleas as flea bite dermatitis is caused by flea saliva residue on your cat’s skin.
To treat the condition, give a tisane (herbal tea) of thyme and stinging nettle, three dropperfuls four times daily. To make the tisane pour 200ml of hot water over one teaspoon of the mixed dried herbs and let it brew for no more than two minutes.
Also give ¼ of a teaspoon of fresh speedwell juice mixed with ¼ of a teaspoon of honey and apple cider vinegar in a dropper, morning and evening. Rub nasturtium tincture into the affected area. If skin lesions are present follow the instructions below.
Home remedies for cats with pyotraumatic dermatitis
‘Hot spots’ need prompt attention to prevent infection. Hot spots are red, moist, hairless skin lesions. They can appear suddenly, and grow rapidly. Redness, oozing, pain, and itchiness are common signs of a hot spot. Hair loss is also common.
The first treatment for hot spots is to get air to the area and dry them out. Although air loss is a feature of hot spots, hair can also mat over the inflamed area, covering up a potentially much more severe and large problem, so shave the area and then cleanse with a herbal solution of German chamomile and water. The apply a cool compress of black or green tea teabags 2-4 times a day to dry out the area. Alternatively, apply bruised plantain leaves as a compress and then treat the area with some marigold ointment. Marigold is an effective natural remedy to soothe itchiness.
If you prefer to buy ready-made natural remedies Allergy Itch Ease from Pet Alive will help. It relieves and soothes skin itch and allergies, stops scratching and calms your cat. It comes in dissoluble granule form and is easily administered by sprinkling into the mouth or mixed with a small amount of wet food. Initially, give one dose every 30 minutes for up to ten doses, thereafter, one pinch three times daily.
Hot spots are made worse by biting, licking, or scratching. An Elizabethan collar is therefore helpful to prevent your cat from scratching and licking itself. To make one yourself, simply cut out ¾ of a circle of cardboard, fit it around your cat’s neck and fasten with sticky tape.
Home remedies for cats with atopic dermatitis
Atopic dermatitis is caused by allergens. Cats develop dermatitis if the skin is hypersensitive to allergens present in the environment. Although the allergens differ, the symptoms of atopic dermatitis are similar and include wheezing, asthma, and very dry skin. Cats suffering from atopic dermatitis develop skin rash or redness. Inflammation of the ears can also occur. Cats will frequently paw her face or rub it against a surface due to the itchiness. Some cats will also develop skin lesions after excessively scratching affected areas. Cats suffering from inhaled allergies often exhibit a runny nose. The symptoms of atopic dermatitis may appear seasonally or when pollen levels are high.
To treat the condition, eliminate the suspected allergens from the cat’s environment. Keep your cat’s bedding clean. Routine grooming and flea control measures are also beneficial. An Oatmeal and aloe vera conditioner can help to soothe itchy skin. Recent studies have established that Omega 3 fatty acid supplements may be beneficial for cats. They will improve your cat’s skin and fur and reduce the immune reaction to certain allergens. Give for a few weeks and check the results.
Home remedies for cats with other types of dermatitis
Allergic contact dermatitis is caused by hypersensitivity of your cat to allergens such as bleach, fertilizers, carpet cleaners and flea collars. Avoid exposing your cat to irritants.
Autosensitization dermatitis is an itchy rash that occurs in response to inflammation somewhere else on the body, especially fungal infections.
Seborrheic dermatitis is a skin disorder in which the sebaceous glands produce an excessive amount of sebum, i.e. the oily fluid that keeps the skin and hair moisturised. It typically affects the back, face and flanks and manifests as yellow, greasy scales like dandruff on the skin. There are two types of seborrhea; dry and oily.
The condition may be caused by a variety of factors e.g. thyroid disease, allergies, parasites, fungal infections. Treatment is aimed at the underlying cause. For allergies, parasites and fungal infections please follow the instructions above. For treating thyroid problems, read the article on Home Remedies for Cats with Hyperthyroidism.
Notoedric mange is caused by a mite infection of the skin and typically affects the ears, face, and neck. To treat the condition, follow the instructions in Home Remedies for Cats with Ear Mites.