Why Does Your Skin Itch When A Cat Scratches you? – Cat scratches can hurt, they can burn, they can sting and if your cat hits the wrong spot they can certainly cause a lot of blood. Although a quick swipe can appear harmless in real-time, a quick peek at your arm, hands or face will often reveal how much damage can truly be done.

The primary difference between a minor scratch and a painful infection often depends on the state of your cat’s claws rather than the extent of the cut itself. Simply stated the dirtier the claws the worst the wound can become. Our scratch is supposed to inch while all felines scratches can cause your skin to itch the core issue is the transfer of bacteria.

Why Does Your Skin Itch When A Cat Scratches you?

Conditions such as cat scratch disease, tetanus or cellulitis can occur. Although extremely rare the contraction of rabies can’t be ruled out especially if the scratch came from the claws of a feral feline.

In this blog, we will explore how your skin reacts to a cat scratch, what determines the severity of the scratch, the most common infections associated with a cloth scratch and how you can treat these wounds and also how you can prevent them from happening again.

How Does A Scratch Impact The Skin?

Why Does Your Skin Itch When A Cat Scratches you?

Whenever a Cat Scratch tears the skin you are instantly put at risk for bleeding, stinging, swelling, and the wound itself becoming infected. While most cat scratches can be treated on-site within moments especially if you’re already at home. Some cat claw tears require professional medical attention.

By comparison, a cat’s claws are sharper than that of a dog. This is why all it takes is one quick swipe to do a substantial amount of damage. If the tear is quite deep the risk of infection becomes all the more concerning.

Why Do Scratches Itch And Swell?

Trauma: That’s the primary reason for swelling and itchiness. Pain typically accompanies these symptoms. While cats are known for their cleanliness their feet can get very dirty this certainly includes the claws.

When dealing with this issue it’s important to note that it’s what’s on the claws. In respect to bacteria that is often far more critical than the wound itself.

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A cut while bloody and likely a bit gross in appearance can typically be treated without issue. However, it’s what’s within the cut due to bacteria that can be the most troublesome issue of all, this is white even after treated thoroughly must be monitored. If swelling and discolouration continue hours and certainly days after the initial episode you should seek professional medical care.

Let’s address the core reasons why cat scratches an itch and swelling?

1. Claw sharpness

Although very unpleasant to experience and certainly read about or hear chunks of the skin can be removed in short order if your cat’s claws are long and sharp. Many Chloe episodes often come on the heels of extreme mood swings and playtime gone sour.

Cats have a tendency to become overstimulated. When this occurs a calm panting session can change in an instant. Just one position movement or hand movement can cause your feline to lash out this is why having your claws trimmed is so very important, especially the front claws as they are primarily responsible for inflicting injury.

Although you can trim your cat’s claws from the comforts of your own home. We highly recommend that an expert handles this matter.

The last thing you want to do is accidentally enter your cat or get scratched yourself while in the process of attempting to relax your feline for a claw trimming.

2. Depth And Location

The second quarry issue involved in inching and swelling is the depth and location of the scratch. Just like any other type of flesh wound how deep it is? And where it is? Typically plays a significant role in how the wound feels, how you feel and how it appears to the neck and eye.

The depth and location aspect can be the difference between a minor and inconsequential scratch or a serious wound there requires professional care. Injuries to the face neck lips or eye region are of major concern.

Cat’s claws act in a hooking motion when they swipe. This hooking action can result in extreme flesh damage and removal, especially to sensitive skin regions.

3. Your Personal Health

How is your general health? So much of how your body reacts to a cat scratch depends on your own personal health.

How old are you? Do you have any existing health ailments that negatively impact your immune system? As a word of advice if your body does not recover easily after any type of disease or immune hindering ailment then you should certainly give it great thought, before deciding to own a cat at least full time.

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Unless other family members will be responsible for the feline, it can be quite a task to assume responsibility if you are in a poor standing of health.

4. The Health Of The Cat

Why Does Your Skin Itch When A Cat Scratches you?

As we’ve mentioned a few times already the health of the cat in question does play a huge role in how a scratch will impact you. Cats that are well kept within the home and have a clean litter area are far less likely to carry back too and disease this is typically the core difference between a minor scratch and quick healing compared to that of a scratch or puncture resulting in a serious medical issue.

If you’ve been scratched by a feral cat that is essentially living off the land, you are potentially at extreme risk for a variety of medical problems. This is unfortunate but true.

The Most Common Diseases And Infections Caused By A Scratch?

Why Does Your Skin Itch When A Cat Scratches you?

In this section, we will briefly detail a few of the elements that you should always be mindful of if you’re ever scratched by a cat. This is especially true if the wound worsens in the passing hours and days.

Diseases And How It Occurs?

In no particular order, several diseases and infections can include cat scratch disease. This occurs when bacteria are transferred during a scratch bite or the leaking of an open wound by a cat. Symptoms and complications typically arise some 72 hours to two weeks after the episode.

Issues such as swelling, redness and pus few lesions can occur. The area in question may also feel quite painful and warm to the touch. Headache, fever, fatigue and a lack of appetite can also take place.


Quite rare due to preventive vaccination tetanus is a bacterial infection that can potentially arise from an open wound caused by a feline.

Tetanus can be fatal in some cases. Muscle spasms and lockjaw are often the hallmark symptoms of this condition. This is why it is paramount that you receive a tetanus shot once every decade.

This is a wise precaution if you have a feline in the home. Defined as a bacterial infection of the skin and the tissues directly underneath cellulitis can also occur if your skin has been broken due to a cat scratch.

The common symptoms are

  • Extreme redness
  • Pain
  • Swelling and warmth around the injured area


Although it is incredibly rare that you would contract rabies from a cat scratch, it is certainly worth discussion. Feral cats can do a lot of damage. The unknown factor is at play here foxes, skunks, raccoons and bats can easily contact a feral cat or even a neighbourhood cat depending on your location.

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If I can’t be to scratch you after it had become rabid then your health would be at great risk. It’s important to always remain vigilant. Never attempt to place your hands near the face or feet of a stray cat and never pick it up.

Act responsibly as a course of least regrets. If you are concerned that you could be in danger following a scratch, seek professional medical care immediately.

Also, read Why Does My Cat Suddenly Jump On Me?

How To Avoid Scratches?

Although prevention and protective measures can be quite simple and logical, it’s easy to forget especially when you’re lost in the moment while playing with your cat.

Some ways to avoid scratches can include avoiding rough play with your feline, keeping and protecting open wounds from your cat, never allow a pet to link existing visible cuts or abrasions.

As we’ve mentioned earlier never pet or engage with a feral cat. Never pick it up remain at a respectable distance. Keep your own cats in positive health. The healthier and cleaner they are the healthier and cleaner their claws will be. And finally, keep your cats indoors. This eliminates a lot of guesswork as to where your cats have been all day.

If your felines are living with you in between your four walls then much of the mystery is eliminated. This is good for everyone involved should scratching ever take place in the future.

How To Treat scratches?

Unless you require professional medical attention the treatment of a scratch is rather basic and straightforward.

  • Clean the area with antibacterial soap and water
  • Apply gauze if the wound is bleeding, keep the pressure on the area until the bleeding has stopped
  • Use a topical cream to medicate and close the wound if it’s minor in nature and apply a small bandage if needed

By and large, most scratches caused by a cat will be similar to that of a fingernail scratch. A single thin line perhaps multiple lines with a minimal blood draw.

If that’s the case for you these basic treatment tips can come in handy. As a word of caution any scratches to the eye require urgent care especially if your vision has been compromised.

Clean the eye with water as a measure to flush out bacteria and debris while seeking medical evaluation. It is wise to do this even if everything appears to be fine. You never want to mess around with your vision, so medical care of a professional variety is necessary.

On that note that’ll wrap things up for this blog. We hope you found it helpful and informative.



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