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DrChristineM, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 3713
Experience:  6 years in small animal medicine, focus on feline medicine
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One of our cats is suffering from some apparently very irritating

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One of our cats is suffering from some apparently very irritating dry skin on his back. He licks at the area in an agitated manner and we just witnessed him trying to yank out patches of the fur in the area. The skin in the area is very flaky. We're hoping that running the humidifier might help him out, but in the meantime, we were wondering if it would be safe to massage olive oil into the area. We read jojoba oil was a good thing to use but haven't found any yet. Are both jojoba and olive oil safe for him to ingest when he licks his fur?
Hi--thank you for your question!
Of the two, if you really want to try putting something on the skin, I would prefer the olive oil. It would work much better if he ate it in the food however, as this will help heal the skin from the inside out. Damaged skin can take a week or more to heal, so if you add anything to the food make sure to do so for at least 10-14 days to make sure you are giving the skin enough time to heal.

Other things that make cats itchy like this are external parasites like fleas (if he is not on a topical flea preventive, it is well worth a try to give him a dose to see if this helps with this itching--my preference is Advantage which you can get over the counter). Cats can also exhibit signs of itchiness from anal irritation (they can't reach that area easily so they will chew at the back or sides). Anal irritation can be caused by parasites like tapeworms or anal gland infection. If you try flea prevention and the olive oil for the dry skin and neither works, it may be a good idea to have his stool checked for parasites and have him checked for any anal gland issues.

I hope this information is helpful, if I can answer any other questions for you, please let me know!
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