In the latest National Pet Owners Survey by the American Pet Products Association (APPA), at least 85 million families -- that's nearly 70 percent -- report owning a pet. While dogs are still the preferred pet of families across the U.S., cats aren't too far behind -- a total of 47.1 million people share their homes with a furry feline companion.
For cat owners, the reasons for having them are nothing short of obvious: Cats aren't attention seekers, are notoriously low-maintenance, and love to be independent -- all while still having their unique charm. However, despite these characteristics, these lovable felines still require proper care, especially when it comes to their diet and hygiene. For one, cats are still prone to certain conditions, hot spots being the most common.
The term "hot spot" usually refers to acute moist dermatitis, which can cause great discomfort in cats. Hot spots aren't limited to cats -- they can occur in dogs as well, especially if they have thick or long coats; however, acute moist dermatitis for cats is usually the result of either flea or mite bits, ear infections, and even poor hygiene.
Cats that suffer from hot spots will have circular lesions on their head, hips, and chest. The lesions are usually moist and swollen, with no hair present. If a cat has a hot spot, it will attempt to relieve itself by scratching, licking, or even biting the area. This makes the inflammation worse, leading to the formation of even larger lesions, a condition referred to as pyotraumatic dermatitis (or self-inflicted inflammation).
If your cat is showing symptoms of hot spots, it's best to shave the hair in the affected area. This exposes it to air, allowing the resulting lesion to dry. In addition, applying an Epsom salt solution on the affected area can help in treating hot spots in cats. To make the solution, dissolve ½ cup of Epsom salt in a gallon of water. Soak a clean cloth with the solution and dab it onto the wound for five to 10 minutes, repeating two to four times a day, as needed. (Related: How to Use Organic Neem Leaf for Flea and Tick Control for Cats.)
Just as their human owners say, prevention is better than cure -- especially when it comes to hot spots. Here are some natural ways to keep your cats (and your dogs) safe from hot spots.
It's not just hot spots that cat lovers should look out for. PetHealthDaily.com has the lowdown on other common diseases that can affect your pet feline -- as well as natural treatments.