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Not-So-Hot Spots

How to identify and address hot spots in cats

By: Yaunna Sommersby

Last Updated:

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Featured Photo: Frau Aus Ua/shutterstock

If you notice your cat consistently scratching and chewing at a specific spot on their skin, a hot spot may be the culprit. Hot spots, also known as acute moist dermatitis, can be caused by: environmental allergies; food allergies; scrapes on the skin; mats; excess moisture on the skin and coat; insect bites from fleas, ticks, mites, and flies.

Hot spots are easy to identify by physically examining your cat. Cats with long, thick coats are more disposed to developing them. Keep an eye out for red and inflamed skin that literally feels hot to the touch.

Preventing hot spots from developing in the first place is ideal. This means maintaining your cat’s coat, staying on top of flea and tick prevention, and monitoring your cat for signs of allergies.

If your cat has a hot spot, follow these steps:

#1: Remove The Fur Around The Affected Area 

You’ll need to trim or shave the fur around the hot spot. The area will likely be sore and sensitive, so you may want to contact your vet or a professional groomer to help.

#2: Clean & Disinfect the Hot Spot

#3: Apply A Topical Ointment 

Topical antibiotic or an anti-inflammatory medication can speed healing. Vet-prescribed oral antibiotics may be needed if the infection has spread.

#4: Prevent Your Cat From Chewing & Licking the Area 

If your cat won’t stop worrying the hot spot, you may need an Elizabethan-type collar or an alternative like Suitical to keep them from chewing and licking the area.

#5: Address The Cause 

To prevent reoccurrence, you’ll need to address the underlying cause. Your vet may be able to help you determine what factors are at play.

Itch Relief

The ZYMOX Topical Cream provides itch relief and promotes healthy skin with a concentrated blend of protein, enzymes, skin soothing aloe vera, and hydrocortisone. Apply it directly to the problem area—especially the face, paws, or body folds—to soothe and heal hot spots. ($17,

Hot Spot Prevention

Make sure your cat’s coat is mat and tangle-free with the ConairPROPet cat slicker brush! The firm metal brush pins work through your cat’s coat, removing loose hair and tangles to help avoid any skin and coat irritation that could lead to hot spots. ($9, or

Heal Hot Spots

Banixx Pet Care Spray speeds healing, relieves dry, itchy skin, and treats hot spots, ear infections, ringworm, and wounds. Antiseptic and anti-fungal, it’s made without steroids or antibiotics and is sting-free! ($15,

This article originally appeared in the award-winning Modern Cat magazine. Subscribe today!

Last Updated:

By: Yaunna Sommersby
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