About Cat Skin Problems
Cat skin problems are a common concern for many pet owners. These conditions can lead to rashes, fur loss and general poor health of the animals involved. Learn about some of the most prevalent types of skin problems and how they can affect your cat.
Fleas and Mites
Some of the most common causes of feline skin problems are fleas and mites. Even if your cat is inside most or all of the time, parasites can be carried in on socks or other clothing and infest your cat. A parasite infestation is treatable and preventable through the use of insecticidal shampoos, powders and spot-on products. You can purchase these supplies at your local pet supply store or through your veterinarian.
Cats can have just as many types of allergies as humans. Common allergens include specific foods, pollen, grass, environmental chemicals and more. Allergies can result in hair loss, secondary skin infections caused by scratching and even weight loss. Your vet can test for specific allergies to narrow down the cause of the problem and form a treatment plan for your pet.
The most common fungus cats pick up is ringworm. This fungus produces circular patches of hair loss as it attacks hair shafts and spreads outward. Ringworm should be treated quickly and all areas where the cat frequents (litter box and bedding) should be thoroughly cleaned with bleach. Ringworm is contagious to humans, so head to your vet immediately if you suspect your cat has this fungus.
Feline acne shows up as blackheads on the chin and lower face of your cat. The condition can be quite irritating to the feline. Although a lot less noticeable in dark-colored cats, acne may still be present. Cats with acne tend to rub their faces on the floor. This skin condition can be treated with antibiotics prescribed by your vet.
Wounds and Lesions
Wounds, lesions and other bumps and scrapes can quickly turn into something more serious. Once the skin is broken, bacteria can colonize the area leading to secondary skin infections. Further scratching and rubbing can make a bad situation worse. If left untreated, the infection can lead to blood poisoning and eventual death. It's essential to seek treatment from your vet. The vet can prescribe antibiotics to eliminate the infection and topical ointments to reduce the irritation and promote healing.
Feline Miliary Dermatitis
Miliary dermatitis is a condition caused by any number of allergens, including fleas. The result is small, crusted bumps that appear on the head, neck, back and tail. Many affected cats overgroom themselves to try to relieve the itching. In severe cases, the cat may even bite and pull out his own fur.
Shedding and Furballs
Cats with long fur may shed more than normal if not brushed regularly. This can lead to matting and the formation of hot spots, aka moist dermatitis. Additionally, these cats will groom and ingest more fur than normal. This extra fur can eventually turn into fur balls and result in the cat hacking up the fur and bits of food and debris. The best source of prevention is regular brushing, although there are some foods on the market created to reduce hairball formation.
An Indication of Illness
Fur and skin problems can be an outward sign of illness. A cat's fur should ideally be sleek and smooth. A cat with greasy or ragged fur may have an underlying medical condition that needs to be addressed. If you suspect your cat may be ill, schedule a complete exam with your vet to get to the source of the problem.
Additional Cat Health Issues
The cat skin problems covered in this slideshow are just a few of the health issues from which cats might suffer. Some health problems also surface at a higher rate in certain breeds. Check out LTK's Maine Coon Cat Health Problems to learn about the particular health issues this breed often faces.