10 Common Feline Skin Diseases



“Cats seem to go on the principle that it never does any harm to ask for what you want.” – Joseph Krutch


It’s very normal for cats to groom and scratch themselves, but if you notice that your cat is scratching and grooming herself more than the usual then chances are your cat is suffering from some kind of skin problem. 

Feline skin diseases are some of the most common reasons why cats are often brought to the vet. 

Cats with skin problems usually have the following symptoms: 

  • Excessive licking
  • Excessive rubbing on the carpet, floor, or any rough surface
  • Excessive chewing of the skin/coat
  • Excessive scratching of ears, mouth, and other parts
  • Lumps on the skin
  • Scabs and sores
  • Rashes
  • Inflamed skin
  • Bald spots
  • Matted coat
  • Scaly skin


Common feline skin diseases:


Like dogs and other warm-blooded mammals, cats are prone to having fleas. Even indoor cats who just stay inside are not exempted. Crawling fleas and their bites can be very irritating, some bites can even cause severe itching or allergic reaction. 

If you think that your pet has fleas, inspect her fur and skin thoroughly. Fleas like warm places and are most likely hanging around near your pet’s rear end or at the base of her ears. There’s a wide variety of oral, environmental, and topical products to exterminate fleas. Always remember that felines can have an adverse reaction to anti-flea products, be sure to ask your vet before you use any product. It’s also very important to treat carpets, clothing, bedding, and furniture as well to totally stop the infestation.   


Ear mites

Another crawling pest, ear mites can cause your pet to incessantly shake her head and paw her ears.  Ear mites are usually found in young kittens but cats of any age can be infected. 

Excessive pawing at her ears can cause the hair around the ears and this can lead to bleeding. You might also notice dark lumps and black or red, thick, flakey discharge in the ear canal. 

The vet can easily diagnose ear mites by checking the flakey discharge and readily treat ear mites with ear drops and topical treatments. Ear mites are highly contagious so if you have other pets in the house, they should be checked and treated as well.   


Feline Acne

Yes, cats can get acne. But this is not the kind you see on teenagers. Cat acne is like a little blackhead that appears on a cat’s chin and face. Also known as comedones, these little blackheads are formed from excess keratin that is trapped in the hair follicle. Feline acne can be quite irritating and cats usually rub their faces on right surfaces to relieve the itchiness. Cat acne can lead to skin infection if left untreated.      



There are a few types of parasitic mites infestation or mange that cats can get afflicted with. Ear mites are in fact one of them. There’s also the notoedric mange, which is also known as feline scabies. Similar to canine scabies found in dogs, feline scabies is very rarely diagnosed in cats but is very contagious. This can cause serious skin infections that usually starts in a cat’s ears, face, and the rest of the body. If you think that your cat is suffering from mange, bring your pet immediately to the vet to get her properly treated.        



Ringworm is not caused by a worm but by a fungus. Ringworm fungus affects the surface of the skin and nails and creates a ring-like mark on the skin once the infection sets in. Ringworm is highly contagious and can infect other cats, dogs, and even humans. It can easily spread through spores in the air or in the fur. 

Ringworm may appear as inflamed round bald spots, scaly or crusty skin. Infestation can mostly be found on the back, forelegs, chest, and head. Other signs that indicate the presence of ringworm are infected nail beds or claws, dandruff, and excessive scratching and grooming. If you suspect your cat to have ringworm, bring her to the vet to get a thorough examination and be given the proper treatment. 


Allergic Dermatitis 

Atopy is a cat’s hypersensitive response to allergens they inhaled or absorbed in their skin. This is also believed to be a hereditary abnormal response when getting in contact with normally occurring things in the environment such as grass, trees, pollen, and dust. If you think that your cat is allergic to something in the environment, you can ask the help of your vet to find out what’s causing the allergy and the vet can prescribe the right remedy. 


Contact Dermatitis

This happens when your pet’s skin gets into contact with a chemical and causes an allergic reaction such as redness, inflammation, scaling, and loss of hair. Common causes of contact dermatitis are shampoos, cleaning agents, cigarette smoke, and perfumes. If you think that your cat is allergic to some chemical she got in contact with, you can ask the help of your vet to find out what caused the allergy and the vet can prescribe the proper medicine. 


Food Allergy

Another allergy you should look out for. Cats who are suffering from food allergy would scratch at their heads until they are bald and chew their paws. They have runny eyes and nose, swollen paws, dull coat, and ear problems. They would also experience vomiting and diarrhea. If you suspect that your cat has a food allergy, you can ask the help of your vet to find out what ingredient is causing the allergy and help you fix the problem.  


Psychogenic Alopecia

This happens when the cat is experiencing an emotional or mental problem. The cat would groom herself excessively and pull out a great deal of hair making the coat uneven, thin, and sometimes even bald. This typically occurs when a cat feels frustrated, uncertain, or conflicted. A cat usually experience these feelings when she just moved into a new house,  she hates the new pet or new person in the house, she doesn’t like sharing her food, she hates sharing the litter box, she doesn’t like the neighbor’s pet or she so badly wants to catch that squirrel just outside the window. Psychological Alopecia is hard to diagnose and your vet would have to do a lot of tests. The treatment has to be personalized as well.     


Underlying sickness 

Cat skin problems could also be a manifestation of an underlying illness. This is why it’s very important to bring your pet to the vet the minute you notice that your favorite feline has a skin problem 


Cats are known for hiding what they are feeling and would often wait for their owners to leave or they would hide somewhere to scratch until they are satisfied. So make sure to bring your cat to the vet to have a regular health check. 


 You might also like to read 7 Most Common Dog Skin Diseases and How To Keep Your Feline Feeling Fresh This Summer.

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