The different types of cat skin conditions

Posted by Nurse Whiskers. April 2nd 2014.

Although most concerned cat owners will be vigilant to the dangers of worms, fleas and ear mites, unfortunately your beloved pet can also be vulnerable to any number of skin conditions which are not so easily spotted.

In order to help you keep your cat healthy and happy, read on for tips on how to spot and treat an array of skin conditions.


Parasitic skin problems

Although cats can develop skin conditions in a number of ways, the most common cause is through parasitic transmission. If bitten by fleas, ticks or even another cat, bacteria can spread from the puncture site and cause an infection or an abscess. An infection like this, also known as cellulitis, can cause your cat to become unwell and develop a fever.

Another parasitic skin condition to look out for in your animal is ringworm; a fungus which causes hair loss or circular patchy areas to appear in your cat’s fur.

This unpleasant condition can unfortunately also spread to humans so it might pay to contact your GP if you suspect your animal has this ailment.

If you think that your cat is suffering from an abscess, a fever or ringworm, don’t hesitate to call vetfone for advice or contact a vet.

Food allergies and skin problems

Other underlying causes of skin conditions in your cat can include something as simple as his diet. If your pet is not in obvious discomfort and you suspect it is his food that is causing his skin to react, then try gradually (over several days) reducing and then removing the brand or item in question from his meals.

If this method doesn’t work, a vet may advise medications such as desensitising injections to relieve your cat’s symptoms.

Tabby Cat

Hereditary skin problems

Despite a pet owner’s best efforts to keep their cat healthy, some animals are born with genes that trigger these skin conditions. Although many of these can be managed with medication others require more intensive strategies.

Immune mediated skin problems

As with humans, cats can be vulnerable to skin conditions when their immune responses are either under or over-reactive. For example, if your cat has an allergy to dust or pollen, his system is over-reactive and contact with agents that act as a trigger can cause atopic allergic dermatitis break outs.

The main symptoms of atopy is itchiness but you may also notice hair loss, ulcers and scabs – especially in the areas a cat cannot lick such as his head and neck.
If your cat contracts a viral infection like the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV or cat aids) or the Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV) it can severely weaken the ability of his immune system to fight off bad bacteria and yeast infections.

Viral infections are more serious and require veterinary intervention.

Internal diseases and skin problems

If you can’t match any of your cat’s symptoms to those described above, never hesitate to seek out an official veterinary diagnosis for skin problems. Skin conditions can be caused by underlying diseases such as diabetes, Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) or Cushings disease (hyperadrenocorticism) which require ongoing medical treatment.

By addressing skin conditions as soon as they appear, you can ensure you have a happy and healthy cat as your companion.

Back to blog