Scabs on Cats? What Causes Them and How to Treat Them
Cat skin problems are a common problem for our feline friends and cat scabs can be a regular occurrence – especially for outdoor cats. Luckily, it doesn’t always need to be complicated when it comes to how to treat scabs on cats and many issues can be quickly resolved at home.
Below, we discuss the many reasons as to why you cat has scabs and how to treat scabs on cats. We also give you lots of information on when you should seek out further advice from your vet, so you can put your mind at ease, completely.
When to Visit Your Vet About Cat Scabs
Cats can suffer from a range of problems that can cause scabs, so your vet will never feel as though you are wasting their time if you want a second opinion. That said, if you don’t think there are any sinister reasons as to why you cat might have scabs, you can also opt to treat them at home to save on vet bills.
Of course, there are times when it is very important that you get your vets advice. So, if your cat is suffering from a range of other symptoms, as well as suddenly developing scabs, don’t be afraid to give them a call and ask for a check-up.
If your cat has a change in their usual behavior, this is usually a warning sign that something else is going on, alongside the sudden appearance of scabs on your cat and definitely warrants a call to your vet. Similarly, lots of vomiting and/or diarrhea can indicate lots of different problems in the digestive tract that may need to be investigated. Finally, lethargy, appetite loss or weight gain can also be a cause for concern, and you should schedule an appointment at your local veterinary surgery if you spot these problems, too.
Even if you decide to call a professional, reading this article can help you understand what the issues could be. It can also help you to collate information, so that you can better discuss the problems with your vet and help them to rule out any other medical conditions it may be, saving you return trips and unnecessary medication in the meantime.
Where the scabs are located can be a huge tell-tale sign as to what the problem may be related too. If you notice that your cat has scabs on the neck, for example, this can be a big warning sign that fleas have decided to find their home on your pet, as the back of the neck and the base of the tail are their usual nesting spots.
Similarly, scabs around the ears and eyes can indicate an allergy, and you may find crusty scabs on cats ears are the first sign that something is wrong. They can, however, also be a symptom of ear infections, so looking into concurrent problems (symptoms that run alongside the scabs) can be a good way of ruling out some illnesses.
Why Does My Cat Have Scabs
Now that you know the basics, it’s time to take a look at the most common reasons why your cat has scabs.
Fleas can be a real pain, especially as they are prone to multiplying so quickly. As well as causing your cat to become unwell, if left unchecked, fleas can also be a cause of allergies. This, along with the bites that these parasites enjoy inflicting, can lead to further scratching and, over time, scabs.
If you notice your cat has scabs on neck areas and they’re suddenly biting themselves, as well as scratching, it’s likely that they have fleas. Give your cat a quick check and don’t forget to de-flea your house and cat, regularly.
Cats are extremely territorial animals, so if you’ve noticed them coming back home with some scratches and scabs, it’s very likely that they’ve had a tiff with a neighboring feline. Over time, these issues tend to sort themselves out, as your cats get used to which area is theirs and where to avoid. However, if you notice these scratches happening regularly, it might be worth discussing the problem with your neighbors to see if you can change timings or similar, to help avoid these tussles.
Ear mites are incredibly common, especially with outdoor cats, and can cause crusty scabs on cats ears. They’re more frequently spotted in younger cats and kittens but can occur at almost any age. A topical solution from your vet, or even some over-the-counter holistic remedies, can stop these mites in their tracks and you should notice an immediate reduction in swelling and redness.
Stress-induced alopecia – or patches of skin disappearing on your cat due to stress – is usually caused by changes in the environment of your cat. If you have recently had a new addition to your family, moved to a new house or your cat has simply had a change in hormones, your feline friend may struggle with stress-induced alopecia.
Treatments such as hormone therapy via plug-ins, or additional supplements to their diet such as CBD oil can help to calm your cat’s nerves. Speak with your vet about any possible triggers and discuss their suitability for these options.
Fungal infections can usually be differentiated between general stress and environmental problems by how fast they start and spread, as well as how inflamed the area looks. Painful and highly contagious, you may notice a sudden loss of fur around these areas and small, raised lumps and bumps which are a sign of ringworm.
In these cases, it’s important to seek advice from your vet as soon as possible, before the infection becomes worse and causes secondary problems. In the meantime, you can help reduce the spread of the infection by cleaning all of your soft furnishings, and hoovering your carpets.
- Feline Acne
Scratching and lumps around the chin and lip area is usually a sign of acne. While the causes are current unknown, the general consensus is that these changes are usually caused by environmental changes (in the same way as allergies can suddenly occur) or due to hormone changes. Ask your vet for a blood test in order to rule out the latter, as well as to check for any bacterial infections.
Another skin problem that is directly related to mites, mange is an inflammatory skin disease that can quickly become painful and lead to further infections. Commonly found along the eyes, neck, and back, these scabs can be quickly remedied with a topical skin solution, available from your vet. You should also clean all of your soft furnishing, to rid the parasites from your home and prevent re-infestation.
Like all living creatures, some cats simply have an aversion to certain things. This is usually signified by scratching along the back and head, although paws may also become scabbed over if the allergy is contact-based.
Everything from dust to ingredients in their food can cause these, so the best way to treat scabs on cats which are caused by allergies is to try and reduce their contact with common instigators. Change over their food to a high-quality, grain-free choice and note if there is any difference over time.
- Dry Skin
If you’ve noticed cat skin problems such as dandruff and slight redness, alongside cat scabs, it’s likely that your cat simply has dry skin. Check with your vet about a blood test in order to rule out a hormone imbalance – a key indicator if your cat has suddenly developed these problems despite living a scab-free life for most of their time with you.
Other treatments can include a simple change to their meals in order to get more liquid into their diet. Sometimes a simple topical treatment can help your cat with their dry skin, or you might find that adding a supplement to their daily meals can help significantly.
- Sunburn and Frostbite
Changes to the outdoor environment can have a major impact, especially when it comes to the weather. In cold climates, frostbite is not uncommon and will need to be treated immediately in order to save the extremities. Similarly, sunburn can occur in hot climates – especially as cats enjoy sunbathing!
In both cases, you will likely notice the change almost immediately and scabs can be found across the ears, nose and paws, usually at the same time. In these cases, temperature regulation is essential and you should contact your vet immediately for further assistance.
If you’ve noticed a sudden change in behavior, alongside some cat skin problems such as scabs, then it’s always important to rule out hormonal changes in your cat by contacting your vet and requesting a blood test. However, for most problems, how to treat scabs on cats is simply a case of discovering the environmental problem that has led to these cat scabs.
While generally very unpleasant to see your cat in pain or struggling with skin problems, most issues can be quickly and painlessly resolved without the need for extensive medical poking and prodding. Indeed, with a slight change in diet and the addition of supplements or external factors (such as plug-ins for your home), you’ll soon find your cat is back to normal in no time.