Common Cat Skin Conditions to be Watchful For

An important aspect of your role as a responsible cat owner is to maintain the health of your cat. This means feeding them a healthy and nutritious diet, caring for their coat, taking steps to prevent injury and illness, checking for signs of health problems, and making sure they have access to the appropriate treatment when needed.

One issue that your cat may experience is problems with their skin. This is something that you should check for and treat when necessary. There are many different skin problems from a cat may suffer, and each of these has different symptoms and is treated in a different manner. Here is an overview of some of the most common cat skin problems.


At the site of a bite or puncture wound, a collection of pus will often form, and this is an abscess. This is very painful and involves the formation of a firm swelling that will then soften and may rupture. As the most common cause of an abscess forming is as a result of a fight, the best way to prevent it from happening is to keep your cat indoors. If your cat has an abscess, you need to see the vet.

Allergy Dermatitis

There are two main forms of allergy dermatitis; flea allergy dermatitis and food allergy dermatitis. Not all cats will have allergic reactions to flea bites. If they do, they will get itchy red bumps on their skin. Check your cat for fleas regularly and use preventative spot-on flea control. Food allergy dermatitis is caused by eating certain foods to which the cat is allergic. They suffer from extreme itching which makes the cat scratch excessively. In turn, this leads to hair loss and weeping sores on the skin. An elimination diet is usually necessary to identify the allergen.

Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis is caused by the skin becoming irritated by contact with chemicals or irritant materials, such as plastic or rubber. It will cause itchy red bumps on the skin. Try to identify what is causing the irritation and keep the irritants away from your cat.

Ear Mites

The two signs that your cat may have ear mites are excessive ear wax and the cat scratching around their ears. A mite infection is very irritating to a cat and has the potential to lead to a bacterial infection.

Feline Acne

Feline acne causes blackheads to form around the chin and lips. This is sometimes as a result of the material from which their feeding bowls are made, so you can try swapping their bowls. In severe cases, the cat may need anti-seborrheic shampoos or benzoyl peroxide gels to treat the feline acne.

Psychogenic Alopecia

This is a condition where a cat compulsively grooms to such an extent that the hair along the back or abdomen begins to thin. This is a compulsive behavior that is usually caused by stress. Reducing the cat’s stress is important and in severe cases, a vet may prescribe anti-anxiety medication for your cat.


Ringworm is a highly contagious fungal infection that a human and other household pets can catch from a cat with the condition. The signs to look for are a round marking that is red around the edges with hair loss in the center. This needs treatment, such as an anti-fungal cream, which you can get from your vet. You will also need to keep the affected areas clean and sterilize your home.

Stud Tail

A cat has glands near its tail that secrete oils. If they are secreting excessive amounts of oil, they develop stud tail. You will notice that the area around the base of the tail is covered in a brown waxy substance. Both males and females can get this condition, although it is more common in un-neutered males. Treatment involves washing daily with anti-seborrheic shampoos to break down the oils that are being secreted.


Cats that are either hairless or have light colored fur are more prone to sunburn than other cats. If your cat is at greater risk of getting sunburn, then it is important to keep them out of direct sunlight between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm. Cats who suffer sunburn regularly are at greater risk of developing skin cancer.

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