Your cat's skin

The external condition of your cat’s skin can be an indication of her internal health. So what should you look for, and what are the solutions?

Is your cat excessively scratching, licking or chewing at her skin? One of the first possible causes to investigate is fleas. Not only annoyingly itchy for her, flea bites can cause an allergic reaction. Along with itching, symptoms of fleas can include hair loss at the base of the tail, scabs and red skin lesions. Shampoos, sprays and drops can all be used to kill off the fleas and regular preventative treatment is advisable. If she’s lost fur, has scaly patches, and skin lesions on her head, ears or paws, then she may have the highly contagious fungal infection, ringworm. If you think your cat has ringworm, visit your vet immediately as it can be quickly passed to other animals and humans.

What else?

In addition, ear mites cause itchy, red ears with a dark discharge; lice encourage excessive itching; and mange mites result in severe flaking and scaling. Yeast or bacterial skin infections cause redness, itching and discharge. If in doubt, visit your vet immediately.

If there is no clear cause, she might have a seasonal allergy or dry skin in the winter months. Take care with household products as they can provoke skin problems in cats. Stress may also be a factor, so try and investigate what the cause might be.

Your cat may suffer from a food allergy: any dietary protein can cause an allergic reaction in sensitive cats. If you think your cat may have allergies, visit your vet to discuss an elimination diet to find the root cause.

Visit your vet. There are many tests available for skin problems, such as a skin scrape, ‘tape test’, biopsies and laboratory examinations.
Like humans, your cat can get dandruff too. Especially frequent in winter, special shampoos along with a diet containing extra omega-3 fatty acids can help with feline dandruff.