Cats are some of the most lovable and cherished pet animals in the universe. Becoming a pet parent for a cat is a fulfilling experience. Cat owners do everything they can to make sure their pet is happy, and one of those things involves knowing how to deal with mange in cats.
Everybody knows that a healthy cat is a happy cat. People find playtime with their kitties to be a nice moment of bonding with their feline friend. Unfortunately, mange may affect that fun time. As you read through this guide, you will become informed on the symptoms of mange, what mange is, how to treat it, and more. If you want to take a step closer to become the best pet parent, check out the rest of this guide!
What Is Mange in Cats?
Mange is a skin disease that may affect any cat, regardless of breed. An outbreak of parasitic arachnids known as mites on a cat’s skin can cause mange.
The mites are microscopic and not visible to the naked eye. They attach themselves to your cat to reproduce and feed off its skin. This process is unpleasant for the cat and leaves their skin highly irritated, among other symptoms.
Cats can be affected by different types of mange depending on the mite infestation. Most mites are spread from other affected stray animals or wildlife. A veterinarian can effectively treat mange mites.
Is Mange in Cats Common?
Mange tends to be more common in stray cats than domestic felines. An indoor cat is usually far less likely to develop mange than a cat that spends most of its time outside.
Mange tends to be more common in dogs than cats. Cats are less likely to catch mange, but people should be on top of their cat’s health like any responsible pet owner. Since mange is less common in cats, most pet owners do not notice it right away.
Is Cat Mange Contagious?
Since most mites are highly contagious, they can spread and latch on to your cat. If your cat has mange mites, it can be contagious and may spread to other animals or people.
Since mites are microscopic, it is difficult to detect them the moment they land on the skin of your cat. Symptoms do not appear right away, so your cat may be unintentionally spreading mites. This should not cause panic because, fortunately, you can kill these mites without causing further harm to you or your cat.
Types of Mange
Certain mites can cause different types of mange. Veterinarians can identify the mites causing the specific mange by viewing skin scrapings from your cat under a microscope. Don’t feel overwhelmed by the different types of mange your cat can get. All of these can be treated with the assistance of a veterinarian.
Identifying Forms of Mange:
- Notoedric Mange (Feline Scabies): Notoedric mange is caused by Notoedres Cati mites. It is far less common, but it is a highly contagious skin disease that can spread between cats. The symptoms of feline scabies first appear on the head and neck of your cat.
- Sarcoptic Mange (Sarcoptes Scabiei): This type of mange is usually spread from infected dogs and is likely to occur in homes where both cats and dogs are kept as pets. This infection is also known as canine scabies. The mites responsible for Sarcoptic mange have a life span of 17 to 21 days and feed off your cat’s skin.
- Demodectic Mange (Demodex Cati or Demodex Gatoi): These cigar-shaped mites already reside on your cat’s fur but do not affect them unless your cat has a compromised immune system. These Demodex mites can cause your cat to develop Demodicosis, which comes in two forms, localized and generalized. It is not contagious toward humans.
- Fur Mites (Lynxacariasis): These mites are rarely seen on cats since it is common to specific areas such as parts of Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, Australia, and Brazil. Fur mites cause symptoms seen in other kinds of mange but can be treated.
- Ear Mites (Otodectes Cynotis): Ear mites are responsible for causing cause Otodectic Mange. These parasitic mites are usually found within the ear canal but may also be found around the body.
- Cheyletiellosis (Walking Dandruff): Most mites require the use of a microscope to view them, but this isn’t the case for “walking dandruff” mites. They have a 3-week life cycle and can spread to other animals and even people. Walking dandruff can be seen as white flakes on your cat’s fur.
- Trombiculosis: These mites are known as chiggers and like to feed off your cat’s blood once it is attached to its skin. Chiggers are more common in warmer weather during summer.
What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Mange in Cats?
If cats could talk, they would make great late night-TV hosts and communicate with their owners if something is wrong. Although cats meow, there isn’t anyone who knows exactly what they are saying. It is important to be able to identify the signs and symptoms of mange in cats.
The signs of mange do not appear right away but can show up at least a week after mite infestation occurs.
Common Signs of Infection:
- Hair Loss: All kinds of mange can cause hair loss in cats. Some of the hair loss may start in small patches but can spread throughout the entire body. Cats are furry, so hair loss is very noticeable for feline owners.
- Intense Itching: The bites from mites can irritate your cat’s skin and cause mild to severe itching. A cat will feel uncomfortable doing daily activities if it cannot contain the itching.
- Unhealthy Skin Appearance: The irritated skin can become dry, scaly, or crusty from mange. The crusty skin may appear yellow from dried-out pus. Bumps and sores can also appear and are easily noticeable if it forms where a cat is experiencing hair loss.
- Redness: One of the first symptoms to show up is the redness of the skin. If you are brushing your cat’s coat, you may notice some affected areas are redder than others. The red area could be a host to a mange infection.
- Swelling: Swelling of the skin is a common sign of mange. For cats with Otodectic mange caused by ear mites, ear canal swelling is one of the first symptoms.
- Excessive Scratching or Grooming: It is normal for cats to lick or scratch themselves as a form of grooming.This usually lasts at most a few minutes, but if your cat can’t stop doing it, then it could be a sign of mite infection.
- Restlessness: Cats may be laid-back, but they can become restless if the skin condition known as mange becomes too much to bear. They can start to meow excessively in an attempt to get their owner’s attention.
How to Prevent Mange in Cats
It might sound almost impossible to stop mites, fleas, or even ticks from ever affecting your cat. Luckily, owners can implement some helpful tips and tricks to make sure their feline remains as healthy as possible.
Proper Hygiene and Nutritious Diet
One way to keep your cat’s skin healthy is by feeding it all-natural top-quality cat food containing clean ingredients and supplements for a stronger immune system and healthy skin. It also helps to get into the habit of brushing its coat at least weekly.
Cats are susceptible to health concerns if they are not receiving proper vitamins and nutrients. Cat owners are more likely to notice skin conditions while brushing their cat’s coat than by skipping out on grooming entirely.
If your cat likes to chill outside, make sure their play areas are kept clean. Most people clean their cat’s litter box but hardly sanitize their sleeping areas.
Another way to keep your cat’s surroundings free of mites and other parasites is by staying diligent of any mange-infected stray cats roaming around your property. If you see any infected cats, contact your local animal shelter or cat rescue organization.
Home Treatment for Mange in Cats
After noticing some of the mange symptoms in your cat, it might be best to contact your local veterinarian for further diagnosis. The vet will run tests such as skin scrapings, blood work, or stool examinations. Once your cat’s vet determines what type of mange it has, they might recommend one of the following.
- Hair Treatment: If the vet determines your cat has a skin condition, whether Sarcoptic mange or ear mites, they might recommend a hair trim. Medicated shampoo is also available to combat mites and treat mange.
- Oral Medications: A vet may prescribe oral medication to treat mange in cats. Antibacterial and antifungal medication can be taken orally or injected.
- Topical Ointment: Plenty of pet stores carry topical creams that can kill mites, such as Notoedres cati or Demodex cati. Lime sulfur dips are a popular method for killing off mites. A special ointment can be used to treat ear mites and their symptoms in the ear canal.
Can I Give My Cat CBD?
CBD (cannabidiol) products are growing in popularity in the pet community due to their beneficial effects on our canine, feline, and even equine friends. Not only is CBD well-tolerated by most cats, but it is also non-intoxicating and federally legal as long as it contains less than 0.3% of THC. It is a naturally occurring compound found in the hemp plant.
CBD works by interacting with the receptors of a cat’s endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is located throughout their bodies. The ECS works by maintaining balance in the cat’s central nervous and other organ systems. It is effective in encouraging the following effects:
- Promoting healthier skin
- Easing nervousness
- Soothing physical discomfort
- Alleviating skin irritation
CBD products for cats are available in treats, shampoo, capsules, and CBD oil.
Final Thoughts – Mange in Cats
Being a cat parent comes with a lot of responsibility, but it also is very rewarding. The memories you make with your feline friend can last a lifetime. Your cat’s health plays a huge role in that, so it helps to understand what mange in cats is.
Although there are different types of mange, vets can treat it effectively. If you are interested in products that will soothe and nourish your cats skin, plus products that offer countless more benefits, check out the CBD selection for cats and other pets at Healthy Petables!