After dogs, cats are the most preferred pets worldwide. They are also one of the most independent and self-sufficient animals, requiring little training or attention from their owners. A cat’s life is largely spent sleeping, eating, and entertaining itself.
If you are a cat owner, you know they are unique creatures. While they are adorable and playful, they can also be very picky and sometimes even moody.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, around 85 million families in the US own some pets. Out of these, 25.4% of US households own cats as pets.
They can also suffer from common skin issues that may affect their health. If you have a cat, then it’s likely that at some point or another, you’ve experienced the heartbreak of seeing your beloved pet scratch and bite at themselves.
Listed below are some common issues of cats about which cat owners should be aware.
1. Itchy Skin Conditions
Scratching can lead to hair loss. When you see your cat suffering from an itchy skin condition, it’s only natural for them to want to scratch their skin. However, it can lead to permanent hair loss in certain body areas. In addition, scratching can lead to infections. If you notice that your cat has been scratching at their skin excessively, it may be infected with a bacterial infection known as pyoderma.
The best immediate treatment you can provide your cat is using an ointment. Treating them with ointments like triple antibiotic ointment for cats is the quickest and most effective solution. Before the infection spreads to other body parts, it is advisable to use this ointment. It is proven to be effective against itching, redness, and swelling on the cuts.
It reduces painful wounds on their bodies and prevents bacteria from spreading throughout the body and causing other health problems.
2. Hair Loss
Hair loss is a common issue that can be caused by various factors. For example, your cat may have an underactive thyroid gland, which will result in hair loss. Other causes include fleas and allergies to certain foods or fabrics.
The most obvious sign that your cat has lost hair is when you see bare patches on her body or head. If you notice these patches, you must take them to the vet as soon as possible so he can give her all the necessary treatment options for this condition.
If you see any such condition, handle your cat with care. Also, take care of yourself while handling them. If the cat bites and scratches your skin, don’t ignore it. Take the necessary remedies. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20-80% of the reported scratches and cat bites can infect humans.
3. Feline Acne
Feline acne is a common skin condition that affects cats of any breed, gender, or age. It is caused by an overgrowth of bacteria and usually occurs on the chin, mouth, and around the lips. The most visible signs of feline acne are small bumps, blackheads, or pus-filled pimples.
It’s often mistaken for other skin conditions like ringworm, which is more commonly found on cats’ feet, flea bites, or even allergies. However, there are other clues you can look for to help determine if your cat has feline acne:
- Your cat may have swollen lymph nodes in this area, especially if there’s chronic inflammation. These glands become enlarged when dealing with an infection because they try to fight off anything foreign to protect against illness. This swelling can be painful, so keep an eye out for it when your pets feel under the weather.
- If your kitty has been scratching at their chin lately, this could be a sign that something isn’t right down there. Scratching at bugs will only irritate existing issues further until they become unbearable.
Fungus is the main cause of ringworm-related skin infections. It’s not a worm, but the name has stuck. While ringworm can cause serious damage to your cat’s health, it is easily treated with topical creams or shampoos. Unfortunately, ringworm is highly contagious and can be spread from one cat to another or even to humans.
If you think your cat may have ringworm, take it to the vet immediately so it can be diagnosed properly and given medication as soon as possible.
5. Ear Mites
Ear mites are a very common issue in cats, and they can cause scratching, head shaking, and even an unpleasant smell. In addition, it may lead to the cat scratching its ears so much that it bleeds or becomes inflamed.
It’s important to treat your cat’s ear mites because, if left untreated, it can result in further complications such as skin infections or impacted earwax. Ear mites are generally picked up from their surroundings, but sometimes pets can get them from other infected animals.
If you suspect your cat has ear mites, take it to a vet first to check them out before using any medications on them. Some herbs might not be safe for cats with existing health conditions.
6. Flea and Tick Infestation
Skin irritation, hair loss, and anemia are common in cats with fleas. Fleas feed on the blood of their hosts and can cause allergic reactions that result in red bumps or sores on the skin. Ticks can also feed off a cat’s blood for up to 10 days before dropping off into the environment to lay eggs. These insects can cause discomfort for your cat and transmit disease if they’re infected with parasites.
Cats are more likely to be infested with fleas than dogs. It is because they are especially prone to getting them from other cats. However, unlike dogs who enjoy spending time outdoors sniffing around bushes and trees, many indoor cats don’t venture outside much. They may only venture out when their owners take them outside on a leash during walks or park visits.
Lastly, don’t forget to buy insurance for your pet cat. According to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association, the total premium volume of pet insurance was $2.591 billion in 2021. 18.3% of the insured pets were cats, and the rest were dogs.
While there are many causes of skin problems in cats, the good news is that most cases can be treated. Make sure you consult your veterinarian if you suspect your cat suffers from any of the above-mentioned conditions.
If you’re a cat owner, you may have noticed that darker-skinned felines tend to have more skin issues than their paler counterparts. It is because they need to be treated for fleas, mites, and other parasites to avoid them feeding on the cat’s blood. Owners of darker-skinned cats can also help by regularly cleaning their pet’s bedding, keeping it fresh and dry.
Noticing that your kitten has some redness or irritation on its face could be a sign of allergies. In such cases, you should consult your vet if you’re uncertain about what it could be.