Scabies in Cats: Symptoms, Types, Treatments and Contagion

Sarna en Gatos: Síntomas, Tipos, Tratamientos y Contagio

In this article we will talk about Scabies in cats, what are its symptoms, types, treatments, causes, ways of contagion, prevention, in short. Everything you need to know about this topic.

We invite you to stay reading and together we continue to grow in knowledge to provide our pets with the life they deserve. Let's get started!

What is scabies in cats?

Scabies in cats is a disease caused by microscopic mites. These parasites invade the feline's skin, causing intense itching, hair loss and skin lesions. Scabies in cats manifests itself through the formation of scabs, redness of the skin and possibly the appearance of small bumps. Affected cats often scratch compulsively in an attempt to relieve the irritation, which can worsen the clinical condition and cause secondary infections.

Learn about other skin diseases in cats .

Types of mange in cats

Canine Mange (Sarcoptic Mange)

It is caused by the Sarcoptes scabiei mite, which also affects dogs. This scabies is highly contagious and can be transmitted between different species. Affected cats experience severe itching, redness of the skin, hair loss, and possibly skin lesions. Sarcoptic mange usually affects areas such as the ears, head, neck, and extremities.

Feline Mange (Notoedric Mange)

It is caused by the mite Notoedres cati. This mange is specific to felines and usually affects mainly the ears, head and neck. Infected cats show symptoms such as severe itching, scabbing, redness of the skin, and hair loss. Notoedral mange is highly contagious among cats.

Ear Mites (Otodectic Mange)

Ear mites do not cause mange per se, but they are common external parasites in cats. These mites primarily infect the ears, causing intense itching, head shaking, and dark discharge in the ear canal. Ear mite infection can affect both domestic cats and stray cats.

Walking Dandruff (Cheyletiellosis)

It is also known as "walking dandruff", it is caused by the mite Cheyletiella spp. This parasite affects the top layer of the skin and can cause dandruff, itching and hair loss. Infected cats may show white or yellowish scales on their fur, and the mites are visible to the naked eye.


It is not scabies, but an allergic reaction to the larvae of the mite known as "harvest mite" or "grass mite." These mites are most common in areas of tall grass. In cats, thromboculosis can cause intense itching, redness of the skin, and the formation of small red bumps. Although the larvae are tiny, they are often visible in the skin.

Causes of mange in cats

Some of the reasons why your cat may have mange may be the following:

  • Mange is highly contagious and spreads through direct contact with infected animals. Cats that share the same environment, such as the home or outdoor spaces, can transmit mange to each other.
  • Some cats may be at higher risk of developing mange due to factors such as a weakened immune system, age (young or elderly cats), crowded conditions, or stress.
  • Lack of hygiene and cleanliness in the cat's environment can encourage the spread of mites and increase the risk of infestation. It is extremely important that you maintain cat grooming and hygiene .
  • In some cases, underlying diseases that compromise the health of the skin and immune system can predispose a cat to developing mange.

Symptoms of scabies in cats

It is important to note that the symptoms of mange in cats can vary depending on the type of mange and the severity of the infection. However, some common symptoms include:

intense itching

Itching is a characteristic symptom of mange in cats. Affected felines often scratch excessively in an attempt to relieve the irritation.

Loss of hair

Scabies can cause hair loss in affected areas. Depending on the type of scabies, hair loss may be localized or spread throughout the body.

Redness of the skin

The skin around the affected areas often becomes red and swollen. The skin thickens and forms pink and then brown spots due to irritation.

Scabs and skin lesions

Scabs may form on the skin, especially in areas where the cat has scratched intensely. Skin lesions may also appear, which vary in appearance depending on the type of scabies.

Changes in behavior

Affected cats may show changes in behavior due to discomfort and constant itching. They may become more irritable, anxious or depressed. To know if there is a change in its behavior, it is necessary to know and pay attention to the cat's language.

Increased ear scratching

In the case of otodectic mange, cats may scratch their ears intensely and shake their heads due to the presence of mites in the ear canal.

Diagnosis of scabies in cats

Accurate diagnosis of mange in cats requires evaluation by a veterinarian, as the symptoms of mange can overlap with other skin conditions. This can be done through clinical examinations, skin scrapings, acetate ink testing, or skin allergy testing.

It is essential that diagnosis and treatment be carried out by a veterinary professional, as inappropriate treatment or lack of treatment can worsen the cat's condition. Additionally, the veterinarian can identify the specific type of mange present and develop an appropriate treatment plan, which may include antiparasitic medications, supportive therapies, and measures to control itching and prevent secondary infections.

How do you cure scabies in cats? Treatment

Mange in cats requires proper medical treatment, and it is essential to consult a veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis and a specific treatment plan.

Medical treatment

Antiparasitic Medications

Ivermectin is an antiparasitic medication commonly prescribed by veterinarians to treat various forms of mange in cats. It can be administered orally or, in some cases, injected. Another antiparasitic medication that is administered topically to the skin is Selamectin.

Topical Treatments

Some topical treatments may include antiparasitic shampoos, lotions, or sprays that contain active ingredients to kill the mites responsible for scabies.

Antibiotics or Anti-inflammatories

If a secondary infection has developed due to excessive scratching, your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medications to treat these complications.

It could happen that this consultation affects the cat and causes the famous stress in cats , so in Waggy's . We recommend products with CBD for cats as they will stabilize those anxiety levels.

If you want to know the administration doses read the article: CBD in Cats


Home remedies

The application of home remedies should be discussed with the veterinarian, as not all are safe or effective. Some may worsen the cat's condition or interact negatively with medical treatment.

Essential oils

Some people consider using essential oils such as coconut oil or neem oil to help relieve itching. However, this should be done with caution and only under the supervision of the veterinarian.

Therapeutic Baths

Baths with oatmeal or baking soda can provide temporary relief from itching. Consult your veterinarian before trying these approaches.

Prevention for scabies in cats Recommendations

  • If your animal is infested by these parasites, follow the treatment applied by your veterinarian.
  • Minimize your pet's contact with stray or potentially parasitized animals.
  • Apply good personal hygiene measures, such as washing your hands and wrists after petting a stray dog ​​or cat or when in contact with a pet suspected of suffering from one of these diseases.
  • A balanced and nutritious diet can strengthen the cat's immune system, facilitating recovery. The veterinarian can offer specific recommendations.

Does scabies in cats spread to humans?

Canine sarcoptic mange and cheytelielosis are the two main diseases caused by mites that can be transmitted to people. However, this type of scabies is rarely transmitted to humans, except for cheilethiellosis, which can be transmitted to humans although it affects us in a more temporary way. Thus, when asked if scabies in cats is contagious to humans, the answer is that most feline scabies do not.


In conclusion, in this article we learned that scabies in cats is a skin disease caused by mites, manifesting with symptoms such as intense itching, hair loss and skin lesions. It is essential to seek the care of a veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment. Medical treatment, under the guidance of the veterinarian, usually includes deworming and supportive care. To prevent scabies, it is recommended to maintain a clean environment, perform regular parasite checks, and immediately attend to any signs of skin disease. Prevention and early care are key to ensuring the health and well-being of our feline friends.

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