The Symptoms and Treatments of Cat Rash

A cat rash can be a worrisome condition for a cat owner to observe. Seeing your furry friend suffer through symptoms such as itchy and flaky skin, lesions, and even hair loss can be devastating, especially if you can’t figure out the cause behind the condition. The term “cat rash” can be applied to a variety of skin lesions and the causes behind these symptoms can be just as varying. We are going to talk about the most commonly seen symptoms of feline rash as well as the top causes behind them.

While cats are unique just as we humans are, there are a few symptoms of cat rash that are common among most breeds of cats. Some of the more common symptoms include red patches, skin flakiness, and weeping or crusting.

Did you know that cats can suffer from allergies much like humans do? Hives are often associated with “contact dermatitis”, which means that the cat’s skin has become irritated due to direct contact with an allergen. Hives have the appearance of red bumps that tend to be quite itchy. Hives will usually go away on their own after a day or so unless the cat is continuously exposed to the allergen.

If your cat is allergic to flea bites, which is more common than you might think!—you might see scab-encrusted lesions in the areas where your cat is commonly bitten, such as around the base of the tail, the neck, and the head. Your cat may scratch, bite, and lick these areas to attempt to ease the itching and soreness. Unfortunately, the only way to prevent a cat’s flea bite allergy from flaring up is to rid the presence of fleas from your home. This may require quite a lot of work on your part, but once you remove the fleas from your carpeting, furniture, and anyplace else your cat might venture, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about the cat having a reaction. If your cat is an outdoor pet, you probably won’t ever be able to limit his contact with fleas, as lawn treatments and flea collars simply won’t offer any protection during the times your cat wanders off the property.

Of course, allergies aren’t the only causes behind a cat rash. Infection is another common culprit that can result in skin irritation in your feline friend. Cats with long fur are particularly susceptible to developing fungal infections that not only affect the skin, but can also spread to the cat’s fur and nails. Ringworm is a common fungal infection that plagues cats, but is also contagious to humans as well. The rash isn’t actually a worm, but the path this fungal infection leaves kind of looks like a circular worm. To treat ringworm, your veterinarian will probably shave the immediate area of the rash and apply a topical ointment, which you will have to reapply as directed until the infection is completely gone.        

Cat malassezia is another fungal infection to watch out for. This type of fungus is actually a yeast infection that causes the cat’s skin to become red and scaly. The skin also can become excessively oily, which can become obvious as the cat’s fur becomes matted from the skin’s oil. Unfortunately, this type of skin rash can result in hair loss if it is not treated early on. This yeast infection usually develops because the cat’s environment is providing the optimum setting for the spread of yeast that is naturally found in the cat’s body (although in certain amounts). Humid air, oily skin, and immune system disorders can change a cat’s skin to the point where their natural yeast is able to multiply at an accelerated rate. This condition can usually be cleared up, or at least kept under control, by the use of shampoos containing either miconazole nitrate or ketoconazole and chlorhexidine, or a spray that contains miconazole.

A bacterial infection could be a possible cause behind a cat rash, but a fungal infection is more common among felines. In order to confirm a bacterial infection, the cat’s veterinarian would need to inspect and possibly test the area. Treatments can vary, but often include the use of an antibiotic.

If allergies and infections can be ruled out, one may want to consider the possibility that their cat may be suffering from stress or boredom. Without the proper stimulation, it is possible for a cat to experience a sense of depression that can have a number of effects on his body—a skin rash being just one of these manifestations. It is also possible for cats who suffer a stressful or anxious life to nurse rash-like symptoms along with a number of other physical or behavioral issues.

When in doubt, it is always best to consult a veterinarian for a professional examination and recommendation for treatment.