How to know if my cat has scabies

Scabies in cats is not as common as in dogs but it is a disease of the skin that they also tend to suffer, especially in the area of ​​the ears. This condition occurs, in most cases, by a mite called Notoedres Cati or scabies mite of the head, however, there are several types of scabies that are classified according to the mite that causes them and the affected area. If you notice that your cat is scratching more than normal and redness has started to appear on some parts of the body, you may have this condition. So you know if your cat has scabies, in this article we tell you the keys to identify it.

Scabies in cats

Scabies is a skin condition caused by a type of mite. In general, scabies mites are microscopic and can not be identified with the naked eye, so it is important to pay special attention to the behavior of our cat. These parasites are lodged in the skin of the animal, more specifically in the dermis, but never reach the interior of their body. Scabies mites that most affect cats are:

  • Notoedres Cat, is the most common of all and only affects cats. This type of mite begins by staying in the head and ears of the cat and, little by little, it slides towards the neck and the rest of the body. The females of this type of mite dig tunnels in the skin of the animal, where they live and lay their eggs, feeding on the lymph and tissue fluids and causing the hair and redness on the skin to fall.
  • Cheyletiella Spp, can also occur in dogs but most often it attacks the cats. In this case the mites do not dig tunnels, but they feed on the keratin and only live on the surface. It usually gets confused with dandruff because the parasites, when moving, produce a peeling of the skin.
  • Otodectes Cynotis, is also much more common in cats than in dogs. In this case, mites are housed in the external auditory canal, being the major cause of external otitis in cats. Like the previous one, they do not dig tunnels, but they feed on keratin. They cause scaling of the skin, appearance of crusts, eczema and secretion of dark color.

How it is spread

In all cases the mange is contagious by contact . Being parasites that only live in the skin of animals, they are not able to survive outside of it for more than two weeks and, therefore, can only pass from one to another. However, it is not necessary that there be physical contact between the animals, it is enough that they are close, they rub themselves, they have shared something, like the feeding trough or a blanket, or they have been in the same room.

Normally there are no infections to humans but, in the case of Cheyletiella Spp, it may be transferred to the human skin and produce a temporary infection that causes itching and redness.

Symptoms of scabies

Each type of mite produces symptoms or others in cats, however, the most common are:

  • Hair loss
  • Reddened skin
  • Abundant itching that triggers in a sharp scratching and not stop licking the affected areas
  • Local inflammation
  • Appearance of scabs, especially on the ears
  • Eczema and peeling skin
  • Dark discharge in the ear
  • In severe cases, bleeding from the ear, bleeding and perforation of the eardrum

In general, it is difficult to identify scabies during the initial period since the symptoms begin to appear after two or three weeks of infection, when the mites have completely developed. For this reason it is important to notice if the cat scratches or licks more than normal or if it falls more than the hair count. In these cases, you should take it to the veterinarian as soon as possible to start a treatment.


Once the disease is diagnosed, the veterinarian will initiate a treatment to combat it. Depending on the type of scabies and the state in which it is found, it will prescribe some antiparasitic or other. Treatments can range from the application of pipettes in some areas of the cat's body and ear drops to special shampoos for this disease, oral medications such as pills or antiparasitic pills, and antisera injections. When kittens are infected with scabies, vaccines are not usually used and treatment is usually based on frequent baths with specific antiparasitic soaps, pipettes or drops and Vaseline for the scaly areas.