Home Cats Guide to Mange in Cats: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Guide to Mange in Cats: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Mange is a skin disease caused by an infestation of mites that irritates your cat’s skin and causes it to itch.

Read on to learn how to identify the warning signs, causes, types, and treatment options available for this skin condition.

Difference Between Mites, Ticks, and Fleas

Most pet owners can’t differentiate between fleas, mites, and ticks. While they’re considered as parasites, these pests can cause different problems and symptoms. 

As such, it’s important for you to understand what they are and the issues they may cause.

Infographic on Differences Between Mites, Ticks and Fleas by Pet Lovers Centre

Symptoms of Mange in Cats

Cat with patchy hair loss as a result of mange
Patchy hair loss (Image source: Cat Hair Loss)

Some symptoms of mange in cats include

  • Excessive grooming
  • Patchy areas of hair loss
  • Oily fur
  • Bumps on the skin
  • Excessive scratching due to itch
  • Presence of scabs on the skin

Types and Causes of Mange in Cats

Cat scratching its ears

As mentioned above, mange in cats is caused by mites. These parasites can be transmitted to your furry friend 

  • if he’s been in contact with another infected cat or 
  • if he touches an object that’s been contaminated with mites.

Here are some types of mange caused by the different species of mites.

Type of MangeCaused bySymptoms
Sarcoptic mangeSarcoptes scabiei• Itching
• Hair loss
• Crusty, flaky skin
Demodectic mangeDemodex canis• Patchy hair loss around cat's eyelids, neck, and chin
• Oily, crusty skin
• Skin inflammation
Walking dandruff (cheyletiellosis)Cheyletiella blakei• Small, white flakes on cat's skin
• Intense itching
• Small red bumps on skin
Notoedric mangeNotoedres cati• Severe itching
• Hair loss that first occur in cat's face - may spread to rest of the body
Otodectic MangeOtodectes cynotis• Ear canal infection
• Head shaking
• Ear rubbing

Sarcoptic Mange

 Caused by: sarcoptes scabiei

This mite is very contagious and can spread to other humans and animals through contact.

Sarcoptic mange can lead to itching and hair loss due to frantic scratching. As a result, your pet’s skin becomes crusty and flaky, making it vulnerable to secondary bacterial infection.

Demodectic Mange

 Caused by: demodex canis

These mites are normal inhabitants of a healthy cat’s skin and will not bother him unless he has a weakened or immature immune system.

Symptoms of this mange include patchy hair loss around your cat’s eyelids, face, chin, and neck. He may also start to develop oily, crusty skin and skin inflammation.

Walking Dandruff (Cheyletiellosis)

Cat suffering from Walking Dandruff
Image source: Diagnosing and Treating Cheyletiellosis

 Caused by: cheyletiella blakei

These mites appear as small, white flakes on your pet’s skin that resemble dandruff, hence the name – walking dandruff.

They are highly transmissible and can infest animals and humans. A cat with this condition may suffer from intense itching and develop red bumps on his skin.

Notoedric Mange

 Caused by: notoedres cati

Notoedric mange is easily transmitted between cats by contact. 

This skin condition is often referred to as feline scabies and may lead to severe itching in a cat. He’ll also face hair loss that’ll first occur on his face and neck before it potentially spreads to his entire body.

Otodectic Mange

 Caused by: otodectes cynotis

These mites are also known as ear mites and infest the external ear of cats.

An affected cat may experience an ear canal infection and itching, which causes him to shake his head and rub his ears.

Is Mange in Cats Contagious to Humans?

Yes, mange in cats can spread to humans.

It is also known as scabies and is caused by notoedres cati – the same mite that causes sarcoptic mange in your feline friend.

Fortunately for you, the chances of contracting this disease from your pet are relatively low. Additionally, this condition can be easily treated with topical creams prescribed by your doctor.

What to Do If Your Cat Has Mange

Cat with black and brown patches

You’ll need to first bring the infected animal to the veterinary clinic where your vet can confirm the presence of mites. An appropriate treatment plan will be recommended once your pet has been properly diagnosed.

Following the visit, it’s important that you keep your pet isolated to prevent the mites from spreading to other household members.

How to Treat Mange in Cats

Home Remedies for Treating Mange in Cats

Home remedies are helpful for when you’re unable to get an appointment with your vet right away.  

Below are some remedies you can try out to help alleviate the problem while waiting for your visit.

 Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a popular home remedy for treating mange. To use apple cider vinegar as a treatment, dilute it with warm water in a 1:1 ratio and apply directly to your cat’s skin.

 Olive, castor or coconut oil

These types of oil can help soothe your cat’s itch and suffocate and kill the mites. Simply apply some directly to your cat’s skin when using.

Medication for Treating Mange in Cats

Cat visiting vet for regular checkup

The vet will prescribe medication to target the type of mites that your cat has. 

Some of these medications include

  • Oral antiparasitic medication used to control and eliminate the mites
  • Topical creams to help your cat mange the itch
  • Injectable drugs
  • Medicated shampoo and dips

If you happen to have some mange medication for dogs on hand, never use them on your cat! Canine medicines can be toxic to cats and should never be used on them.

How to Prevent Mange in Cats

Keep Your Pet Away From Infected Animals

The best way to prevent your cat from developing mange or recurrence is to keep him away from infected animals. 

Maintain a Clean Environment

An unsanitary environment can lead to the spreading of mites, resulting in mange. As such, keeping a hygienic living environment for your furry companion is important.

To do this, wash his bedding and litter box in hot water with detergent, and vacuum the house regularly. 

Boost Your Cat’s Immune System

Cats with a weak immune system will have trouble dealing with a mite infestation, making them prone to mange. 

Therefore, you can enhance your furkid’s immune system by feeding him a well-balanced diet that’s packed with nutrients. You can also boost his immunity by supplementing his diet with vitamins for cats.

Other tips to help keep mange at bay include practising good grooming habits and washing your hands after handling other animals.

Treating Mange in Your Cat

Cat lying under a bed frame

Mange in cats may seem like a scary disease, especially if your feline friend is experiencing it. Luckily for you, this skin problem can be easily managed with proper treatment and care!

It’s also important that you visit the vet when you suspect that there’s a mite infestation on your cat. This helps to prevent the parasites from spreading to other members of your family.

Article by:
As an avid home baker, Madeleine spends a significant portion of her free time scouring the internet for recipes for next her baking project. When she’s not hands deep in kneading some form of dough, you can find her making music with a bunch of like-minded musicians at her alma mater’s alumni band.

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