8 Really Reasons Why Scabs on Your Cat

why cat has scabs

Skin disorders in cats can be disappointing for both owners and cats. Most common signs of skin diseases are pruritis (itchiness), excessive body grooming, the existence of scabs and hair loss.

There are several causes of skin diseases and most of the time it is difficult to identify the root.

Since skin allergies have various possible causes, most vets come up with a diagnosis called miliary dermatitis. This medical term is a cause of scabs that can be found at the back of the cat.

Scabs are dry and rough that is formed when a wound heals. Miliary dermatitis is used to describe a small group of scabs associated with an allergic reaction.

How to Assess if My Cat Has Scabs?

cat scratches

Generally, scabs pertain to pustules or crusty lesions that may appear to be single or numerous lesions. The kind of scabs present on your cat, the location along with the signs and symptoms can provide your vet an explanation of the possible cause.

Scabs that can be seen on the neck and back (near to the tail) can be an indication of flea bite hypersensitivity. Scabs that are present on the head and ears may be related with food allergies. Scabs on the chin are usually caused by cat acne. Non-seasonal skin scratching with scabs can be a cause of allergies.

Scabs can be developed externally and internally. Signs and symptoms are just the same. When skin irritation is involved, inflammation usually occurred. It is often very itchy that almost create rushes. In this way, it can be very hard to see depending on the length of the cat’s hair. 

When excessive licking, scratching or even biting at times in one specific area of their body can be an indication of the possible occurrence of scabs. Take your cat to the vet immediately for proper assessment.

When the rashes spread, your cat may tend to bald the area where itchiness is present. Areas that usually affected are around neck and back of the cat near the tail.

What Are the Common Causes of Scabs?

1. Flea Bite Hypersensitivity

ca flea scare

This is the most common cause of scabs. Cat fleas do not have wings so they live on your cat skin. Your cat’s blood is their source of food. Most cats start to have an allergy from the saliva of fleas causing an itchiness on the area. Small scabs can be found near the tail, chin and neck.

When the cat scratches, the skin becomes inflamed and irritated resulting to bleeding especially in the neck area.

The size of scab ranges from 3mm to 2 cm or higher. The treatment for flea bite allergy is to eliminate flea. Your cat is not the only one to get rid of fleas but also the surrounding must be treated as well as to avoid the flea’s life cycle in the area.

2. Allergies in Food

Cats can have allergies to several foods and they are often called as food allergies. The condition usually affects the head and neck causing severe itching which results to small papules or scabs.

Other symptoms can be associated with the condition are vomiting, excessive licking of the area and hair loss. Also, food allergy can be considered if itchiness is not seasonal.

If a food allergy is present, the cat may need to follow a certain diet. The cat may be given a kangaroo or duck that is new to his diet to check if the symptoms will subside. If the symptoms return after going back to their regular diet, the food allergy is the possible cause. Treatment for this condition is changing your cat’s diet into hypoallergenic food.

3. Contact Dermatitis

Contact dermatitis arise when your cat is sensitive to soaps, plants, medications and shampoos. This results to non-seasonal itchiness which can cause irritation to the skin and development of a small group of scabs.

Most common affected areas are ears, paws and underbelly. Treatment may include removing the possible irritants and prescription of steroids to help control the itchiness.

4. Mange

Mange is a term for cat scabies. It is a highly infectious condition that caused by a parasite that looks like a spider which lives on the cat skin resulting in the formation of scabs and itch most especially in the area near the ear. Other section affected are head and neck.

If the condition is left untreated, the parasites can move in the other parts of the body. The management must consist of clipping the nails of your cat as to avoid hurting themselves and giving a treatment to eliminate the parasites.

5. Ringworms

cat ringworms

Ringworm is very contagious condition accompanied by the formation of baldness of circular abrasion. The abscess is very itchy which can result to the development of scabs. Ringworm lesions are usually larger compare to another type of scabs mentioned in this article.

The vet may give you a shampoo to treat ringworms. Since it is highly infectious, other pets at home may need to be treated as well. Ringworm can be passed from owners and vice versa.

In this case, proper treatment is a must when treating such condition to prevent further infection. If owners become infected as well, over the counter medications are available.

6. Cat Acne

Cat Acne is present under the chin. It is characterized with a group of blackheads which is inflamed and form crusts and scabs. The treatment for cat acne included cleaning the area with antibiotic soap.

For severe cases, betadine is necessary or gels which contain Benzoyl Peroxide. Oral antibiotics may be given as well if secondary infection occurs. 

Proper hygiene is strictly implied such as shifting metal bowls from plastic and it should be clean every now and then. Topic steroids may be given to control itchiness.

7. Stress

Cats exhibit stress in different ways. Some do not eat, hide somewhere and manifest too much grooming. Over-grooming may result to skin damage and formation of scabs.

Stress can be due to change in their diet, new family at home, sickness and etc. Stress in cats are manageable in various ways such as removing the root of their problem, showing affection and providing regular diet.

Play time can be helpful as well to alleviate stress. Your vet may also be prescribed anti-anxiety treatments.

8. Bacterial Infections

An infection of the skin is called pyoderma. If bacteria is present, inflammation and irritation occurs that later on create crusty pustules. Cats with the low immune system are more at risk of bacterial infections in the skin. The treatment regimen may include antibiotics.

Treatment Needed if My Cat Has Scabs?


Diagnosing scabs is simple for a well-practiced veterinarian. The formation of lesions, scabs and rashes gives the vet a clearer suggestion of the source of the allergy developed.

It is where the treatment starts. Determining the possible cause of your cat’s allergy is very essential. Cortisone treatment for injection may be given to control the excessive itching of your cat. Only if necessary, antibiotics may be added to the treatment plan.

The preventive measure is always what the owners must consider. For indoor cats that want to go outdoors must be prevented. If not, anti-flea treatment may be suggested. By following preventive measures may benefit your cat in the future.

The owner must be aware that your feline friend is prone to skin diseases but there are things you can you do for them to lessen the risk of scabs or other skin problems.

You can use hypoallergenic soap or shampoos for your cat, regular grooming is a must and feeding a healthy diet are a good way to establish wellness and happiness in their lives. Use only recommended anti-flea treatment by your vet.

If your cat is more likely to develop the problem again, your vet may suggest a preventative skin cream or oral treatments to be given for a long duration.

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My name is Puka and I am a great cat lover and a cat owner of two lovely cats. I have owned many cats till now and have dedicated many years to nurturing and caring cats. Through this blog, I am here to share my knowledge and experience about cats.


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