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Why Does My Cat Have Scabs?

Have you noticed that your cat is scratching a lot? If you’re asking yourself, “Why does my cat have scabs?” then you’ve come to the right place.

Maybe you have seen your cat licking at its paws or maybe you have felt small scabs appearing on your cat’s skin under the fur. The good news is that it’s pretty common for cats to encounter some dermatitis that causes scabs at some point. The bad news is that there can be many causes of dermatitis in cats.

If you have noticed scabs on your cat it’s important that you don’t break the scabs or pick at them, as this can cause a skin infection. The first thing to do is to try and rule out of some the most common causes of scabs.

After you have ruled out these common causes of scabs on cats it’s time to talk to your vet and get some skin scrapings done. But often the cause of those weird scabs is one of these things:

Why Does My Cat Have Scabs? Fluffy Kitty

Flea Sensitivity

The number one most common cause of scabs on cats is flea dermatitis, or an allergy to the bite of a flea.

Many cats are sensitive to flea bites and when a flea bites them they have an allergic reaction that causes scabs. Even if your cat doesn’t go outside it can still come into contact with fleas.

Most cat owners think that if they don’t allow their cats outside the cats are safe from fleas but that’s just not true. Fleas can come into a house through unsealed windows and doors, through holes in a screen, and even on your shoes, socks or pant legs.

If you notice your cat getting scabs on is head, neck or at the base of the tail you need to get flea comb and check for fleas. 

Take the flea comb and comb a little of the hair near your cat’s scruff or tail. If you see tiny black dots in the hair your cat has fleas. Those black specks are flea droppings.

Why Does My Cat Have Scabs? Fluffy Kitty

Getting Rid of Fleas

Luckily the fix for fleas is easy and fast. The best way to get rid of fleas is to treat every cat in the household with a flea treatment. Pet owners say disagree on what is the most effective flea treatments, but topical treatments go to either Advantage II or Frontline.

Both are available over the counter at any pet store. Each dose lasts for 30 days. Just open the small tube and squirt the liquid directly onto your cat between the shoulder blades. After you’ve applied a topical treatment you should wash all the cat’s bedding or blankets and vacuum the home thoroughly. It’s a very good idea to keep your cat on a regular flea treatment schedule throughout the year. 

Topical medicine will kill some fleas, however, this is our experience with topical flea treatments……..

When we were living in Nepal with Yoda (yes we flew him there!) we used Frontline to get rid of his fleas. We tried 3 times and each time failed. It was effective at reducing fleas, that is true, but not getting rid of all them. They seemed slow and drowsy, but they were still there.

That is why we recommend using Bayer Seresto flea collar. Paul went home to France for Christmas and brought one back. It was so effective at getting rid of Yoda’s flea storm, in just a couple days. We were so relieved! After battling with these pesty buggers for months! Our poor baby finally got the relief he needed.

Why Does My Cat Have Scabs? Fluffy Kitty

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Miliary Dermatitis (Allergies)

If fleas are not causing the scabs on your cat then your cat probably has some form of Miliary Dermatitis.  Miliary Dermatitis is a fancy name for an allergy. There can be many causes for this allergy but the allergy is causing an inflammation of the skin that is causing the scabs. If you notice your cat is licking their paws a lot, or over grooming, that’s the first sure sign that the cat has an allergy to something in the environment. 

Finding the source of the allergy can be tough. It could be anything from a particular type of floor cleaner to the laundry soap that you used to wash the cat’s bedding or even the cat’s food.

If you have recently switched foods there’s a strong probability that the cat is allergic to the new food. Go back to the old food and see if the scabs disappear. If they do, then you can be sure the food was causing the allergy.

Why Does My Cat Have Scabs? Fluffy Kitty

Finding out what your cat is allergic to is a slow process of elimination. The best place to start is by identifying anything new that you are using that you haven’t used before. Are you using a new soap to shampoo the rug? Or a new laundry soap? Even washing the cat’s dishes in a new dish soap can trigger an allergy.

Seasonal allergies can also play a role in Miliary Dermatitis in cats. If you often have the windows open or let the cat go outside the cat could be having an allergic reaction to something in the air outside. Just like people, cats can suffer from seasonal allergies.

Ear mites

Ear mites are another common cause of scabs in cats. These pesty critters can make your cat miserable and the bites can cause allergies. Ear mites need to be diagnosed by a vet, who can prescribe medicine that will kill the mites without damaging your cat’s ears.

If you notice scabs that are only around your cat’s head and neck and you notice your cat is scratching its ears frequently or shaking its head then there’s a good chance the problem is ear mites. If you have more than one cat all the cats should be treated for mites because mites spread quickly among all the cats in a household.

When to Go to the Vet

Once you have ruled out fleas as the cause of your cat’s scabs it’s probably best to take your cat to see your vet. The vet can do skin scrapings and allergy tests to make it faster to identity what is causing the allergy. The vet can also give your cat a cortisone shot to alleviate any discomfort that your pet is in from the scabs. And the vet may prescribe an antibiotic to make sure that the scabs don’t become infected.

Why Does My Cat Have Scabs? Fluffy Kitty

Skin problems in cats are fairly common and most of the time they are pretty easy to treat. Make sure that the scabs don’t become infected and work with your vet to identify the source of the allergy and you can keep your cat comfortable and scab free.

Final Thoughts: Why Does My Cat Have Scabs?

If your cat has scabs, make sure to look for the cause. If there are no evident signs of cat fights, fleas, or else, then make sure you go get your kitty checked at the vet as soon as possible. Scabs can be a sign of an underlying allergy problem or other health issue.

Thanks for reading and best of luck with your sweet babies!