You’re having some play time with your cat when you notice that there are scabs on a particular part of her body. You’re naturally worried. You ask yourself: “Why does my cat have scabs?”
What are scabs?
Let’s be clear with our definition of scabs first. These are dry and rough patches that form after a wound heals. Its color is usually dark brown or red. It may be one or a few dozens of lesions.
Simply put they can make your cat look pitiful. And you don’t want your cat to look that way, do you?
Causes of scabs
There are several causes of scabs in cats. These are:
1. Flea Bite hypersensitivity
Veterinarians say the most likely cause of scabs on our feline friends is flea bite hypersensitivity. Also called flea allergic dermatitis, it is considered as the most common skin disease in pets.
Flea bite sensitivity is brought about by the wingless parasite that lives on the skin of cats. Fleas feed on the blood of cats. Cats can eventually develop an allergy to flea bites, which can lead to scabs.
How would you know that the scabs were caused by flea bites? Most of the time, the scabs are small and raised. Scabs near the rear of the cat as well as those found on the chin and neck are also very likely to be caused by flea bites.
When the cat scratches the skin, the scabs will be damaged. It will result to bleeding, usually in the neck area.
You can also inspect your cat if her body has been infested with fleas. You can use a flea comb to more easily see fleas and flea dirt.
2. Food allergy
Scabs in cats may also be due to allergy. Food allergy is the most common, and typically itching in the head and neck areas. And when your cat scratches those parts, scabs may eventually appear.
You can determine if the scabs were due to food allergy by putting her on a novel diet. You can do this by giving her food that she hasn’t had before. Then go back to her usual diet.
If the scabs return, then it is likely that food allergy is behind it.
3. Contact Dermatitis
While this is a rare disease, there is still a chance that contact dermatitis may have caused scabs on your cat’s body.
Contact dermatitis happens when an irritant like shampoo, soap, plants, and medications come in contact with the cat’s body.
A major symptom of this disease is non-seasonal itching. Just like in the case of food allergy, itching can force the cat to scratch the affected area. This, in turn, can lead to scab formation.
Scabs usually occur in the ears, paws, and underbelly of the cat.
Another possible reason why your cat has scabs is mange. This is a contagious disease brought about by a parasite that hides deep into the skin of the cat.
The parasite can cause intense itching particularly along the ear margin. Other commonly affected areas are the head and neck. If left untreated, the parasite can move and affect other areas of the cat’s body.
This is another kind of skin disease that can affect your cat and can lead to scabs all over her body. This is caused by a type of mite called Demodex mite. There are actually two species that can target cats - Demodex gatoi and Demodex cati.
Cats who have poor immune systems are prone to infestation of this kind of mite.
You’ll know that scabs were due to demodicosis when there are scabs all over her head, neck, and ears. Aside from intense itching, this skin disease is characterized by thinning hair.
6. Ear mites
Lastly, ear mites are due to the mite called Otodectes Cynotis. This is a spider-like parasite which attacks or infest the ears of our feline friends.
Symptoms of ear mites range include intense itching, which can force your cat to scratch the affected part. This, in turn, leads to scabs.
Other symptoms of ear mites are waxy build up in the ears and bacterial infection. Stray cats are the most commonly affected by ear mites.
Treatment of the scabs will vary depending on the underlying reason. For example, flea bites can be treated with topical ointments and shampoos.
But I wouldn’t suggest any treatment. The best course of action is to bring your pet to a veterinarian, who can look at the scab and determine what really causes it.
Scabs can indicate that your cat is suffering from a particular health problem. Whether it’s a flea bite hypersensitivity, food allergy, or contact dermatitis, you should be able to determine the real cause of scabs. And the best and surest way to do so is to bring your cat to the vet.