A List of Common Skin Problems in Cats

Common skin problems in cats

Common problems you should be aware of:


A painful bump filled with pus that can form after a bite or puncture wound gets infected with bacteria.

Contact Dermatitis

An allergic reaction caused by contact with particular substances or chemical irritants. A rubber or plastic allergy (from a food bowl) can manifest as itchy red bumps and inflammation.

Ear Mites

Ear mites cause great discomfort and can drive cats ‘crazy’ if left untreated. Signs include shaking or tilting the head, scratching or pawing at ears and dark brown discharge or waxy substance in the ear canal.

Feline Acne

Blackheads, sometimes caused by skin dermatitis, can occur on the edges of a cat’s lips or under the chin. Some shampoos and supplements can help.

Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD)

Cats that suffer from FAD are allergic to flea saliva and experience severe itching after even just one or two bites. The pimple-like bumps are typically located by the tail, rear legs and inner thighs. Proper flea control is essential.

Food Allergy Dermatitis

Certain ingredients and preservatives can cause allergic reactions in cats. Food allergies can lead to severe itching, swollen eyelids and hair loss. The head, neck and back are usually affected. Biting or scratching makes the situation worse. Sores can become infected.

Psychogenic Alopecia

A compulsive behaviour usually caused by stress. Essentially over-grooming leads to thinning of the fur.


Ringworm is a contagious fungal infection humans can get as well. Look for circular bald patches and a red ring or broken hairs on the head.

Stud Tail

The excretion of excessive oils (foul-smelling brown material) from glands near the tail.


The long-term risks associated with sunburn are skin cancers. If your cat has light-coloured fur or is a hairless breed you should take the necessary precautions.

Always contact your veterinarian if you think your cat has a skin problem.

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