The most common skin problems in cats include fungal infections, allergic dermatitis, alopecia, mites and skin ulcers. These conditions are typically easy to treat, but a veterinarian should be consulted about any skin abnormalities, as ignoring them often leads to bacterial infections in addition to the root problem. Many of these conditions manifest themselves by frequent scratching.
A number of fungal infections cause skin problems in cats. Ringworm is quite contagious and can spread to other animals and humans. It causes a flaky, bald circular lesion. Yeast infections are most common in cats with other health conditions, and they frequently affect the ears.
Allergic reactions to environment, food, fleas or grooming products can cause rashes and itching. Skin lesions and infections may follow. It is important to find out what the cat is reacting to and eliminate exposure to it. Medication to ease the symptoms is also available.
Alopecia, or hair loss, is a common cat skin problem. If a cat has bald patches or sheds an abnormal amount of hair, alopecia due to stress or disease is suspected. Fleas, allergies or poor nutrition may be to blame.
Ear mites are parasites that invade a cat's ears, feeding on the wax and oils they find. Inflammation results and leads to intense itching. Skin and ear infection follow. Symptoms include discharge and head shaking.
Ulcers or lesions most frequently found on the cat's face, foot pads or thighs often result from an allergic reaction called eosinophilic granuloma. This condition is sometimes caused by food allergies or fleas, but bacterial infection is also a potential culprit. Treatment depends on the cause of the ulcers.