It is not advisable to treat any skin infection in cats, such as scabies, with over-the-counter products. Many skin conditions may resemble scabies, and only a veterinarian can diagnose scabies by looking at a skin scraping under a microscope. Scabies, or mange, is a skin infection caused by mites.
Treating skin conditions with over-the-counter products can be ineffective and, in some cases, very dangerous to cats. Scabies is treated with insecticides, and cats can be exceptionally sensitive to many insecticides. Never use any dog products on cats as some of them can cause tremors, difficulty walking, strange behavior, seizures and death by poisoning the nervous system. The medications used to treat scabies are available by prescription from a veterinarian and may include using a special shampoo, spot-on products applied to the skin and possibly oral medications.
Cats sometimes have other infections or health problems along with scabies because scabies infection does not usually develop in animals that have a healthy immune system. This is another reason why it is important to have the cat examined by a veterinarian. Other conditions occurring on the skin that may resemble scabies include flea bite allergies, food allergies and ringworm, which is a fungal infection.