Mange is caused by tiny mites that are commonly associated with dogs. However, an infected dog can transmit them to a cat. They usually lay dormant on a cat’s skin and fur, but if the immune system is compromised, the mites increase rapidly, causing mange. This is an uncomfortable condition that affects the skin and causes a cat to scratch constantly, which is why it is important to recognize the symptoms and know how to treat mange in cats.
In most cases, mange isn’t a serious disease and can be successfully treated. However, this condition occurs when a cat’s immune system is weakened. That means on top of treating the mange, you will also have to take better care of your cat, change her diet, and try boosting her immune system with vitamins. There are also several treatment options that involve medication, baths, dips, and various natural home remedies if you are searching for a holistic approach.
This article will help you understand what causes mange and what the symptoms of this condition are. We will also list some natural remedies for mange, but we strongly advise you to take your cat to the vet and discuss the best treatment options with him/her.
Causes of Mange in Cats
Mange is a skin infection that is caused by small mites that are invisible to the naked eye. Some types of these mites are normally found on a cat’s skin and hair follicles, while others are considered parasites. Mange is the result of the rapid growth of these parasites, and it can manifest as a mild or severe skin infection.
Here are a few types of mange in cats and the parasites that cause the condition:
#1: Notoedric Mange
Notoedric mange—also known as feline scabies—is caused by a mite known as Notredes cats.
These mites attach themselves to a cat’s skin, and after matting, the female burrows under the skin. This causes a severe skin infection that is first seen on the face and the ears, and if not treated, it can spread to the rest of the body. Furthermore, this type of mite is highly contagious and can be transmitted to people as well.
#2: Demodectic Mange
Demodectic mange is caused by two different types of mites: Demodex Cati and Demodex Gatoi. These two types of mites normally lay dormant on the skin of cats, waiting for the moment the immune system is weakened, which results in their growth.
Demodex Cati is associated with diseases of the immune and metabolic systems—such as diabetes—and it isn’t contagious. On the other hand, Demodex Gatoi is potentially contagious and can be spread among cats that live in the same home.
#3: Feline Sarcoptic Mange
Feline Sarcoptic mange is caused by the mite Sarcoptes Scabei and is also referred to as scabies. These are oval-shaped and light-colored mites that cause a cat to scratch but are the least common source of mange in cats.
How to Diagnose Mange
Mange can be localized and affect a certain part of the body, or it can spread throughout the rest of the skin. Once a cat is affected, it may take one week until she exhibits first symptoms of this condition.
A cat will experience restlessness, constant itch, and she will obsessively scratch. In a few days, the scratched areas will develop red papules that look a lot like small pimples that will crust over time.
A cat will also experience hair loss, the skin will look thickened and wrinkled, and this will most likely happen on the head, face, and ear areas.
If you leave the condition untreated, the mange will spread to the rest of the body, and a cat will develop sores on her stomach, legs, and paws. In most cases, the fur becomes dull-looking, matted, and the cat will be looking sick and dirty.
How to Treat Mange
If you notice that your cat is scratching obsessively, has red sores with crusts on them, and is losing hair, you need to isolate her from other pets because she probably has mange. You must also be careful about touching her.
For people, being in contact with an infected cat can cause red sores or rashes that look a lot like mosquito bites. In most cases, most mites can’t complete their life cycle once they are off their host. However, the condition is very uncomfortable and causes itching.
The next step is to call your vet and schedule an appointment to get your suspicion confirmed. Your vet will do a thorough physical exam and get skin scrapings of the affected areas. Depending on the severity of the infection and the overall health of your cat, the vet may run additional tests.
Since there are several types of mites that cause mange, there are several courses of treatment, and your vet will prescribe one depending on the severity of your cat’s infection.
In most cases, the treatment involves medication that will kill mites. This medication is administered either topically or by injections, shampoos, and dips.
Furthermore, your vet may prescribe an antibacterial shampoo, antibiotics, or anti-inflammatory drugs that will treat the skin and soothe the irritation.
In cases where mites are secondary to other medical conditions, your cat will get the appropriate treatment, and your vet will make recommendations for a weakened immune system.
Although the mites will be killed soon after the medication is applied, the road to total recovery can last more than a month. During this period, you will probably have to bathe your cat with a medicated shampoo and help her skin heal and her hair grow.
See Also: How to Bathe a Cat
Also, you should vacuum and clean your home, and wash all of your cat’s belongings that can be placed in the washing machine. Things that you can’t wash or disinfect you should throw away to lower the risk of another infection. Follow your vet’s instructions to the T and bring your kitty back for additional check-ups.
To prevent mange from occurring again, keep your kitty healthy and her immune system strong with proper nutrition and supplements if needed. Also, if you suspect that a neighboring cat has mange, don’t let your kitty spend time with her.
If any other pet in your household is suffering from this condition, it is best to quarantine him/her and disinfect your home to avoid letting the mange spread.
Home Remedies for Mange in Cats
Depending on the severity of the mange skin infection, your cat may benefit from a more holistic treatment approach. And in cases where mange is caused by a weakened immune system, more medicine can compromise it even further, which is not the case with some of the natural remedies.
We advise you to take your cat to see a vet if you suspect that she has mange, and then you can talk with him/her about alternative ways of treatment. If he agrees, you can try some of these home remedies for mange to relieve your cat’s symptoms and help her heal completely.
On the other hand, if you don’t notice any significant change after a week, take your cat to the vet so he can prescribe another course of treatment.
#1: Apple Cider Vinegar
Among many other uses and healing properties, apple cider vinegar is also a great natural remedy for mange in cats. It has both antimicrobial and antiseptic properties which make it great for killing skin mites.
To make an anti-mange solution, you will have to mix one cup of water with one cup of apple cider vinegar and place it in a spray bottle.
When the solution is ready, spray it onto your cat’s fur and use a comb to distribute it through the fur and all the way to the skin. Once you are sure that all the infected areas are well-soaked, leave your cat to air-dry with the solution on her coat.
Be careful when you spray affected areas since vinegar can sting a bit if the skin is too irritated from scratching. To get the best results and treat mange successfully, use this solution on your cat two to three times a week
#2: Lemon Juice
Lemon is inexpensive and easily found, and its acidic properties help it kill mites that are responsible for the development of mange. As a plus side, lemon juice also repels fleas and has healing abilities that will help with damaged and irritated skin.
To make this anti-mange home remedy, you will need to squeeze lemons and mix the juice with the same amount of water in a bowl. When everything is ready, dip a sponge or a cloth and rub the solution into your cat’s fur and skin.
Be careful with the infected areas to avoid further damage to the skin. You can repeat this process every day until you see that the mange is gone.
We know that this may sound strange, and covering your cat in honey doesn’t seem like a good idea, but in fact, it is. Because of its consistency, honey will deprive the mites of oxygen, which means they will suffocate. Furthermore, honey possesses healing abilities and will soothe the skin and help with the itching.
All you have to do is to place a thick layer of honey over the affected areas of your cat’s skin. Leave the honey to work its magic for 30-60 minutes and then bathe your cat with an appropriate cat shampoo to remove the honey.
If you think that your cat is going to lick the honey from her fur, get a cat cone and place it on her neck. You can use the honey treatment every day until you see that the mange is gone.
See Also: How to Make a Cone for a Cat
#4: Cedar Oil
Although cat owners often shy away from essential oils because they can be toxic to cats, if used right, cedar oil won’t cause any problems to your cat. Cedar oil has powerful antimicrobial properties, and it also works great as a repellent, thus preventing any future mange infections.
You need to mix 2-3 drops of cedar oil with one tablespoon of olive oil and use that mixture on the affected areas. Massage the mixture into the skin and prevent your cat from licking it for the next couple of hours. If the mange perseveres, you can repeat the treatment every 3 to 4 days.
#5: Olive Oil
Olive oil is an easily found ingredient in every kitchen, and it’s known for its health benefits. It is also one of the most effective ways to kill mites and treat mange in cats. Once you place it on your cat’s skin, it will suffocate adult mites and will, at the same time, soothe the skin and help it recover from the irritation.
You will only need to apply olive oil on the affected areas of your cat’s skin and let it stay there for 10-15 minutes. Use a wet cloth to remove the oil from your cat’s skin, and repeat this process twice a day until the mange is gone.
#6: Neem Oil
Neem oil is also known for its health benefits and has dual properties. At the same time, it kills and repels pests and protects the skin. This makes it one of the most efficient home remedies for mange and can also treat other conditions.
You will have to place two drops of neem oil into one tablespoon of olive oil. Apply this mixture to mange-affected areas and massage it into the skin. Let the oil work for a couple of hours, and place a cone on your cat if you suspect that she is going to lick the oil.
Once the time is right, rinse the oil from the skin and repeat this process a few times a week until the mange is gone.
#7: Garlic and Goldenseal Powder
Before you apply this mange cat remedy on your kitty, it is important to know that garlic is toxic to cats if ingested, so you need to use a cone and monitor your cat after the remedy is applied.
Both garlic and goldenseal have antimicrobial properties that will kill the mites and heal mange. They also have healing properties and will help the irritated skin heal more quickly.
You will have to mix two tablespoons of garlic powder with two tablespoons of goldenseal powder with ¼ of a cup of olive oil until you get a paste.
Use the paste and massage it into the affected areas and let it work for a couple of hours. Monitor your cat to prevent ingestion of the paste. Rinse the paste after a few hours and apply it 2-3 times a week until the mange is gone.
#8: Castor Oil
Castor oil has been used for its healing properties for a long time, and it is also great for the skin. When mixed with olive oil, it will suffocate the mites and help regenerate irritated skin.
Mix equal amounts of castor and olive oil and massage the mixture into affected areas on your cat’s skin. Leave the oils to work for a few hours and then rinse them off. Or you can use a wet cloth to remove everything.
This mange treatment can be used three times a week until you see that your cat is mange-free.
#9: Colloidal Silver
Colloidal silver is a very effective treatment when it comes to mange since it has antiviral, anti-fungal, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties. It is used to treat various skin infections for both cats and dogs, and it is also great for soothing and healing irritated skin.
Apply colloidal silver to affected areas on your cat’s skin and let it dry. You can use it 2-3 times every day until you see that the mange is gone.
#10: Lemon Peel
If you think that lemon juice can be too strong for your kitty, you can make a solution from lemon peel. The citric acid in the peel will keep the mites off and will also serve as a natural repellent.
Use ¼ of a lemon with a peel and place it into two cups of boiling water. Once half of the water has boiled down, add ½ of a cup of water and leave it to boil. Once half of that amount of water has boiled down, strain the liquid and leave it to cool.
Use a cloth to distribute the mixture over your cat’s coat, and leave it to air-dry. Repeat this process every two days until your cat’s mange is gone.
Mange is a skin infection caused by tiny mites that burrow under a cat’s skin and cause itching, scratching, and hair loss. This isn’t a commonly seen condition in cats but never the less, it is important to know how to treat mange in cats.
Furthermore, you should know that mange almost always comes as a secondary condition and is in most cases caused by weakened immune system or conditions like diabetes.
That’s why it is advisable to take your cat to the vet once you notice the first symptoms of mange so he/she can check your cat and find the cause for the condition.
Beside effective medications and anti-inflammatory drugs that can help a cat, there is a variety of very effective and proven holistic remedies for mange. Still, talk with your vet, since the course and the outcome of the treatment will depend on the severity of your cat’s case.
Did your cat have mange? What course of treatment worked best for her? Share your experiences with dealing with this condition with us in the comments section below. If it’s not mange your cat is dealing with but allergies, check out our article on how much Benadryl can I give my cat.