Home Remedies for Cat Scabs: 7 Easy Methods You Can Do Yourself

Home Remedies for Cat Scabs: 7 Easy Methods You Can Do Yourself
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Have you noticed lesions or crusty blisters on your cat? If you have, chances are your cat has scabs. Cat scabs can range from one to several areas on their body. There are also several types of cat scabs, each with its own cause. Luckily, there are a few home remedies for cat scabs you can try, like using homemade oatmeal shampoo. Since cat scabs can be complicated, it’s best to understand their causes and symptoms before selecting a treatment.


What Are Cat Scabs?

Cat scabs, or miliary dermatitis, are dry patches or lesions that result from a healing wound. Miliary dermatitis in cats takes on many forms, but the symptoms are universal and recognizable.


Usually, when a cat has irritated skin, there is some inflammation present. Cats with scabs become itchy and often scratch, which can create rashes.


The best way to assess whether your cat has a scab problem is by taking them to the vet. If left untreated, cat scabs can cause rashes that can spread and create other concerning issues. When rashes on a cat spread, your cat can lose fur in patches!


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What Causes Cat Scabs?

Flea bites, allergies, and stressful or overzealous grooming are the most frequent causes of cat scabs. Excessive scratching, licking, and biting in one specific area is a sign of irritation on your cat’s skin. Affected cats usually have scabs around the neck and along their back (closest to their tail.)


The five most common types of scabs that can affect your cat include:


Chin Scabs

Chin scabs are usually caused by cat acne. They will appear as a cluster of acne bumps underneath the chin. Feline acne can get inflamed and cause swelling, which is very uncomfortable for your cat.


The exact cause of cat acne is unknown. Several feline experts believe poor diet and stress are significant factors. Cats that use plastic food and water dishes may be more prone to acne because bacteria can accumulate on the bowls, leading to more bacteria on your cat's chin.


If your cat has chin scabs, try switching out their plastic bowls for glass, porcelain or stainless steel.


Stress Scabs

When a cat gets stressed, they may over-groom themselves. When a cat grooms excessively, they can develop scabs and lesions on different parts of their body. Here are some other common symptoms of stress in felines:


  • Failure to use the litter box
  • Lack of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive Grooming
  • Withdrawal or hiding
  • Trembling
  • Lethargy
  • Scratching inappropriate items like wood or furniture
  • Clinging more than usual


Non-Seasonal Scabs

Allergies or dermatitis are usually associated with non-seasonal cat scabs. Several factors in your cat's environment can cause these scabs or allergies. Shampoo, plants, medication, and soap are all possible allergy triggers. Look out for itching and scratching as other known indicators. Consider using hypoallergenic shampoos and items to reduce the possibility of an allergic reaction.


Other common non-seasonal allergy symptoms include:


  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Stuffy nose
  • Coughing
  • Phlegm or mucus in the throat


Scabs Near the Back and Neck

These scabs range from 3mm to more than 1cm. Back and neck scabs may indicate hypersensitivity to flea bites, especially if they are prominent around the tail area. These are also the most common types of scabs in cats.


Cats with fleas can develop allergic reactions to flea saliva in a particular area. These scabs are incredibly itchy and uncomfortable. Your poor cat may even scratch themselves till they bleed, leading to an infection.


Other common flea symptoms in cats can include:

  • Aggressive or frantic scratching and biting
  • Excessive grooming
  • Shaking their head often
  • Hair Loss
  • Restlessness
  • Avoiding certain areas of your home


Scabs Close to Their Head and Ears

Scabs around the head and ears are a common indicator of food allergies. Cats can randomly develop allergies, just like humans and dogs with food allergies.


Here are some other common symptoms of food allergies in cats:


  • Vomiting
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Flatulence
  • Loss of Fur
  • Excessive scratching


Dust mites or a weakened immune system can cause your cat to develop allergies. If you're unsure whether your cat has an allergy, the best move is to take them to the vet. Your vet can perform an allergy test and rule out other causes.



gray cat scratching



Home Remedies for Cat Scabs

Scab treatment depends on the cause of the condition. Before you jump in and apply every home remedy for cat on Google, you must discover why your cat has scabs in the first place.


Using home remedies for cat scabs might not always do the trick. Take your cat to the vet if you notice that the problem worsens or stays persistent over time.  


Although, if you have determined why your cat has developed scabs, then treating the problem becomes easier. Since we already discussed the most common reasons cats get scabs, here are some quick and easy home remedies that you can try.


Scabs Caused by Acne

Fortunately, acne scabs are some of the easiest to treat. They tend to clear up fairly quickly after using antibacterial soap like chlorhexidine. Just be sure to monitor the skin after washing - if it's too dry, irritation will persist.


Some people may suggest benzoyl peroxide ointments for feline acne, but these are often too harsh for your cat's skin. If you want to use benzoyl peroxide, you should contact your vet first to ensure it's an appropriate treatment for your cat.


Scabs Caused by Stress

To help your cat reduce their stress levels, make sure they are getting enough exercise and playtime. Physical activity is crucial for cats to release energy. Pent-up energy can quickly turn into stress or anxiety, so finding time as well as various ways to play with your cat and keep them active is crucial for stress reduction.



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Scabs Caused by Allergies

These scabs can be tricky to pinpoint since it’s caused by one of many reasons. Begin by switching out any shampoos, soaps, fabric softeners, or laundry detergents they come in contact with. Opt for hypoallergenic options instead.


Meanwhile, you can use an oatmeal bath to soothe their itchy and dry skin. Keeping their scabs moisturized will help reduce their irritation.


Scabs Caused by Fleas

Flea prevention methods are the first line of defense against these scabs. Flea collars and homemade flea powders are your best friend.


You can make a homemade flea powder by mixing one part baking soda and one part salt. Sprinkle this on your carpets or other areas your cat frequents. The mixture dries out larvae and eggs, significantly reducing the number of fleas in your cat's domain.


It’s known fleas dislike the smell of cedar chips. So, scatter cedar chips in plants you keep inside, around their play and sleep areas, and in your backyard.


Scabs Caused by Diet

If you are using new cat food, that might be the problem. However, if you’ve also been using the same cat food for a few years, it’s possible your cat developed an allergic reaction to it.


Try switching your cat’s food to a nutrient-rich, organic cat kibble. If you’re unsure whether your cat has a food allergy, talking to your vet is the best way to find out.


Home Remedies for All Cat Scabs (General)

Cat scabs cause itchiness, scratching, over-grooming, inflammation, and skin irritation in cats. A general home remedy for miliary dermatitis soothes and moisturizes your cat’s skin. You can do this by buying natural products or making treatments at home.

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Dry Oatmeal Shampoo

Dry oatmeal shampoo is an excellent choice for cats with skin issues (who also don’t like to get wet). Oats have soothing properties that may ease some of your cat's itchiness and redness. You can make your own formula by following these directions:


  • Bake some oatmeal in the oven at a very low temperature (around 250 degrees). Make sure you add the suggested amount of water then bake for around five minutes or until the oats are done.
  • While you wait, brush your cat thoroughly, preferably somewhere outside.
  • Once the oats are done allow them to have cool before massaging them deeply around the affected areas. Let it sit for five minutes, then brush it out or wipe it off thoroughly.


Coconut Oil

Sometimes, all you need to do is look in your pantry for your cat’s remedy! Coconut oil is high in fats that can help nourish and protect your kitty’s skin. All you need to do is massage some virgin coconut oil into your cat’s irritated areas to provide them with some relief.


A Word of Caution

If home remedies don't do the trick, you need to bring your cat to a vet for complete diagnosis and care. Treatment from a veterinarian can include anti-inflammatory medications, special shampoos, parasite control medication, and antibiotics for any co-occurring infection.



Can You Prevent Cat Scabs?

You can prevent cat scabs if you stay on top of your cat’s environment, behavior, and overall health. Still, scabs can pop up at random times and in random places. The best method of prevention varies for each cat, as there are many causes of scabs. Here are some steps you can take to make sure your cat doesn't suffer any skin issues:


  • Add Omega-3 fats to their diet
  • Ensure your cat's environment is flea-free
  • Switch their diet to exclude any allergens
  • Use metal, glass, or porcelain food and water dishes
  • Make sure they play and exercise normally


Watch out for any excessive licking, grooming, scratching, itchiness, and other skin problems like lesions, fur loss, and dry skin. If you notice any of these signs or symptoms, it’s best to act immediately to prevent your cat’s scabs from getting worse.



orange cat scratching a scab



Final Thoughts - Home Remedies for Cat Scabs

Cat scabs occur for various reasons. Allergies, diet, and stress are all likely culprits in your cat's skin issues. It can be difficult to notice that your cat has a scab or underlying problem, but the most important thing is to note any changes right away. Doing this can help you treat your cat accordingly and promptly.

If you can’t pinpoint or remedy the problem yourself, take your cat to the vet immediately! The faster they get treatment, the quicker they will get better.

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