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Common Skin Problems in Cats: Causes, Signs, and Care

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Chances are, your kitty’s got a pretty extensive self-care routine. After all, cats are so good at keeping themselves clean that you rarely—if ever—need to worry about giving your feline friend a bath

That said, as a pet owner, it’s still important to keep an eye out for any changes to your cat’s skin, coat, and grooming routine. In fact, the conditions of your cat’s skin and coat can tell you a lot about her overall health. 

Read on to learn more about common cat skin problems, including signs to look out for and how to address them.

Common Cat Skin Problems

There are several types of skin conditions that can affect your kitty, many of which have overlapping features. That said, some of the most common skin problems in cats include: 

Hair Loss

As with most furry friends, shedding is a natural part of life. If your cat sheds more than usual in the spring and fall, she may be a perfectly healthy seasonal shedder. However, if that excessive shedding is resulting in bald patches or a noticeably thin coat, you may have a more serious problem on your hands. 

Perhaps your kitty is overgrooming as a result of stress or anxiety; perhaps her hair loss is due to a nutritional deficiency or hormone imbalance; it could even be a sign of another health condition altogether. 


No one wants to deal with pesky bug bites—including your cat. Fleas, ticks, mange, mites, and more can all lead to uncomfortable itching, not to mention potential allergic reactions or even more serious health concerns.

Be sure to stay up-to-date with your cat’s flea and tick defense. If you notice any signs of fleas or mites in your home, get ready to do some deep cleaning throughout your home! 


If your kitty is unusually itchy or agitated, she may be struggling with seasonal allergies, environmental allergies, or food allergies.

Pets, like humans, can be allergic to various household items such as perfumes, cleaning products, and chemicals. Your kitty could also be allergic to dust, grass, or pollen. If she’s mainly itching on her back, head, and neck, she may be allergic to her food.   

Talk to your vet to determine the culprit of your kitty’s allergies. If possible, remove the allergen. Otherwise, your vet can suggest some ways to make your cat more comfortable. 

Feline Acne

Did you know that cats can get acne? You may notice it in the form of blackheads on your kitty’s chin and right under her lips. Your kitty may try to get some relief by running her face along the carpet or her favorite scratching post. 

While the exact cause is unknown, feline acne is often triggered by allergies and bacteria. 

Dry Skin

If your cat has dry skin, she’ll likely feel a bit itchier than usual—not to mention all that dandruff and flaking. 

Dry skin can be caused by a few different factors: low humidity environments, nutritional deficiencies, dehydration, and hormonal imbalances, for example. 

Cuts & Scrapes

Whether she’s roughhousing with a playmate or getting into a tussle with another animal, those cat claws can do some significant damage. Plus, if not cleaned properly, bacteria could get into that open wound and lead to infection. 

Lumps & Bumps

Calluses, warts, cysts, tumors, growths… there are a variety of reasons for abnormal lumps and bumps on your cat’s skin. Some of these bumps are completely harmless. Others, on the other hand, can be the sign of something very serious. 

You won’t be able to tell just from looking whether your cat’s new lump is benign or not—your vet will need to conduct an analysis. 

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of cat skin problems and their causes. For a proper diagnosis and care plan, schedule a visit with your vet.  

Signs of Skin Problems in Cats

Cats instinctively hide any signs of discomfort, but a careful eye can reveal subtle changes in your kitty’s appearance and behavior. 

Common signs of cat skin problems include: 

  • Itching
  • Excessive grooming
  • Hair loss
  • Matted fur
  • Redness
  • Dry skin
  • Dull coat
  • Scabbing
  • Lumps and bumps
  • Noticeable odor 
  • Behavioral changes such as clinginess or self-isolating

You know your cat best. Anytime you notice changes in her appearance of behavior, it’s a good idea to visit the vet for a proper diagnosis and individualized care plan. 

Caring for Your Cat’s Skin

How you address your cat’s skin problems depends on the root cause. For example, stress-related over grooming isn’t going to be resolved with a fancy new diet

Skin problems can exist on their own, or they can be a sign of another problem. Your vet may prescribe topical or oral medications to address a specific skin problem, or they may find that they need to address another health condition altogether. 

The best way to promote healthy skin is to keep your cat healthy, inside and out. For example: 

  • Maintain an enriching, low-stress lifestyle. Make sure your cat always has a safe space to escape to when she’s feeling overwhelmed.

  • Assist your cat with grooming from time to time. Not only will she love being pampered with a brush, but it’s also a good opportunity to inspect the skin and coat (and bond with your furry friend).

  • Keep up with flea and tick protection.

  • Feed your cat a high-quality diet with plenty of meat-based protein and omega-3s.

  • Give your cat vet-approved supplements to support her skin and coat health. 

Pet Honesty’s Wellness Cat Pack is an easy, vet-recommended way to support your cat’s health. This pack includes Digestive Probiotics+ Powder for Cats and Lysine-Immune Health+ Powder for Cats—two tasty meal-topping powders made with natural ingredients to promote healthy digestion, immune system, nutrient absorption, and more!