Ringworm, Baldness and Mange
in Cats & Kittens
is a fungus that infects the skin and hair in cats. Highly contagious, Ringworm leads to patchy, circular areas of hair loss with central red rings. Mange
is a skin condition affecting cats caused by mites.
Ringworm and Cats
I bought a purebred Ragdoll kitten recently. After I integrated
her with my 15-month-old domestic short hair cat, I found out she
had ringworm (isolated on her tail). She also has a horrible
The vet has me treating the ringworm with Nolvasan
solution. The ringworm then spread to my other cat's ears.
The vet then told me to keep using the solution and to use
Miconazole Nitrate 2% cream as well.
Since I have been treating both cats with both treatments I
notice just a couple of little dry, crusty areas on the
kitten's tail. However, my cat's ears look awful! It
started with the ears, but now the skin is peeling and one ear in
particular has a round purple area and again, just looks
Is this the normal progress of ringworm? I know I have to treat
the affected areas for a month (I am at the end of week 1).
I just need to know if it is supposed to look worse before it
gets better and how I can tell when it is getting better. I am
trying to look to see if it has spread and so far see nothing.
Should I be going to the vet regularly to get them re checked or
am I paranoid? Lynn
Dear Lynn -
You ask good questions. The areas of hair loss will get larger
before they begin to get smaller
. Also, remember that
ringworm symptoms include scaling skin and redness in the area.
However, hair loss should stop at 2 weeks of your having started
their treatment. At that point there should be no new areas of
hair loss, and the crusty appearance of the skin should subside
making the skin look normal again. If any of these do not occur
within two weeks, take the little guys to the vet.
As for the purple area, watch out for ear mites if it appears to
be gooky-like substance.
Lastly, I do not think that you would be paranoid if you have
your vet check your little ones every few weeks until the
ringworm goes away. - Simba
Thanks Simba for your response! My adult cat's ears are much
better. Unfortunately my ragdoll kitten is not improving yet, and
in fact, it has spread a little. I did take them to the vet. The
kitten is still being treated with the Nolvosson solution and is
now getting Miconazole baths 2x per week. This is a real pain,
but this little kitten is worth it. Thanks again for responding.
Lynn ---- Thx for the update. Simba
I have a 10-year-old female black domestic short-hair named
Cassie. She is a bit overweight Today, I noticed that at the base
of her tail, on her back, there is a bald patch, about 2 1/2
inches long, 1 inch wide, diamond shaped. There is some flaky
skin (like dandruff) and a few freckle-like blotches. It does not
appear to cause her pain...however, if I pet her back there, she
turns her head toward her rear and licks her nose!
Her eating, sleeping and litter habits appear to be normal, and
my other cat (1-year-old female calico, currently in heat
!) is unaffected.
What do you think? Ginger
The first thing I would want to rule out is ringworm. Ringworm is
a fungal infection that causes patchy hair loss
flaky skin. The only way to determine whether Cassie has ringworm
is to have your vet perform a culture for it. Once a diagnosis
has been made, your vet can begin treatment which consists of
topical baths. Because ringworm can be passed on to people you
may want to isolate Cassie until you can be sure she is in the
Check out the letters below for tips on ridding your your home of ringworm. Another
thing you may look out for are mange since this is another common
cause of skin loss. Your Pal,Simba
Dear Simba, A quick note for Ginger. My cat (when I lived in the
UK) had a similar problem, and the vet advised that sometimes
female cats can get a hormone imbalance which causes just the
sort of problem the lady below describes. He prescribed some
hormone balancing pills and within seven days all was better and
we have not had another problem. Hope this info is helpful to
Ginger. Cheers, Mary.
I am at a loss. I have a 4-year-old cat. I have had her one year
with no problems. She has developed an eye problem...not in her
eyes but on the skin around her eyes. At first it looked like a
cut above both eyes but it was not from a fight because she has
not gone outside. Now the skin around both eyes is very crusty
and she is losing fur.
She was checked for mites
and had a
negative result. They gave her an antibiotic, but it seems to
only have helped a little. The only thing different around the
house was that she made her new sleeping place under an indoor
tree we bought.
Could she have had an allergic reaction? I have two other cats
and they have not developed this problem. It does not seem to be
bothering her it just looks awful. Melissa
It is possible that your cat may have an allergy, although there
are other possible causes. One thing to consider is Ringworm,
which can be similar to many other skin problems, but does come
with scaling or scabbiness, too. Have your cat checked for
Ringworm and test her immune system if possible, since immune disease
is a big cause of skin problems.
Keep me posted. Simba
My little boy kitty has been diagnosed with ringworm...we are now
using an antibacterial wash. We noticed that one of the females
has a patch just like the one the boy has. Is there something we
can also use on our carpets to get rid of the potential flea
problem and this? The kitties have been inside since they were
just hours old and will not be going outside; nor do we allow the
We do have "visiting" outside cats, one of which is a
sister of the momma of the 3 kittens and the "daddy" is
now coming around too. Could he/they have given the kittens the
ringworm just by being on the outside of our screen door?
Good to hear that the kitten is in treatment! As for causes of
infection, yes, the screen door may have been one of the ways
both fleas and ringworm were transmitted. Because Ringworm is
a fungal infection,
it could have been transmitted via the
screen door. This scenario is more plausible when you consider
that the visiting cats may have rubbed against the screen door
and your cats may have responded in kind. It is also possible
that momma was infected prior to her joining you (the ringworm
spores can live for 18 months in cat hair!)
Getting rid of the ringworm contamination will require you to use disinfectants and
anti-fungal cleaning materials to thoroughly clean all areas.
This includes carpets, furniture, bedding, toys, the screen and
even air vents.
Your carpet needs to be vacuumed at least once weekly (discard
the bag after each use). Also, steam-cleaning will not eliminate
fungi unless it is combined with an antifungal disinfectant like
chlorhexidine or chlorine bleach. All heating and cooling vents
should be vacuumed and disinfected. Their toys are likely to be
infected as well. If you do not want to replace all of their
toys, soak them in a bleach solution to remove any fungal
remnants (be sure to rinse off and dry to remove all bleach
before you return these to the cats).
Your cats will need to be treated by the vet. Expect to
experience some frustration and a couple of setbacks because
ringworm is tough to eradicate. Also, be aware that ringworm can
be transmitted to people. Best thing to do is act quickly and
decisively. You might want to check out SynergyLabs Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Antiseptic & Antifungal Spray
As always your vet will offer the best advice on what to use.
Your Pal, Simba
What does Kitten's itching mean?
My 5-month-old kitten has a s habit which seems to be getting
more and more frequent. He licks and/or gnaws at the end of his
tail until it is soaking wet. he is not cleaning it because he
does not lick it like when he is cleaning the rest of his body.
How can we make him stop this? - Kate
It seems like your kitten might responding to either a
strong itch or other type of skin irritation in his tail area.
Ringworm is a skin problem that is common among cats and often
manifests itself at the base of the tail (see below
for information on ringworm).
It is also possible that your kitten has fleas
Your best bet is to have a general vet or a veterinary
dermatologist check him out. It is also possible that your kitten
has a compulsive obsessive disorder that leads him to chew/lick
excessively. This is less likely but is another possibility. Keep
I have a Ragdoll kitten that i have had since January. He is now
4-months-old. About a week after I got him he started itching a
lot, but with no hair loss. Had the vet check him out. He did a
fungi exam that came out negative. At about the same time I
developed mosquito like bites on my skin. I have another cat that
is 14 and he has been itching also. They do not have fleas. What
could this be? Especially given the test results. They do not
have any bald spots. HELP! Max
I would not rule out Fleas
. Veterinary dermatologists have looked at flea allergy in cats and have found that some cats are so good at catching and removing fleas on
their bodies that the critters do not show up during exams
Flea-allergic cats can experience a prolonged outbreak of itching
after only one or two bites. This may have impacted your other
cat as well.
Another possibility is a bacterial infection (pyodorma). Bacterial
infections cause itching and can lead to rashes, sores and other
skin lesions. Your best bet is to go to the vet and have your
kitties checked out for bacterial infections.
You may also ask your vet about flea treatment given that their
absence on the body does not always mean they are not affecting
Be sure also to thoroughly clean all possible affected areas with
an anti-enzyme or anti-bacterial cleaner so as to remove any
organisms that may be affecting your kitties. Keep me posted
Mites and Mange in Kittens
Dear Simba -
I have two cats that are 8-months-old and one of them has mites.
I took him to the vet and they did a scraping and the results
showed that it was mites. Well my dermatologist suggested that I
have him checked out because I started developing small welt like
spots that itched badly.
We have had this problem for about 10 weeks(!). I have
given my cat shots and medicated baths, but I am still breaking
out with these mite bites. It is driving me crazy with all of the
itching. What I can do to get rid of them from my house, from
biting me, and from my cat? That vet said that as soon as he gets
rid of them, then I should, but it has been over 2 months…I
am absolutely miserable. Can you help please?
I suspect that you and your kitty may have sarcoptic mange. The
sarcoptic mange mite is contagious to humans. Because the mites
cannot reproduce/live in human skin they usually die off, they
can come back through re-infection from your kitty. You can
reduce the risk of re-infection if you attack this mite
problem on its fronts, the host and the environment
So what to do? I recommend that you have the cats treated for the
mites and kept in a pen for a couple of days, while you
thoroughly decontaminate your home. Clean (with bleach if
possible) all linen and items that you and your cats come in
contact with. Also, thoroughly vacuum your home with a
anti-parasitic or anti-bacterial strength carpet cleaner. Also,
have your kitties tested for immune system
as these are often underlying causes of mites. Keep
me posted. Simba
My name is Amy. One of our cats gave birth to 3 female kitten
this past may, and lately two out of the three are losing fur.
One is slowly going bald on her hind legs, lower belly, right in
front of her tail, and the lower part of her tail. The other is
developing a "stripe" up her back of baldness, starting
right at the base of her tail. this one seems to have what I
think are scabs where she is going bald. She is also developing a
bald spot on her left shoulder blade. i cant figure out what is
wrong with them. It is only these two cats that are being
affected, and all of my cats have had a recent flea bath. I hope
you can help my and my kitties. Thanks, amy.
Hair loss can be caused by anything from parasites like Fleas
mites or allergies, hormonal problems, phemphigus (immune system related skin
disorder), food allergies, ringworm
,bacterial skin infections and many other diseases.
Because your kittens have had a flea bath, it is quite possible
that they may be suffering from a mange mite infection
Mange symptoms may include itching, scabbiness or crustiness and
loss of fur, among other symptoms. Your best bet is to go to your
vet and get the kitties on a treatment plan. Also, if they have
not already been tested or vaccinated have those procedures
performed because mite infections can at times be associated with
Get well. Simba
Baldness in Cats
Thanks for this wonderful website. I got a 3-year-old neutered
and de-clawed male Tabby in December. He had an upper-respiratory
infection so I took him to the vet, and had a Feline Leukemia
test done. It was negative. The vet noticed the bald patch, which
at that time had a small cut or cuts, and told me to keep an eye
on it for ringworm, but it looked like something from a fight
(new scar). The cut has been healed and now the skin is unbroken,
smooth and healthy. There are no signs of crustiness as with
ringworm or mites. There is no itching, and the cat seems
oblivious to it. She is an indoor cat and I had not noticed
the bald patch until a 1-2 months ago. I do not want to take him
to the vet or do any procedures unless I have to…he hates
medicine and being messed around with. Patty
Dear Patty -
If the skin looks healthy and you have not had prior episodes of
fleas or other parasites in your home you are probably ok.
Cats tend to chew on and lick their wounds
. It is likely
that your Tabby cleaned his cuts very well and removed the
adjoining fur in the process. Continue to keep an eye on it for
any redness, scabbing, and expansion of the baldness among other
signs of skin problems and go to your vet if you notice those
symptoms appearing. Your tabby is probably ok and the hair should
grow back soon enough. Keep me posted. Simba
Sensitive Cat Skin
I took my 2-year-old cat, Halle, to the vet because she is been
Twitching the hair on her back and licking furiously at it. She
then freaks out and runs around the apartment. The vet diagnosed
her with hyper-aesthesia and gave her a shot of Depomedrol. My
question is what can I do to ease Her discomfort in a holistic
way? Also, what is Depomedroland how does it work?, Ellen
As you know, aesthesia, means to the ability to feel or perceive.
It seems as though your vet diagnosed Halle as having sensitive
skin. Depomedrol, is a long acting epidural steroid given to both
people and animals to reduce swelling and inflammation around
nerves. This is helpful for extremely itchy cats. As for what you
can do, your best bet is to treat your cat's skin with a good
diet. See in Alternative Care
good nutritional tips. However, given how difficult these are to
diagnose, I would not rule out other causes, including fleas
Keep me posted. Simba
My new cat has scabs on her skin, on her back where her tail
begins. The skin around the scabs is not red or irritated, nor is
she losing any hair or displaying patchy hair loss. I did feel
her back and the skin under the fur is scabby. I have given her
a bath using a flea shampoo. What could the scabs possibly be
from? I was told they might come from fleas having laid eggs.
I am worried about using too many artificial & chemicals
to treat a skin disorder? Are there any homeopathic or natural
steps that I could take? Are there over-the-counter shampoos that
I can buy? Or would you recommend taking Lily to the vet? I do
not have a lot of money to take her to a vet so I am looking
for other alternatives. Filipina & Lily
Dear Filipina & Lily -
Because I suspect that ringworm or mites may be at play here, I
am inclined to recommend a vet visit. That does not mean there
are no things you can do to help your cat out. Nutrition &
skin care are very closely related and the use of the right
products can strengthen your cat's immune system and skin
health by ensuring the ingestion of the necessary nutrients. The
following may be of help:
You can also obtain these nutrients through special cat foods.
has some prescription foods available that are formulated to help cats with skin problems.
Best of luck. Keep me posted. Simba
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