What do we specially like about cats? Perhaps the way a cat carries itself, imperious yet sweet. Perhaps we admire the fact that cats always land on its feet. Or perhaps we just love to stroke that soft downy coat that comes in interesting colors and patches. But tiny mites could easily take away that lovely coat.
These mites are scientifically named Notoedres cati. They are similar to the sarcoptic mange mites of dogs. And they can cause Notoedric mange, which is also known as feline scabies.
It usually begins with itchy crusts and scales found at the margin of the cat’s ears. This would eventually cover the whole face, and if ignored, would spread throughout the cat’s poor body. The cat would feel intense itching and the skin would be infected.
If one of the house cats is discovered to have notoedric mange, the owner may assume that all other cats, and dogs, rabbits, and other pets may be infected by this skin disease. Children should refrain from touching their pets with scabies because the mites could infect humans, too.
To treat feline scabies, there are three known methods to choose from. One is called dipping. It is actually a lime sulfur bath or an Amitraz dip. The cat is dipped in the solution. To completely control the infection, the dipping might be done six to seven times. Unfortunately, many cats have a dislike to taking baths. After one dip, the pet owner might have great difficulty convincing the cat to take the next dip. The owner might have to give way to your cat’s hygiene preferences and choose one of the other two treatments.
Ivermectin is the most popular for treating not only cat scabies, but dog scabies as well. It is popular because results are amazingly immediate. This is usually given as an injection and administered weekly or every two weeks within one month.
The cat would immediately recover, the hair grows back and the crust and scales disappear. But ivermectin does not provide protection if the cat is exposed again to the mites. This is why all the other cats in house must be examined by the veterinarian. If the suspected source of the notoedric mites is one of the outdoor cats perhaps, the owner should consider keeping the cat confined indoors. This would prove to be a challenge since cats don’t live just to please the master. The third medication might be the best solution.
Selacmectin is a relatively new medication for cat scabies. It could also be used to control flea, heartworm, and intestinal parasites. It is applied topically and could prevent future infections if administered once a month. With this, the pet cat would have the freedom to roam and need not worry again about hair loss.