Dermatitis and Skin Issues in Cats

Did you know the skin is the largest and one of the most vital organs of a cat's body? 

Protecting against diseases and even secondary infections, a cat's skin barrier needs to be supported to help maintain its health. If dermatitis is present, it means the natural skin barrier has been weakened and cats may be at risk of external threats.

Black and white cat lying down on front

How Does Dermatitis Occur? 

Dermatitis is a condition that develops when the skin of a cat becomes irritated by an external factor. The majority of dermatitis issues occur when a cat's immune system becomes weakened and reacts to these external factors. External factors that can have this effect include ingredients in your cat's diet, grass, dust, bacteria, parasites and fungus. 

Regardless of the cause of the reaction, dermatitis signs in cats are very similar and can include redness, hair loss and excessive scratching. For more information on the specific signs of dermatitis in cats, select the relevant page below.

Illustration of cat walking towards food

Food Allergies in Cats

Food allergies and food sensitivities in cats can suddenly develop at any point. However, if you notice any of the signs mentioned above, or anything else unusual, speak to your veterinarian straight away. 

Learn more about identifying the signs of a food allergy and the management options your veterinarian may recommend if a diagnosis is confirmed.


Food allergies in cats

Environmental Allergies in Cats

Environmental allergies, also known as atopic allergies, are caused by allergens in a cat's natural environment, both indoor and outdoor. Natural allergens, such as pollen, grass and dust can sometimes break through a cat's skin barrier, leading to a response from the immune system. As a result, dermatitis issues, such as inflammation, can arise on a cat's body.

Find out how you can support your cat if they are suffering from an environmental allergy.


Environmental Allergies in cats
Illustration of a cat walking past a building
Illustration of a cat scratching with fleas

External Parasites and Parasitic Allergies in Cats

External parasites can also lead to dermatitis issues in cats, especially if your cat has an allergic reaction to a parasite. External parasites including fleas, ticks, lice and mange (mites) can all affect cats. External parasites can be transferred to your cat via other infected animals or close contact with contaminated objects.

Read about dermatitis and external parasites, the common signs and management options your veterinarian may recommend. 


External parasites and cats

Bacterial and Fungal Infections in Cats

Dermatitis can also arise from bacterial and fungal infections in cats. Bacterial and fungal skin infections can include ringworm and chin acne. Such conditions are the result of a compromised immune system or altered skin barrier, allowing bacterial or fungal infections to develop and result in signs of dermatitis.

Learn more about how bacterial and fungal infections can lead to dermatitis in cats. 


Bacterial and fungal infections in cats
Illustration of a female vet receptionist
Illustration of cat in a kitchen with a highlighted stomach

Where To Look for Dermatitis Issues on Your Cat?

Dermatitis issues in cats can appear in multiple places on the body at any one time. The most common areas to look for signs include the coat, eyes, ears and paws. If you notice any symptoms of dermatitis, remember to check the rest of the body and always speak to a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment advice.

For more information, check out this section highlighting the key areas dermatitis can appear on a cat's body. 


Areas where dermatitis can affect cats