How do cats get mange?

Mange is a highly contagious skin disease that is more common in dogs than in cats. This skin disorder is caused by several types of mites. These mites would cause the cat immense itching. Incessant scratching will result to raw oozing skin and the formation of bald spots. Some of these mange causing mites can be transferred by an infected cat to another. The skin disease would spread rapidly given the cats’ inclination to groom each other. Some types of mites already live on the skin of the cat without bothering the pet until some conditions like poor nutrition, stress and aging would cause localized infection. Cats have the inclination to wander…grasslands are havens for these furry pets. Unfortunately, parasites can be picked up when the cat chases imaginary and real prey. The different forms of mange that a cat can get are Demodectic mange, Cheyletiella Mange, Sarcoptic Mange and Notoedric mange. The trombiculid mite, commonly known as chiggers is another mange causing mite.

Demodectic Mange

This non-contagious skin disease is not very common in cats. An infected cat would not pass the skin disorder to another as the demodex mites that can cause the problem are considered as normal residents of the cat’s skin. In small colony of these mites that would cause benign mange would not really have an unwanted effect on the cat. The mange would appear as a small patch of bald skin. However, this benign mange can become inflamed and infected in aging cats. The affected skin will become itchy and start to be a problem in cats that are immune suppressed. Poor nutrition and stress are other conditions that would cause the mange to flare up so that the bald spots of skin would have infected crusty sores.

Cheyletiella Mange
This type of mange that is also called walking dandruff. If the infected cat is closely examined, an unusual amount of dandruff would be seen on that cat’s body particularly on the neck, back and sides. This mange is caused by large red mites known as Cheyletiella mites. This highly contagious skin disorder is zoonotic. A cat can get the infection from other cats and also from humans. An infected pet can spread the mange to other cats and other animals and also to the humans it comes in contact with. Because the mites can live without a host for a few days and the eggs can exist in the environment, the risk of re-infection is high. Poor nutrition and unsanitary living conditions would aggravate the infestation.

Sarcoptic Mange

Although quite rare in felines, sarcoptic mange can still be contacted by a pet cat. This highly contagious disease is caused by a microscopic parasite called Sarcoptes scabeie. Scabies is more common in dogs. In the same household the cats can get the mites from living with an infected dog. Cats and dogs are known to be mortal enemies but it is not uncommon for these animals that live in the same household to interact with one another. The causative mite would burrow into the skin of the cat to deposit eggs. This would cause immense itching. The scratching would result to raw bleeding skin that can get infected. An infected cat would have small red bumps and hairless patches all over the body.

Notoedric Mange

Notoedric Mange is also known as head mange. As the name suggests this skin disorder is caused by the head mite. Cats would get this type of mange from an infected animal. The incessant scratching would result to bald spots and thick wrinkled skin.


These are parasitic larval form of the trombiculid mites. Infestation would commonly occur during summer and fall as the cats would pick up these parasites from grasslands. The parasite would feed on the skin of the cat resulting to raw skin and draining sores.