Cat Mange (Feline Scabies)
Cheyletiella Mange (Walking Dandruff)
This type of mange is caused by a large reddish mite that lives on the skin
and causes mild itching with a tremendous amount of dry, scaly material that
looks like dandruff. The dandruff is heaviest over the back, neck, and sides.
These mites often come in on contaminated bedding such as straw or old
newspapers that have been stored in outdoor sheds. This type of mange is not
common in cats.
The life cycle of the Cheyletiella mite is similar to that of the head mange
mite. The entire life cycle takes four to five weeks. The diagnosis is
confirmed by finding the mite in skin scrapings collected on paper and examined
under a magnifying glass.
Walking dandruff is highly contagious. Humans can easily become infested.
The signs are itching and the appearance of red, raised bumps on the skin. They look much like insect bites,
which, in fact, they are. The Cheyletiella mite cannot live off the cat for
more than two weeks. The owner’s rash should improve as the cat is treated.
Treatment: All cats and dogs on the premises should be treated with a lime
sulfur insecticide dip or a shampoo containing a pyrethrin insecticide.
Continue to treat for two weeks beyond apparent cure. An alternative treatment
This noncontagious form of mange is common in dogs, but fortunately, it is
rare in cats. The demodex mite is a normal resident of the cat’s skin and
seldom causes more than mild, localized infection. The exception is in
immune-suppressed cats suffering from FeLV, diabetes mellitus, chronic respiratory
cancer, or the immune-depressant effects of chemotherapy or excessive
The moth-eaten look of hair loss around the eyes is characteristic of
localized demodectic mange.
These mites occur frequently in dogs and produce a disease called sarcoptic
mange. Fortunately, they are rarely seen in cats. Their effect and treatment is
similar to that of head mange. Skin scrapings are used to make the diagnosis.
If no mites are found on multiple skin scrapes but other diagnoses have been
eliminated, your veterinarian may recommend treatment anyway.