How to Treat Cat Scabies

by Claudia Jackson
(Baldwin Par, Ca.)

Reader Question: How to treat feral cat scabies?

We have feral cats at our church. A strange cat who was diseased (looked like your pictures of scabies) started coming around but we haven't seen it for several weeks - it looks like the condition was passed to two other cats. A couple of the cats are friendly enough to pet. The tamest & oldest one,about 15yrs, "Mama Cat", has a bad case of scabies. I thought at first she had gotten into a cat fight, but her condition has worsened badly. There is one other cat "Red" that appears to have the beginnings of it on his face (he runs if we get near him).

We "might" be able to give Mama Cat a dip. The person who trapped the cats for us for neutering is no longer around to help.

What is your best recommendation to help them?

Vet Suggestion for Cat Scabies Treatment

Hi Claudia,

Notoedres cati, the mite that causes “scabies” in cats is quite common in feral colonies so that could certainly be what is going on with the cats who are living around your church. My favorite treatment for scabies in cats is Revolution applied to the skin once every two weeks for three treatments.

I don’t know how feasible it would be for you to catch these cats three times to complete the treatment, however. Lime-sulfur dips can be very effective too, but they would need to be performed one weekly for five to six weeks. Off label use of a parasiticide called Dectomax that is most commonly used in cattle has been shown to be effective in one dose for treating cats with scabies, but I don’t have any personal experience with its use.

Do you have any organizations in your area that work with feral cat colonies? Partnering with one of these groups would be the best way to make sure that all of these cats get the diagnosis and care that they need.

Best of luck,

Jennifer Coates, DVM

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