Can cats get the mange and what are the symptoms?

I have 3 cats they are all fixed and get their shots regularly and they seem healthy. However, there is a cat that one of my neighbors moved off and left that I feed. The neighbors that left it come and put food out for it every once in awhile but they are elderly and they don’t ever put enough food out for it. It gets in fights all the time with other neighborhood cats and my grandfather said it looked like it had the mange. I don’t want my cats to get it too. I don’t know what to do. I can barely afford to take my own cats to the vet. I hate to call animal control because the neighbors still own the cat, but I will if It comes down to it. What are the symptoms of mange and can cats get it?

Mange is an infestation of mites. While it is more commonly seen in dogs, cats can: and indeed do get mange.

Basically there are two different types of mange: Sarcoptic mange caused by sarcoptic mites and Demodectic mange caused by demodex mites.

Symptoms include:

Patches of hairloss on the skin, redness, swelling and overall irritation. Demodectic mange is usually found in the facial and ear areas of the animal, while Sarcoptic can be found anywhere in the body.

Another fungal infection that could be causing problems is ringworm. It typically exhibits the same kinds of symptoms although not throughout the body.

Sarcoptic mange is also very contagious between animals and ringworm can be transferred to humans.

If the animal does have mange:

By not-treating the problem the owner is actually comitting an act of animal cruelty through neglect.

However; the SPCA is also aware that elderly people have a really hard time getting around in some cases and won’t always prosecute.

If you decide to call, ask if you can bring the cat in yourself and if they would be willing to treat the animal and return it to the old lady.

You may also want to talk to her personally before filing. She may be medically incapable of taking this animal to a vet, and you could offer to help take it to the veterinarian for her.

Hope this helps!


I should also state that the diagnosis of mange/ringworm is done through a skin scraping analysis. Basically a veterinarian will scrape off a tiny portion under the skin and check for the mites/bacteria under a microscope.

Generally demodex mites are long/narrow looking microscopically, while sarcoptic mites are rounder and more oval shaped.

After the skin scraping analysis is done, the veterinarian will check to see how bad the infestation is, what part of the life-cycle the mites are under and perscribe to have oral/antibiotic drops and toppical dips to solve the problem.

They will also probably want the animal back in for a post-eval. just to be sure that the infestation is indeed gone.