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How to Treat Mange in Feral Cats: 4 Tips and Tricks

While feral cats are used to being on their own and fending for themselves, they are susceptible to the same medical issues, perhaps more, than domesticated felines.

Mange is a skin condition that is more common in shelters and feral cat colonies. Unfortunately, treating mange in feral cats isn’t nearly as easy as it is to treat it in domestic cats because they must be treated properly and bathed. The best way to treat mange in a feral cat is by participating in a catch, treat, and release program. Treating mange in feral cats is challenging, you’ll need assistance from rescue organizations and your veterinarian. We’ll give you a few tips on how you can help in the guide below.

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The 4 Tips to Treat Mange in Feral Cats

1. Isolate the Affected Cat

Once you know that the feral cat has mange, you must isolate the affected cat from the rest of the colony. However, this is difficult to accomplish alone, and it’s better to volunteer with a cat rescue willing to help feral cats.

First, here are the signs that a cat has mange:
  • Intense itching
  • Hair loss, sores, and infection
  • Weakness
  • Fever
  • Weight loss

While it may be hard to see these signs in a feral cat, it’s vital that you treat the mange right away, as it will spread to the rest of the colony and any domestic pets you have in the area. Mange can also lead to the cat’s death if left untreated for too long.

Isolating the cat will help to prevent the spread of mange. Make sure that you’re careful when trying to catch a feral cat since they can be dangerous when cornered, especially if they feel they are in danger.

tired sick cat lying on bed
Image Credit: Natata, Shutterstock
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2. Use Medicated Shampoo

Once you have the feral cat isolated from the rest of the colony, you must give it a bath using medicated shampoo. You can contact your veterinarian for shampoo recommendations. The shampoo needs to be left on the cat for at least 10 minutes to be effective. This isn’t going to be easy to do with a feral cat. However, as with any cat, you can wear long sleeves, long pants, and gloves to avoid being bitten or scratched. Depending on the cat’s temperament, you may need a few people to assist with the process.

Try to keep the feral cat calm by talking softly and avoiding sudden movements.

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3. Treat with Topical Medication/Prescription

Once the cat is bathed and dried, it must be examined by a veterinarian to ensure it receives the correct drugs and topical medication. One product cannot treat the various types of mange, but your vet can select the ideal medication after a thorough checkup.

cat with mange
Image Credit: Monica R., Flickr
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4. Consult a Vet

If the cat’s mange doesn’t begin to clear up, you’ll need to take the cat to the vet once again so that they can check to see if there’s an underlying problem causing the mange. In most cases, mange is caused by different species of mites, including the following:

  • Ear mites
  • Feline scabies
  • Fur mites
  • Chiggers

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Feral cats are more vulnerable to contracting mange than domestic felines. However, it’s harder to spot, catch, and treat a feral cat, as they don’t like humans and are used to being on their own. If left untreated, the mange can spread to other feral cats and your pets.

Our tips can help you to treat feral cats with mange, but it’s best to contact your vet for the proper diagnosis, the cause of the mange, and the right treatment option for the cat. Treating the condition without assistance is risky, impractical, and may violate local laws. However, with the help of professionals, you can ensure that feral cats are treated for mange.

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Featured Image Credit: Casey Elise Christopher, Shutterstock