Your cat's skin and coat are indicators of your pet's overall health and physical condition. Scabby-looking skin is symptomatic of a problem. You will need to find out what is causing your cat's scabby skin to provide proper treatment.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, quite a few conditions can give your cat's skin an irritated, reddened, itchy or scabby appearance. These conditions include but are not limited to ringworm, fleas, lice, mange, ear mites, food or seasonal allergies, allergic reaction to grooming products, something in the environment, changes in the season, bacterial infection, yeast infection, tumors and even stress.
Take Your Cat to the Veterinarian
As mentioned above, a number of different conditions can give your cat's skin a scabby appearance. Some of those conditions, such as allergies, are only likely to affect your one cat. Other conditions, such as fleas, fungus and mange, can spread through your household. Your veterinarian will visually inspect your cat, closely examining the areas of affected skin. He may choose to perform a skin scraping, biopsy and/or examine your cat's hair and skin cells under his microscope (reference 1). Your veterinarian will do this in order to determine exactly what your cat's skin problems are being caused by. In some cases, he may also perform parasite testing and allergy testing on your pet (reference 1). After your veterinarian has given you a final diagnosis, he will prescribe a treatment that he feels will best cure your cat's specific condition.
Your vet can prescribe an assortment of treatments for your cat, depending on what he has determined is causing the scabby skin. Topical ointments, shampoos, dips and sprays are useful in treating parasite infestations (reference 1). Antibiotics can treat infections. Antifungal medications will be used for fungal conditions such as ringworm (reference 1). If your cat is suffering from extreme itching, your veterinarian may also choose to prescribe corticosteroids and antihistamines (reference 1). If your veterinarian believes the skin condition could be caused by dietary problems, he may recommend changing your cat's food and diet. Remember that you should follow your veterinarian's official diagnosis and treatment plan for your cat. You do not want to attempt to treat your cat's condition on your own because misdiagnosis could lead to real problems if the real condition is going untreated.
Note, because cats groom themselves, your veterinarian will likely only prescribe medications that will be safe if they are accidentally consumed.
Preventing Future Problems
Some cats are prone to skin problems but there are things you can do for your pet in order to reduce the risk of the skin conditions reoccurring. The ASPCA recommends using hypoallergenic shampoos and soaps on your cat, grooming him regularly, feeding a natural, healthy diet and using veterinarian recommended good quality flea-preventative products (reference 1). If your cat has a predisposition to problems or if he believes the condition is likely to reoccur, your vet may choose to give you preventative skin creams or oral medications to be given long term.