Staph Infection in Cats: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Understanding Staph Infections in Cats

Staph Infection in Cats: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Staph infections can affect a variety of species, including people and cats. In this article, we explain this condition further.

Cats are one of the many animals, including people, that can contract staph infections. Cats' skin naturally contains staphylococcus bacteria, but when the skin is damaged, or the immune system is compromised, these germs cause infections. Skin infections, lung infections, and urinary tract infections can occur in cats with staph infections.

In addition to discussing the origins, signs, prognosis, and treatments for staph infections in cats, this article will also offer preventative advice.

Types of Staph Infections In Cats

Staph infections in cats can be classified into two main types based on the depth of the infection:

  1. Superficial staph infections: These infections affect the outermost layer of the skin and are also known as pyoderma. Cats are more likely to have superficial staph infections, which can result in symptoms including skin crusting, hair loss, itching, and redness. It can be a staph infection in the eye or a lip staph infection.

  2. Deep staph infections: If left untreated, these more serious infections, which involve the subcutaneous tissue and deeper layers of the skin, can be fatal. Deep staph infections can manifest as abscesses, sores that are draining, and severe hair loss. They are less frequent in cats and typically develop as a side effect of a minor infection or as a result of an underlying illness that compromises the cat's immune system.

Staphylococcus germs can also cause infections of the ears, respiratory system, and urinary tract in cats, in addition to skin diseases. These infections can result in a wide range of symptoms and need a particular diagnosis and course of action.

What Causes Staph Infections?

The Staphylococcus bacteria, which are frequently found on both human and animal skin and mucous membranes, are what cause staph infections in cats. These bacteria often do no harm to healthy cats and are controlled by the immune system. However, the bacteria can multiply and lead to an infection if the skin is damaged or the immune system is compromised.

Allergies, underlying medical disorders that inhibit the immune system, poor diet, stress, and poor cleanliness are some typical causes of staph infections in cats. Other reasons include wounds or traumas that penetrate the skin. Staph infections are more likely to occur in cats who live in crowded or unclean environments. Furthermore, particular breeds of cats, such as Persian cats, may be more prone to skin infections owing to their long hair and skin folds, which can trap germs and moisture.

However, not all feline staph infections are brought on by staphylococcus bacteria. Cats may also develop skin infections from other kinds of bacteria or fungus, which may call for a different course of treatment. A veterinarian can conduct tests to identify the precise source of the infection and create a suitable treatment strategy.

Symptoms of Staph Infections in Cats

Depending on where and how severe the illness is, different cats may exhibit different signs of a staph infection. Typical staph infection symptoms in cats include the following:

  • Skin infections: This is the most prevalent type of staph infection in cats. Symptoms may include redness, swelling, itching, hair loss, scabs, and crusty sores on the skin.

  • Urinary tract infections: Signs and symptoms may include frequent urination, difficulty urinating, blood in the urine, and urinating outside of the litter box.

  • Infections of the respiratory system: Coughing, sneezing, breathing problems, and nasal discharge are possible symptoms.

  • Fever: Cats with a staph infection may have a fever, which is a sign that their immune system is fighting the infection.

  • Lethargy: Staph-infected cats may exhibit signs of fatigue, weakness, and decreased activity.

  • Appetite loss: Cats with a staph infection may become lethargic and avoid eating.

  • Pain: Staph infections in cats can cause pain or discomfort, especially if they occur in sensitive areas.


To diagnose a staph infection in cats, a veterinarian will typically perform a physical exam and obtain a thorough medical history from the cat's owner. The vet may also perform the following tests:

  • Bacterial culture: The veterinarian could take a sample from the infected skin, urine, or other bodily fluid and send it to a lab for analysis. The bacteria will be grown in the lab in order to pinpoint the precise strain causing the infection.

  • Blood tests: To assess the cat's general health and look for indications of infection or inflammation, the veterinarian may do a complete blood count (CBC) and blood chemistry panel.

  • Skin scrapings: If the infection is suspected to be a fungal infection, the vet may take skin scrapings to examine under a microscope.

  • Imaging tests: If the infection is suspected of having spread to other areas of the body, the vet may perform imaging tests, such as X-rays or ultrasounds, to evaluate the extent of the infection.

Treatment and Recovery

The therapy for staph infections in cats is determined by the location and severity of the illness, as well as the cat's general health. Among the most prevalent treatment options are:

  • Antibiotics: Injectable or oral antibiotics may be prescribed to eliminate the bacteria causing the infection. Even if the cat's symptoms become better, it's crucial to take the antibiotics as directed in order to avoid the emergence of antibiotic resistance.

  • Topical treatments: If the infection is limited to a specific area of the skin, topical ointments or creams may be applied to promote healing and reduce inflammation.

  • Supportive care: Cats with staph infections may require supportive care, such as fluid therapy or pain management, to manage symptoms and aid the healing process.

A cat's recovery from a staph infection will take a certain amount of time, depending on the infection's severity and the cat's overall condition. With prompt and sufficient care, the majority of cats will make a full recovery in a few weeks. However, in severe cases, recovery may take longer and may require ongoing monitoring and care.

Prevention Tips

Preventing staph infections in cats involves taking steps to reduce the risk of infection. Here are some strategies for preventing staph infections in cats:

  • Maintain good hygiene: Regular grooming and cleaning your cat's bedding can help prevent skin infections. This includes washing bedding and toys regularly and using a pet-safe disinfectant to clean surfaces.

  • Address underlying health conditions: Working closely with your veterinarian will help you manage your cat's condition and lower the chance of infection if it has an underlying medical issue that could compromise its immune systems, such as allergies or diabetes.

  • Promote good nutrition: Feeding your cat a well-balanced, high-quality diet can help support their immune system and overall health.

  • Stay away from crowding: Keeping cats in crowded or unclean environments might raise the risk of illness. Give your cat enough room, and make sure the litter boxes are cleaned frequently.

  • Address wounds or injuries right away: If your cat has a wound or injury, it's crucial to properly clean the area and keep an eye out for infection symptoms.

  • Regular veterinary examinations: Frequent veterinarian exams can aid in the early detection of underlying medical issues and stop the development or spread of illnesses.

By following these instructions, you can lessen the possibility that your cat will get staph infections and improve its general health and well-being.

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