Common Persian cat skin conditions—how to recognise and treat them
Persians’ long, majestic coats help hide their skin well, but these kitties are prone to various dermatological diseases. Some are mild and easily treatable, while others can be extremely uncomfortable.
Untamed presents common Persian cat skin conditions, describes the symptoms, and explains potential causes. We'll also tackle how diet and proper care can transform your sensitive Persian into a thick-skinned kitty.
The most common Persian cat skin problems
Like all purebreds, Persian cats are prone to specific hereditary diseases, including skin conditions. Learning about your feline’s particular weak spots will help you understand, identify, and effectively treat any health issue.
Skin conditions don’t seem dangerous, but they can be highly complex and challenging to cure, especially if they go unnoticed.
It itches. Take me to the one in the white coat!
The most common skin conditions in Persian cats are:
- Feline idiopathic seborrhea
- Dermatophyte infections
- Feline eosinophilic granuloma complex
Feline idiopathic seborrhea
Idiopathic seborrhea is the most common skin disorder. It causes the skin glands to overproduce a waxy, greasy substance, which accumulates in a cat’s fur, causing an unpleasant odour. The skin usually becomes red and inflamed, leading to scratching and tears.
There are two possible types of seborrhea:
- Seborrhea sicca—The skin becomes dry and flaky
- Seborrhea oleosa—The skin becomes oily and greasy
Felines with inherited seborrhea typically experience the combination of these two types.
The condition usually affects:
- The area around the eyes and ears
- Face, feet, and neck
- Places where the skin folds
- Omega-3 fatty acid supplements
- Antiseborrheic shampoos and topical treatments
- Corticosteroids (e.g. prednisone)
- Oral cyclosporine
- Antibiotics to treat secondary bacterial infections
A dermatophyte infection is caused by one of four common fungi, and Persians are particularly prone to it. The usual culprits are ringworms—fungi that grow on the skin and live on hair follicles.
If left untreated, your Persian’s hair will fall out and leave a huge lesion with a rough, crusty texture in its place. Immunocompromised cats are more likely to get this skin disease, so you need to look after your kitty’s health.
Recommended treatment includes repeatedly rinsing your cat’s body with an enilconazole solution or miconazole with or without chlorhexidine.
Feline eosinophilic granuloma complex
Eosinophilic granuloma complex can take three different forms. Check out what they are, which areas of the body they usually affect, and what they look like in the following table:
Eosinophilic granuloma type
Mouth (especially the upper lip)
A round open sore on the skin
Torso and thighs
Round to ovular plaques raised above the surface of the skin, causing hair loss around them
Face and oral cavity
A swollen lower lip or chin with small white lesions inside or around the oral cavity
Corticosteroids are the most common treatment to help control the symptoms.
Acne (particularly blackheads) is common in Persian cats. They usually look like flea dirt and are fairly easy to treat. Consult your vet to get antibiotics or corticosteroids, and make sure you use medical shampoos with benzoyl peroxide since it promotes degreasing and follicular flushing.
Plastic could cause feline acne, so stick to metal or ceramic food bowls. Due to Persian’s flat face structure, water and food often get stuck in the creases, making the area prone to acne.
Idiopathic Persian facial dermatitis is a case of severe acne. This advanced stage usually shows up as a black, wax-like substance (around the chin and eyes), sometimes referred to as “dirty face.”
Common in most felines, mange is a skin condition caused by mites that bite your kitty, colonise the surface of their skin, and cause infections. It comes in many different types, such as:
- Notoedric Mange (Feline Scabies)
- Sarcoptic Mange (Canine Scabies)
- Fur mites
- Trombiculosis (Chiggers)
- Ear mites
- Walking dandruff
Indoor felines are less likely to get infected than outdoor ones because of lower exposure. The condition can easily be treated with:
- Topical medication
- Prescription shampoo
- Lime-sulfur dips
Signs that your Persian cat has skin problems
Common signs of skin disease in cats include:
- Excessive scratching, licking, or chewing of the fur
- Redness and swelling of the skin
- Loss of fur
- Scabby, scaly, oily, or flaky skin
- Swellings or bumps on the skin
If you notice these signs, contact your vet immediately to get a definitive diagnosis and start treatment right away. Besides alleviating the symptoms, prompt treatment is vital for cat parents because some conditions are transmissible.
You should also establish a regular grooming routine to prevent dander (skin flakes in your feline’s coat) from spreading around your home. This is especially important for people with cat allergies since Persians aren’t hypoallergenic.
What do you mean I’m losing too much hair? Look at this volume!
Source: Rodrigo dos Reis
How to get a precise diagnosis of your Persian cat’s skin problems
Once you take your Persian to the vet, they’ll examine your kitty and perform various tests, including:
- Chemistry panel
- Complete blood count
- Hormone analysis
- Skin scraping
- Bacterial and fungal culture
- Skin biopsy
Potential causes of Persian cats’ skin problems
Knowing what could cause your Persian’s skin problems can help prevent many of them. The usual suspects are:
- Parasites—Fleas, lice, mites, and ticks inhabit cats’ coats. Flea allergies are frequent in Persian kitties and occur when felines become allergic to fleas’ saliva. The feline’s skin gets irritated, and they begin scratching it, which often causes sores and abrasions. Prevention and treatment usually include medicine or a flea collar
- Fungal infections—Although not very common in cats, fungal infections are more frequent in Persians than in other felines. They usually lead to hair loss and dry patches. The condition is highly contagious and can spread to other pets and pet parents, so it’s important to notice it on time and act immediately
- Allergies—Cats can be allergic to specific ingredients in their food but also numerous environmental factors. The sensitive Persian is more prone to allergies than other breeds, so feeding them a high-protein diet full of vitamins and minerals is of utmost importance
- Obesity—Obesity is a common cause of skin problems, especially in lazy Persian nap queens. Cats who carry extra weight cannot groom themselves properly, which leaves their coats tangled, matted, and dirty. Their skin also has more creases, which is ideal for skin infections. Overweight cats usually have weakened immune systems that make them susceptible to various health issues
- Excessive grooming—Sociable and affectionate Persians tend to become anxious if they don’t get enough attention. As a result, they often groom excessively and tug on their skin, causing skin irritation and hair fallout
- Poor diet—Inadequate diet can cause many health issues, including gastrointestinal discomfort, constipation, and IBS, which can affect your cat’s skin and coat and cause diarrhoea and vomiting
A proper diet is crucial for preventing or alleviating skin conditions
Changing your Persian’s diet is the best way to soothe their skin and prevent skin issues from reoccurring. Even if they have a skin problem that has nothing to do with food, switching to a more healthy and nutritious diet will help to a certain extent.
The essential nutrients your Persian should get in each meal are:
- Animal protein—Protein contains essential amino acids, such as taurine, vital for proper development, strong muscles, skin cell renewal, and hair growth. Cats can easily digest and metabolise animal protein (derived from meat and fish), while plant-based protein isn’t nearly as efficient in providing them with essential micronutrients. Vegetables, including peas, carrots, sweetcorn, and broccoli, are hard to digest and useless in your kitty's meal plan
- Animal fat—Fatty acids ease inflammation and help keep your Persian’s skin and coat healthy. Don’t go over the recommended amount (20%) because too much animal fat can cause weight gain and related health issues, such as diabetes
- Vitamins and minerals—These micronutrients are vital for healthy growth because they promote enzyme formation, help maintain a strong immune system, and support nutrient absorption. Cat food with dietary supplements is unnecessary since meat and fish already contain sufficient amounts of vitamins and minerals
- Water—Before they were domesticated, cats used to hunt fresh prey, including birds, frogs, mice, and rabbits, which deliver enough moisture. Since Persians famously dislike water, you need to keep them hydrated through their diet. Dehydration can lead to loss of elasticity and skin tearing
I smell mackerel, and it’s five past dinnertime. Have you heard of punctuality, hooman?
Source: Parastoo Fz
Dry or wet food? What’s the healthiest choice for your Persian?
Dry food seems more convenient because it’s cheaper, easier to serve, and has a longer shelf life, but it’s usually filled with sugar, cereals, and grains, which felines cannot digest properly. Kibble has a high-calorie content and doesn’t contain enough moisture. A dry-food-only diet could cause various problems, including obesity, allergies, UTIs, and kidney disease.
Wet food typically has a moisture content of over 70%, so it keeps your Persian hydrated even if they are not avid water drinkers. High-quality canned food typically resembles felines’ natural diet and should help your kitty maintain skin and overall health.
How can Untamed help keep your Persian’s skin impeccable?
Untamed cat food is free from any known allergens and other iffy ingredients, so your Persian won't have to deal with diet-related skin problems.
All our dishes are:
- High in protein—Untamed recipes contain twice as much protein as the industry average
- Made with human-grade meat—Whichever Untamed product your Persian deems their favourite, they’ll get the best-quality chicken, liver, duck, ham, salmon, tuna, shrimp, sardines or mackerel
- Sugar- and grain-free—We skip all hard to digest carbs, which often cause diarrhoea, skin irritation, and obesity
- Vet-formulated—We cooperate with vets to ensure all Untamed products meet your feline’s unique biological needs
- Ethically made—All ingredients in Untamed products come from sustainable suppliers, and our packaging is 100% recyclable
- Fussy eater-approved—Regardless of how picky your Persian cat is or if they tend to turn their noses up at wet food, Untamed will get them running to the food bowl
Our food works for every kitty regardless of their life stage, so kittens, adults, and seniors are all welcome in the Untamed clowder. Try Untamed and treat your Persian cat to the best meals on the market!
Try Untamed now!
- Tell us more about your Persian
- Choose the products
- Complete the order
Your Persian’s taster pack will arrive in a day. Once they’ve explored our dishes and chosen their favourites, we can replenish your stock with a fresh batch of Untamed every month. You’re free to change the order, postpone the shipment, or cancel the subscription any time—no questions asked!
Your Persian’s health and happiness are guaranteed with Untamed!
Image (c) Untamed
What changes can you expect after switching your fluffy friend to Untamed?
All Untamed products contain healthy and delicious ingredients your Persian will adore.
Each dish is also super healthy, so you can expect the following improvements, according to the reviews from our clients:
The Untamed effect
In a week
Within two months
After four months