Cat Yeast Infections. 3 Simple Home Remedies to Try Today


Yeast infections in cats are fairly common and can occur when there is an overgrowth of yeast on the skin or ears. Symptoms of a yeast infection include greasy skin, hair loss, itchiness, and dark waxy discharge from the ears. Some of the most common types of yeast that cause infections in cats are Malassezia and Candida Albicans. While yeast normally lives on a cat’s skin in small amounts, an overgrowth can occur when the skin’s environment changes due to allergies, hormone issues, or a weakened immune system. Prompt treatment of yeast infections is important to relieve a cat’s discomfort and prevent the infection from worsening. If left untreated, the yeast can penetrate deep into the skin and cause painful sores and infections.

Causes of Yeast Infections in Cats

There are several potential causes of yeast infections in cats:

Overgrowth of naturally occurring yeast on the skin or in the ears. Yeast such as Malassezia are present in small amounts on cat skin. An overgrowth can lead to infection, especially in warm, moist areas like ears and skin folds.

Weakened immune system. Cats with conditions like feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) or feline leukemia virus (FeLV) are more prone to yeast overgrowth. Older cats or those on steroids may also have weaker immunity.

Antibiotics. Antibiotics kill off beneficial bacteria that keep yeast in check. Using antibiotics can allow yeast to proliferate.

Food allergies. Allergies to ingredients like grains can cause inflammation and allow yeast to grow. Dietary triggers should be identified and eliminated.

Humid environment. Warm, humid conditions create an ideal environment for yeast growth. This is especially problematic in skin folds and ears.

Frequent bathing or swimming. Frequent baths or swimming can strip protective oils from the skin and coat and allow yeast to thrive.


Diagnosing a Yeast Infection

If you suspect your cat has a yeast infection, the first step is to take them to the vet for an examination. The vet will perform a complete physical exam and ask about your cat’s symptoms. This allows the vet to rule out other skin conditions that may resemble a yeast infection, such as allergies, mites, bacterial infections, or autoimmune disorders.

One of the main ways vets diagnose yeast infections in cats is by taking skin scrapings or impression smears. The vet will gently scrape a small amount of skin and collect skin cells, debris, and yeast on a microscope slide. This sample is then viewed under a microscope, allowing the vet to identify an overgrowth of yeast like Malassezia.

Skin scrapings or tape preparations are an easy, affordable way for vets to directly visualize yeast overgrowth versus relying solely on clinical signs. Microscopic examination is considered the gold standard for confirming a yeast infection diagnosis in cats before beginning treatment.

Home Remedies for Cat Yeast Infections

There are several natural home remedies that can help treat yeast infections in cats. Some popular options include:

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a common home remedy used to treat yeast infections. It contains acetic acid which helps inhibit the growth of yeast. Mix a 50/50 solution of apple cider vinegar and water. Using a clean cloth, gently apply the solution to the affected areas 2-3 times per day. Be sure to thoroughly rinse and dry the area afterwards.

Plain Yogurt

Plain, unsweetened yogurt contains probiotics that can help restore balance to your cat’s microbiome and fight yeast overgrowth. Apply a thin layer of yogurt directly to the infected areas 1-2 times per day. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes before rinsing off. Be sure to use yogurt without any added sugars, which can make yeast infections worse.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has natural antifungal properties. Apply a small amount directly onto infected areas like the ears, paws, or skin folds 2-3 times per day. Allow your cat to lick and groom the coconut oil, which allows it to penetrate deeper. Coconut oil can soothe irritated skin and promote healing.

Colloidal Silver

Colloidal silver is a suspension of silver particles in liquid. It has antimicrobial effects against fungi like Candida. Use a cotton ball to apply colloidal silver solution to infected areas 2-3 times daily. Allow it to dry before letting your cat groom themselves. Only use high-quality colloidal silver designed for pets.

Diet Change

Eliminating sugars, carbohydrates, and processed foods from your cat’s diet can help starve the yeast. Feed high-protein foods with probiotics added. Cats with yeast overgrowth may benefit from grain-free or novel protein diets. Speak to your vet about an appropriate dietary change for your cat.

Cleaning and Grooming

Grooming is an important part of caring for a cat with a yeast infection. It’s best to focus on keeping the affected areas clean, dry, and free of excess hair.

Gently wash the infected areas with a mild soap and water, rinse thoroughly, and pat dry. Avoid vigorous scrubbing. According to VCA Hospitals, you can use a medicated shampoo made for pets to clean infected skin during bathing.

Regularly brush or comb your cat’s coat, especially in problem areas, to remove loose hair and debris. Long-haired cats may need occasional trimming around the tail, paws, and rear to prevent moisture buildup.

Check folds and creases on the body daily and keep them clean and dry. Moisture trapped in skin folds promotes yeast growth.

Probiotics and Supplements

Probiotics can help restore the good bacteria in your cat’s gut that often gets destroyed by yeast overgrowth. Look for probiotic supplements made specifically for pets that contain strains like Enterococcus faecium, Bacillus subtilis, and Lactobacillus acidophilus. Give your cat the recommended dosage based on their weight.

Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid supplements help reduce inflammation caused by yeast infections. Salmon oil and krill oil are good options. Check with your vet on the proper dosage.

Vitamin C helps stimulate the immune system to fight off infection. You can give your cat vitamin C supplements (ascorbic acid) or use whole food sources like raw parsley and spinach. Use caution with dosage as too much vitamin C can cause diarrhea.

Antifungal Medications

There are a few options for antifungal medications to treat yeast infections in cats:

Over-the-Counter Antifungal Creams

Topical antifungal creams containing miconazole or clotrimazole can be applied to affected areas on your cat’s skin. These are available over-the-counter and do not require a prescription. According to veterinarians, these creams are generally safe for cats when used as directed [1].

Prescription Oral Medications

For more severe or internal yeast infections, your vet may prescribe an oral antifungal medication like fluconazole or itraconazole. These are dosed based on your cat’s weight and help treat systemic fungal infections. According to one source, fluconazole is generally safe for cats, with potential side effects like vomiting and diarrhea [2].

Potential Side Effects

As with any medication, side effects are possible with antifungal drugs. Topical creams could cause irritation or redness. Oral medications may potentially cause liver damage, especially if high doses are given long-term. Work closely with your vet to monitor your cat while on medication.

Prevention Tips

There are several things cat owners can do to help prevent yeast infections in their cats:

Feed your cat a healthy diet. Avoid foods with a lot of carbs and sugars, as yeast thrives on these. Stick to high-protein, low-carb pet foods. Canned foods typically have fewer carbs than dry kibble.

Give your cat probiotic supplements. Probiotics help populate your cat’s gut with good bacteria that can keep yeast levels in check. Talk to your vet for probiotic recommendations.

Practice good hygiene. Keep your cat’s food bowls, litter boxes, bedding, and living areas clean. Wash bedding weekly in hot water. Disinfect food and water bowls regularly.

Reduce stress for your cat. Stress can compromise the immune system and allow yeast to flourish. Make sure your cat gets plenty of playtime, environmental enrichment, and affection.

Try to control humidity. Yeast thrives in warm, moist environments. Use air conditioning and dehumidifiers as needed to keep humidity down, especially during hot summer months.

With proactive care and prevention methods, cat owners can help minimize the chances of annoying yeast infections occurring in their feline friends.

When to See the Vet

Despite best efforts with home remedies, veterinary care may become necessary if a cat’s yeast infection persists or worsens. Signs that it’s time for professional treatment include:

  • Infection persists despite diligent home treatment
  • Cat seems in obvious distress from symptoms
  • Infected areas appear very painful, inflamed, or are bleeding
  • Cat has an immune disorder or other health issues

A stubborn yeast infection that won’t clear up can spread and cause greater problems. Cats can also develop secondary skin infections from excessive scratching and licking. Vets have additional medications and tools to diagnose the underlying cause of recurring yeast issues. For example, blood tests can check for diabetes or other illnesses suppressing the immune system. Treating the root condition improves the body’s defenses against fungal overgrowth.

In severe cases, a yeast infection left untreated can become life threatening. Immediate veterinary care provides the best chance of recovery. Cats with weakened immune systems are especially prone to advanced infections spreading internally. However, even healthy cats can develop aggressive yeast when the normal balance of microorganisms gets disrupted.

While home care has its place, a vet’s experience is invaluable with stubborn or worsening fungal infections. They can provide prescription antifungal medications, antimicrobial washes, and advanced treatments not readily available otherwise. If a cat yeast infection seems severe or continues resisting home remedies, veterinary assistance can help resolve the problem.


Dealing with a yeast infection in your cat can be trying, but with patience and diligence, you can help your feline friend recover. Some of the most effective at-home remedies include gently cleaning your cat with unscented baby wipes or an anti-fungal shampoo, applying coconut oil to affected areas, supplementing with probiotics, and administering over-the-counter antifungal medications under veterinary guidance. It’s also crucial to keep your cat’s environment clean and hygienic to prevent reinfection.

While home care can help manage symptoms, it’s important not to delay veterinary care if your cat’s condition worsens or persists. Left untreated, yeast infections can spread and lead to secondary infections. Your vet can prescribe stronger antifungal medications, identify any underlying illnesses contributing to the infection, and provide tailored prevention and treatment recommendations for your cat. With a collaborative approach between you and your vet, most yeast infections can be resolved quickly and effectively. The key is staying vigilant about prevention and care. Your cat’s health and comfort are worth the effort.

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