Got Cat Yeast? Treat Your Feline’s Fungus Fast

What is a yeast infection in cats?

A yeast infection in cats is caused by an overgrowth of yeast, usually of the genus Malassezia. Yeast is naturally found on cat skin and small amounts are normal. However, when the yeast overgrows, it can cause irritation and infection [1].

Symptoms of a yeast infection in cats include [2]:

  • Greasy skin
  • Hair loss
  • Redness and inflammation on the skin
  • Scaly or flaky skin
  • Thickened skin
  • Dark spots on the skin

Causes of yeast infections in cats include [1]:

  • Warm, moist environments that allow yeast to thrive
  • Allergies or skin conditions that compromise the skin barrier
  • Antibiotic use, which can kill off competing bacteria
  • Weakened immune system
  • Contact with an infected animal

Diagnosing yeast infections in cats

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 look for common signs of a yeast infection like greasy skin, hair loss, and rashes or lesions. Some diagnostic tests the vet may use include:

Skin scrapings – The vet will take a small scraping of your cat’s skin and examine it under a microscope for evidence of yeast overgrowth.

Blood tests – The vet may run bloodwork to check for elevated white blood cell count, which can indicate an infection.

Culture – A skin or ear sample may be taken and cultured to identify the specific type of yeast causing the infection.

Biopsy – If lesions are present, a biopsy may be done to confirm a yeast infection.

Treatment Options

There are several treatment options for yeast infections in cats:

Anti-fungal medications

Veterinarians often prescribe anti-fungal medications like fluconazole or itraconazole to treat yeast infections in cats. These medications can be given orally or through an injection to kill the yeast overgrowth. According to PetMD, anti-fungal medications are usually given for 2-4 weeks to eliminate the infection.


Antibiotics may be prescribed to treat any secondary bacterial infections that have occurred due to the yeast overgrowth. Common antibiotics used include cephalexin and amoxicillin. Antibiotics help get rid of harmful bacteria while allowing good bacteria to thrive again.

Medicated shampoos

Medicated antifungal shampoos containing ingredients like miconazole, ketoconazole, or chlorhexidine may be recommended. These shampoos can help treat yeast on the skin and reduce associated symptoms like itchiness and inflammation. Shampoo therapy may need to be continued regularly for several weeks. According to WagWalking, shampoos should be massaged thoroughly into the cat’s coat and allowed to sit for 10 minutes before rinsing.

Dietary changes

Your vet may suggest dietary changes like feeding high-protein, low-carb wet food. These foods help restore good gut bacteria, strengthen the immune system, and make the environment less favorable to yeast overgrowth. Eliminating sugars, carbs, and high-glycemic foods from the diet can also help starve the yeast. According to PetMD, supplements like prebiotics or probiotics may also be beneficial.

Anti-fungal medications

There are several types of anti-fungal medications that can be used to treat yeast infections in cats. Some common options include:

  • Fluconazole – This antifungal medication comes in tablet form and is given by mouth. The usual dosage for cats is 5-10 mg per kg once daily (cite . Side effects may include vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Ketoconazole – This medication comes in tablet form and the typical dosage for cats is 5-10 mg per pound once daily (cite Potential side effects include liver damage with long-term use.
  • Itraconazole – This antifungal comes in capsule and oral solution forms. The dosage is typically 5-10 mg/kg once to twice daily (cite Side effects may include gastrointestinal upset.

Oral antifungal medications can be very effective for treating yeast infections in cats, but side effects are possible, especially with long-term use. Working closely with your veterinarian is important to determine the appropriate medication and dosage for your cat.


Antibiotics may be prescribed by your veterinarian to treat secondary infections associated with yeast overgrowth in cats. Yeast infections can damage skin tissue, allowing bacteria to enter and cause secondary bacterial infections.

Some common antibiotics used to treat secondary infections from yeast include:1

  • Amoxicillin – Broad spectrum antibiotic often prescribed at a dosage of 62.5-125 mg twice daily for cats
  • Clavamox – Combination of amoxicillin and clavulanic acid, dosed at 62.5 mg twice daily
  • Enrofloxacin – Fluoroquinolone antibiotic given at a dose of 5-20 mg per kg body weight once a day

Always follow your veterinarian’s instructions when giving antibiotics to your cat. Only give the prescribed antibiotic at the proper dosage and for the full course of treatment.

Medicated shampoos

Medicated shampoos that contain antifungal ingredients like miconazole, ketoconazole, and chlorhexidine can help treat yeast infections in cats. Some popular medicated shampoo brands for cats include Malaseb and Ketochlor. These shampoos work by killing the yeast and bacteria on your cat’s skin.

The active ingredients in medicated cat shampoos include:

  • Ketoconazole – an antifungal medication
  • Chlorhexidine – an antiseptic
  • Miconazole – an antifungal medication

When using a medicated shampoo, it’s important to follow the label instructions for frequency of use. Typically these shampoos are used every 2-3 days for 2-4 weeks. Long term use may cause irritation. Make sure to rinse thoroughly after each use. Using a medicated shampoo can help resolve mild yeast infections, but severe infections may also require oral antifungal medication prescribed by your vet.

Dietary changes

Making changes to your cat’s diet can be an important part of treating and preventing yeast infections. Yeast thrives on sugars and carbohydrates, so reducing these nutrients in your cat’s diet can help starve the yeast and prevent overgrowth.

Look for low-carb, high-protein cat foods that are grain and potato free. Canned foods with meat ingredients are ideal, as they contain fewer carbs and sugars than dry kibble. Avoid foods with corn, wheat, rice, soy, and other fillers that can spike your cat’s blood sugar. According to Dinovite, a meaty diet with proper nutrition to support immune health is critical for containing yeast growth.

Supplements like probiotics and digestive enzymes can also help restore balance to your cat’s gut flora. Prebiotics provide fuel for healthy bacteria to outcompete yeast overgrowth. Consult your vet for supplement recommendations specifically for your cat.

Additionally, avoid giving your cat treats, table scraps, or human foods that are high in carbs/sugars. Stick to a yeast-starving diet to help get your cat’s infection under control.

Home Remedies

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

Apple cider vinegar has antifungal properties that make it effective for treating yeast on the skin. Dilute apple cider vinegar with equal parts water and apply topically to affected areas. It helps restore proper pH levels on the skin to inhibit yeast overgrowth.

Probiotics can help restore healthy gut flora, which keeps candida yeast levels under control. Giving cats probiotic supplements or probiotic-rich foods like unsweetened yogurt can prevent or treat yeast infections from inside the body.

Coconut oil contains lauric and caprylic acids which have antifungal effects. Rubbing coconut oil on skin rashes, ear infections or other problem areas can reduce yeast levels. It moisturizes skin and helps wounds heal.


There are several steps you can take to help prevent yeast infections in your cat:

Proper hygiene is important. Gently clean your cat’s ears, skin folds, and anal area regularly to remove debris and prevent overgrowth of yeast. Be sure to dry thoroughly after bathing.

Reduce antibiotic use if possible. Antibiotics kill off beneficial bacteria and allow yeast to flourish. Only use antibiotics when truly necessary and under veterinary guidance. Consider probiotic supplements during and after antibiotic treatment to restore healthy bacteria levels.

Boost your cat’s immune system. A strong immune system can better resist yeast overgrowth. Feed a high-quality diet, address any underlying health issues, reduce stress, and consider immune-boosting supplements like coconut oil or colostrum.

For added prevention, some holistic veterinarians recommend diluted apple cider vinegar rinses or coconut oil applied topically to create an unfavorable environment for yeast. Probiotic supplements containing live cultures may also help repopulate your cat’s gut and skin with beneficial bacteria.

When to see a vet

Some symptoms of a yeast infection in cats require prompt veterinary attention. According to, cats with a yeast infection in or around the eyes, mouth, or nose should be seen by a vet right away. These areas can quickly become irritated and infected. Additionally, if the infection spreads to the bloodstream or internal organs, immediate veterinary care is crucial.

Certain risk factors also indicate a visit to the vet as soon as possible. Elderly, ill, or immunocompromised cats are more susceptible to developing severe yeast infections that require professional treatment. Kittens, pregnant cats, and nursing mother cats likewise need veterinary oversight for yeast infections. Finally, according to, cats with pre-existing conditions like diabetes, cancer, or hyperthyroidism are prone to problematic yeast infections as well.

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