Cat Parasites, Fleas, Ticks and Mites

Being conscious of the problem of cat parasites is your first line of defense.

If you make checking that your cat's skin and fur are free of parasites during regular grooming sessions, it will be half the battle in preventing infestation.

Parasites are freeloaders that take food and refuge from a host animal.

They exist at the expense of the host animal causing loss of vitality, loss of condition and occasionally even death.

Seek advice from your veterinarian about preparations for annihilating cat parasites, there are many good products on the market today that, if used correctly, will deal with infestations.

Sticking to a regular cleaning discipline will help prevent parasites becoming a problem.

Cat Parasites - Ticks

This bloodsucker will leap upon your cat as she wanders through tall grasses and other vegetation.

The tick then bites into your cat's skin, into which it buries its head and gorges itself on blood.

When fully gorged the tick can swell to the size of a small bean, then drop off to complete the rest of its life cycle.

It can exist on the stored blood for some days and then wait for another opportunity to jump onto an animal and start the process once again.

Removal of this little cat parasite demands precision to avoid the head of the tick remaining in the cat's skin.

The cat can be very irritated by the tick's burrowing, bat it off with its paw leaving the head behind, the outcome can sometimes be a chronic infection which can be difficult to heal.

A veterinarian will use substances to relax the tick and therefore remove the whole parasite, including the head.

It is possible to remove ticks yourself using surgical spirit as the relaxant, and carefully pulling the tick free with tweezers.

If in any doubt about your ability to remove the whole tick, use the services of your vet.

Some cats are allergic to parasite bites and can develop an inflammation that causes the cat to lick and worry the area so much that it becomes ulcerated.

Tick bites can be responsible for Lyme disease a serious bacterial infection which can affect both animals and humans.

Symptoms of Lyme disease include loss of appetite, a raised temperature, lethargy, lameness and an enlargement of the lymph nodes. A blood test can confirm the cause, treatment is a course of antibiotics that last four to six weeks.


Fleas are not particular as to the cats that they infest, even the healthiest, best cared for cats can easily pick up fleas.

parasiteTiny parasites can be lurking on leaves and grasses waiting to leap on your nice warm cat.

A cat that goes outside can become a host for fleas by socializing with other cats or other animals, or even just by being in the same territory that other animals have been in.

So how can an indoors only cat get fleas?

You can bring them home to her, you can bring the parasites into your home on your clothing.

Once inside the flea hops off of you and onto your cat who has a higher body temperature and so makes a more attractive host.

Find out how to rid your cat and home of fleas - Cat Fleas


Lice are fairly uncommon in cats but cats that are in poor condition, or extremely young or old can be susceptible.

Lice are species specific, so cat lice generally do not spread to humans, dog lice generally do not spread to cats etc.

Cat lice can be seen fairly easily with the naked eye, as can their eggs or nits.

There are three types of lice that can affect cats, two of these bite the other is blood sucking.

The tell tale signs of these parasites are scratching, although not necessarily excessive scratching, and a drying of the skin showing an increase in scurf or dandruff.

The eggs of the louse are laid directly on the hair, close to the skin, and adhere tightly.

Lice are vulnerable to many of the same products that eradicate cat fleas.

It may be necessary to cut away any matted hair from your cat's coat and to continue to use parasiticide treatments for several weeks to completely get rid of the lice.

When you have treated your cat you need to make sure that all brushes, combs and your cat's bedding are disinfected.


The kinds of mite that can affect a cat's skin are generally known as mange.

ginger and white catChecking that your cat's skin and fur are free of parasites during grooming sessions will go a long way to prevent infestation.

The harvest or bracken mite appears in the fall and the larvae of this cat parasite will settle where the coat of your cat is thinnest, such as the underbelly, the face, the genitals and between the toes.

The larvae, yellowish orange in color, are just visible to the naked eye.

They swell to about three times their normal size when they have finished feeding.

The larvae cause irritation which the cat scratches and bites at, causing further irritation and the development of round damp sores.

Infestation of mites is highly contagious and can transfer from cats to humans.

Best treated with insecticidal preparations, consult your vet.

Ear Mites

Ear mites can cause your cat severe irritation and misery.

Your cat shaking its head furiously and scratching at its ears should alert you to the possible presents of ear mites.

The inside of your cats ear could show increased wax, which can be dark and quite tarry, and dark brown debris.

blue eyed cat

Your cat should only be treated for ear mites after your veterinarian has made an initial examination.

The vet may want to take a sample from the ear and inspect it under a microscope.

Ear mites are usually treated with ear drops which will be prescribed by your vet.

It is important to administer the drops to the ears when they have been cleaned so that the treatment has the maximum affect upon the mites.

Although primarily cat parasites, ear mites can be passed from cats to dogs. So if you have other pets in the house, they should be treated simultaneously. Cat Ear Mites.

Cat Parasites - Burrowing Mites

A relatively rare form of mange is caused by the burrowing mite.

This parasite usually attacks the cat's head causing severe irritation to the base of the ears, hair loss and general declining of the cat's condition. In extreme cases blood poisoning can occur.

Consult your vet. Antibiotic treatment is required for secondary infestations, damaged skin is attend to with parasiticide preparations.

Walking Dandruff

Cheyletiella mites produce a condition often known as walking dandruff, which is a scabrous skin ailment of cats that causes itching.

It is referred to as walking dandruff because when an infested cat is examined, scales are seen to be moving. This movement is caused by the Cheyletiella mites shifting around under the scales.

These parasites live on rabbits and can also infest humans. Your veterinarian will give the treatment that she/he thinks best. You will also need to treat your home to prevent re-infestation.

We hope that you have found the information about cat parasites on this page to be useful. Please remember that it is just information. If you have any concerns about the well being of your cat, you should consult your veterinarian.

Cat Acne
Outbreaks of cat acne are usually fairly mild, a few blackheads, bumps or blocked pores. Anything more than a mild outbreak and it would be best that your veterinarian is consulted.

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