External parasites in cat, how to treat and prevent them

There are four types of external parasites that may infect your cat, and they are all bothersome to your cat, as well as to you as it owner. They are the familiar flea, louse, mite, and tick. The flea is the most frequent of the four types of parasites. Any of the four kinds may occur in tiny numbers or as infestations, depending on the situation.

They are referred to as external parasites because they attach themselves to your cat’s skin, where they feed on blood, fluid in the tissues, or even the cat’s own skin. Because they dig so deeply into the ground, it is almost difficult for the cat to remove them on its own in most instances. In addition to the pain and irritation that these parasites cause, several of them are known to transmit illness.

What can external parasites do to you cat?

A cat that has been severely infected by parasites may potentially succumb to major diseases as a result of the reduced resistance that it has developed. These instances are uncommon, but they are not insignificant. Fleas, for example, are known to transport tapeworm eggs. Ticks, as we all know, have the potential to transmit blood parasites. Lice in large quantities may suck the cat’s blood, causing anemia in the cat. Mites are responsible for mange, which may drive a cat insane with itching. Ear mites, in particular, are very prevalent. Once they have found a suitable host, external parasites may proliferate at an alarming rate.

Because a parasite’s primary source of pleasure is food, any effort to remove it will be met with fierce resistance, with the parasite biting and sucking the whole time. Many species have developed a resistance to parasiticides, making them difficult to control. In addition to the above mentioned parasites, there are other causes of skin problems in cats (or any pet). In addition to acne, there are many other types of skin conditions that are chronic and bothersome.

The majority of the others, including the parasitic type, require veterinarian care and guidance. The basic guideline to follow is to avoid attempting therapy on your own unless absolutely necessary. Many of these creatures are difficult to distinguish from one another unless under a microscope or via the use of laboratory testing. And if you are unable to identify them, any home therapy, no matter how kind, will be a hit-or-miss affair, according to the results.

It is possible that you believe you are cleaning up the issue when in fact you are not. In the meanwhile, the organisms continue to proliferate. In most cases, a veterinarian can identify the kind of skin problem your cat is experiencing and suggest the appropriate therapy, but certain skin diseases may continue even after medication has been administered. Despite the fact that the therapy for each kind of parasite is different, there are two basic methods that are followed by everyone.

What to do if your cat suffers from external parasites?
  • To begin, a veterinarian must do an examination to identify which parasite is causing the problem. The therapy that he suggests will, of course, be determined by the diagnosis.
  • Second, the cat’s owner must attempt to remove the parasite’s source by spraying and cleaning the areas where the cat congregates most often. It is necessary to interrupt the parasite’s life cycle in order for it not to reoccur.
  • A flea or tick collar, powders, dips, or sprays are often recommended by the veterinarian to remove parasites that have already infested your cat. If the illness has progressed, the therapy, regrettably, may be time-consuming and expensive.
  • As a general rule of thumb, the sooner an infestation is detected, the sooner it may be eliminated from the environment.
  • Furthermore, all cat owners should comb and groom their cats on a regular basis. Non-parasites will be prevented as a consequence of this, as will hair balls, which are the collection of hair in the cat’s gut as a result of the cat licking and swallowing its fur.
  • Regular combing and brushing, as well as the removal of old hair, will improve the tone of the cat’s skin and coat, avoid tangles in long-haired cats, and aid in the removal of parasites before they get established in the cat’s system.
  • Keeping your cat clean may is also a solution to parasite problems, particularly if you let your pet to wander in places where parasites are prevalent, but it does help to keep these tiny armies of bugs at bay.
  • Keeping the cat’s quarters free of parasites is also an important part of cleanliness. Obviously, if your cat has complete control of the home, this will be more challenging.
  • Spraying with a harmless pesticide, on the other hand, may be beneficial. Because field mice and rats are secondary carriers of parasites that may eventually find a home on your cat, there isn’t much you can do if your cat is allowed to wander freely outdoors.

On this article, I will explain briefly about every external parasites that can infect your cat. For thorough information, you can visit each article on every external parasites.


Click here for information on fleas. Fleas jump from one area to another, from one cat to another, and even from one human to another, causing havoc. Fleas may be found on almost every region of your cat’s body, but they favor the hairiest areas, such as the neck, head, tail area, and chest, where they can be found in greater numbers.

They prey on both short- and long-haired animals, and even the apartment cat is a target for them. The eggs of fleas remain latent throughout the colder months, so even if they are found in a location where the cat normally sleeps or lays, it will not be bothered by them. It is only until warm and humid weather arrives, however, that the eggs begin to hatch. You may have observed that your cat scratches a lot more during the summer months, and that this is when the most of his skin problems seem to occur. The flea egg develops into a worm after being woken by heat and moisture.

The flea, which is a tough little guy, ultimately develops from this worm, or larval stage. The flea just waits for a warm object to come along so that it may jump on your cat (or another pet), you, or another member of your household. There is no guarantee that it will stay on individuals.)

In contrast to other insects, the flea burrows deep into the cat’s skin, where it deposits its eggs in little burrowlike sores that it has created. This is the only exception to the rule. Fleas will cause your cat to scratch uncontrollably. It will eventually not only wear away the hair in many places, but it will also cause harm to the skin, resulting in a case of chronic parasite dermatitis in certain individuals.


Click here for information on lice. Lice on cats are a little less frequent than fleas on cats, but they are nonetheless there. The cat louse is host-specific, which means that once it has attached itself to a cat, it will not jump about. In contrast to other parasites, lice burrow into a specific area of the cat’s body and stay there, sucking and biting, until they are flushed out.

Once the louse has established a permanent residence, it will remain there throughout its life cycle, from egg to maturity and beyond. Because the louse is so tiny, your odds of seeing it are slim to nonexistent. When you have a louse that is smaller than a pinhead, it gets difficult to find in all of that hair.

When you observe your cat putting out a great deal of effort and desire to dig into its coat with its paws, tongue, and teeth, you may be quite certain that it has lice or another parasite. Its odds of seeing a parasite as tiny as yours are as remote as yours are. Its clawing may eventually wear away the hair in the infected area, but by that time the lice have become firmly entrenched in the hair.

By targeting the hair follicles, the parasites may also cause the hair to fall out. As previously stated, the risk of having a large number of lice is that they may induce anemia in a kitten because they suck blood. Lice, like other parasites, may be transmitted to members of your household when your cat loses hair that contains them or their eggs. They are completely safe and will not remain on people’s bodies, but they may irritate your nerves.


Click here for information on mites. In particular, mites are a nuisance since there are so many different kinds and because they are difficult for the owner to identify. One kind of mite, a parasite with a cigar shape, is responsible for demodectic, or follicular, mange (red mange). Sarcoptic mange, often known as scabies, is caused by a second kind of parasite, a spider-shaped parasite with eight legs.

A third kind, the ear mite, which is the most frequent type in cats, infests the cat’s ear and may result in an illness known as otodectic mange. These mange-like skin conditions are severe skin disorders that cause more than just pain for your cat. They have the potential to cause severe problems.

Demodectic mange develops quickly and may result in infections all over your cat’s body, according to the ASPCA. Sarcoptic mange manifests itself as a slew of scabs, inflammations, and bleeding sores on the skin. If left untreated, otodectic mange may cause irreversible ear damage and hearing loss. The mange mite, like many other parasites, with the exception of the flea, infiltrates the cat’s skin and begins to reproduce. It works like this: it burrows into the tiny sac that contains the hair’s root, and the hair comes out as a result of this. This sac is referred to as a follicle, which is why this specific kind is referred to as “follicular mange.”

Many experts think that the mange mite may be transmitted from mother to child at birth, albeit not via genes, but that it cannot be spread from one cat to another through the environment. Everyone, on the other hand, believes that demodectic mange cannot be transferred from a cat to a human. It is unfortunate that sarcoptic mange may be transmitted from the skin of a cat to children and people. In particular, children are exposed to it when they roll about on the floor and play with their pet, or when they press their faces against the silky hair of a cat. The outcome may be an itchy rash that is bothersome.

Scratching aggressively at various areas of your cat’s body is characteristic of all forms of mange. Demodectic mange itself may only be identified by generalized inflammation or by the presence of bloody pimples. Sarcoptic mange is characterized by scabs, thickening of the skin, and excessive loss of hair in the affected region. It is possible that the cat may begin to smell rotten. In cats with otodectic (ear) mange, they will hold their heads at an unusual angle and shake their heads a lot. The presence of a black discharge is common.

If left untreated, the cat may potentially have loss of balance as well as the signs of a general disease such as listlessness, lack of appetite, and weight loss, among other things. It’s possible that you’ll simply sense a general malaise. Skin scraping and microscopic inspection are the only methods available for making a definite diagnosis of all mites.


Click here for information on ticks. Ticks are not especially attracted to cats, but they do visit anything that moves, and a cat that hides in woods or lives on a farm is more likely to pick up one or more ticks than a cat that does not. There is no reason to be concerned about the apartment cat. Because of their tenacity and persistence, ticks are very irritating.

The tick feeds on three different phases of hosts, and by the time it attaches itself to a human or an animal, it has gained considerable experience. Once implanted in the epidermis, it fights against removal with the tenacity of a squatter defending his property rights to the extreme.

Ticks are readily distinguished from other insects because they resemble flat, blackish brown seeds that have the appearance of tiny warts. Frequently, the seeds have gotten significantly swelled with blood and have become an unsightly dark crimson. It is possible that your cat may become anemic as a result of a severe infestation.

The most common kind is known as the American dog tick or the brown dog tick, and it may be found in tall grass or in cracks and crevices surrounding your home or apartment building.

Cats’ bodies have specific areas where ticks prefer to congregate, including the stomach region, the pads of their feet, their own feet, and the creases between their legs and the rest of the body. Some kinds consider the cat’s ear to be an excellent location to call home.

To lay its eggs and flourish, the tick searches for crevices in the cat, just as it looks for cracks in your home to lay its eggs and thrive. The presence of more than one or two ticks is suggested by your cat’s continuous scratching and overall unhappiness, which indicates the presence of many ticks. Ticks, in contrast to the majority of other parasites, may be detected without the use of a microscope. They are very uncommon in cats. I’ve never seen one before.

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Tom Creative Space
A cat enthusiast who loves to talk about cat wellness.
Articles: 51

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