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What is Lice?

Lice are not as common in cats as fleas and ticks, and they cannot be transferred between different species. However, the presence of lice can lead to a full infestation, tapeworm infestation, and other health problems if left untreated.

The lice found on cats are not the same type of lice found on people, but they can still cause irritation by chewing on the skin or sucking blood. You may notice your cat scratching or biting the area that has been affected by lice. The affected area may include the head, ears, shoulders, groin, tail, and anus. The cat’s fur may become matted due to excessive scratching.

Lice Average Cost

From 543 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$250

Symptoms of Lice in Cats

You can easily spot lice on cats by parting the fur and looking for nits, or eggs, and mature lice on the skin. There is a possibility that you will see the lice moving through the fur. Other symptoms of lice in cats are as follows:

  • Excessive biting or scratching
  • Hair loss or matting
  • Small white or brown spots on the fur and skin
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Causes of Lice in Cats

Lice cannot be transferred from a person or another species to cats, but there are several situations that can lead to the transmission of this uncomfortable condition from one cat to another.

  • Living in unsanitary conditions
  • Inability to groom for any reason
  • Contact with another cat suffering from lice
  • Contact with the belongings of another cat with lice
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Diagnosis of Lice in Cats

The presence of lice can be confirmed by inspecting the cat’s fur for small white or brown spots that indicate immature or adult lice or their eggs. A veterinarian can provide an official diagnosis and rule out other conditions such as fleas, ticks, and allergies.

Expect your veterinarian to ask questions about the cat’s medical history, excessive scratching, and other symptoms. Your veterinarian will diagnose the lice by parting the fur to look for the insects, which can usually be seen feeding or moving on the body. They will also look for nits so they can recommend the right form of treatment for your cat. 

Your veterinarian may diagnose the type of lice by placing the nits and lice under a microscope. Your cat may be suffering from biting or sucking lice, which both cause irritation when they feed on the body. A chewing louse has large mouthparts, whereas that of a sucking louse is narrow.

It is recommended to talk to your veterinarian before treating your cat for lice. Your veterinarian can recommend a treatment that is both safe and effective for your cat. This is why it is important to schedule an appointment as soon as you notice the symptoms or lice on your furry friend.

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Treatment of Lice in Cats

While it may seem difficult to treat lice on people, lice in cats can be treated easily once your veterinarian makes the diagnosis. Your veterinarian may have several suggestions for treating the lice. It is important to follow the instructions given by your veterinarian. Remember, it may take more than one application to get rid of the lice and their nits.

Isolating Your Cat

This is only a necessary step if you have more than one cat in your home and is needed to prevent transferring the lice to another cat. The best thing you can do is keep the affected cat in another room during treatment. Isolating your cat also reduces the amount of cleaning required to eliminate the lice.

Medicated Treatment

Your veterinarian will recommend an insecticide treatment for your cat, which may include a medicated wash or shampoo. It is best to talk to your veterinarian so you can make sure the medication is safe for your cat.

Treatment of The Home

You can also ask your veterinarian to recommend a product to get rid of the lice around the house. There are various sprays and powders designed to eliminate the nits and lice from your home.

Shaving The Fur

Your veterinarian will only recommend shaving the fur if it is badly matted.

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Recovery of Lice in Cats

It is important to schedule a follow-up appointment so your veterinarian can make sure the treatment is working and not causing a negative reaction in your cat.

You can prevent the problem from reoccurring by treating your home for the nits and lice. Start by cleaning cats’ grooming products, bedding, and other items. You should also clean their favorite spots, such as the couch or your bed.

It is also important to help your cat if they cannot groom themselves, which you can do by bathing and brushing their fur frequently. Treating and eliminating the lice can prevent the problem from reoccurring in the future.

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Lice Average Cost

From 543 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$250

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Lice Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Flicky

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dsh

dog-age-icon

3 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Just White Dots On His Fur

Hi I brought in a kitten and he has nits on his fur but he's already on the second dose of Revolution, Saturday he weighed 5lbs 9oz. I keep him on my balcony so he doesn't infect my other cat but it's been 3 weeks and I'm exhausted trying to wait out these nits. The last vet appt he confirmed that the ear mites are dead and he doesn't see anything moving on him. But they just say to get another dose of Revolution. Can I also bathe him with a lice shampoo made forfor cats? The vet office says there's nothing topical like a shampoo but I just read earlier posts in this forum recommending it. My other cat is totally free of anything and NOT on any flea or lice preventative so I want to be super sure before bringing Flicky inside.

Sept. 13, 2018

Flicky's Owner

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Caramel

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Cat

dog-age-icon

5 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Fleas

I just found a flea on my 5 month old cat. Do I really need to take her to the vet or can I just give her a bath? And can I just buy flea any flea shampoo to use on her?

Sept. 6, 2018

Caramel's Owner

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Lily

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REGULAR CAT

dog-age-icon

3 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Excessive Scratching

My cat is a indoor cat she has recently been scratching around her neck until it bleeds I thought it might be ear mites I got meds for her sentry earmite for her ears and zymox for her neck cause she's scratching until it's bleeding i flea comb her every day she might have 1or2 on her cause i have a teacup terrier who goes outside to use bathroom i also flea comb her. I noticed also when I use the comb her fur is real stiff like & she has alot of dandruff I am on disability & I want to get both my animals to a veterinarian can u please tell me what u think is causing her problem & is there anyway I can get like a voucher to get wellness checkups my cats name is Lily she's 3yrs.old my terrier has same problems with scratching but I was told that was because terriers have allgery problems her name is lulu she's 4yrs.old.please help. Thank you

July 21, 2018

Lily's Owner


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0 Recommendations

There are many organisations and charity clinics which may be able to help you but it depends on your location, I’m assuming you’re in the USA so the link below should give you a breakdown of some organisations by state. Without examining Lily or Lulu I cannot determine the specific cause of the scratching, however if there are regularly fleas on both of them you should consider getting an effective topical spot on medication to control external parasites (many over the counter products are not as effective as those available from a veterinary practice). Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.dogingtonpost.com/need-help-with-vet-bills-or-pet-food-there-are-resources-available/

July 22, 2018

Thank you for your advice & God bless you

July 22, 2018

Lily's Owner

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Buddy

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Domestic long hair

dog-age-icon

6 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Some Biting

Our adopted stray was diagnosed with lice, had 3 treatments of resolution. Most fur was shaved at shelter. Took to a low cost vet & they say he has nits, wasn't told if nits were alive or dead. Was told to do 2 more rounds of resolution. Called shelter, they say only 3. So nervous we are going to have lice in house. Can't take him again as he was really traumatized over the whole ordeal. What is the next step? Thank you

June 16, 2018

Buddy's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

1 Recommendations

You should give Revolution (selamectin) as well as bathing Buddy regularly with a medicated shampoo; and to wash all bedding and any furniture covers on a hot wash to be on the safe side. You should use Revolution on Buddy regularly anyway to protect against external parasites. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.msdvetmanual.com/integumentary-system/lice/lice-in-dogs-and-cats

June 17, 2018

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Mulon

dog-breed-icon

Idk

dog-age-icon

3 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

She Keep Itching And Biting Herself

I got my cat yesterday. The vet won't take her because she is too young. I found three small black bugs around by her neck.Everytime i go to touch them they run. I tried flea brush and they won't come off. I even tried flea bath stuff and they are still there. They run by her belly area then they go back by the neck.

June 9, 2018

Mulon's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

1 Recommendations

You should apply a topical spot on treatment for cats against external parasites which you may ask the Veterinarian for (like the one linked below) or get an appropriate product from a pet shop suitable for age and weight. Without examining the bugs, I cannot say what they are specifically. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.advocate-spot-on.com/en/for-cats/faqs/

June 10, 2018

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Odesza

dog-breed-icon

Long haired domestic

dog-age-icon

2 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Hair Loss
Itching
Matting
Bleeding Behind The Ears

Hi! We just got a cat from a friend that found her and didn’t want to keep her! We’ve had her for a little over a week and we took her to the vet today and they confirmed she has lice! We already bathed her with dawn and olive oil and treated her almost a week ago with the front line. My biggest concern is that the vet said she has TONS of eggs, like a full infestation and it’ll take up to 6 months of treatment for her to be live free because she is an extremely fluffy long haired cat. So, should we have her shaved to get her love free sooner? She’s such a sweet girl and loves being in the bed so the sooner she’s comfy the happier I’ll be I just don’t want her miserable! She has lost the hair behind her ears and has Matted her neck from itching and we just want it gone for her sake.

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Babies

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Not sure long hair,black and white mail cat

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3 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Scratch 24/7 Twitching From Lice Movement
Scratch 24/7 Twitching

I've adopted a cat that has lice so bad like caked on his skin and the move thier a darker color of tan..I'm not sure what to do.somebody told me to use olive oil then dawn dish soap.i dont have alot of cash im willing to spend what's needed however,because it drives him crazy,and hes been through so much already..Please someone please help with advice and solution. Thank you

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Thiele

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Cat

dog-age-icon

11 Weeks

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Cat Has Nits

Hello, my kitten has nits and has been treated. I have used the small comb to help get some off but he still has a lot. He goes in for more treatments but my question is how do I remove the nits? The comb isn’t working as well as I hoped.

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Cashmere and Nugget

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Rescues: Grey short haired & brown short hair

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17 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

A Lil Bit Of Itching
A Lil Bit Of Itching Possibly Dandruff
A Lil Bit Of Itching White Flakes

How can I tell if my cats have lice or just dandruff? We live NC and it has been abnormally cold. Went from 100° to 40-60° overnight. Could they just have dry skin? Also does tea tree oil work on cats like human lice? Everything I read says something different and I'm freaking out! They both are indoor cats, rescued a yr ago. They both wear flea, tick, etc collars. I do see white specks in Cashmeres coat, but it looks like dandruff. I dont see any in Nuggets. They are siblings, but look nothing alike and have different coats. I dont want to go to the vet if unnecessary as I really cant afford it this week. Does cat lice bits stick to hair like human lice? Anything you can tell me to look for to determine what's going on would be greatly appreciated. I also have a 12 yr old dog who we treat with drops, etc n she has been given a treated bath that covers lice, ticks, fleas, and shes also been itchy. I've been combing them all, havent found any bugs just what looks like dandruff. Could it just be the sudden change of weather?? I have my Ma and her cat moving in with us tom! I've been spraying everything with tea tree oil! My house smells like a hippy! Also does extreme cold/hot weather kill lice/fleas on bedding as I have put all their stuff outside. It's currently 41° out. HELP!!!

dog-name-icon

Ben, Luna and Baby

dog-breed-icon

Domestic shorthair

dog-age-icon

12 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Licking, Scracthing , Biting

I have treated my 3 cats for fleas and tics and lice with advantage. But they are still licking and scratching. There is no flea dirt or any kind of residue coming off them. What else could it be?? I comb them and have checked their skin daily too. Help

Lice Average Cost

From 543 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$250

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