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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 skin disease, 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
  • Fur loss or matting
  • Small white or brown spots on the fur and skin
  • Visible parasites
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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
  • Being in crowded areas such as shelters 
  • 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. This is an important step.

Shaving The Fur

Your veterinarian will only recommend shaving the fur if it is badly matted. It should not be needed to treat most infestations.

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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

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Domestic cat

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Three Years

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Fleas

Can I use nit lotion on my cat I can not rid there fleas

Sept. 28, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I don't know what nit lotion is, but there are many good products available to help with fleas in cats. Make sure that what you apply or use is safe for cats.

Oct. 9, 2020

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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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2 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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Lice Average Cost

From 543 quotes ranging from $200 - $500

Average Cost

$250

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