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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Lice Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
How to get rid off lice on one of my cats? She has been scratching herself a lot. I tried catching the lice one by one but they are very small and moved so fast. How do I help her and ensure my other cats are fine? I’m actually not sure it’s lice but I could not be flea because me and my partner are fine and not itchy. The cats often sleep on our bed.
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Hi, my female cat is approx 12yrs old. Since we found her back then thankfully she's been in good health. The problem is as sweet & cute as she is, she can be just as viscious. I'm 57yrs old & always been her primary caregiver. But to this day, I cannot just pick her up at all let alone try to luv her her. She sits on my lap all the time. When she wants you its ok. Not the other way around. Problem is & I can visibly see this, she has cat lice. About 1wk ago I did give her a frontline plus treatment because I found a flea in the house. She is strictly indoors. My next issue is: I can't afford to take her to the vet cause they told me they would have to sedate her. Like I said: she will be extremely on the attack! She's very afraid of some simple things. I don't want to terrorize her by putting her in a carrier, take her in the car, then to a vet. It definately will traumatize her. I don't know if she would make a come back from that experience. If the ceiling fan gets turned OFF, she goes under the bed & wedges herself under there for at least a wk. See my problem? Can u recommend any treatment I can do? I haven't found any adult lice. Only alot of nits. As for bathing her, not gonna happen! I can't even search her fur thoroughly. She can be something of a nightmare.lol But I luv her anyway. I always felt that if I didn't keep & love her all those yrs ago, no one else would. No regrets!
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