Cat Lice Symptoms

Cat lice are parasites that look just like cat dandruff; however, you may see the lice move and they will cause a lot of unpleasantness in your pet. The cat lice cannot be transmitted to humans. Recognizing the symptoms of lice in your cat will help you pet and relieve the discomfort.

Visible Lice

The lice on cats can be visible to the naked eye; even if the parasites are small, you may notice some moving flakes that look just like dandruff. A louse is about 1/8 inch in length and is white-grayish. The lice have flat bodies and don’t have wings, but jump from one animal to the other, being highly contagious. If you look close enough, you may notice a few legs that help the parasite to hold on to the host’s hair or skin.

The louse is a parasite that will suck on the blood of an infected pet. You may also notice some dark flakes on your cat’s skin, which are actually excreted blood.

The lice eggs, also known as nits are about 4 times smaller than the adults, so are hardly visible.

There are several types of lice, each adapted for a different type of animals; there are dog lice, human lice, bird lice and other lice that feed on other mammals.

Severe Itchiness

Lice will be felt by your cat, causing severe itchiness. The bites can also be itchy and the pet will scratch and lick the skin, in some cases provoking bleeding. The cat will scratch all over the surface of the body, as lice jump from one area to the other.

Rashes and Swelling

Some cats may be allergic to the lice bites and may have rashes and severe swelling in the places of the bites.

Agitation and Behavior Changes

A cat with lice will be agitated due to the itchiness. He will not be able to sleep and may even become irritated and aggressive.

The cat can be vocal, signaling his discomfort.

Treating Cat Lice

Cat lice can be eliminated using flea and tick products, which are equally effective in killing lice also.

Groom your cat, using a small cat flea comb that will remove the lice and the eggs; then bathe your cat with a hypoallergenic shampoo or anti-flea shampoo; after the pet is dry, apply a flea and tick insecticide.

You can opt for a number of products; consult your vet about the best treatment option for your cat.

Don’t stop using the insecticides as soon as you see that the lice are gone; the lice leave their eggs that can develop and new parasites may appear after a week.

Cleaning the house and disinfecting the cat’s toys and bedding should be part of the treatment.

Never use chemicals that eliminate lice on humans or on canines; these may be harmful for a cat (even fatal). In addition, lice are of different types and they are specific for each species they lodge on, so the insecticides that kill lice on dogs may not be effective for cat lice.