Although uncommon, cats can have lice. The usual places that you will find cats with lice are in the filthy, overcrowded locations you may see on the news. Places like kitten mills or homes that house thirty or forty cats.
Cat lice will not infect dogs or humans. Lice are specific as to their destination. They will spend their entire life span on your cat. During that time they will lay eggs and the next generation will continue the process.
Types of Lice
Unlike dogs who can have two different types of Lice, cats only have one type of louse, and it is a chewer.
Signs of Cat Lice
There can be a lot of Cat Itching. The coat becomes dry and is no resembling a Cat Shiny Coat, and there will be bald patches. This is especially true around the head, neck and anus. In severe cases, a kitten can become anemic if the infestation is severe.
How does it spread?
Lice can only be transmitted by direct contact. Lice are six legged wingless insects. They do not jump or move much and once settled on a cat, they will generally stay there. The contact can be from another cat or infected grooming equipment or through the bedding of an infected cat.
Diagnosing lice on your cat is quite simple. You can see them on your cat’s skin and the eggs or nits, look like white flakes on the hair shafts. If you are not sure, your vet can easily diagnose the parasite.
Treatment of lice is relatively easy under normal circumstances. Lice are not resistant to insecticides, so the administration of a pet safe insecticide will usually get rid of them. If the infestation is very severe or the hair is matted, the cat may have to be shaved.
The treatment with the insecticide will continue for several treatments two to four weeks apart. That will kill the eggs that were there initially. If the infestation is too severe, it may have to be done weekly for one or two treatments. This is not usual.
There are spot treatments that can be used, as well as some powders that are cat safe. Before administering any of these products to your cat, you should check with your veterinarian. Cat insecticides cannot generally be used on dogs, and vice versa.
Be sure to clean all of your grooming equipment regularly. This is true of home grooming supplies and especially true of supplies that are used by boarding facilities and rescues.
Remove all bedding. Wash or dispose of it to insure the prevention of re-infestation.
In the event that the infestation is so severe within your cat’s environment, it may be necessary to use a fogger in order to successfully eliminate the lice.
Any changes in your cats behavior needs to be addressed immediately. Whether it is an increase in scratching, Cat Lethargy or Cat Loss of Appetite, it should be noted and treated. Your precious cat cannot always tell you simply what is wrong.