Fleas, mites and ticks: some of the most common external parasites that try to live on and from your cat. Because this is exactly what those organisms do, they live at the cost of a member of a different species, feeding from them, and causing serious physical damage.
Ectoparasitoses are very common, both in animals that live in towns and cities and those that live in more rural areas.
The cat’s own daily grooming means that they get rid of the fleas that are bothering them and that for you are more difficult to find on their skin or amongst their fur.
The parasite that you are most often likely to find on your cat is the flea, which it will be difficult for you to get rid of once it has got into your home.
This happens because once they reproduce, not only do they find a home in your cat’s fur and feed off the blood that they find there, but also between the fibres of carpets and rugs, under furniture and white goods, or in shady areas if they are in a garden or exterior setting.
Some cats are not affected by this in any way. But others can suffer dermatitis from being allergic to flea bites and they can even get secondary infections, as well as suffering changes to their mood, distress, becoming a fussy eater, having unhealthy looking fur, colic and diarrhoea.
They cause feline scabies and cannot be seen by the naked eye. But because they get right into the deepest layers of skin, they give rise to inflammation as well as intense itching, wet scabs and fur loss. They prefer the areas around the head, neck and ears. If you suspect that your cat may have scabies, take it to the vet straight away to get confirmation of this (or not) and to determine a treatment plan.
Although not often found in domestic cats, they could appear in those that have access to the outdoors. They can cause severe infectious diseases, leading to symptoms like anaemia and loss of blood, which could prove serious if not stopped in time.
They can lodge in any part of the body, but primarily around the ears, on the head and between fingers and toes. If you find any in your cat’s fur, remove it immediately.
To do this, put on a pair of latex gloves, pour alcohol or oil onto the tick to debilitate it and, when it starts to give, extract it very carefully, making sure that no part of the tick remains in your cat’s skin. Afterwards, apply an appropriate product to your cat to prevent such parasites.