Cat Lice


Getting Rid of Lice Index
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  • Pictures, Facts and Info about their Life Cycle and how they infect us!

Can Lice live on Cats
Lice on cats are fortunately uncommon, however cats can get lice and it is normally the cats that are really old, young or unhealthy (such as strays) that cannot groom themselves properly which are most vulnerable. If you are concerned that there are lice on your cats, you'll need to understand what they look like, how they can be identified, where they may have been caught (the source), how they can be killed and any harm they can cause to your loving pet. Some good news is that lice on cats do not generally spread to humans (or dogs); however they will move from cat to cat/kitten (host-specific) so if you have more than one cat at home, each one will need thoroughly checking and treating if live lice are found. Your local veterinarian will be able to assist should you find the task too difficult. Lice that are found on humans (body, head and pubic) are a different species.

Lice on Cats
Lice on cats (Felicola subrostratus) are small parasitic insects, that cannot jump, fly (wingless) or swim but they do have three pairs of legs which allow them to move/crawl quickly across skin and in fur. To get a better understanding of what lice look like, please visit our Pictures of Lice page. You should be able to see any lice that are on your cats if you conduct a thorough search. As they have three stages to their lifecycle (egg/nit, nymph and adult) you'll need to look for each one, as all three will need to be removed when you are treating your cats. Dandruff can be misinterpreted as eggs, as they are also white/yellow and can be found in the hair close to the skin. When the female adult lays her eggs, they are attached to the base of the hair with sticky saliva however even once the eggs hatch, the casing is left stuck in the hair. If movement is detected around these small white specs you'll know it's not dandruff you're dealing with.

Cat Lice Symptoms
Other signs and symptoms of lice on cats can include drying of the skin, itching (sometimes severe) where the bites have taken place, anaemia, hair loss and matted hair. These are more easily detected if you regularly groom your cats however for most of us signs will not appear until you see your cats scratching and biting their skin. To begin looking for lice on your cats, wear a pair of protective gloves and gently part the cats fur. Work in small sections all over the body, parting the fur and carefully looking for any signs. If possible get help from a friend or family member, as you may need the assistance of a magnified glass and torch to see lice/eggs if you have bad eyesight, which they can hold. A bowl of hot soapy water can be kept aside in case any live lice are found. These can be picked out and squashed or drowned. Any other utensils used to help look for lice on your cats should be thoroughly cleaned afterwards and before use on any other cats.

Chewing Lice on Cats

cat lice
Cat Lice Treatment
Once you have confirmed that your cats have a lice problem, treatments should be sought after quickly. As the lice that affect cats have a lifecycle of around 21 days, you may have to perform more than one treatment with a 7-10 day gap in between, but most products will explain this in their directions. Otherwise, your veterinarian will be able to confirm the best methods for ridding your cats of lice. You could begin by bathing your cats with a cat specific medicated shampoo (never use anything but cat products on your cats) - some say that flea and tick products may also work. Shampoos that contain Pyrethrin are recommended as they will target the eggs/nits as well as any adult lice (can be prescribed by your Veterinarian). Once the shampoo treatment has been applied, you may find using a lice comb useful to extract any dead lice or nits. Dry your cats thoroughly and then sprays, dips and dusts (with Pyrethrin) can be used to attack any lice that may have been missed. If your cats hair is matted, the coat may need to be trimmed to allow the products to work properly. Whilst these treatments are taking place (remember to apply to all cats simultaneously), your cats bedding can be washed on a high temperature and a good vacuum won't hurt. Once lice are removed from your cats, it will not be too long before they die naturally as lice need to live on their host to feed and survive.


Like other types of lice, cat lice bite and feed on their host's (your cats) blood. These bites can become infected if scratched or irritated so you should be looking to eradicate all lice on cats before it leads to further problems. Always wear gloves when looking for or treating lice on your cats - as these may protect you from bites and scratches from your cats as well as preventing any further infection to your cats. Lice on cats are usually transmitted through direct contact with another cat or perhaps by brushes/combs/bedding. If you have several cats, grooming instruments should be kept clean (disinfected) and if possible separate, to prevent spread.

Thousands of people search to find out about different types of parasites and how to get rid of them. Fortunately there are so many products available on line, you should be able to find what you want without too much of a problem. We hope that you have found this article a useful guide and that any questions you may have had have been answered. You will find that this website is a great resource, whether you are looking to learn more, purchase products or just seek some quiet information. Men, women, children, cats and dogs are all affected by these parasites and we hope you have located the treatment you may need, be it a comb, lotion, cream, medication or shampoo. Treatments and remedies should be sought after quickly and if you have pubic-lice you should seek medical advice so they cannot be spread to or infect others.

Head Lice on Cats

Biting Lice on Cats

  • Combs, Liquids, Lotions, Insecticides and Medication for control
  • Facts and Information about a body louse, head louse, hair louse and pubic louse
  • Can head lice live on cats? Remedies for felines!
  • Need pubic louse treatment? Find out what to do here
  • Worried about the Head Louse? Search our information on combs
  • Information on possible prevention methods, treatment and avoidance
  • What is a louse? Take a look at our Picture pages

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Lice on Cats - Getting Rid of Lice