Cats are active animals that love to play outside. In the process they can meet some very unsavoury characters. Today we are going to be talking about external parasites; things like fleas, ticks and mites.
Fleas are the most common of the external parasites that affect cats. Adult fleas live on the cat, laying eggs on the fur. These then fall off into the environment around the cat. After a few days these eggs hatch into a larvae, which hide in the carpet, cracks in the floor or any soft furnishings or bedding. They feed on dust and the droppings of adult fleas. After feeding for a while the larvae develop a cocoon, in which they can survive for several months. After this time they will hatch out of the cocoon as an adult flea and find a suitable host to feed on, even if it’s you! This is when the lifecycle starts again. Adult fleas can live for up to 3 months on the host, feeding and laying eggs.
Ticks are another parasite that commonly affects cats. They feed on blood and may attach onto a host for several days. They can spread disease through the saliva they secrete while feeding. Ticks develop in the environment and can survive for years in their immature form. They like to live in areas where there are wild animal to feed on during their development, especially forest, grass and moors. Your cat can pick up ticks while walking/hunting around these areas.
Many types of mite affect cats. These include ear mites, sarcoptic and demodectic mange and cheyletiella. These are less common parasites of cats but can still cause significant skin disease in your cat.
All these parasites can easily be prevented/treated with parasiticide treatments, available from reception at any of our surgeries. If you have any questions about which treatment is best for you and your cat our staff will be happy to advise you – please contact one of our branches at Hook Norton , Charlbury or Deddington.
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