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View Full Version : Ok so there are "things" crawling on my cat


MonkeyMule
12-03-2006, 12:16 AM
There are these small bugs on my cat. I took her to the vet, when I first saw these things, but I guess I jumped the gun because she didn't find anything on her. NOt even flea dirt.

Now flash foward a month, flea dirt all over the place and small BUGS on my cat. they look like small centipide things, with less legs. Not flea looking things, and they move by crawling. I've been trying to catch one so I can take her back to the vet and show them what the hell these things are. But I can't get one.

Long story short, I want these things gone! My cat is 15 and way to old for this crap! And I have no idea where they came from, though the new place has a out side door in the back bed room, maybe they came in that way.

ANyway long soty made short. I want some advice to get rid of these things. Hoppfylly advice that does not involve a body of water, as Frisky (Cat in question) will murder me if I try that.

SO dopers, best way to get rid of an unknown kind of parasite on a cat.

Q.E.D.
12-03-2006, 12:27 AM
I suggest Frontline. The active ingredient is Fipronil, which accumulates in the cat's hair follicles within a day or two following application. It's a fast-acting neurotoxin which is effective for nearly any insect infestation, including fleas and ticks. I don't know what it is your cat has, but it's a good bet Frontline can kill them.

Sailboat
12-03-2006, 02:03 AM
Do they look like cat lice? (http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.astrographics.com/GalleryPrints/Display/GP2106.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.astrographics.com/GalleryPrintsIndex/GP2106.html&h=360&w=360&sz=10&hl=en&start=3&tbnid=m9aoPu83Ktn1BM:&tbnh=121&tbnw=121&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dcat%2Blouse%26svnum%3D10%26hl%3Den%26lr%3D%26sa%3DG)

Sailboat

MadTheSwine
12-03-2006, 03:07 AM
Do they look like a piece of cooked white rice?

MadTheSwine
12-03-2006, 03:09 AM
Never mind,the rice looking things are easy to catch.

JillGat
12-03-2006, 03:43 AM
Sounds like Morgellons disease to me. I didn't know cats could get it.

Dragwyr
12-03-2006, 09:00 PM
They could be flea larvae. After a little time, they will turn into fleas. Best be getting it taken care of or you will end up with an infestation as we did this past summer.

StarvingButStrong
12-03-2006, 09:08 PM
Chemicals and baths work, but they're hard on the kitty and your skin. :(

Have you tried a flea comb? Little metal comb with close set teeth. All you have to do is comb your cat, thoroughly, once a day. Do it near a sink/bowl with a couple of inches of water with a little detergent (not soap, use dish washing detergent) in it. Comb, comb, comb. You'll collect lots of hair plus any livestock -- pull that off the comb and drop it into the detergent water. (The detergent helps the livestock drown instead of floating.)

Work your way over the cat thoroughly, from head to tail. Don't forget the bellly and inner thighs, and take special care at rump/tail base because lots of bugs like to hang out there.

Do it every day for at least three weeks -- time enough for all eggs to hatch and (hopefully) no new ones get to adulthood to lay more.


One bonus: your cat will shed a whole lot less.

Good luck!

Archergal
12-03-2006, 09:11 PM
I haven't seent his myself (knock wood), but apparently there's some kind of parasite called walking dandruff. (http://www.lclarkecushingvmd.com/showpracfaq.cfm?FAQID=171&Private=0) Also known as Cheyletiellosis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walking_dandruff).

JillGat
12-04-2006, 12:37 AM
Has anyone else seen these bugs besides you?

I wouldn't treat the cat until you've had the problem diagnosed.

JillGat
12-04-2006, 01:28 AM
What I mean to say is; are you sure this isn't Delusional Parasitosis?

Q.E.D.
12-04-2006, 11:44 AM
Copious flea dirt is not generally a symptom of an imaginary infestation, Jill.

JillGat
12-04-2006, 04:51 PM
Well, the vet didn't see anything. So my questions stands: has anyone else seen evidence of this parasite?
(What the hell is "flea dirt," anyway?)

Archergal
12-04-2006, 05:01 PM
Flea dirt is a polite name for flea shit. If you use a flea comb like StarvingButStrong mentions, you'll see it in the comb as little brown stuff that looks like dirt, kinda. Since it's made from blood the flea has eaten, it tints water sorta reddish brown if it gets wet.

WhyNot
12-04-2006, 05:40 PM
...and flea dirt won't be noticeable until well into an infestation. When there are just one or two bugs (the instigators that Kitty or owner brought in), there's not enough stuff built up to notice. Only after a few days or weeks, when their eggs have hatched and there are more bugs will there be noticeable dirt, nits (egg cases) and bugs.

So it's possible the OP took the cat in right when he'd picked up bugs, but they'd not yet fully "moved in and set up house", so the vet couldn't find them.

I think it's time for another vet visit, and this time if the vet finds nothing, Jill's idea might be more likely.

Archergal
12-04-2006, 05:48 PM
...and flea dirt won't be noticeable until well into an infestation. When there are just one or two bugs (the instigators that Kitty or owner brought in), there's not enough stuff built up to notice.
Yup, I found this out just this year. I went to the vet with an itchy dog, SWEARING up and down that he did NOT have fleas. I'd gone over him lightly with a flea comb, looking for flea dirt and stuff, and didn't find anything. After insisting to the vet tech that he didn't have fleas, the vet came in and examined him. And she found a flea. :smack: And if there's one flea, there's several, whether I saw them or not.

I felt stupid. So yes, you can have the beginnings of an infestation without much in the way of overt signs.

But my dog's bugs were definitely fleas. I know there are numerous kinds of mites that can infest our pets. Many of them are microscopic though.

JillGat
12-04-2006, 05:53 PM
You guys are taking this guy's side.
He is either an alert, concerned pet owner who will appropriately treat his cat's flea infestation with Frontline, or he's a nutjob who has been sufficiently egged on by the SDMB to dip his phantom-flea-ridden cat in bleach and light him on fire with a blowtorch. We may never know.

WhyNot
12-04-2006, 06:04 PM
You guys are taking this guy's side.
He is either an alert, concerned pet owner who will appropriately treat his cat's flea infestation with Frontline, or he's a nutjob who has been sufficiently egged on by the SDMB to dip his phantom-flea-ridden cat in bleach and light him on fire with a blowtorch. We may never know.
What the hell?

No, we're just not assuming facts not in evidence. We're suggesting that the vet may have been in error without being incompetent, and suggesting that the cat get checked out by a trained professional again.

Or do you have access to some other thread about bleach and blowtorches that I missed?

Caridwen
12-04-2006, 06:09 PM
Is that a joke?

He/she is a nutjob because she initially saw some sort of insect and the vet didn't?

Interesting. I hope you don't have the same sort of faith in physicians as you do vets.

Archergal
12-04-2006, 06:14 PM
What I mean to say is; are you sure this isn't Delusional Parasitosis?
:confused:
Why would you think the OP is delusional about this?
:confused:

teela brown
12-04-2006, 06:16 PM
When I first saw flea larvae (http://cal.vet.upenn.edu/paraav/images/lab9-5f.jpg) in my pugs' carrier, under the bed pad, I couldn't for the life of me figure out what they were. I didn't realize that there was a nasty, centipede-like (but very small) larval form of fleas.

If these critters are tiny, MonkeyMule, and look like the linked image, maybe that's your culprit.

xbuckeye
12-04-2006, 06:38 PM
I second Frontline. And I second treating immediately. Frontline is a preventative as well as a treatment so no harm done if they are fleas or aren't even there (really? that seems so inappropriate an accusation). Vets often don't see light infestations because the evidence is slight and usually episodic. Combing won't get you very far since I've seen fleas crawl into the anus of an animal. Good luck combing that thoroughly. You should also vacuum nearly obsessively in areas where the cat sleeps and take the resulting material outside your home immediately is you think they are in your home. If you can get flea powder from your vet, you can treat the doorway where you think they might be getting in and treat the cats bedding.

kaiwik
12-04-2006, 10:09 PM
Above all else I strongly advise another trip to the vet. While it sounds like fleas to me, with an older cat I would want to be certain that any information I received from a message board, relatives, friends or others is appropriate for your particular cat. Age poses obstacles that a younger animal may not have issues with.

I treated both my dogs and cats with Frontline Plus, per my veterinarian's advice during a flea infestation. It is important not to use flea baths, powders, sprays, etc. intended for dogs on cats, felines do not tolerate the same chemicals as canines. Just as important in addition to vacuuming/ shampooing any carpeted areas, is also washing in hot water any bedding, pillows and other fabrics which the cat has contact with.

Fleas have a 10 day reproduction cycle. If your cat is an only pet, as well as an indoor cat, one dose should be sufficient. Otherwise I would ask your vet his/her recommendation on frequency of treatment. As we do not naturally have fleas here, my infestation came from a dog I obtained from out of state. Three months of Frontline Plus, along with a thorough housecleaning and laundry, and the problem was gone, and I haven't had a problem since.

SmartAleq
12-05-2006, 12:12 AM
Frontline is all that, but I've had major league success with Revolution (http://www.deadfleaz.com/home.php?cat=5) since one of my cats is indoor/outdoor and is very susceptible to ear mites. Revolution gets rid of ear mites and also takes care of heartworm--not sure if I'd trust it completely if I were still living in the Sacramento Valley, but for Oregon it's more than adequate. It also takes care of worms in cats as well. One cat doesn't react to it any differently than he did to Frontline, the other one carries on like he's been shot whenever we put it on him, but he's a big old drama queen who can't handle getting shots, either. Not too spendy, as well...

Dangerosa
12-05-2006, 07:30 AM
I don't have cats, I have guinea pigs. About two years ago one of them was scratching themselves sore. So to the vet we go. No mites. No fungus. Get a perscription, leave. Piggy heals up. For a few months and we start again. Still no mites, no fungus, get a perscription (antibiotic and steriod) leave, piggy heals up. Back again, this time perscriptions doesn't do much and the miserable piggy is so scratchy he's convulsing. Back again - by now I'm sure there are mites we haven't found. The vet finally finds mites!!!! Not many, apparently I have a very mite allergic guinea pig. Treat appropriately, healthy cavy.

Sometimes parasites can be very hard to locate.

But I also suggest the vet trip. You don't want to spread pesticides on an animal that target the wrong pests.

Mangetout
12-05-2006, 07:47 AM
You guys are taking this guy's side.
He is either an alert, concerned pet owner who will appropriately treat his cat's flea infestation with Frontline,...Which, as far as I can tell, is all anybody has recommended here.

... or he's a nutjob...Assumption based on what, exactly?

...who has been sufficiently egged on by the SDMB to dip his phantom-flea-ridden cat in bleach and light him on fire with a blowtorch.Which, as far as I can tell, nobody has even come close to suggesting, let alone 'egging on'.

Sheesh. It's not as if cats hardly ever get fleas.

SkipMagic
12-05-2006, 09:12 AM
... or he's a nutjob who has been sufficiently egged on by the SDMB to dip his phantom-flea-ridden cat in bleach and light him on fire with a blowtorch. We may never know.
I'm not sure what's riled you up so much about this, JillGat, but you've been here long enough to know that insults are not allowed outside of the Pit. Please don't do this again.

MonkeyMule
12-06-2006, 04:19 PM
Well thanks alot guys. I'm going to go get the flea comb ethier tonight or on my way to work in the morning. I'll also ask the vet (there is a pet shop not to far from me that has a staff Vet, don't you just love Brooklyn?) And a flea collar. The front line stuff will have to wait till the weekend when I can get Frisky over there.

Oh and as for the dousing her in bleach and setting her on fire thing, I think it was made very clear that my cat has a huge fear or water (like most cats) and she'd claw my eyes out before I could even thing to reach for the blowtorch. So yeah, not gonna happen.

And I'm not insane! she's itching herself red on her belly. SO there! loony :p

MonkeyMule
12-06-2006, 04:21 PM
flea larvae (http://cal.vet.upenn.edu/paraav/images/lab9-5f.jpg)


YES!! That is what I saw!!!!

THank god! Now I know what the hell those things are!!

You're a saviour!

koeeoaddi
12-06-2006, 04:37 PM
Well thanks alot guys. I'm going to go get the flea comb ethier tonight or on my way to work in the morning. I'll also ask the vet (there is a pet shop not to far from me that has a staff Vet, don't you just love Brooklyn?) And a flea collar. The front line stuff will have to wait till the weekend when I can get Frisky over there.

Oh and as for the dousing her in bleach and setting her on fire thing, I think it was made very clear that my cat has a huge fear or water (like most cats) and she'd claw my eyes out before I could even thing to reach for the blowtorch. So yeah, not gonna happen.

And I'm not insane! she's itching herself red on her belly. SO there! loony :p
Please stay away fro the OTC flea stuff. I used a pyrethyn based flea spray on my cats a couple of years ago and one of them got quite ill. My vet told me that even though the label clearly says the stuff is safe dogs and cats. It really isn't.

I'd just use the comb until you can take him back to the vet.

Tupug Anachi
12-06-2006, 04:41 PM
Well thanks alot guys. I'm going to go get the flea comb ethier tonight or on my way to work in the morning. I'll also ask the vet (there is a pet shop not to far from me that has a staff Vet, don't you just love Brooklyn?) And a flea collar. The front line stuff will have to wait till the weekend when I can get Frisky over there.

Do not combine Frontline with a flea collar. Not sure where you live, but here you can buy Frontline online, at certain pet shops, or direct from a vet and dose kitty yourself. It's very easy to apply.

Q.E.D.
12-06-2006, 04:47 PM
Flea collars do little or nothing for an extant infestation, and as stated earlier, the permethrin-based pet shop preparations like Hartz are worthless; they don't work well (if at all) and they carry a high risk potential for neurological damage to kitty. You can buy Frontline online, even on eBay--it'll be worth the wait of a few extra days, believe me.

JillGat
12-06-2006, 05:28 PM
Is that a joke?

He/she is a nutjob because she initially saw some sort of insect and the vet didn't?

Interesting. I hope you don't have the same sort of faith in physicians as you do vets.

I did not mean to insult the OP and I am not riled up about this. I just happen to have seen a couple of people in the clinic with delusional parasitosis, also known as Morgellon's Disease. I believe there was even a Straight Dope column about this interesting diagnosis, in which people are convinced they have parasites, but no one else can see them. It's not that uncommon (do a websearch and you'll find some wild stuff), though I haven't seen it transferred to people's pets.

As a general rule, I think it's best not to diagnose and recommend treatments to people online, especially if a healthcare provider didn't find the problem.

xbuckeye
12-06-2006, 05:30 PM
Flea collars do little or nothing for an extant infestation, and as stated earlier, the permethrin-based pet shop preparations like Hartz are worthless; they don't work well (if at all) and they carry a high risk potential for neurological damage to kitty. You can buy Frontline online, even on eBay--it'll be worth the wait of a few extra days, believe me.
Ditto. Before Advantage and Frontline we dipped dogs and cats for fleas every month even though they were wearing flea collars. Frontline should be available at the pet store. Advantage will work fine on fleas, too, but Frontline is more broad spectrum against fleas, ticks, some intestinal parasites and IIRC lasts longer. Permethrin can kill cats, pyrethrin should be OK, but some (very, very few) cats are allergic to pyrethrin shampoos. The day we had to tell a pet owner that we killed their cat bathing it was a very very very bad day. Read the instruction carefully and weight your cat because they come in weight classes, over and under 9#, IIRC.

Glad to hear the blow torch treatment is out, I was watching for you on the news.

JillGat
12-06-2006, 05:55 PM
Here's the SD column I referred to: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/000623.html

I'm glad MonkeyMule found the problem. I have to admit the "small centipede-things with less legs" description is what made me wonder!?


And yes, Skip, I've been around for a while. I'm pretty sure I was the 2nd or 3rd person to post on the original SDMB, so it would be quite humiliating to be banned for naughty language now!

MonkeyMule
12-09-2006, 04:25 PM
Ok so I went to the pet shop and got the Frontline stuff. IT was 10 bucks an application with each application lasting for 30 days. I also got a new brush, we lost the old one a few motnhs back when we moved.

I've got 100% confermation on the fleas as one was on the bed after I'd brushed the cat. He shall trouble us no more however. BTW I knew it was a flea caus eit was a small bug like thing that jumped about 20 times its size when I first poked at it.

Anyway with the bruishing and the Frontline. and me washing everything in the room, we should be able to get this undercontrol rather quickly. The door in the room where I think they came in is getting a new doorsweep to try and keep insects out. And I hopefully won't have to go through this again.

THanks to everyone for the advice, and a big thank you to teela brown for that flea larva pic. I swear I thought that my cat had some Alien in festation! SOmething like fleas is much easier to handle. anyway, again thanks to everyone and Frisky would say thank you too, but she doesn't like people cept me. SO I'll just say it for her. :D

Archergal
12-09-2006, 04:34 PM
MonkeyMule, if you have carpets, you should also vacuum often and then get rid of the vacuum cleaner bags. Flea eggs and larvae can live in the carpet, and they'll hatch and reinfest till you get rid of all of them. They can also hatch from inside the vacuum cleaner bag.

Glad you got the treatment!

MonkeyMule
12-09-2006, 05:43 PM
OK this stuff works FAST! I put the treatment on her around 1pm after a quick brushdown. She still sheading alot, so I figgured I give her another one, just to get the rest of the loose hairs and whatever buggies fall out to. BAD IDEA. The fleas are highly aggicated and I guess moving around alot casue she's really sensitive now. I saw about half a dozen of the buggers which is more then I've ever seen since this crap started. before the frontline I'd see one or 2 larva at the most. well now I'm seeing groups of 2 or three all over her body and they are really worked up. I hope this means that come morning most of the adluts will be dead and my kitty will get back to sleeping on my shirts with out sctraching herself raw.

Elysium
12-09-2006, 06:54 PM
Just a note, after applying frontline or other topical products you must not touch the area or further remove the product for 24 hours. It takes a full 24 hours for the product to get from between the shoulders (where applications are recommended) through the dermis throughout the body. So it's best NOT to brush immediately after, as you are likely going to remove the product before it has a chance to work its way through.

But don't let that convice you to just re-apply. Check with the Vet first.

Q.E.D.
12-10-2006, 01:45 AM
But don't let that convice you to just re-apply. Check with the Vet first.
Let me restate that for you, if you don't mind: Don't re-apply until you've checked with the vet first, if you brushed the area shortly after using the Frontline. You'll also want to use the full three month's supply, since the flea life cycle can be as long as 75 days, to make sure they won't come back. Good luck with kitty!

MonkeyMule
12-15-2006, 11:12 AM
***UPDATE***

Here we are about 7 days since I gave my cat the frontline treatment. And Guess what? she's down to zero flea dirt! I still see her biteing at her leg a bit, but its only when she's bathing and is very infrequent. I didn't reapply the frontline as QED and Elysium
advised, and its working out well.

Thanks to everybody for your advice, I now have a very health flea free kitty and I'll keep applying the front line for the next 2 months to keep her that way.

MM

Caridwen
12-15-2006, 07:29 PM
My dog is never really without Frontline. I probably use it every 2-3 months in the winter, but monthly in spring & summer.

Q.E.D.
12-16-2006, 11:22 AM
[Thanks to everybody for your advice, I now have a very health flea free kitty and I'll keep applying the front line for the next 2 months to keep her that way.
Glad to hear it! Pepper and I are very big fans of Frontline, that's for sure. I notice that when she had the fleas, she was considerably less playful than she used to be, but after the Frontline started working, it was like she was suddenly a kitten again. Clearly, the fleas were making her miserable; I don't know how feral cats stand it!