Every Cat Logo

Ectoparasites of free-roaming domestic cats

Thomas JE, Staubus L, et al. Ectoparasites of free-roaming domestic cats in the central United States. Vet Parasitol. 2016 Sep 15;228:17-22.

Free roaming domestic cats are a valuable resource for study. While they live in the same environment as owned cats, they usually receive little if any veterinary care, including flea and tick control. These cats provide insight as to the ectoparasite populations that are a potential threat to all domestic cats. These investigators examined more than 650 feral cats that presented at a trap-neuter-release clinic in the central USA.

Ectoparasite prevalences on cats were as follows: fleas (71.6%), ticks (18.7%), lice (1.0%), fur mites (0.9%), and ear mites (19.3%). Immature tick stages accounted for 54.7% of all ticks found, highlighting an under-appreciated source of tick burden on domestic cats. Infestation was found in all months of the year sampled. These parasites in addition to being a health risk themselves often carry various infectious disease agents including bacterial pathogens. The results of this study emphasize the activity on domestic cats. (MK)

See also:
Akecuwich LH, Philman K, et al. Prevalence of ectoparasites in a population of feral cats from north central Florida during the summer. Vet Parasitol. 2002 Oct 16;109(1-2):129-39.