Types of Bugs Found on Cats

Updated March 22, 2017

While you will not likely see your cat being bitten, it is important to know and understand the various bugs that can be found on your cat. Cats that like to be outside and enjoy chasing bugs are especially at risk because the insects tend to strike back as a defence mechanism. This way you can identify the best action plan after it has happened.


Fleas are the most common pest to invade your cat. These tiny, wingless insects are external parasites that bite cat's skin and feed upon its blood. A flea bite contains saliva that causes an irritation. Signs of a flea bite include scratching and biting at the head, neck and stomach. At times, fleas may be visible moving around on the cat's skin. Cats that are hypersensitive or allergic to flea bites may excessively scratch and bite at themselves to try and get rid of the problem. In the worst case scenario, these cats are at risk at developing skin disease and lip ulcers.

Ear Mites

Ear mites rest in a cat's ear canal and can be identified by a dark build-up of black crud that resembles burnt coffee grounds. This crud is a combination of blood, oils, ear was, ear mites and waste products from the parasites. Ear mites are invisible to the human naked eye. They live inside the ear. A kitty with ear mites may cause a feline frenzy; the cat might aggressively bite its tail or viciously scratch at its ears. Ear mites are also very contagious among pets. In a multi-pet home, if one cat has mites, then it is likely that all of the pets do as well.


Ticks are small parasites that feed on blood when they attach themselves to your cat. Outdoor kitties are especially susceptible to ticks, particularly those that live near wooded areas. Ticks can attach themselves to a host animal for days, wiaint to fill its sac before dropping off to reproduce. Many tick bites are harmless, but some ticks carry serious disease, like lime disease. Diseased ticks infect their host by injecting saliva into the skin. Ticks found on your cat should be removed immediately.


Though uncommon in house cats, maggots can be found on outdoor or stray felines. Flies are attracted to a wound discharge or diarrhoea and may lay eggs in the fur of your cat. The maggots then burrow into the skin and form tunnels. Some of these tunnels can be very long, and they also produce toxins that can be absorbed into the cat's bloodstream, causing blood poisoning. If you find a maggot infestation on your kitty, attempt to clean the area and make an appointment with your veternarian for a follow up exam.

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About the Author

Leah Williams has written for many newspapers, magazines, blogs and websites, including the "Mt. Vernon Register-News" and "Nightlife." She has her bachelor's degree in journalism from Southern Illinois University and is now working on her graduate degree. Williams likes to write about parenting, arts and entertainment, education and features.