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Cat Parasites

Cat parasites can include both internal and external parasites. By definition, a parasite is an organism that lives on another organism; often the parasite benefits while the host organism suffers in some way. On cats, external parasites (also known as ectoparasites) are usually more common than internal ones (called endoparasites).

Some common ectoparasites, or external parasites, include fleas, ticks, and mites. Fleas and ticks are blood-sucking insects that feed on cats, as well as on humans, dogs, and other animals. Along with causing your cat discomfort, fleas and ticks can carry diseases such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Fleas are extremely small, usually only around 1/16th to 1/8th inch. They are wingless insects with dark reddish-brown bodies. Their bodies are hard, making them difficult to crush. They have three pairs of legs, and are excellent jumpers. Ticks are actually arachnids, not insects. They can be soft- or hard-shelled. Ticks are also wingless, and have three pairs of legs when immature and four pairs when mature. Specially treated collars or topical treatments can be effective at preventing flea and tick infestations.