A parasite is an organism that lives in or on another organism.Parasites are dependant on other organisms for their survival.They derive food and nourishment from organisms which host them.The relationship between a parasite and its host favours the parasite while the latter doesnt benefit.
Parasites may be classified into two categories as follows:
1.External parasites – They live on organisms i.e externally e.g on fur and hair.Such parasites include Fleas, Ticks, Mites, Lice.
2.Internal parasites – They live within the organisms body e.g in the intestines, In the heart. Such parasites include Roundworms, Hookworms, Dirofilaria Immitis.
Parasites may seem harmless but if not checked and treated, they harm and damage their hosts health which may eventualy cause death. Cats are animals which can host various parasites within and on on their bodies.
Common external parasites which harm cats.
External parasites derive nourishment from Cats by sucking blood, water and other body fluids via the skin. They cause discomfort by irritating the skin. A parasite infested Cat will keep various parts of its body or shake its head from time to time. This is mainly because of the discomfort brought about by parasite infestation. External parasites are also responsible for transmitting several diseases and ailments to Cats.
The following are common parasites that live on Cats.
This mites invade the ear canals and areas that surround the ears. They are especially common in kittens. They are difficult to see since they are tiny and the use of a microscope may be required. A sign that your Cat is hosting earmites is that it will keep shaking its head from time to time or it will scratch about its ears due to the irritation caused by the earmites.
Serious earmites infestation may cause bleeding of the ear canals. Also, a Cat may scratch its ears to the point that it causes bleeding wounds around its ears.If not controlled and treated, earmites can damage the earcanal and eardrum causing partial or permanent hearing loss TO Cats.
They invade the Cats skin. They cannot be seen easily since they hide in the fur that coats Cats bodies. Fleas sometimes can be seen when you turn your Cat on its back. They can be identified as black or dark drown specks on the Cats belly. A sign that your Cat is Flea infested is excessive scratching on its body especally where the Fleas are bitting to suck blood. Fleas cause mild irritation to severe itching and Cat scratch disease. A Cat may also scratch itself to the point that it causes open sores on its skin. Flease may cause diseases such as Anaemia, Rickettsioss and plagues such as Bubonic, Septimetic and pneumonic plagues.
Cats are also infested by Ticks. They tend to attach themselves on soft areas such as on a Cats face or neck. Tick bites cause skin irritation, itching and scratching. They may also cause diseases such as Lyme disease, Babesios, Ehrliochisis and Anaemia.
The Larvae is deposited under the skins surface. This causes a hole over a lump that contains the Larvae. A sign that your Cat is infested is that one recognises a hole situated within a lump on the Cats skin or beneath its feet.