Fur Mites in Cats

Leigh Burkett, DVM
By Leigh Burkett, DVM on Nov. 23, 2021

In This Article


Fur Mites in Cats

Fur mites (Lynx acarus radovskyi) are parasites that live on cats’ hair shafts. They mainly cause a dull, dry hair coat. Most cats with fur mites are not itchy.

Infestations are rare and tend to occur in more tropical regions, such as Hawaii and the Florida Keys. 

Causes of Cat Fur Mites

Cat fur mites are not highly contagious. Infection occurs by direct contact with other infected cats or via recently contaminated environments or grooming tools.

Symptoms of Fur Mites in Cats

Fur mites most commonly affect a cat’s hind end. The mites and their eggs may affect your cat’s coat in these ways:

  • Salt-and-pepper appearance 

  • Dull coat

  • Dry coat

  • Rust-colored coat

  • Hair that falls out easily

The intensity of itching can vary greatly, depending on the severity of your cat’s allergic response. Other, extremely rare, symptoms of fur mites include: 

  • Gastrointestinal disturbances

  • Rectal irritation

  • Poor appetite

  • Restlessness

  • Fever

  • Weight loss

Diagnosing Fur Mites in Cats

A diagnosis of fur mites in cats is made by plucking hairs and examining them under a microscope, as the fur mites live attached to the hair shaft Your vet may collect hair samples with adhesive tape for microscopic examination. 

Treatment for Fur Mites in Cats

Most routine flea and tick medications should be effective against fur mites. All pets that have come into contact with an affected cat should be treated. Fur mites are not known to affect humans.

The environment may be treated with products approved for flea control. However, that step may not be necessary if your cat will be treated over 6-8 weeks.  

Recovery and Management of Fur Mites in Cats

Routine treatment with flea and tick preventatives should prevent reinfestation. 

Featured Image: iStock.com/foaloce

Leigh Burkett, DVM


Leigh Burkett, DVM


Dr. Leigh Burkett was born and raised in Northeast Tennessee. She received her undergraduate degree in Biology from Wake Forest University...

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