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Dr. John
Dr. John, Texas Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 11247
Experience:  Over 14 years of clinical veterinary experience
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My cat has small black bugs with wings. I have bathed him but

Customer Question

My cat has small black bugs with wings. I have bathed him but he is still scratching. Can you tell me what kind of bugs these are? He is an indoor cat and we picked him up as a stray 5 months ago. I would appreciate your help.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. John replied 7 years ago.
Hello. Thanks for writing in. Do these bugs move around very fast and jump? If you take a wet, paper towel and wipe very well around his tail, do you get a dark or reddish color?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

They don't jump just move around. I have found them in his belly and under his legs. At first I thought they were fleas but they are longer and seem to be black.

Expert:  Dr. John replied 7 years ago.
Do they move fast and are difficult to catch? What about wiping around his tail and rear end with a wet paper towel? Are there any black specs on his haircoat that look like dirt?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Yes I have found black specs which is why I thought he had fleas. The specs when wet are bloody. My cat is a shorthair gray and white cat so I can only see the bugs on his white coat. My concern is that I gave him Advantage with the wrong dose under 9 lbs and because of this the bugs haven't died.
Expert:  Terri replied 7 years ago.

Dear friend,


May God bless you for taking him in!!



What you are seeing may be a stage of flea or mite:


Advantage does not work right away regardless of the dose.


I am so sorry your babies are troubled with fleas. You dont need any harsh products.

You can see a comparison of flea products here

All you have to do is put down some Diatomaceous earth in your yard and a few pots in the house and you and your baby will never see another flea, fly, worm, etc.

Get it at a garden shop or online:

I am in Florida where fleas/bugs/worms are active 24/7/365 and it works like a charm for me.

I hope your baby gets relief very fast.

Best wishes,


Expert:  Dr. John replied 7 years ago.
Thanks for the information. Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. My computer crashed. You care definitely dealing with fleas. The black specs are flea dirt (actually feces). It is filled with dried blood, the reason they are red when wet. You have an environmental problem. That is why you are seeing the fleas. The Advantage may very well be working, but you won't see immediate kill of the adult fleas. In fact, you may be seeing them better because the medication is repelling them from the skin. When you see the fleas, you are about 3 months behind the problem. The adult fleas only make up 5% of the population. The other 95% are in the immature stages in the environment. You have to control this life cycle to fully control the flea problem. First and foremost, you have to make sure you treat the yard and house for fleas. You need to use something with an insect growth regulator. Pyriproxyfen is the best, XXXXX XXXXX may work as well. Then you need to treat all pets in and around the house every 2 weeks with Advantage for 3 months. It will take 3 months to get the problem under control. I would suggest using Vectra for flea prevention instead. It is a newer product and it has pyriproxyfen in it for insect growth regulation, so it will better help control the environment. Be patient. This is not an easy, overnight kill solution. It will take a couple months. Please let me know if you have any other questions. Hope this helps.