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Dr Scott Nimmo
Dr Scott Nimmo, Small Animal Veterinarian.
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20557
Experience:  BVMS, MRCVS. { Glasgow UK }
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where would my indoor cats possibly get mites?

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where would my indoor cats possibly get mites?
Hello and welcome.

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I am an experienced small animal veterinary surgeon, I will be very pleased to work with you today and I will try my best to answer to your question to your satisfaction. However to enable me to do so with accuracy I need a little more information, so before we start can you please answer the following ...

1. Have you actually seen any live mites on your cats?

2. Is just one cat affected or both?

3. Please list the symptoms you are seeing on both cats...

Then give me fifteen minutes or so to think things through, prepare an answer, and type things up. I will then get straight back to you and we can talk things over.


Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX In combing and brushing Cogent, I have not observed any live mites. What I have observed, however, is small, scab-like "things" attached to the roots of the hairs that I have brushed/combed movement with these observations. Maxine, her sister, has no such issues. Maxine is on a new diet of Hill's MD wet food. Cogent is still on dry food. My first indication of change with Cogent was small, bump-like "things" on her skin. After combing/brushing thoroughly, no bumps returned. No lesions, no open sores. No scratching of the ears or even of the skin. Unlike Maxine, at this time, no hair loss, and her coat is very thick. Appetite is normal, bowels, etc. normal, affect is normal, but she is obviously itching.

In review, about 10 days ago, I used a new cleaner to the wood floor. I don't know if this is significant, but I am considering all possibilities.

Additionally, no discharge from ears....I always had Collies in the past, and as outside pets, have dealt with ear mites, but as house cats, I am still trying to figure this out.

Thanks so much for your help! Embarassed

Hello again Fran and thanks for the quick reply

I have worked out an answer for you, please read it through and see what you think ...

1. Well if you are not seeing mites, perhaps they are not there! Lets go over what skin parasites are possible.

A. Fleas and lice : If you look carefully you will see movement and in most cases this will be very obvious. A hand lens of any sort would be a help here.

B. Other mites which can affect the skin of cats such as sarcoptes are very rare and hard to spot as they are microscopic. Your vet can run a skin scraping and examine it under the microscope. In this way you can rule out skin parasites.

2. So if it is not external parasites what is it next most likely that you are dealing with? : Well this would be allergic skin disease which is not uncommon in cats, your description of bumps and small scabs attached to the hair is fairly typical. { Also consider bacterial dermatitis }

3. What to do about it? : Well the first thing to say is that though uncomfortable for your cats and perhaps a bit unsightly this is rarely a dangerous situation, while it has to be sorted out it is almost always a trivial condition.

A good first approach would be treating them with the likes of Frontline to exclude the possibility of external parasites, a course of a good skin antibiotic to take care of secondary infections and exclude the possibility of a bacterial dermatitis and short course of an anti-allergy / inflammatory drug such as a steroid shot.

The above is often enough to settle things down but if it continues further diagnostic tests may be needed.

I hope I have covered your question fully enough but if you would like further clarification or to talk things over a bit more then I will be on-line for the next hour or so and I will be more than pleased to continue working with you.


Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX help. Dr. Scott. Just wondering how in the world, if lice are the issue, could this occur? As a retired teacher of young children, I have also dealt with lice in children....just can't figure out how house cats can acquire or be exposed to lice. I do agree, a very early morning visit to the vet on Monday will be indicated.


Let's just hope and pray it is nothing so menacing! She needs some relief, for sure. I will advise you of the diagnosis on Monday.



Hello again Fran,

Well as I say it is possible that this not external parasites such as lice etc. but when this is what you are dealing with sometimes it is very hard to know where they suddenly spring from! But I agree it would be an unlikely diagnosis in house cats which never mix with other cats.

I will contact you in two or three days to see how things are going ...

Good luck,

Dr Scott Nimmo and other Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Many sincere thanks, XXXXX XXXXX! I look forward to the follow-up and hopefully the mystery will be solved.


Good evening and take care!




Hello again Fran,

Just a short note to thank you very much for the good rating, this is very much appreciated. I will get back in touch with you in a few days to check on your cat's progress.

Kindest regards,


If I can ever advise you at any future point then you can contact me directly via this LINK
{ Please bookmark it }
Hello again Fran,

I am just getting back in touch to see how your cats are getting on.

How are things going at present?


Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Good day, Dr. Nimmo!

I took Cogent to the vet and he couldn't find any live fleas, but decided to treat this condition with both Cogent and Maxine (I took Maxine in the next day.) using Revolution. He decided to do this by taking a scab, placing it on a wet cotton ball, and after 10 minutes, if there were any signs of blood (Cogent's scab showed some indication of blood, but very little.), hence the decision to treat them for fleas, though he felt if there were fleas, there were/are very few of them. Additionally, he gave Cogent a shot of antibiotics. Maxine had also had a shot, previously. I have observed that they aren't scratching as often. I also administered the Revolution. This is to be given once a month to both cats.

Upon asking if I need to treat my home, he said no, because it appeared that if they do have fleas, there are very few and since both are on the Revolution, there would be no host that had any fleas.

Again, many thanks for your help!


Take care,

Fran Rowe


Hello again Fran,

Thanks so much for the update, I hope things continue to improve ...