Can Cats Get Lice from Humans?

Lice are tiny, flightless insects that live in animals and people’s hair or feathers. The majority of lice, like the cat louse, bite or chew (Felicola subrostrata). Lice are most often found on elderly, longhaired cats that are unable to clean themselves. Lice infestations in cats and dogs are now uncommon due to the extensive use of monthly flea and tick prevention treatments. Infestations are most often found on sick, wild, stray, or shelter animals.

Lice live in the atmosphere that the skin and hair offer. Direct interaction enables them to switch from host to host. In temperate climates, lice are most common in the winter and difficult to come by in the summer. The majority of chewing lice have clear preferences for their hosts, preferring to live on either one or a few closely related species.

On their bodies, lice have claws that are designed to stick to fur. Females attach their nits (eggs) to the hairs of their hosts near the skin. The nits are firmly attached and will not be dislodged by regular shampooing. Most lice take 3 to 4 weeks to mature from nits to adults.

Lice infestations can cause skin irritation and the spread of infectious diseases (such as parasitic “worms”). Scratching, chewing, and rubbing of infested areas are the first signs that your cat might have lice. If there are several lice, the hair may be matted or absent. The cat may also seem distressed. The most common diagnosis method is to look for lice or, more likely, their eggs on the infected cat. Lice or eggs are often uncovered by parting the hair. Lice are alive and well and can be seen moving about in the fur. The eggs are almost oval in form, pale and translucent. It may be appropriate to use a magnifying glass or scope to see the eggs or lice.

Click here if you want to check the health of your cats infested with Lice.

How to remove lice from a cat’s coat?

Dislodging nits with a fine-toothed comb is a time-consuming operation that will not destroy lice that have hatched. Spot-on lice remedies, shampoos, collars, sprays, and specks of dust are most widely used on cats and other pets. Use an insecticide on your cat only after consulting with your veterinarian. Certain insecticides poison cats. Your veterinarian will prescribe a good control product for your cat and send you guidance on using it.

Lice that are dropped or pulled from the host die after a few days, but eggs can take up to three weeks to hatch. Thus, 7 to 10 days after the first injection, lice prevention procedures should be repeated. After you see the last louse, you can proceed to inspect your cat’s coat every day for at least two weeks. Be sure to properly catch any lice (dead or alive) that have been removed from your pet and dispose of them in a sealed jar as soon as possible (such as a zip-closure plastic bag). Other cats that come into contact with an infected cat should be treated to avoid the disease’s spread.

If your cat’s fur is matted or long, your veterinarian can suggest that you clip it to make care more accessible. Scratching can cause skin damage in cats with severe louse infestations. Scratching wounds and bacterial infections are common. Your veterinarian can prescribe antibiotics or other medications if these conditions are present. Your veterinarian will address any additional food or health problems.

You’ll want to make sure the lice aren’t infesting your cat’s bedding, collar, grooming equipment (such as bushes or combs), and other similar items in his or her area, in addition to killing the lice on your cat. Until the infestation is under control, bedding should be washed regularly in hot, soapy water or handled with an adequate spray. Cleaning and inspecting these items with care will help provide your pet with long-term relief from lice irritation.

Humans are not usually drawn to the lice that infest cats and other pets. Although it is essential to take care of the lice that have invaded your pet, owners should be aware that people rarely get lice from their pets.

If you’ve ever had head lice scare, you don’t want to go through it again. Only humans are affected by head lice, which are a notable species known as Pediculus humanus capitis. To put it another way, while lice can spread from one human family member to another, your pet cannot be the source of the issue.

Pets, on the other hand, do get lice – but a different kind. Continue reading to learn more about this itchy, irritating, and sometimes dangerous parasite.

Symptoms and Treatment

Now that you identify that lice are species-specific and that dog or cat lice will not infect your family, it’s time to learn how they spread. If you have several pets of the same breed, you’ll need to treat them all for lice if one becomes sick (regardless of whether they show any signs).


  • Scratching and chewing at the skin
  • Wiping face on the floor
  • Excessive skin redness
  • Scabs
  • Dehydration
  • Uneasiness
  • Loss of hair
  • Matted hair

When pets get lice, they are treated with a veterinarian-prescribed medical shampoo or topical. Although there are various products available, some are less successful than others.

We must also emphasize that certain chemicals used on dogs are incredibly harmful to cats. Never use a dog-specific product on a cat, and cats should not be present during application. Pets being treated for lice should be kept away from other animals and avoided going to dog parks. Adult lice would be killed in the first injection, but not the larvae. That’s why, for a given time, more than one application is needed.


Itching may signify various problems, and other parasites, allergies, or dermatological issues are often present. The better we can diagnose your pet, the sooner they will be free of chronic scratching pain and frustration.

As per the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 6 to 12 million head lice infestation cases occur each year in children aged 3 to 11 years old in the United States. But did you know that lice come in over 3000 different varieties, including donkey lice, chicken lice, and even whale lice? An array of lice organisms parasitizes domestic animals. Fortunately, lice are primarily host-specific, living on one species or a group of closely related species (, and therefore do not spread from one species to another. To put it another way, lice that live, eat, and breed on your pet are unable to survive on humans (and vice versa).

The kind found on the human head is the Pediculus humanus capitis, also known as the irritating little tenants who like to live in our hair. This species is not the same as the one on your cat or dog. Fortunately, unlike body lice, this head lice species that causes so much fear among school-aged children cannot live below the human head.

Lice Prevention

There are good lice prevention products that use essential oils, such as the Lice Clinics of America line of products sold in our clinics. These organic items can be used on pets as well as to repel other insects, such as mosquitoes. However, you should avoid using pesticides intended for other mammals in your family. The medication your veterinarian recommended to get rid of lice, ticks, or fleas on your dog or cat should never be used on humans.


A louse (plural lice) is a flightless insect that feeds on various animals’ blood or dander by living in their fur, skin, or feathers. The prevalent head lice that infect humans, for example, cannot feed on your dog because each form of lice is species-specific.

Lice are small, but they have a head, thorax, abdomen, and six legs, much like most insects. Lice reproduce by laying nits, which are similar to flea eggs. Nits are tiny white oblong eggs that look like dandruff and are often the first visible sign of an infestation. A nit takes about four weeks to mature into a reproducing adult louse.

Given the right conditions, dogs and cats, and pocket pets, certain birds, and livestock may become infected. Trichodectes canis and Linognathus setosus are two types of fleas found on dogs (and other canids). Felicola subrostratus, or cat lice, are only found in cats and do not harm humans.

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