Why can't anyone answer this?

Asked June 12, 2016, 3:39 PM EDT

I am reading about bird mites and keep seeing people ask if cats can get bird mites ("get" as in contract. not acquire) and the answers never address the part of the question that has to do with cats. It's always "see a physician", "vacuum your carpets", "wash your clothing". Yes, that's nice. But again CAN CATS GET BIRD MITES and what happens if they do!?!?! I'm not asking about outdoor cats. I don't need to know how people get bird mites in their homes. I'm not asking about bird mites getting on humans. CATS. Can cats get bird mites? How long can they survive on a CAT? Do you need to treat a CAT? Can the CAT get sick from BIRD MITES? Why doesn't google answer this and why does the person who responded to the man asking about bird mites ON THIS SITE IGNORE the part where he asks about his cats? Seriously?

1 Response

From what I've found it sounds like there are two major species of bird mites that are found in North America, Dermanyssus gallinae and Ornithonyssus sylvarium. I wasn't able to find much information on the Ornithonyssidiae species, but I did see that the Dermanyssus gallinae species are fairly non- specific as far as hosts go, and will feed on caged birds, humans, dogs, cats, and other mammals. In the absence of birds, it sounds like they can infest cats. I could not find any specific information on how long a mite could live on a cat.

In cats they cause skin irritation- redness, itching, crusting, and inflammation- many of the same signs that are seen with other mite or flea infestations. The irritation is most common on the back and extremities (legs and tail) of the cat. Other mites such as Cheyletiella, Notoedres, and Otodectes (ear mites) are much more common in cats and could present with similar signs.
Diagnosis made be made on a skin scraping and microscopic exam by a veterinarian.

These mites seem to be susceptible to treatment with most insecticides, and it was noted that one must treat all the animals and environment in order to eliminate them (and I would imagine the humans as well if they are affected). Because cats are particularly sensitive to many insecticides, it is important to make sure that anything that is used is safe for use on cats.

I recommend that you contact your veterinarian if you think your cat may be affected.

I hope this answers your questions.
Best wishes,
Nancy Dreschel, DVM, PhD

Reference- Grant, D.I. (1989). Parasitic skin diseases in cats. Journal of small animal practice. 30, 250-254.