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Black, dirt-like dandruff on fur, small black bugs--what could this be?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
A week ago, I adopted a cat from a rescue/foster where he lived with four well cared for cats. He had been to the vet on 8/1 and his report stated they did not find fleas.

However, I've noticed he always seems to have small bits of a black, somewhat sticking substance on the fur between his eyes. After some research, I thought this might be feline acne and so went to clean his forehead a little while ago. In the deeper recesses of his fur, there was more of the black substance and suddenly, a wee bit of blood on the washcloth. As I went to look for the source of the bleeding, I found a small and somewhat hardshell black insect in a rush to burrow into other parts of his fur. I tweezed it off and pulled out a comb, but did only found one more creature--crushed and perhaps the source of the blood.

Does anyone know what this might be? My experience with parasites is limited to fleas on dogs and I remember them as being even tinier, black hopping dots. I'll be calling the vet in the morning, but if I'm overreacting and a flea bath is all that's in order, I'd like to get on that stat!

Thanks!
post #2 of 10
I'm not sure what it could be, but I'd save the insect for the vet to see if you can.

I had a tick on one of my RB girls before, but it was about the size of a pea. From what you have written I'm assuming it was not that big, but bigger than a flea? I hope it's nothing big!
post #3 of 10
It sounds like fleas. They come in different sizes. I've found very tiny brownish colored ones, and other larger ones that are black. I'm guessing that they are different stages or perhaps a different species of some sort.
The black dirt is flea poop, or that's what I'm guessing. If you take the dirt and get it wet, does it turn bloody?
I'd go to the vet and get some frontline for your kitty. OTC treatments for fleas can be very dangerous to pets. I gave a flea bath to one of my cats years ago and she started foaming at the mouth.
You should probably treat your house too. Ask your vet for the safest options.

Good luck!
Devlyn
post #4 of 10
is it possible it is a tick?
post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by dm82 View Post
My experience with parasites is limited to fleas on dogs and I remember them as being even tinier, black hopping dots.
Cat fleas (they also get on dogs) are actually larger then some fleas, like sand fleas.
They won't jump if they can run and burrow into the fur.
post #6 of 10
Sounds to me like fleas - they don't always jump, they can run to hide. And if you found blood, IMO that's another sign of fleas. The black on the fur is "flea dirt".

I don't know what vet said the cat had no fleas, but you might change vets
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thank you all. Sounds like fleas...just not the kind I've seen before. This also explains the light blood that appeared when i went to wash off the flea dirt. I will definitely be requesting the least toxic treatment and searching through the board for suggestions!
post #8 of 10
I once took my black vet in for appt. and said what is all this black
little pieces I got off her with this sticky roller. Vet: flea dirt (poop)
I'll prove it, takes flake and puts on white paper, takes rubbing alcohol
puts drop on it, it turns red, thats blood.
Yikes!!!! Put on the flea treatment and give me some to go....
Give me the Professional spray for the carpet, furniture, and can
I buy one of those flea combs you have.
I felt really stupid. Hey but I didnt know.
Now, her bed has a "white" cover
on it so I can see flea dirt the minute it falls off her., no more nasty
surprises. I also sometimes brush/comb her over white paper.
Hey, I previously had a white dog, and it was easy to see
fleas on their belly.
I am not one of those to over medicate, since I dont have dog, i dont buy
flea treatment unless I have a problem, which did occur one since then.
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Sounds a lot like this case. Seems so obvious once you know what that stuff is...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ms.Blackie View Post
I once took my black vet in for appt. and said what is all this black
little pieces I got off her with this sticky roller. Vet: flea dirt (poop)
I'll prove it, takes flake and puts on white paper, takes rubbing alcohol
puts drop on it, it turns red, thats blood.
Yikes!!!! Put on the flea treatment and give me some to go....
Give me the Professional spray for the carpet, furniture, and can
I buy one of those flea combs you have.
I felt really stupid. Hey but I didnt know.
Now, her bed has a "white" cover
on it so I can see flea dirt the minute it falls off her., no more nasty
surprises. I also sometimes brush/comb her over white paper.
Hey, I previously had a white dog, and it was easy to see
fleas on their belly.
I am not one of those to over medicate, since I dont have dog, i dont buy
flea treatment unless I have a problem, which did occur one since then.
post #10 of 10
Hey
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ms.Blackie View Post
I once took my black vet in for appt. and said what is all this black
little pieces I got off her with this sticky roller. Vet: flea dirt (poop)
I'll prove it, takes flake and puts on white paper, takes rubbing alcohol
puts drop on it, it turns red, thats blood.
Yikes!!!! Put on the flea treatment and give me some to go....
Give me the Professional spray for the carpet, furniture, and can
I buy one of those flea combs you have.
I felt really stupid. Hey but I didnt know.
Now, her bed has a "white" cover
on it so I can see flea dirt the minute it falls off her., no more nasty
surprises. I also sometimes brush/comb her over white paper.
Hey, I previously had a white dog, and it was easy to see
fleas on their belly.
I am not one of those to over medicate, since I dont have dog, i dont buy
flea treatment unless I have a problem, which did occur one since then.
:0 What really got me was this cat once was at vet for complete testing
for all kitty tests...., shots, worming.... and schedule for fixing.
I mentioned this is a complete stray I just caught after 4 months of coaxing.
Vet didn't mention flea treatment granted it was early spring, just after winter. Then my cat was completely shaved for fixing and still they didn't
tell me she had fleas. Grrr..All they had to say you want to apply flea
treatment, she has fleas, only costs $12.00. Needless to say I dont
use this vets office
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