Cat Saved from Mite Attack

By Molly Christopher / Photography by Will Howell

Daniel the cat was difficult to look at. Swollen, with matted fur and eyes nearly closed, this white and orange spotted long-hair mix was, in a word, miserable.

When he arrived at Charleston Animal Society in the first week of January, it was clear he needed immediate medical attention. But what was causing him so much pain?

A few skin scrapes later, and with the help of a microscope, the culprits were found. Thousands of tiny mites eating away at Daniel’s skin – he had scabies.

“When we first saw him, he was so pitiful, but we knew we had to make the effort to save him,” said Charleston Animal Society Shelter Health Manager Nadia Siekert.

Little is known about his background or where he came from, but clinic staff believe Daniel was most likely a free roaming cat living in the Charleston County area before he arrived at the shelter. He likely caught scabies after rubbing up against another infected cat.

Scabies is an external parasite in which thousands of mites attack and tunnel into the skin. The infestation causes an array of symptoms, including killing off skin cells – leaving behind dry, crusty, dead skin.

“The thick buildup makes it hard for him to move and sometimes painful to be touched, so removing it can make it more comfortable for him to interact with people,” Charleston Animal Society Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Lucy Fuller said. “We have sedated Daniel and physically removed this buildup several times, leaving behind just sensitive skin.”


During his time at Charleston Animal Society, Daniel has undergone extensive treatment for his scabies diagnosis. Daniel’s team of clinic staff have given him antibiotics and persistently treated his skin to eradicate the mites. He also received regular baths to clear out the necrotic tissue stuck to his skin. “The baths physically remove the buildup of dead skin cells that accumulate,” according to Fuller.

As his treatment continues, Daniel the cat is feeling more comfortable and he is able to move around more easily, now that the mites have been killed off. Though his treatment is not finished, the medical staff is optimistic he will make a full recovery.

The treatment that Daniel is receiving at Charleston Animal Society is only possible because of generous donors, volunteers, and dedicated staff committed to the well-being of animals.


Daniel’s story is a reminder to all of us to remember that parasites can cause pets a lot of misery. “While scabies mites are not very common, fleas and ticks can also cause serious health problems,” said Dr.
Fuller. “That’s why it is so important to keep your pets on flea and tick prevention.”

Once Daniel’s recovery is complete, he will be placed for adoption and will hopefully be able to forget this difficult chapter in his life.