I think my cat is transferring chiggers to me

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rawlins02

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All i know is i had horribly itchy red spots for weeks!
For me each bite itches for around 3-10 days (25-75th percentile of distribution). Some for over a month. A friend said that my body is not healing them. In such cases a steroid injection is often given. But what does one do when this is an ongoing problem?

The expert advice that I've read says don't spray an insecticide unless you are sure of what you're dealing with, and where they are. Chiggers are highly localized; one person can be attacked in a given area while another nearby often goes unscathed. My black cardboard test yesterday for presence was negative in several spots. I'm not going to apply chemicals over a quarter acre. I'll stick to using diatomaceous earth in suspect areas. This piece is consistent with most of the research I've read:

3 Way to Get Rid of Chiggers

I've done or am doing each. Later today I'll cover that vegetation with black plastic tarp to kill it. Landscape management is the first line of defense. If it's indeed chiggers (I saw the tiny pink dots one time around July 1), then I've got them in my crosshairs. You can run but you can't hide!
 
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rawlins02

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You could have had a reaction to them. With any insect bites, they can heal at very different paces between different people. Some people have issues with mosquito bites lasting for a long time.
Indeed. Well said.
 
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rawlins02

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That's a common misconception that has turned into a myth about chiggers.

The bite does not start to itch or swell until after they have dropped off.
There is conflicting information about this online. Many articles I've read state that itch will begin several hours after the digestive enzyme hits the skin.
Chiggers Information | Mount Sinai - New York

The chiggers are often scratched off at that point. That's been my approach; a light scratch at first sign of itch. Then no more so as to avoid breaking the skin.
 

fionasmom

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I was also told that there is a digestive enzyme at play. I am sure that you are being cautious, but my doctor said that while the bites itch she was more concerned about an infection from scratching.
 

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I grew up in an area with tons of woods and fields to explore, and as a kid I spent all my time out there without ever bothering with insect repellent. I was bitten/stung all the time by everything from mosquitoes to spiders to wasps to fire ants, and I guess it never seemed to bother me much.

But now I live in the city and I've grown much more annoyed by bugs. The worst experience I ever had was with bed bugs... not in my own home, but after staying in a hotel. I was freaking out over it and wanted to burn my luggage with all my clothes in it. When I got home I was super-paranoid... everything I own went into the wash immediately, and for at least a week I was obsessively examining my mattress with a magnifying glass and a flashlight.

I couldn't sleep right for a long time after that incident. And the hotel experience is basically ruined for me now. I can never be comfortable in one again.
 
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rawlins02

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I was also told that there is a digestive enzyme at play. I am sure that you are being cautious, but my doctor said that while the bites itch she was more concerned about an infection from scratching.
I agree. More recently it's more of a rub when itch first arises, hoping to dislodge the bugger.
 
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rawlins02

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Two new itchy red spots today, first in 3 weeks. I was away from home for the past 3 days. Lexi walked the yard for first time in 4. I haven't been near vegetation. This evening I sat for two hours right where she often naps, with her on my lap.
 

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We have had a resurgence here as well. Not as bad as it was, but I had to apply Revolution to the cats this morning. Usually I don't have to do it this late in the year.
 
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rawlins02

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We have had a resurgence here as well. Not as bad as it was, but I had to apply Revolution to the cats this morning. Usually I don't have to do it this late in the year.
A warming climate will do that.
 
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rawlins02

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Hate to mention it, but have you checked for bedbugs?
Yes. That was the first check. Still don't see any. And bites are all on lower body, and in sporadic places. From what I understand bed bugs tend to bite upper body, and marks usually appear in a line. Moreover there have been far far fewer as I've spent less time in the yard, and as the weather has cooled. All that said, the origin for the most recent bite is unclear. I really do think a chigger got into me from my sitting where the cat does
 
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rawlins02

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I just spoke with our new vet. He said it's entirely plausible that chiggars can transfer from a cat's coat to human leg. He stated that a chiggar will prefer a body that does not have a lot of hair. It makes perfect sense that I had many bites on my right leg, the one Lexi typically rubs against when I prepare her meals, especially back when the yard had many chiggars a few months ago before I intervened. No surprise she is scratching more lately, even on Revolution Plus. They bite and then die

Given this vets expertise in dealing with parasites in this region, I can confidently say it's wise to refute the hypothesis that chiggars crawling on the coat of a cat will not transfer to a human. He also said climate warming is increasing the prevalence of chiggars, ticks, and fleas in many regions of the U.S.
 

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That sounds entirely logical to me. We are still having some fleas, even today, as the weather here is back up to the 90s. One of my cats actually tested positive for bartonella which has never happened here in my entire life. Side discussion, but I got the big warning from the vet that if he scratched me, I could get cat scratch fever. It has been an incredibly rough year with these parasites.
 
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rawlins02

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Sorry to hear that. Must be ever vigilant with these parasites.
 
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rawlins02

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Today the owner of a local pest company said it was irresponsible to consider yard treatment. "My neighbor said she was bitten by them and got relief from yard treatment." So what, said he. "I have what look like and feel like chiggar bites." Get a diagnosis from an MD, said he. "I've seen tiny pink dots crawling on black cardboard." Well then, bring them to me for inspection.

I'm fine with the skepticism. It's the yelling and indignation that "bugs" me. And that was the second time today I was scolded when asking questions of a pest control rep.

Looking forward to seeing an MD after 10 week wait for new patient appointment. Probably should have gone to urgent care long ago. Live and learn ;)
 

fionasmom

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This pest control guy does not want to do a job that would bring in money for his company? If nothing else?
 
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rawlins02

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I'll admit that research suggest that chemical treatments for chiggers often have limited effectiveness for a short time. Best done in spring. Landscape management is most important means of control. The condescension and arrogance was my main beef. I sought to engage in an informed discussion and was met with indignation.

Interestingly a neighbor today told me someone else nearby has been suffering from very itchy red spots of an unknown origin.

In two days we're seeing a new vet nearby for first time appointment. Will discuss. Four days later going to existing vet an hour away for annual physical. Around here you need to have established relationships with several to hope to get in soon if needed.
 

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It really could be a reaction to almost anything, she could be rubbing against a plant your skin reacts to, it appearing as spots doesn't mean something is biting you imo. I don't know that a vet would be an expert on bugs and I wouldn't give that much credence tbh. I had a friend who was utterly convinced mites from her dog were biting her, she was covered in bumps often, a trip to the dermatologist was necessary but she got relief. Have you tried giving your kitty a good wipe down when she comes in? Or keeping her inside, you're worried about bugs on you but I'd be concerned about parasites and disease and risk for her, she won't be able to go out for a good while if you spray poison all over the yard so maybe a good time to train her to stay in, there's plenty of advice on that in the forum.
 

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You might also want to consider having someone come in and check for bed bugs. They can cause large welts if you're allergic and only take a couple to be bothersome but hide well.

Edit to add: nematode eggs are similar size to tick eggs so the same nematodes may be effective: Beneficial Nematodes - Biological Pest Control to Kill Ticks and Pests
 
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