Your cat may have fleas if she’s scratching more than expected. Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about cat fleas, including how to identify, treat, and prevent them.
Check out what the cat brought in, fleas! These minor annoyances can drive both your cat and your family insane!
Fleas are tiny brown insects that burrow into your cat’s fur and feed on his blood, causing irritation and pain. Fleas can cause additional health problems in your cats, such as anaemia or tapeworms, if not treated properly.
Cats, being the enigmatic creatures they are, are typically quite good at concealing their flea infestation. Fleas, on the other hand, can be challenging to detect on your ultra-clean kitty. That’s why it’s critical to understand what to look for and take preventative actions to avoid a flea infestation in the first place.
If you suspect your cat has fleas, make an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible. Your veterinarian will conduct a thorough examination and prescribe the appropriate treatment to resolve the problem promptly.
From recognising the indications to recommended methods for early prevention, we’ll walk you through all you need to know about fleas on cats in this article.
Fleas on Cats: What Are They?
Fleas are external parasites, also known as ectoparasites, that feed on the blood of warm-blooded animals such as cats, dogs, birds, and even humans. They aren’t fussy about who they choose as hosts, albeit humans are a more difficult target.
This means that these opportunistic pets are more prone to prey on your pets or wild creatures. Fleas, scientifically known as Siphonaptera, are found in approximately 2000 different species around the world. There are just seven species in North America (thank goodness!). The Ctenocephalides felis, sometimes known as the cat flea, is the most frequent flea we encounter.
Cat fleas, as the name implies, are the most likely culprit if your cat has fleas! While outdoor cats are the most susceptible to flea infestations, indoor-only cats are also vulnerable. Fleas, as previously said, aren’t fussy about who they prey on. Thus they could get into your home on another creature or even you.
Unpleasant Facts About Cat Fleas
- Even if fleas are tiny, they are fierce! Cat fleas with a length of just 1.8 to 2.5 millimetres are so small that it takes days to find them in your cat.
- Flattened bodies allow the fleas to quickly and discreetly pass through the fur of your pet. You can certainly feel the influence while you don’t see them!
- A cat flea’s body is covered in armour-like plates to keep it from being irritated. While cats loathe this, they rely on it.
- While fleas are incapable of flight, this doesn’t mean they can’t get around. Fleas are capable of jumping distances up to 50 times their own length. That’s how they can make the transition from pet to pet.
- There are four phases in the life cycle of fleas: egg, larva, pupa, and adult.
- In their lifetime, female cat fleas can lay over a thousand eggs. That is correct. And since it’s this critical, catching them early is imperative. Unfortunately, flea eggs may not stick around long on cats, which means that your couch, bed, or favourite places where your cat likes to hang out may become infected with flea eggs that produce numerous brown bloodsucking parasites.
- The adult flea has two main objectives: to find a place to bite and to make new fleas. However, if it fails, it will only be able to live for a few days. Though some adult fleas can survive for two months on a steady diet of food, most die within one week.
How Did My Cat Get Fleas?
Cats and houses are all equally vulnerable to flea infestation. It is unpleasant, but it’s a necessary part of daily life when you have pets. Even if you watch your cat like a hawk and frequently groom her, it is possible that fleas could find their way into your home. Always being prepared is best!
If your cat has fleas and you are trying to figure out where they came from, you should know that there are several ways your cat could have come into contact with fleas. It is important to remember that fleas feed on various species of animals. Fleas may transfer from your other pets’ backs to your cats.
Some people think that fleas use our clothing as a free ride from host to host. Even if you don’t have any bug bites, you can usually tell if something happened if you have a few tiny ones on your arms or legs. Red spots that look like flea bites appear on the skin as single dots, and they often appear in groups of two or three. Always check your pets immediately if you notice flea bites on yourself.
Though you may get bitten by a few fleas of your own, the human body is not a suitable environment for fleas to thrive. They would much prefer to live comfortably with a coat of fur around them. Every cat parent should learn to identify the symptoms of flea bites.
Symptoms of Fleas on Cats
Early detection of fleas is vital to avoid an all-out cat-flea apocalypse. It would be best if you did not worry, though. It is relatively simple to tell if your cat has fleas, provided you are a vigilant cat parent.
Flea bites cause the following symptoms in cats:
- Scratching, Biting, and Licking: Fleas will tunnel under the cat’s neck, around their ears, and in between their body and their legs, where they will begin to feast. Doing so will cause your cat to scratch, bite, and lick the affected areas incessantly.
- Skin Problems and Hair Loss: A flea infestation can rapidly expand, which causes your cat to scratch the ground frantically. In these cases, you may experience hair loss and other skin issues. The sooner you notice these symptoms, the better. It would be best if you acted quickly to get your cat to the vet. Flea Allergy Dermatitis will be ruled out (FAD). In both animals and humans, this condition exists. This painful and itchy rash occurs due to an allergic reaction to flea saliva resulting from an allergic reaction to flea saliva.
- Flea Dirt on Cats: While one of the most obvious signs of fleas on cats (besides excessive scratching) is black specks of what appears to be dirt on your cat’s fur or around your house, you should be able to identify them due to their distinct dark colour quickly. In addition, you may notice that wherever your cat sleeps, it leaves behind traces. Flea faeces is also known as “flea dirt”. This is because the blood is digested and therefore turns red when wet. You can try this by moistening a paper towel with the specks.
- Lethargy & Pale Gums: Flea infestations should be dealt with as soon as possible because prolonged infestations can lead to a condition called anaemia. When your cat loses more red blood cells than new ones are produced in his body, this occurs. Though anaemia is more common in kittens because of their smaller size, fleas could affect adult cats if left untreated for an extended period. In the case of anaemia, tiredness and pale gums are two common signs. To save your cat’s life, seek veterinary care as soon as possible if you notice these symptoms.
- Tapeworms: Itchy cats rub their bodies against objects to relieve the itch, and while they are doing this, they may swallow fleas infected with tapeworm larvae. Once the larva has developed, it enters the intestine to take up residence as a tapeworm. When this happens, your cat’s stool will have worm fragments in it. Fleas, though unsightly, are harmless to your cat, and this problem can be handled by taking your pet to the vet for a medication prescribed to treat fleas.
How to Eliminate Fleas on Cats
You have noticed your cat has recently been extra itchy, and you suspect he may be suffering from a tiny blood-feeding parasite. Keep your cool and stay calm. Now, we can aid your cat’s mental well-being.
That is, of course, the best course of action, but scheduling a visit to the vet can be challenging at times. To offer your cat an instant remedy, read on to find out how to get rid of treat fleas as well as which products work best.
Three methods to remove fleas from cats:
While fleas are bothersome for both you and your cat, treating your pet for the pests is straightforward. With just a few easy steps, you can get rid of these pests.
- Treat Your Cat
If you help your cat eliminate these nasty minor bugs, the first and most crucial step is to ensure they are pampered with love and affection. By taking early measures, you can help your kitten to relieve their discomfort more quickly.
Comb the Fur: Adults and larvae can be removed from your cat’s coat by combing through with a shedding comb. Be on the lookout for any fleas who decided to leave the ship. Ensure to use hot water with dish detergent to thoroughly rinse the comb to kill any fleas and eggs that may be left.
Bathe Your Cat: Bath time is next. Use a cat-safe flea shampoo when you bathe your cat. Let the shampoo sit on her fur for at least 5 minutes, as this activates the cleansing process. Those resistant fleas and eggs will be revealed and killed. Your cat might not like baths, but flea shampoo will alleviate the itching and find the source of the problem.
Medicate: To clear your home of the current flea infestation, bathing your cat can help your cat shed the fleas for a short time, but it’s important to continue giving your cat preventative flea medicine to keep them from returning. In the subsequent paragraphs, we will delve into the best flea medications and prevent fleas on cats.
- Treat Your Home
Freshly bathed and de-flead, you are ready to face your more complex problem: your home. Because of your cat’s proximity to your house, the places your cat sleeps, lounges, and frequents are likely infested with fleas and eggs and must be deep cleaned.
Wash Bedding, Cushions & Curtains: In order to prevent fleas from spreading, you should wash all of the items you suspect have been affected by fleas, including your pet’s bedding, your own bedding, blankets, couch cushions, curtains, and other cloth materials. Start from scratch and wash everything.”
If you want to rid your house of fleas completely, you’ll need to wash these items regularly. When it’s impossible to strip and wash an area, periodically apply a flea treatment or powder.
Vacuum All the Way: Following that, you’ll want to vacuum the house or apartment daily for at least a week or whenever you are confident that the infestation has been completely removed. Get out your vacuum and thoroughly vacuum all hardwood floors, rugs, furniture, as well as all the dark nooks and crannies where flea larvae and eggs may be lurking.
Invite An Expert In: You can bring in an exterminator if you want total peace of mind or if the infestation persists.
- Treat Your Yard
If you have an outdoor cat or other animals that can carry fleas into your home, fleas are hard to prevent. There are ways to keep fleas under control even though your animals are allowed to roam freely.
Mow the Lawn Often: You can prevent flea infestations by keeping your lawn maintained. Even if your cat is only an indoor cat, fleas can find their way into your home when pets and even you bring them into the house.
Hose it Down: There are many different ways to manage fleas during the warmer months. One option is to spray your pets’ favourite haunts with water every few days.
Spray the Perimeter: You can kill fleas around your home using a flea yard spray. When using any bug spray, always practice caution, as the spray can be toxic to your pets. Playing outside won’t be an issue if your cat is allowed to go on walks, so using a pet-safe pest deterrent will be a better solution.
Know How to Keep Fleas Off of Your Cat
In order to keep your cat safe from fleas and other pests, prevention is the most important step. Topical flea medicine, which can be applied monthly or tri-monthly, helps to prevent fleas. Talking to your veterinarian about the most effective and safest flea preventatives for cats will help you to keep your feline companion flea-free.
Remember – only give your cat anti-flea medicine that is made for cats. Do not use anti-flea medicine for dogs as the ingredients are different and can cause a fatal reaction!
Another way to keep fleas away is to use flea collars. These flea collars will repel your cat from being infested by fleas. While they might not be effective on other body areas, this could be helpful for different body parts.
Powder and spray insecticides are essential to keep on hand as well. This is good for keeping your pet’s usual sleeping areas free of hair.
Cat Flea: Natural Remedies
There are several safe and natural home remedies for removing fleas from cats. While making your own cat flea remedies is nice, bear in mind that the remedies won’t be practical for every pet.
To find safe and natural alternatives to keep fleas away, here are a few things to try:
Is there a chance that lemon will kill fleas on my cat? To be accurate, yes, it does! The most effective natural treatment for fleas is citric acid. Because of this, it is a well-known method for treating your pet’s flea problem if you spray your cat’s fur with a diluted lemon juice solution.
Start by boiling water with one to two chopped lemons. Let the lemons steep in water that has been boiled for two hours. Finally, you should drain the liquid, transfer it to a spray bottle, and save it for later.
Use the solution and apply it to your cat’s fur, keeping in mind that she might have open wounds or have her face covered. To be sure you have neutralised the solution, monitor your cat’s response. Stop using the product immediately if you experience skin irritation.
Using spices you already have in your kitchen to stop or eliminate fleas is a natural way to prevent or get rid of the pests. One of the more effective natural flea repellants is rosemary. Fleas are a problem for many cats, and adding rosemary powder to their bedding or favourite lounging spots can help keep fleas away.
Pick only the freshest, non-tainted herbs and spices you can find. Oregano is also toxic to cats, which deters fleas.
- Vinegar Solution
Fleas and other pests despise the smell/taste of vinegar, which makes it another natural remedy for treating fleas on your cat and in your home. Apple cider vinegar and white vinegar work to treat fleas.
To avoid irritation, dilute the vinegar with water before applying it to your pet’s fur. Because vinegar is so strong, use a 5-10% vinegar and water solution. This will allow you to apply it liberally while also reducing the harsh odour for you and your cat.
These natural and DIY methods may feel safer than some of the harsh chemicals used in store-bought products to eliminate fleas and eggs, but they are often ineffective.
These homemade remedies do not guarantee that your cat will be completely free of fleas or other parasites.
Flea Treatment for Kittens
Although your cat’s age has no bearing on whether or not fleas bite him, young kittens have less chance of having been treated to help them ward off fleas, so it’s not uncommon to find fleas on young kittens.
It is a bit different treating fleas on kittens than treating adults. Most medications and treatments are unsuitable for your kitten’s sensitive skin. So the first thing you should do if you suspect your kitten has fleas is to visit your veterinarian.
These specialists will be able to assist you in determining the safest treatment for your newborn ball of fluff. Make sure to check whether the store-bought product is safe for kittens if you are using one. Bayer Advantage states explicitly that it’s safe for cats eight weeks or older, while the Zodiac formula is approved for all ages.
Keep Your Cat Flea Free
Fleas are an awful reality that all pet owners must face at some point in their lives! But, while dealing with the situation can be a pain, it isn’t as difficult as you might think. You can stop a flea infestation in its tracks and keep your cat feeling her best feline self by paying notice and acting quickly.
Remember that prevention is essential! Stay in keeping with the routine treatments of your cat, especially during peak flea seasons. Decide the right way for your cat and ensure that it starts with warmer weather signs at first.
Now we advise you to add a regular flea control to your cat’s weekly routine, as you understand how to recognize the signs of cats’ fleas. While cats are great self-groomers, it is vital to check for fleas or other skin conditions once or twice a week to walk through their coats.
If you suspect your cat has fleas, consult your veterinarian right once to get a diagnosis and begin treatment. The faster the infestation can be resolved, the fewer eggs that are laid.
If you’re not sure if your cat has fleas, if the treatments you’re using are working, or if your cat is having an unpleasant reaction, contact your veterinarian again. Fleas can create issues and swiftly spread throughout your home and to other pets, so it’s best to be cautious than sorry.