As cat parents, we don’t really enjoy talking about the subject, but we all think about it: fleas! Cat fleas are the most common type of fleas on Earth. These tiny pests can make your cat scratch like crazy. They can hitch a ride on your sock, into your home, then onto your cat. This means they’re easy for cats to catch but extremely difficult to get rid of!
Knowing more about these pests can help you prevent your cat from getting them. And just in case your kitty does catch fleas, we’ve explained what you can do to tell those little pests to “bug off!”
Why Are Flea Harmful?
Fleas bite your cat, causing her to scratch. As you know, unless your cat’s been declawed, cats have the ability to cut themselves and scratch their skin raw with their claws. Not only do flea bites startle cats, but they can also be dangerous. Fleas spread many diseases and illnesses.
Disease and Parasites Spread by Fleas
- Skin Allergies
The Life of Cat Fleas
Cat fleas thrive in humid, warm conditions from 70-85-degrees. This makes our homes the perfect habitat for them. One flea can lay 20-50 eggs in a single day. While in your home cat fleas go through the following process:
When flea eggs hatch after 2 to 5 days, the larvae emerge and eat organic matter before building a tiny cocoon. Then they hatch from their cocoons. The new adult fleas then finds a host and starts the cycle all over again.
How to Recognize if Your Cat Has Fleas
The first sign of fleas that most owners notice is their cat scratching more than normal. Other owners notice the live fleas running over their cat’s skin.
To identify if your cat has fleas, you can pick up a flea comb and give your kitty a quick brush to see if any fleas appear. You can also look for them near the base of her tail or armpits. Another sign you can look for is flea dirt on bedding or skin. This looks like tiny black pellets where your cat sleeps or under her fur.
If you’re unsure, you can always take your kitty to the veterinarian.
How to Prevent Your Cat from Getting Fleas
The first thing you will want to do is make sure your cat doesn’t already have fleas. If your cat is flea-free, you should take extra measures to prevent an infestation.
Spot-on flea treatments are applied to your cat’s skin. These include topical solutions like shampoos, dusts, and sprays. You can pick some of these up at most stores. Some of the most common brands include:
- Frontline Plus
You can also use a flea collar with Seresto.
- Oral flea treatments are given in the form of pills. These kill the adult fleas. When they bite your cat, they ingest a tiny amount of nitenpyram that kills them within 30 minutes!
- Keep you home unfriendly for fleas by vacuuming daily and washing your cat’s bedding weekly in hot water.
How to Treat Your Cat for Fleas
If your kitty gets unlucky and ends up with fleas, there are ways you can treat them. Eliminating fleas from your home takes a bit of work, but you can do it.
- Use a flea comb to comb your cat. Comb your cat from head to tail, and carefully comb every inch. After each pass, put fleas into a bowl of soapy water or diluted bleach.
- Give your kitty a flea dip. Using a flea shampoo, dip, or gentle cat shampoo, give your kitty a bath. Remember to stay calm and watch for claws. You can add a little catnip to the water to help calm your nervous kitty.
- Wash all bedding thoroughly with hot water to make sure you kill the flea eggs.
- Treat your kitty with a flea preventative medicine. Use a topical or oral flea preventative to rid your cat of any remaining fleas and keep her flea-free.
Fleas can be quite unpleasant for humans and cats. Remember that prevention is always easier than treating them. So, keep your kitty purring and watch for signs of cat fleas.
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— Meow for now —