Sadly, pesky fleas come with the territory of cat ownership as they’re extremely common. It’s unpleasant for both you and your feline friend and left untreated can cause your cat to develop related skin problems. Preventative measures are always the best option but in some cases, even this isn’t enough to keep them at bay.
Causes of cat fleas
Even if your cat doesn’t spend much time outdoors, they will still come into contact with fleas quite easily. Fleas live on wild animals such as hedgehogs and lay eggs in cracks and crevices in the environment. They can also jump pretty far, so its almost impossible for your cat not to come into contact with them.
If you already use a regular flea prevention treatment, this should usually protect your cat as the flea will die soon after biting their skin. However, there are different strengths of treatment and different types available which all vary in their effectiveness. It is also possible for fleas can become immune to the effects of some treatments.
Signs of fleas in cats
There are a few signs to look out for which are likely to indicate that your cat has fleas.
- Persistent scratching
- Bald patches, scabs, areas of hair loss or red/inflamed skin
- Small dark specks of dirt in the fur
- Small brown/black moving parasites
Furthermore, if you’ve noticed you’re itching more than usual and have unaccounted for bites you may well have a flea problem on your hands.
Now you’re sure if your cat has fleas, it’s now time to take action to get rid of these troublesome critters for good!
If your cat and home become infested with fleas it is important to take urgent action. A flea infestation cat will be obvious as you will see fleas literally crawling all over your poor kitty. This can cause a lot of discomfort and in some cases can lead to more serious problems like anemia.
What is the best flea treatment for cats?
When treating fleas it’s very important to not only treat your cat but also the whole house. This will ensure both the fleas and the dormant eggs within the home are irradiated.
There is a wide range of cat flea products available in supermarkets, online and in pet stories – flea collars, sprays, powders, spot on liquid, combs, and tablets. They also come in varying strengths and often treat other parasites such as specific types of worms.
With such a choice it can be a challenge to know which is best. However, the most popular way to treat your cat is with the monthly topical ‘spot on’ treatment. They’re not only much easier to administer to a wriggly feline than say a tablet or powder, but they’re also known to be far more effective at killing fleas. If you’re at all unsure, speak to your veterinarian.
If you have other pets in the home its vitally important that you buy species specific flea treatment, for example, products meant for cats may be toxic to dogs
In addition to treating your cat, you will need to purchase treatment for the home, these can be in the form of powers, sprays or even a flea bomb! With all of these products be sure to treat every room in the house and read the safety instructions fully before use – i.e. don’t let these come into contact with other animals, people and food etc.
Once you have treated the home, you will need to wash and clean any bedding and thoroughly vacuum floors and furniture. Be sure to empty your vacuum contents into an external bin to prevent any stray eggs making their way back into the home. If you’d like to go one step further, you might also like to steam-clean your carpets as this will kill any eggs missed by the vacuum.
How long does flea treatment take to work on cats?
The length of time depends on the treatment you are using and on the severity of the problem. Any chosen treatment will come with specific instructions and provide more accurate timescales.
How to prevent cat fleas?
The easiest way to prevent your cat from getting fleas is to ensure they are treated all year round with a high-quality topical flea treatment.