Fleas can be found in every corner of the world. They‘re the most popular parasites that love to attack pets. Not only can they cause itching but also suck blood from their hosts and introduce bacterial strains into your cat‘s body.
They‘re hard to eliminate because of their quick life cycle. An adult flea can lay down millions of eggs in their 3 months of lifespan. This poses a great challenge to pet owners who find their house infested with these parasitic creatures.
Before getting to know how to obliterate them from your household, you have to know first what they‘re capable of.
What Can Fleas Do?
If you think that fleas only cause itching, you‘re dead wrong. Fleas, when left to multiply, can introduce serious health issues to your feline pals.
Take a look at some of them and be wary from now on:
Some cats have allergic reactions to saliva from fleas. This results in the development of welts and skin swelling. Immediately see your veterinarian to assess the situation.
Cats often bite their own skin if itching is too much to handle. This, in turn, damages the skin, creating tiny wounds that can get infected if not treated properly. If you see hot spots spreading, head for the vet right away.
Flea bites can introduce the Bartonella henselae bacteria in their system, commonly known as ‘cat scratch‘. Cats may suffer from a light fever, muscle aches, and swollen glands, although this doesn‘t happen often. However, this can be transmitted to humans when they get scratched by cats infected with the bacteria.
When cats bite their skin, they may swallow fleas in the process. These parasitic critters often contain tapeworm eggs which can hatch and latch onto your cat‘s digestive system. Vomiting and weight loss are some of the symptoms you can directly observe in infected cats.
Fleas suck blood. Heavily infested cats can experience anemia due to excessive blood loss. Lethargy, pale gums, and low body temperature are some of the symptoms of this disease.
Now that you know what fleas can do to your cat, you won‘t disregard them again. So how do you know if your cat is infected with fleas? There are several symptoms you can observe on your own.
Although fleas are not readily visible, there are other symptoms you can observe to determine if your cat has them. You may observe changes in your cat‘s behavior or spikes in their overall condition.
If your cat shows the following symptoms, it‘s safe to assume they‘re suffering from flea infestation.
- Excessive hair loss
- Licking their fur too much
- Scratching their coat too often
- Biting their own skin
- Reddening of the skin
- The appearance of small spots on their skin
- Unusual restlessness
- Lethargic behavior
- Aversion to some areas at home
- Appearance of scabs
- Pale color of gums and lips
- Presence of tapeworms in their excrement
Having one or two of the symptoms heightens the chance of them having fleas. However, if your cat exhibits more than two of these symptoms, it‘s best to treat them immediately with more potent solutions.
Locating the Parasites
If your cat tested positive for any of the symptoms described, you can now start looking for the pesky fleas to eliminate them. Fleas typically reside near the ears, eyes, neck, and the base of the tail of your cats.
Here‘s a quick solution to remove them:
1) Find a disposable fine-tooth comb. You wouldn‘t want to use this again because it may reintroduce flea eggs on your cat.
2) Run the comb through your cat‘s hair and check for black spots. Those black spots left on the comb are waste materials of fleas.
Tiny moving brown objects are fleas. The white dots are their eggs. You can use an anti-flea spray on them or any flea-control solution that will kill both the adult and flea eggs.
It‘s not that hard to locate them if you look closely at your pet‘s skin. The real problem is devising a way to eradicate them from your home.
Fleas should be treated immediately before they start affecting your cat‘s health. The quicker you resolve the issue, the better for your pet and your family‘s health as well.
There are numerous ways to treat fleas. The appropriate solution depends on your budget, your cat‘s condition, and your vet‘s recommendation. It‘s always safer to consult your veterinarian before applying any over-the-counter solution to treat fleas.
Never use on your cat anti-flea solutions meant for dogs. These products may contain harmful chemicals that can seriously affect your cat‘s health. Use only products specially designed for cat use.
Here are some of the treatments you can choose from:
Products that are applied directly to the skin are the most potent, convenient, and safe to use to treat fleas. Many spray solutions are readily available in the market; some may need a prescription. Vets usually have them on their clinic, ready to be purchased for immediate application.
Remember to read the package insert before you start applying it on your cat‘s coat. Each brand requires a different application period. Some may need to be applied daily for two weeks while some need to be given once a month only.
Here are the best anti-flea products we‘ve spotted on the market:
Probably one of the most popular solutions among cat owners, this flea and tick control product is fast-acting and waterproof. It can kill all fleas and eggs within 2-3 days of application. The effect of the product can last up to 30 days, leaving your cat free from fleas for a month.
- Guaranteed US EPA approved
- Over-The-Counter topical kills...
- Protect against Lyme Disease!
- Easy to apply monthly preventive
- Contains (S)-methoprene, effective...
This is the bestseller among topical anti-flea solutions for cats. Its effect is even faster compared to Frontline Plus. It says it can kill 99% of fleas within 12 hours of application. Plus, fleas get stunned and stop biting for 5 minutes after applying the formula.
Like Frontline Plus, Advantage is also waterproof and its effect can last up to 30 days.
- Kills adult fleas, eggs and larvae
- Remains effective even after...
- One treatment prevents further flea...
- Contains two treatments
- Packaging may vary
Vet’s Best Flea & Tick Pet & Home Spray for Cats
This all-natural solution is popular among owners who have sensitive cats. It‘s made up of plant-based components and oils that are safe to use on cats.
Aside from fleas, ticks, and flea eggs, this product can also repel mosquitoes.
For cats with sensitive skin, the alternative solution is to feed them with anti-flea medications. These are usually given once a day after a meal.
These products start to work once they enter your pet‘s bloodstream. Fleas sucking the blood will die and prevent them from reproducing, completely ending their life cycle.
The most effective oral solutions in the market are Capstar and Program Flea Control for Cats.
Some cats may not be able to handle either oral or topical solutions. Don‘t worry because there are alternative products you can use to eliminate those fleas. They may not be as potent as topical and oral solutions but they can still help reduce flea infestation. There are flea collars, anti-flea shampoos, flea deterrents, and flea powders readily available in pet shops.
Cleaning Your Home
Your work is not yet done after you‘ve treated your cat. The next problem is to make sure those parasitic critters don‘t come back to your home again. Ever.
Fleas love to hide in dark places. They can squeeze into your furniture, bury themselves in your carpet, or even hide under your bed.
After eliminating the fleas on your cat, do the following steps next:
- Wash your cat‘s bedding with hot water and a strong detergent.
- Sweep your whole house thoroughly, especially wooden floors.
- Vacuum your carpet, furniture, sofa, bed, rugs, and all other areas where fleas can hide. Throw the vacuum bag and never use it again.
- Use carpet spray to eliminate bacteria and other harmful elements from upholstery.
- Say goodbye to your old cat toys. Buy the new ones.
- For your home, your yard, and every corner you can find to totally eliminate fleas.
- Make sure you also check your other pets for flea infestation and immediately treat them.
If all of these don‘t work, it‘s best to get in touch with a professional insect exterminator.
Remember that you have to completely erase all traces of flea life in your home to avoid getting your pet infected again.
Flea infestation is not a problem to be trifled with. Letting them propagate can become harmful to you and your pet‘s health.
It‘s best if you immediately spot symptoms of flea presence in your cat