How to Get Rid of Fleas in Cats – The Ultimate Guide

Fleas can be found in every corner of the world. Theyre 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 cats body.

Theyre 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 theyre capable of.

What Can Fleas Do?

If you think that fleas only cause itching, youre 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:

Dermatitis

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.

Hot spots

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.

Bartonella

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 doesnt happen often. However, this can be transmitted to humans when they get scratched by cats infected with the bacteria.

Tapeworms

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 cats digestive system. Vomiting and weight loss are some of the symptoms you can directly observe in infected cats.

Anemia

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 wont 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.

Common symptoms

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 cats behavior or spikes in their overall condition.

If your cat shows the following symptoms, its safe to assume theyre 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, its 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.

Heres a quick solution to remove them:

1) Find a disposable fine-tooth comb. You wouldnt want to use this again because it may reintroduce flea eggs on your cat.

2) Run the comb through your cats 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.

Its not that hard to locate them if you look closely at your pets skin. The real problem is devising a way to eradicate them from your home.

Treating Fleas

Fleas should be treated immediately before they start affecting your cats health. The quicker you resolve the issue, the better for your pet and your familys health as well.

There are numerous ways to treat fleas. The appropriate solution depends on your budget, your cats condition, and your vets recommendation. Its 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 cats health. Use only products specially designed for cat use.

Here are some of the treatments you can choose from:

Topical Solutions

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 cats 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 weve spotted on the market:

Frontline Plus

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.

Frontline Plus for Dogs Small Dog (5-22 pounds) Flea and Tick Treatment, 3 Doses
  • WATERPROOF FLEA AND TICK TREATMENT...
  • BREAK THE FLEA LIFE CYCLE WITH...
  • KILLS FLEAS AND TICKS: Frontline...
  • TRUSTED FLEA AND TICK PROTECTION...
  • LASTING FLEA AND TICK PROTECTION:...

Bayer Advantage

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.

Advantage II Flea Control Large Cat (for Cats over 9 lbs.) - 2 Month
  • 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. Its 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.

Oral Solutions

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 pets 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.

Other Options

Some cats may not be able to handle either oral or topical solutions. Dont 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 youve treated your cat. The next problem is to make sure those parasitic critters dont 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 cats 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 dont work, its 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.

Final Conclusion

Flea infestation is not a problem to be trifled with. Letting them propagate can become harmful to you and your pets health.

Its best if you immediately spot symptoms of flea presence in your cat

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