Are Fleas That Bad For Cats
Fleas often bite the ankles of people who walk across carpet or grass that is infested. But what about your cat?
Because fleas feed on the blood of their host, a severe flea infestation can actually cause anemia. But far more common would be for your cat to have a flea allergy. With allergies, usually the flea saliva is what causes the itching. So it only takes one flea biting your cat to cause endless itching and misery. Often you dont even see any adult fleas, but you might see evidence of flea dirt , which looks like pepper. Or you might not see anything, but treating for fleas helps the symptoms.
Fleas can carry tapeworms. So if your cat has what looks like rice grains on its stool, or you notice flat worms around the anus after a bowel movement, they might have come from fleas.
Fleas also carry several disease-causing bacteria, some of which can also affect humans. Bartonella, which causes Cat Scratch Fever, is one of them. Mycoplasma, which causes anemia in cats, is another.
You can see why cat fleas are definitely not something you should ignore!
What Can You Do
There are some steps you can take to minimize the population of fleas and ticks:
Be honest with yourself about the problem. You almost certainly have fleas and ticks living in the zone around your home. If you think there may be fleas in your home, or if youre concerned about fleas or ticks on your pet, talk to your veterinarian. He can recommend safe, effective products for your pets. In some cases, your vet may recommend a professional exterminator for your home.
- Consider practicing year-round flea-and-tick-control by using a product recommended by your veterinarian on every pet. This means using the product in January as well as in June and treating all cats and dogs in your family, regardless of where they spend their days.
Remove brush debris from around your home. These areas present opportunities for small flea- and tick-carrying animals to nest and provide a source of exposure for dogs and cats.
- Get rid of that old upholstered furniture on the porch or in the garage where your dog or cat loves to hang out. These are perfect flea nests and, unless you get rid of them, theyll contribute to ongoing infestations.
- Close off crawl spaces and screen over vents under the house and leading into attics that can serve as runways for small mammals that carry fleas and ticks in with them.
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Keep Your Cat Clean And Groomed
Lastly, make your cats fur an unwelcoming host for fleas. We know just how warm and snuggly our cats are. Unfortunately, so do fleas and ticks. In fact, your cats warm furry body is the perfect home and breeding ground for these little pests. So its important to keep your cat well-groomed and regularly check for evidence of fleas before things get out of hand.
- Most cats arent crazy about being in the water, but it is important to give our cats a bath when they actually need it. This medicated shampoo is easy to use and Save 20% on Vetericyn® FoamCare Medicated Shampoo with code: PETLIVING
provides soothing relief for your cats irritated skin.
- Vetericyn Plus® Feline Antimicrobial Hydrogel: If your cat has been scratching or biting affected areas, then this spray will soothe her itchy skin. Its pain-free and safe to use Save 20% on Vetericyn® Feline Antimicrobial Hydrogel with code: PETLIVING
around her mouth, nose, ears, and eyes. Plus its veterinarian recommended and a great solution for cats with sensitive skin.
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Indoor Cats Only Need One Litter Box
To minimize the chance of your cat going outside their litter box and choosing your floors and laundry instead they should have a choice when it comes to where they potty. Cats are likely to avoid a box that already has deposits in it or one that theyve developed a negative association with. The general rule-of-thumb is to have one more box than the number of cats you have. Ideally, keep the litter boxes in different locations and not next to one another.
Can You Prevent Fleas On Indoor Cats
In order to prevent flea infestations among indoor cats, make sure to keep up with your regular flea preventive. Your veterinarian can advise you which flea preventive topical, oral, or collar is best for your cat.
Additionally, check your cat’s fur regularly for fleas or for signs of fleas, such as “flea dirt” flea excrement that resembles black pepper. If you notice your cat scratching a lot, check them carefully using a flea comb, which has much finer teeth than a regular grooming tool.
Fleas are a hassle for cats and their owners, but by taking these precautions, you will greatly decrease the likelihood of a flea infestation. Find more information on how to treat your cat with fleas.
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An Aside On Ticks And Cats
Fortunately, ticks are less of a nuisance in cats, compared to dogs. Cats are meticulous groomers, and they usually remove most ticks from their coat before they attach. Those that do attach rarely cause problems because cats are much less susceptible to dangerous tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. In my 29 years in practice, Ive never seen a case in a cat.
Dr. Arnold Plotnick is the founder of Manhattan Cat Specialists, a feline-exclusive veterinary practice on Manhattans upper west side. He is also an author of The Original Cat Fancy Cat Bible. Dr. Plotnick is a frequent contributor to feline publications and websites, including his own blog, Cat Man Do. He lives in New York City with his cats, Mittens and Glitter.
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Does Your Pet Really Need Flea/tick Medicine All Year Long
During the summer my scarves, coats and boots are put away in storage, since they do me no good when the thermometer hits 90. In the winter, you wont see me in my sandals, although Id like to have the option. We humans have our seasonal habits and rituals based on temperature. It makes sense then that dogs and cats follow suit, particularly in regards to their flea and tick medicine.
Each fall many a pet owner begins to question whether they really need to give their cat or dog flea/tick medicine throughout the winter. In the coldest months birds fly south, bears hibernate, and every living thing that once flourished outdoors is either dead, frozen, or in hiding. Doesnt that include fleas and ticks?
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Flea And Tick Prevention For Cats
At Village Veterinary Clinic when it comes to fleas and ticks, our primary focus is on prevention. Prevention is important because it stops a serious problem before it starts. If you are starting to notice signs and symptoms of fleas and ticks, that indicates that you are already dealing with an infestation. It is best to not reach that stage. With good education and the right prevention products you can easily avoid a flea and tick infestations.
A proactive approach to flea and tick prevention starts with a discussion about various factors that play a role in your pet’s potential exposure to fleas and ticks. For example, if your cats are indoor/outdoor is a factor, as well as whether they are exposed to other animals that go outside .
It is important to be aware that there are numerous products on the market that our veterinarians would strongly suggest you avoid. Every year, our veterinarians review all available flea and tick products to ensure that our recommendations are as up to date as possible. Our considerations include safety, effectiveness and cost. Based on these factors we will work with you to customize a parasite prevention plan for your pets and family.
Myth: If You Cant See Em Theyre Gone
Over the past few decades, new generations of chemicals and drugs have become extremely effective at controlling fleas and ticks. Many vet-approved internally or topically administered products that impair reproduction, inhibit maturation and/or repel and kill these parasites do work. They may work too well, because weve been lulled into a place where we think, Thatll get em! And indeed it does get many of them. But we tend to forget about the fleas and ticks we cant see or reach, and thats one reason why we sometimes seem to be losing the flea-and-tick wars.
While adult fleas do “live”on the host, their immature stages exist in the environment. In fact, adult fleas living on your pet account for just 5 percent of the total population of fleas in your environment.
Fleas have four stages of developmentegg, larva, pupa and adult. Adult fleas feed on pet blood, then mate and the females produce eggs. Larvae emerge from these eggs, eventually developing into pupae. When pupae mature to adult fleas, theyjump on the pet and begin to feed and the cycle starts all over again.
Ticks also have immature stages.After feeding and mating, adult female ticks drop from their host and lay hundreds to thousands of eggs. These eggs develop into tiny larvae, which molt into nymphs. Nymphs then molt into adult ticks.
Eradicating fleas and ticks at every stage isnt easy. Even in households where aggressive parasite control is practiced, fleas can re-establish their hold.
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How Can Fleas Be Detected And Diagnosed
If you observe your cat scratching and arent sure if fleas are the cause, you should contact your vet to set up a time to bring your scratching cat in for a veterinary exam.
The veterinarian will likely use a flea comb on your cat and observe if tiny black dots are present.
These black specks are commonly called flea dirt, but in reality, it is the excrement that the flea leaves behind on the skin of the host.
Many times, a thoughtful observer will see this flea dirt and think that these are the actual fleas themselves, when in fact, they are not.
If you find the black specks, smush some in between a damp paper towel. If it is flea dirt, the dirt will turn the wet paper towel a rusty red color.
The reddish coloring on the moist paper towel is from the residue from your cats blood that was previously consumed by the flea and partially digested and then excreted onto the skin of your cat.
However, sometimes, moving, living, jumping fleas can also be observed.
Common areas where fleas and flea dirt are observed are at the base of the tail , neck, and back legs of the cat.
Fleas are very good at hiding on a cats body.
If someone doesnt see them, it doesnt mean that they arent there, because fleas can be present in small numbers, and many times, the flea or flea dirt is simply not observed at that particular moment in time.
Would An Indoor Cat Need Flea Treatments
I don’t have an indoor cat, but my friend has one, and I was wondering if it needs flea treatments. He doesn’t give it any, and it seems to be okay, but would giving it a flea treatment be good for it, and if so, how often?
We’ve never done that with our cats as they’re indoors, but the risk of fleas being introduced into the house through other means is probably your basis for consideration. If there is some chance of wildlife making it in or other pets visiting , then you might consider it. However, if it’s gone this long without the treatment, I would probably deal with a flea situation as a one-off using flea soap when, or if, it happens.
Why put the poor cat through the indignity of a bath if you don’t need to? Doing that is not a lot of fun…
Mind you, you could consider the spot-on treatments like Advantage Multi as a way of preventing. It’s not hard to do and effective. As I said though, if there is no evidence of fleas, why do it?
- There’s a lot of stray cats around the neighborhood – dogs aren’t much of a problem though. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t have fleas and hasn’t recently.Oct 9 ’13 at 15:45
- If he goes outside at all though, all bets are off… prevention is worth it then.Oct 9 ’13 at 15:47
- He stays inside, but some of my friend’s other cats go outside.
I have NEVER ever had flea problems. The only time I used flea / parasite treatment was when we adopted the second cat .
But I wouldn’t treat for fleas unless you have fleas.
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Can Fleas Be Dangerous To Cats
Infection: Cats frequently scratch themselves, and can be seen in most cats on a daily basis no big deal!
However, the kind of scratching prompted by fleas is in a class all of its own.
Ceaseless scratching can lead to open scratches or wounds, that in time, can lead to infected wounds, which can turn into whole-body, deadly complications.
Dermatitis: Flea allergy dermatitis is caused from an allergic reaction from the saliva of the mouthpart of the flea. The animal is allergic to substance in the saliva and a skin reaction takes place. The dermatitis, or inflammation of the skin, from this allergic reaction, can caused red, raised bumps or rashes, red patches of skin, itchy and scratchy skin areas.
Anemia: Another potentially dangerous issue with fleas has to do with their blood-sucking quality. Fleas suck blood through the skin of their host. This poses special risk to cats, and more notably kittens, who can be more likely to develop anemia as a result of the blood loss in extreme flea infestation cases.
Disease Carriers: Fleas are also disease vectors for bacteria. Cats can become disease traffickers after being bitten by carrier fleas.
Cat fleas can carry diseases that affect other cats and humans.
Indoor Cats Dont Need To Be Microchipped
If your cat gets out of your home, how will you find them? Indoor cats do occasionally get out, especially during home renovations, when moving, or even when friends and family come to visit. An ASPCA survey found that only 74% of lost cats are reunited with their owners. If your cat gets out and doesn’t have visible identification or a microchip, the probability of them getting returned to you is significantly lower than if they are easily identified.
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What Are The Health Risks To A Cat
Fleas are more than just a nuisance. These parasites can pose a threat to your cat’s health. A severe flea infestation can seriously damage a cat’s skin, induce an allergic reaction, or cause them to become anemic from blood loss. Fleas are also responsible for cats contracting parasites like tapeworms and may transmit diseases.
“Fleas can pass on diseases to cats, which can then be passed on to people,” Jeffer said. “The most common one that we see is cat scratch fever , which can cause all kinds of issues in people, but in cats, it can make them very sick.”
How Do I Get Rid Of Fleas In My House Fast
There are several things you can do to get rid of fleas quickly in your home, but keep in mind that results vary and really depend on individual factors of pet owners including the size of home, the number of pets, how bad the flea problem is, the effective flea agent and more.
Here are a few of the top recommended tips from vets and other pest professionals for getting fleas out of your home:
- First things first: treat your pets! You need to kill adult fleas as well as the eggs and larvae on your cat if you want to prevent any more of them from spreading around your home.
- Clean. Check all over your home for signs of fleas and be prepared to thoroughly vacuum carpets, rugs, and furniture. Use a carpet spray that kills adult fleas, and be sure to spray these in crevices and closets, and anywhere that’s dark and enclosedfleas love these little hideouts!
- Fog your house. Flea killing foggers can be effective for killing fleas, flea eggs, and flea larvae for up to 7 months.
If a flea infestation becomes severe enough, sometimes the best and most effective choice is to call an exterminator.
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The Outdoors Stay Outside
While your cat may not leave the house, you certainly do. And with you, comes a variety of unwanted guests like ticks, fleas, worm eggs, etc. Visiting friends, pets, and rodents can carry them in, too. Even neighborhood strays that visit your cats from the other side of a screen door or window can pass along germs and parasites . The best line of defense for your indoor cat against outside invaders is to keep them up-to-date on their vaccines and on parasite protection year around.
Oral Flea Control Products For Cats
Oral flea control products are also available. Nitenpyram is good for heavy flea infestation. A single oral dose of nitenpyram will kill all of the adult fleas on a cat. It has no residual effect, however. Spinosad is an oral formulation that kills 100 percent of adult fleas on a cat by 24 hours after administration. Spinosad has residual effect it continues to kill adult fleas for 30 days before the next oral is required.
Lufenuron is an insect growth regulator. It works by interfering with the growth and development of fleas but has no effect on adult fleas. It is given orally once a month however, an injectable form is available that is effective for six months. When a female flea ingests blood from a cat treated with lufenuron, the eggs she produces will be infertile.
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