Another Pet Brings The Pests Indoors
The number one way that fleas and ticks enter the household is on the family dog, says Fink. Even a dog on a flea and tick product could bring live insects and eggs into the house, especially if they are on a product that does not repel, or if a high number of fleas and ticks outdoors overwhelms the product on the dog. Many flea and tick products take some time to kill the parasites, so they can enter your house, hop off your dog, and on to your cat before they feel the effects of the medicine. Even if only a few fleas or ticks are brought inside, the parasites can lay thousands of eggs and put your indoor cat at risk.
Outdoor areas can become infested during warm weather in areas with a large population of dogs, stray cats, squirrels, birds, rats, mice and other mammals, says Fink.
What to do: Keeping pets on a preventative flea medicine for cats;is a starter, but its important to regularly check household and visiting pets for parasites if theyve been outdoors. You can also ask visitors if their pet is on a preventative treatment before allowing them into your home, says Fink.
What Do Cat Fleas Look Like
The cat flea, or the Ctenocephalides felis, is the most common flea species found on cats throughout the U.S. Though less common, cats are actually susceptible to other types of fleas as well, including rabbit and hedgehog fleas!
Although cat fleas are quite small measuring only between 1-2mm in length these tiny, wingless pests survive by ingesting the blood of warm-blooded hosts like cats.
What Is The Flea Life Cycle
Those very fast insects that you might see scurrying across your cats skin are the adults. These live on the host and feed on blood, leaving behind a tell-tale sign known as flea dirt which looks like grains of very dark soil but is in fact your cats digested blood. The fleas poop, if you will. Even if you dont see the adult flea, if you find signs of flea dirt on your cat or in your cats favorite resting place, chances are there are fleas somewhere you just havent found them yet. They are VERY fast and tend to avoid light, so they may be difficult to find for the untrained eye. Ask the team at your veterinary clinic to help you, if you suspect you may have a flea problem.
A female flea will lay up to 8000 eggs in her life, on the host and also in your home . When these eggs hatch, they are free-moving larvae that will feed on any organic debris they might find laying around, although their main source of nutrition is the adults feces that they will find almost anywhere the cat has been resting. Once the larvae reach a certain size they will turn into pupae like most insects do and then hatch into adults and start the whole cycle all over again. Fleas dont like the cold, but inside the comfort of our homes where its warm and cozy all the time, they will thrive all year round, as long as they have a host to feed on.
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What Will Repel Fleas Naturally
Botanical, or plant-based, repellents are one of the best non-toxic ways to ward off fleas.
Cedar chips or cedar shavings are a cat-safe flea repellent. Theyre a natural insecticide and they have a sweet fragrance thats excellent at ridding the air of bad odors. Cedar chips are even used in hypoallergenic cat litter as an alternative to clay-based litters.
Lemon-infused water and vinegar solutions are also powerful flea repellents.
To make the lemony repellent simply boil a pint of water and a thinly sliced lemon to the water. Let it cool, then add it to a spray bottle that you can use to spritz around areas you want to keep fleas away from. This is safe for cats because its fresh lemon and diluted. Citrus essential oils on the other hand are toxic to cats.
To make the cat-safe vinegar solution mix three parts water with one part apple cider vinegar or white vinegar. Add the vinegar-water solution to a spray bottle and spritz around areas as needed. A bonus with using apple cider vinegar is that it also has natural antibacterial properties!
Remember to keep in mind that many all-natural repellents can have ingredients that can be harmful to your cat, like essential oils. When you look into purchasing ready-made or DIYing natural, plant-based flea repellants, avoid anything with essential oils. Many, like eucalyptus, lavender, and tea tree oil are deadly to cats.
Rodents That Enter Your Home
While its unlikely to find mice or other rodents in your home with a cat on patrol, it can happen. Usually though, the mere scent of a healthy feline is enough to deter them.
However, you can still take extra precautions to avoid attracting mice. This includes never leaving food scraps lying around. Plus, always clean the floor and table should any crumbs fall off your plate.
If you suspect you have mice, never use poison. Its inhumane and could also harm your cat. Always use humane traps and set any mice free, and well away from your house!
Keep food containers tightly closed, and be aware that mice can jump 24cms! Keep downstairs windows closed at night as this is when rodents are most active. Also, mice hate the smell of cayenne pepper, so a light sprinkle outside your window will deter even the hardiest of rodents.
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Spending Time In The Great Outdoors
While many cuddly lap cat breeds are less inclined to want to leave the comforts of home, other breeds are active adventurers who love nothing more than exploring their external surroundings.
These day trips often see them hitting the streets and saying hi to neighbors or roaming through fields or gardens where theyll often roll about in the soil, laze under trees, or indulge in a game of cat and mouse with an unsuspecting rodent.;
In the humid summer months, fleas thrive in moist and shady conditions, so its easy for your kitty to come into contact with them whenever theyre outside. Rodents are also carriers of fleas and if your cat enjoys a good mouse-hunting mission, its not hard for these little critters to jump ship.;
What Effects Do Fleas Have On Cats
While external parasites, such as fleas, may simply leave behind itchy bites on your cats skin, they also can be carriers of internal parasites and other diseases.;
Other problems that can arise from flea bites include:
- Flea Allergy Dermatitis
While some of these diseases may merely cause your cat discomfort, some can be life-threatening and should be assessed by your vet immediately.
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How Do Cats Get Fleas
ByKathryn Rosenberg07 August 2021
Our guide on how do cats get fleas sheds some light on the most common ways these crafty critters come to set up home in your feline’s fur
The question of how do cats get fleas leaves many a pet parent scratching their head, especially considering that most feline furkids are meticulous groomers and spend most of their time indoors.
But even your fastidious feline with her impeccable hygiene habits is no match for this nimble and persistent parasite who can jump 160 times its own body length. All it takes is for one flea to land on your kitty and before you know it you have a full-blown infestation on your hands.
Regular application of one of the best topical flea treatments for cats is the best way to ensure that your furbaby stays protected, but it can take up to three months of diligently applying this and making sure your home is flea-free before you can feel confident that youve gained the upper hand.
In the meantime, it can be good to understand the way these pesky parasites can hitch a ride in your felines fur, as this can help you eliminate some of the more common culprits. So, how do cats get fleas? Let’s find out!;
From A Single Flea To Hundreds
After a little feast on your poor indoor cat, that single female flea then jumps off to lay hundreds of eggs, which will quickly hatch in 110 days,;becoming hundreds of hungry larvae.4
Vetstreet, in its Pet Owners Guide to Flea Control, notes that flea larvae are mobile, and they can hide in places such as carpeting, bedding, furniture, and baseboards.5
Unfortunately, it only takes 21 days for a single flea to multiply into 1,000 fleas on your dog or cat and in your home, according to information provided by Sergeants Pet Care Products.6
All those new fleas are then ready to satisfy their thirst with the blood of your cat. Thus begins another cycle.
For something so small just 1/12 to 1/8 inches long fleas are a mighty big problem, says Sergeants, adding that one flea can bite up to 400 times per day.
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How Can I Tell If My Cat Has Fleas
The most common flea that feeds off cats, dogs, and humans is the Ctenocephalides felis. If you observe your cat scratching and aren’t sure if fleas are the cause, you can certainly try to 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 the flea leaves.
If you do not see them, it does not mean that they are not there as fleas can be present in small numbers where the flea or flea dirt are simply not visualized. Fleas are very good at hiding on cat’s. In other cases, the trained eye of a veterinarian may be needed to find these tiny black dots that emerge on the comb. If you find the black specks, smash some with a damp paper towel, and the flea dirt will turn a rust color or red. The red color is residue from your cat’s blood and a warning that cat flea control is necessary.
Ways Indoor Cats Can Get Fleas Or Ticks
Image via Tom Wang/Shutterstock
Keeping your cat indoors can help prevent him from getting lost, from getting into altercations with other animals, and from a whole host of other harmful issues. However, if you avoid giving your feline friend flea and tick prevention because you think his indoor lifestyle will protect him from those parasites, you could run into troubles.
In Florida, where I have practiced for over 30 years, it is very common for strictly indoor cats to get fleas, says Dr. Sandy M. Fink, former owner of two Florida-based veterinary practices. While tick contraction is less common for indoor cats, this can happen, as well.
Here are some of the more common ways indoor cats can catch fleas and ticks, along with suggested methods of prevention.
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Other Pets In Your Home Get An Infestation
If you have other pets that go outside, you must ensure theyre regularly treated. Whether you have a dog or other house cats, its important to keep up the treatments.
Your dog can easily pick up fleas or ticks on her daily walk and bring them home. Also, if your other cats go outside its highly probable theyll socialize with other felines.
You cant follow your cats everywhere or ask if theyve met up with friends! Also, if you have rabbits, its important to treat them for fleas as well.
You Moved To A New House
Moving into a new home is super exciting, but that new home might already be home to fleas! Even if the house has been empty for a while, flea eggs can remain dormant yet viable for up to a year. Even after theyve hatched into flea larvae, they can also survive for months while they wait for a fluffy cat or dog to come walking by.
Before you allow your indoor cat into your new home, give the entire house a deep clean, and assume that it has a flea infestation even if it doesnt.
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How Do I Get Rid Of Fleas On My Indoor Cat
The best thing to do when you notice that your cat has fleas is to take them to the vet.
Many veterinarians will recommend treating every pet in the household with flea medications for at least three months in order to end a flea infestation. The other cats and dogs in your home may be harboring fleas even if they havent shown signs yet! Taking this preventative action can catch fleas in the pupae stage and can prevent the rampant spread of future flea infestations.
There are many different flea treatments available. Your vet will prescribe a suitable treatment plan, usually starting with a powerful oral or topical flea medicine.
Here are five different ways to get rid of fleas on your indoor cat.
Your Cats Can Get Fleas At Their Vets
Cats can get fleas when you take them to the vets. While vets are fastidiously clean it is possible for your cat to get fleas from other pets or humans while at the vet. They might drop off and then jump onto your pet. While adult fleas tend to stay on their host and not leave, it is possible.
Theres not a lot you can do about this. Im not sure how often it happens. All you can do is to check your cat over when you get home and give it a thorough comb with a flea comb.
I found this video on youtube where Dr. Alex checks over a very reluctant Molly, lol.
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From A Rodent Getting Into Your Home
Rodents can carry a variety of unpleasant diseases. Some they can pass on to an indoor cat include: leptospirosis, toxoplasmosis, rat bite fever, rabbit fever, plague.
Is it really likely your indoor cat will pick up a disease from a rat or mouse thats made its way into your home? No, it isnt. But it is possible, and the risk increases the more of a rodent problem you have on your hands. Be aware of this, and do your best to prevent rats and mice from getting into your home. Though if youre going to kill or trap them, be sure to grab child and pet-safe mouse traps, rather than the traditional kinds that your cat can be hurt in, and opt to use cheese as bait rather than poison (since you never know if a mouse will escape, then finding it dead on the floor, your house cat may be tempted to take a bite Not an ideal situation in the least.
External Parasite That Attack Cats
These are groups of parasites that attack the skin of a cat and are found on the layers of a cats skin.
External parasites feed on the skin of the cat, grow big and sometimes multiply externally.
Examples of External Parasites That Attack Cats
- Cats get parasites from scratching their nails on infested dead woods.
Lets now break down how indoor cats get some individual parasites;
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Vet Visits And Pet Groomers
We know, who would have thought it, vet clinics and pet groomers are supposed to be clean places, right? For the most part, they are, but no matter how much these spaces sparkle, fleas are masters at hiding.
If you go out of town from time to time and check your kitty into a cattery or other boarding facility or send him to a pet sitter, thats also an opportunity for your furry friend to pick up fleas.;
Control And Prevention Methods
Fleas are not always apparent on cats in fact cat’s are notorious for ‘hiding’ that they have fleas. And guess what? Even indoor only cats can get them! If you see fleas on your cat, they often catch you by surprise: tiny, quick creatures that scurry through your cat’s fur, feasting on its blood, and causing itching. Sometimes it is mild itch. Othertimes it causes severe hair loss and itching. However, if you’ve spotted fleas, keep calm: cat flea control is not only possible, it’s relatively easy.
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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.
My Cat Doesnt Have Fleas She Doesnt Go Outside
One moment your feline companion is sunbathing in her cat tree, the sun is dabbling across her fluffy orange coat and then, you spot it. It cant possibly be real. Is that..a.. FLEA? The tiny creature jumps quickly off the cat and disappears. Your cat seems completely unphased. You are in a panic. You have one cat. She doesnt go outside. Not even on the balcony on your seventh-floor apartment. You dont have a dog. There is no way that was a flea. Indoor cats dont get fleas, right? Think again.
This story plays out much more often than you would think. Yes, your indoor-only cat does have fleas, and heres how.
Fleas are classed as an external parasite , meaning they complete their life cycle on the outside of a host. In this situation, the host is your cat . The good news is, fleas dont live on humans we dont have enough fur! That still does not explain how on earth one of these tiny, blood-sucking ectoparasites made its way onto your precious cat.
Before you panic! We as humans are geared to think of fleas as being dirty and gross, and finding out your pet has fleas can make you want to fumigate your entire house. But dont worry this is unnecessary. As mentioned above, fleas require a host to be able to complete their life cycle. Once they are no longer able to do so, the fleas will die, and your fluffy kitty will stop scratching from flea bites and flea dirt.
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