How To Tell If Your Cat Has Fleas
First things first, how can you tell if your cat has fleas? Being able to check your cat for signs of fleas can help you catch them early before they get too bad. Early detection of fleas can prevent your cat from dealing with some of those really tough problems like itchy skin, tapeworms, and anemia that fleas can cause. Common signs of fleas include:
Signs Your Cat Has A Flea Problem
Many common symptoms tell if your cat has a flea infestation. They include:
- Bald patches
Use a fine cat flea comb to groom your cat and inspect fleas.
Examine the leftover specks under running water . If any of the specks turn red, it is due to the blood remnants of flea waste. This indicates flea infestation.
Red dots around your ankles are due to a flea bite. Flea bites can also occur on cats and irritate their skin.
Bottom Line: Scratching, bald patches, and red spots are signs of fleason cats.
Exercise Caution And Consult Your Veterinarian
In addition to the home remedies mentioned, there are many instructions and recipes for making supposedly natural flea treatments on the Internet. Essential oils are beneficial to humans, but they can be fatal to fleas because they inhibit their movement and breathing. However, when using them, keep in mind that some natural remedies for fleas are toxic to cats and can lead to side effects.
Here is our advice on this matter:
- A lavender essential oil should NOT be used on a cats skin.
- Oils containing high amounts of phenol, such as thyme and oregano oil, should never be used on animals, and especially not on cats. Oregano oil can cause permanent liver damage in cats. Use olive oil instead.
- Tea tree oil can cause symptoms of intoxication such as weakness, tremors, diarrhea, and vomiting.
- Many homemade flea spray recipes include dish soap. However, like all cleaning agents, dish soap can cause symptoms of poisoning in cats. Never use dish soap directly on your pet to avoid side effects.
- Some cats may be allergic to essential oils like for example cedar oil.
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How Do You To Get Rid Of Fleas In The House
To get rid of fleas in your environment, you’ll have to take precautions similar to if you were dealing with lice, bed bugs, or another pest. Follow these tips from the Environmental Protection Agency:
- Vacuum the floors, furniture, and anything your pet is around daily.
- Seal and dispose of the vacuum bag afterwards.
- Steam clean carpets to kill lingering fleas.
- Wash all pet and family bedding in hot, soapy water every two weeks.
You can also apply insecticide according to the manufacturer’s instructions or contact a professional exterminator to treat the house and yard. The most effective ones contain ingredients such as permethrin, imidacloprid, or dinotefuran to kill adult fleas and an “insect growth regulator” like methoprene or pyriproxyfen to stop the development of eggs and larvae, according to the University of Kentucky Entomology Department. Always follow the directions and safety precautions on the label. It’s typical to see new adult fleas after treatment, but continued vacuuming may stop the infestation without a second application.
Persistence is key when it comes to fleas, but by taking all of the necessary steps, it is possible to stop an infestation and protect your cat from these nasty bloodsuckers.
How Much Of A Risk Do Fleas Pose
If a flea problem is allowed to escalate, things can soon become critical and not just for your cat. All cats are irritated by fleas, but some cats are so hypersensitive to flea saliva that they can suffer an allergic reaction. If left untreated, this can pose some serious health risks. And fleas, dont forget, are bloodsuckers. If your cat is young or frail, losing too much blood to fleas can be fatal. A flea infection can also act as a gateway to other, more serious infections. For example, its possible for flea larvae to become infected with tapeworm eggs, which your cat can easily ingest while grooming. So in no time at all a seemingly-harmless flea infection can develop into a life-threatening tapeworm infection. Thats why regular worming is just as important as routine flea treatment.
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Some Home Remedies For Fleas On Cats
I will again mention some of the home remedies that were listed above:
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar does not kill the fleas. However, it will make them jump off of your cat. Mix the apple cider vinegar and water in a proportion of 2:1.
Mix it well and pour it into a spray bottle. You can drench the coat of your cat with the solution and comb it gently. This remedy will work for about three to four days.
Slowly drag the comb across the hair that is close to your cat’s skin. Comb more in the areas where the fleas are likely to hide.
This will include the base of the tail, the armpits, and the groin area. Have a bowl of soapy water on hand. As you remove the fleas, drown them in the water.
DE is a natural rock substance that is made from shelled algae. It is one of the best substances for use in getting rid of fleas. DE is harmless to pets as well as people. It causes fleas to dehydrate, making them die.
To use it, first put on gloves and dust your hands with the substance. Sprinkle it onto your cat’s coat and rub it thoroughly. You can also use it on your cat’s bedding. Use it once a day and once a week on your cat’s bedding.
Natural Flea Collar
You can make an excellent herbal natural flea collar for your cat. While it will not provide total protection from fleas, it certainly will help.
What You Can Do If Your Cat Has Already Been Infested With Fleas
While you cant prevent your cat from being infested with fleas, you can control them. If your cat has already been infested with fleas, you might be wondering what you can do to prevent further infestations.
There are a few things that you can do to prevent fleas from infesting your cat. First, if youre dealing with a flea problem, you should try to remove the source of the problem. For instance, if you find a stray cat on your property, you can take it to a shelter or a vet to get it treated. Its important to keep your cats environment clean and free of any potential flea hiding spots.
Fleas are spread through the air, so theyll also thrive in areas where cats spend most of their time. So make sure to clean up your cats food, bedding, and litter boxes thoroughly and often. You can also use flea control sprays and products to treat your home. This is the best way to ensure that your cat remains flea-free.
Its important to remember that cats arent the only animals that can have flea problems. Dogs, hamsters, and birds all have fleas as well. Theyre also great hosts for fleas because of their constant shedding.
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Assuring All Dogs And Cats In The House Are On Flea Prevention
If you have multiple dogs or cats in your home, it is important that they are all on prevention. If you have noted fleas on one cat or dog in your home, it is likely that all of the cats and dogs in your home have fleas. In order to truly get rid of fleas, each cat and dog needs to be on a reliable vet recommended flea prevention consistently and for consecutive months. Assuming that just one of your pets has it, and the other do not because you do not see them will lead to the non-treated cats and dogs continuously getting bit by fleas. Due to lifecycle and longevity of fleas, you will never be able to get rid of your flea problem in your home if you leave one of your cats and dogs unprotected or decide to just treat them for one or two months.
Use An Insecticide Spray On Your Cats Bedding This Will Kill The Eggs That Are Laying On Your Cats Bedding
To demonstrate how this works, try spraying the inside of your shoe with an insecticide spray. The eggs that are on the inside of your shoes will die. This will help prevent your cat from getting reinfested. Its important to remember that using an insecticide spray on your cats bedding will also help get rid of fleas that are on your furniture and other surfaces in your home.
Bathe your cat with an insecticide shampoo. This will kill the fleas that are in your cats hair and remove them from his or her body. You should bathe your cat every week or two during the warmer months.
If you have a carpet in your home, you can vacuum it up. The vacuum cleaner will pick up the fleas and their eggs. If you have hardwood floors, you can use a flea comb or dustpan and brush to remove the fleas and their eggs.
You should talk with your vet about what other treatments are available for your cat.
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Do Not Forget About Your Environment
Unfortunately , to get rid of fleas feeding on the cat is not enough. There are also eggs and larvae which exist in the cats environment as well as adult fleas which jump out of the cat after feeding on a daily basis. The cats bedding, blankets and bedspreads with which the cat has a frequent contact should be washed at the highest allowable temperature.
After fighting flea infestation, remember to protect your cat from another parasite attack. It may also be necessary to conduct deworming. Infestation with tapeworms is very common in cats struggling with flea infestation, and the dog tapeworm living in these insects is also dangerous for humans.
Flea Life Cycle And Behavior
Fleas are tiny insects that feed on the blood of cats and other small animals. They can be found in all parts of the world, including the United States, Europe, and Asia.
The life cycle of a flea begins with the egg stage, where the eggs are laid on your cats coat. The eggs then hatch into larvae and pupae stages. At the end of the larva stage, the fleas develop into adult fleas. Adult fleas stay on your cat for the duration of their lives, but they can live for only a few days without feeding.
Once an adult flea finds a suitable host, it will search for a place to lay its eggs. Fleas will often lay their eggs on your cats body. You can find flea eggs on your cats fur, in the folds of their skin, and even under their nails.
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Flea Treatment For Cats
There are plenty of flea treatments available, but not all of them will be suitable for your cat. Your vet will be familiar with your cats medical history, so ask them to recommend a treatment thats right for them. Never use a treatment thats not been recommended by your vet. At best it will be ineffective, at worst it might make your cat feel even worse. But its one thing to treat your cat for fleas. The bigger and arguably more important task is to rid your home of fleas. Remember fleas can live for months without a host, and its estimated that 95% of flea eggs, larvae, and pupae live in the environment. So if you treat your cat without addressing the rest of your home, dont be surprised when the problem returns in a month or two.
Use Flea Prevention Products
The products that were mentioned earlier such as flea combs, sprays, collars, topicals, and chewables can also be great for flea prevention. They can create a protective barrier around your cat that can either repel fleas or kill any that make their way onto your cat. Never treat your cat with anti-flea products made for dogs the ingredients are different and can be fatal to cats.
It is important to note that pet parents should never useflea medallions . They can dip into the water dish when your pet drinks, adding chemicals to the water.
Always talk to your vet about using more than one product on your cat at a time. The chemicals in different products dont always mix and may be harmful to your kitty. Dont use flea shampoo or other chemical treatments on kittens because the strong ingredients may harm them. Only use products labled safe for kittens based on their age and/or weight.
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How To Get Rid Of Fleas In Your Home
If your pet is a walking carrier of mature fleas, your home can become the nursery. Its estimated that only 5 percent of a flea infestation can be attributed to the adult fleas unwillingly hosted by your pet.
The remaining 95 percent is thought be the eggs, larvae, and cocoons spread throughout your house. This means that you have to tackle the problem from all angles in order to truly eradicate the infestation.
To do this, you must treat your pet and its living environment at the same time. Depending on your pets boundaries, this may include your whole house or yard.
Heres how to start eliminating fleas from your home:
How To Prevent A Cat From Getting Fleas
Fleas are hard to get rid of because they lay eggs at the beginning of the flea life cycle. If you dont catch them early, your cat will likely get infested with fleas at some point in his or her life.
Here are some ways to prevent a cat from getting fleas:
- Keep your cat indoors during the winter months. Outdoor cats are more likely to get fleas.
- Always use flea and tick prevention on your cat. Your vet will be able to recommend the best product for your cats health.
- Never let your cat lick his or her paws. This is where fleas hide and breed.
- Do not allow your cat to sleep on your bed. Fleas can easily hitch a ride on your bedding.
It is important to keep your cats environment clean and free of clutter. When you do, it will be easier to spot fleas and ticks.
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How To Rid Your Cat Of Fleas
Firstly, lets make sure your cat actually has fleas and isnt just scratching due to stress or allergies. Take a look at your cat focusing on the back of the neck, groin, and ears as these tend to be flea hotspots. If you can see little black specs crawling around on your cat then they have fleas. Some long haired or dark coloured cats make it more difficult to spot fleas especially if its a fresh outbreak but if you rub your hand on their fur over a light-coloured surface and little black pepper-like specks fall from them this might be what is called flea dirt. These are the excretions of an adult flea and can be identified by putting a drop of water on the black spots and if the water turns blood-red then it is most likely flea dirt and your cat has fleas.
Does My Cat Have Fleas
When grooming, cats often ingest any fleas that they discover, which can make it difficult to find adult fleas in the hair coat. An itchy cat, or insect bites on human ankles, may be the only sign of an infestation.
The best way to demonstrate the presence of fleas is often to comb the cat meticulously with a fine-toothed flea comb. If you do this over a clean white surface such as a large piece of white paper, any fleas or flea dirt will be deposited onto the surface. If there is any debris , place this on some damp cotton wool if these are flea dirt, they will slowly dissolve leaving red-brown blood marks. This demonstrates the presence of fleas even if adults cannot be found.
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Use Only Flea Treatments That Are Made For Cats
Cats are much more sensitive to medications than some other species , so you should not assume that if you can use it on your dog, you can use it on your cat. Many cats have died from this misconception.
Additionally, not all medications labelled for cats are as safe or as effective as you might wish some cats are more sensitive to the chemicals in these products than others. When in doubt, contact your veterinarian to see which product they recommend.
Until recently, flea collars were not recommended for cats. They simply didnt workplus, cats seemed to hate wearing them. That all changed with the release of the Seresto collar, made by Bayer.
This collar contains multiple ingredients that have increased the effectiveness of the product dramatically, and the collar will protect your cat against fleas for as long as eight months.
It works within 24 hours, and the fleas do not even need to bite your cat to be killed.
These are some of the newest, latest and greatest products out on the market. Many of these products work extremely well, and as a rule, are applied monthly.
Most have some degree of water-resistance and act generally within 12 hours. A nice benefit with these products is that they generally kill on contact, so fleas do not need to bite the cat to be killed. This spares allergic cats the discomfort of receiving flea bites.
Some reliable products to consider include: