Fleas and ticks are parasites that live on the cat’s skin. Both can be picked up from the environment. Fleas are more commonly seen in cats. To understand how to treat fleas, it is essential to know the flea life cycle. Adult fleas will lay eggs on an infected pet (one flea can lay up to 50 eggs/day), and these eggs fall off the pet and into the environment. The eggs with hatch into larvae in the environment, and then will go into a pupae stage. Once they hatch from the pupae stage, they become adults and will jump on your pet to feed and lay eggs. This cycle takes averages of 30-75 days but can vary due to external factors, such as temperature and humidity. Ticks can be seen in cats, more often cats that go outside. A tick will ‘quest,’ which means they stand on a blade of grass with their ‘arms’ open and will climb on the first thing that walks by them. They then burrow their heads into the animal and ‘cement’ themselves in place over 24-48 hours. They typically stay on your pet for up to a week.
How do I know if my cat has fleas?
Most often, flea bites can be very itchy, so it is common that your cat will be scratching itself more than usual. Sometimes, they will scratch to the point of traumatizing their skin. Another common sign that your cat has fleas is the ‘pepper-like’ appearance on their fur, especially over the hind end. This ‘pepper-like’ debris can be put on a white paper towel – if it looks to have a reddish appearance, it is flea poop. Adult fleas can also be seen moving around on your pet; this would be the most obvious sign that fleas are present.
Do fleas harm cats?
For the average cat, fleas mostly cause cats to be itchy. For some cats, they can cause an allergic reaction – this is known as flea allergy dermatitis. With this sensitivity, a cat will have an above average response to flea bites, which will often cause them to have bumpy, scabby skin. These cats will be much less tolerant of the itchiness that fleas cause. In more rare cases, a severe infestation of fleas can cause dehydration and anemia. These cats need immediate treatment.
Why is treating and preventing fleas so important?
Treating and preventing fleas is important for the well-being of your cat, as well as you as an owner. Fleas are not only a nuisance for your cat but when there is an abundance of fleas in your house, it is common for owners to get bit by them as well. Fleas don’t live on a human, but they will certainly bite them. Fleas live on both cats and dogs, so it is important to treat all pets in the house to eliminate the problem. The treatment to eradicate fleas takes about three months.
What are some simple steps for treating fleas in your senior cat?
The products that we carry for flea treatments are safe to use with senior cats. If your senior cat gets fleas, it is important to treat them to keep them comfortable. If they are compromised by a disease process, it is even more important to address them, as we don’t want your cat to become dehydrated or anemic due to an over infestation of fleas. It is also important to have all cats and dogs in the house treated.