Arent There More Natural Ways To Get Rid Of Fleas
Unfortunately, no. Fleas can become a dangerous and intractable problem that can easily get out of hand unless you use products that really work. In spite of what you may read on the Internet, the modern flea products that your veterinarian prescribes, are FDA approved to be cat safe. Check the label if youre not sure. It should say, Approved by FDA, followed by a six-digit New Animal Drug Application number.
Conversely, so-called natural products can actually be quite dangerous even lethal for a cat. And theyre not likely to put a dent in your flea problem.
Read, Are essential oils safe for cats? to find out more.
How To Know If Your Cat Has Fleas
The best way to know if your kitty has fleas is to give her a thorough check. Look closely at her skin and coat. While youre at it, be sure to check all of her vitals for any other health issues.
Here are some tell-tale signs your cat has fleas:
- Excessive scratching, biting, and licking
- Behavioral changes, perhaps including excessive vocalization
If you notice any of these signs, its time to fight those fleas!
Assessing Your Cat’s Symptoms
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Managing Your Cats Flea Allergy
Continued treatment is the key to managing your cats flea allergy. It only takes one or two bites for your cat to display allergy symptoms, so it is best to be consistent with treatment using flea control products. You should bathe your cat with flea shampoo frequently and use spot treatments as needed.
Since fleas dont actually live on your cat, dont forget to treat the areas of your home and yard where they may be lurking. Monthly treatments during flea season can help to keep a flea-free environment around your house or backyard. Even if you cant see them, they are likely still around.
Being aggressive and staying ahead of a potential flea problem is often your best course of action.
You should also make sure you vacuum your home regularly including furniture, chairs, blankets, and any other spots your cat likes to cuddle up and take a nap. When you do vacuum, make sure to throw out the bag or dump the vacuum in a trash bag and seal it before throwing it away so any captured fleas do not escape and re-enter your home.
Getting Rid Of Fleas On Cats Naturally:
What else is unique to cats? There are methods that can be used on dogs but not cats. One that comes to mind involves using vinegar in drinking water.
A cat’s PH can be altered in a negative way by doing this, so it’s safe for dogs but not for cats. We are developing a whole section devoted to Natural Flea Control. You’ll find lots of info there!
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What Are Cat Fleas
Cats are excellent groomers, so it might be tough to imagine your preened pet catching parasites! The most obvious sign that your cat has fleas is persistent scratching, or sometimes over-grooming, which can result in bald patches on their coat. If your cat develops a flea allergy they may also have scabs and red, sore areas on their skin. Regularly grooming your cat wont necessarily prevent parasites, but it will at let you have a chance to check their fur for any signs of unwanted visitors, so that you can quickly seek treatment.
How Do Fleas Affect My Cat
Many cats live with fleas but show minimal signs. However, problems can occur.
Some cats develop an allergy to flea bites, especially if they are repeatedly bitten. Flea allergic cats groom or scratch excessively after being bitten by even a single flea, and often develop skin infections secondary to this self-trauma. Lesions most often appear at the base of the tail. Excessive grooming may also result in removing all evidence of a flea infestation on your cat. To eliminate this possibility, your veterinarian may advise rigorous flea control even though no fleas can be found.
Adult fleas live on animals and feed on blood. A single adult flea consumes many times its weight in blood over its lifetime. If a kitten, or a debilitated or older cat, has a lot of fleas, the blood loss can be severe, resulting in anemia.
The flea acts as the intermediate host for one species of tapeworm. This means that the tapeworm must complete part of its life cycle within a flea. Flea larvae become infected by eating tapeworm eggs, and if a cat swallows an infected flea while grooming, the tapeworm larva will develop into an adult tapeworm. Any cat with fleas is likely to also have a tapeworm infestation .
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Keep The Fleas From Coming Back
Dryden says that even though oral and spot-on medications may kill the fleas on your cat in a matter of hours, its important to continue using them for the duration of recommended time for complete eradication of the flea problem. And you should regularly re-apply the treatment if needed based on the products instructions.
Does Your Cat Have Fleas
Finding it hard to tell whether or not you cat has caught this tiny parasite? Here are the most common signs of cat fleas to watch out for:
- non-stop scratching
Cats can have an injection in order to prevent flea eggs, but youll usually have to use a topical treatment at the same time to totally get rid of the existing cat fleas.
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Introduction To Cat Fleas
The most common type of flea found on cats is the cat flea , but rabbit and hedgehog fleas can also show an interest in your cat! Flea bites are itchy for all cats, and can lead to some developing allergies . As if fleas werent pesky enough, they can also provide a thriving environment for certain types of tapeworm, and heavy infestations can cause anaemia in kittens.
However theres no need to worry, as there are a number of different cat flea prevention options for you to look at.
Grooming Can Reduce The Flea Load On Your Pets
While you are waiting for the flea medicines to do their job, you can help ease your cats suffering by combing out fleas.
Use a fine-toothed metal comb, preferably one designed for flea removal, such as this inexpensive 4-piece set by Gnawrishing. Comb through your cats fur from head to tail several times a day to skim off adult fleas and their eggs. Dip the comb in hot water with a little liquid dishwashing soap as you go to kill the fleas.
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Ridding Your Home Of Fleas
Just as important as treating your cat, its imperative that you eradicate the fleas in your house. Fleas arent just concentrated on your cat. They can set up a home base in your yard, bed, couch, favorite chair, etc. a seriously skin-crawling thought. These extra steps can help you prevent future infestations:
- Vacuum everything.
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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How To Get Rid Of Fleas In Cats
Flea treatment for cats is an ongoing process. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix. The main problem with fleas is that they can live without a host for months.
This means that even the cleanest of homes and the cleanest of cats can soon become hotbeds for infestation. But if you stay vigilant and make an effort to stay on top of things, the occasional case of fleas will never be allowed to break out into a full-on infestation.
Getting Rid Of Fleas On Cats
Products NOT To Use On Cats: We do not recommend the use of flea collars, powder, or dips. Cats groom themselves by licking! They will ingest whatever chemical is in their fur or on their skin. These products are pesticides.
These products are quickly falling out of favor, and are being reported as having dangerous and sometimes deadly results. Whether it’s a powder, liquid dip, or collar against the skin, these are unsafe chemical pesticides.
When our cats had fleas we learned a lot when it comes to getting rid of fleas on cats. You just need knowledge and a few reliable tools to get the job done.
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How Is A Flea Allergy In Cats Diagnosed
The easiest way to diagnose a flea allergy in your cat is to run a flea comb through his fur. If youve noticed your cat scratching at himself more often than usual, it may point to a flea allergy. Combing through his fur may reveal fleas, and if so, you can likely deduce that they are the cause and treat accordingly.
However, sometimes cats have groomed away the majority of the issue and you wont find any fleas when you comb through their fur. This doesnt necessarily mean that a flea allergy is not the cause, despite the fact that many allergens and other substances can cause similar symptoms.
If this is the case, you will need to have your veterinarian conduct allergy testing to determine what it is in your cats environment that is causing the reaction, or perhaps even something like a feline food allergy. Your vet will test your cats sensitivity to flea saliva as well as to other allergens.
You may even move forward and treat your cat for fleas even if no fleas are found during your physical examination. If the symptoms improve, youll know it was indeed a flea allergy that was causing the reaction. But if not, you will need to keep searching to find the cause.
What Do Fleas On Cats Look Like
Flea eggs are nearly microscopic. They are about 0.5 mm in length and about half as wide, which is about the size of a grain of salt. People often mistake flea dirt for flea eggs, though both are signs of a flea infestation. Unlike flea eggs, flea dirt is dark and crumbly. Flea dirt itself is not harmful to your cat and can be easily washed away with a bath, but it is almost always an indication of a bigger flea problem.
Since flea eggs are easily mistaken for dry skin or sand, theyre usually not the first thing you notice if you think your cat has a flea problem. Finding flea dirt or actual fleas on your pet or in the home are more obvious signs of a flea infestation.
Adult fleas themselves are noticeable as very fast-moving tiny black insects. At this stage, they do not stay on your cat exclusively and can move throughout your home, especially in areas where your cat spends a lot of time.
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How To Spot Fleas On Cats
Telltale signs that your cat has fleas are scratching and itching, redness to the skin, or small red bumps or a rash, says Melanie Thomas, DVM, a primary care veterinarian at Coral Springs Animal Hospital in Coral Springs, Florida.
Another thing to look out for is flea dirt, which can look like tiny, black specks in a cats fur.
Adult fleas feed immediately on their host and create the flea dirt found in the hair coat, Dr. Mitchell says.
In her practice, Dr. Mitchell finds that cats are such good groomers that they eat most of the fleas, so they often can be hard to spot. But theres one more way to confirm fleas on a cat.
One of the most common signs is that we see white, wriggling tapeworms on the cat or in the litter box, Dr. Mitchell says. Tapeworms spread by fleas.
Treating Flea Allergies In Cats
Flea allergies are generally treated in two phases. First, you need to control the flea problem and get rid of the fleas on your cats body. Second, you may need to treat any infections that have come as a result of the incessant scratching due to the allergy.
These treatments will often include topical remedies, antibiotics, steroids, and other medications to help control the itch and eradicate the flea problem.
Truly, the only effective treatment is to get rid of the fleas from the cat and his environment. Treating the itching will provide some temporary relief , but the symptoms will return if the flea problem is not properly addressed. This flea treatment will target adult fleas as well as eggs and larvae which live in the cats environment and will mature into adult fleas.
Treatment will typically involve using a flea shampoo to kill the pests lingering on the cats body, as well as other topical treatments to help with hot spots that have developed as a result of the allergy. Steroids may also be prescribed for more severe conditions to help with the itching as well.
If an infestation has been established anywhere in the cats environment, the fleas will be difficult to remove, but there are pesticides available to help clear out your cats living spaces. This includes problem areas both inside and outside of the home. Your house, your yard, and all other pets must also be treated with flea-control products to completely get rid of the problem.
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Why You Should Worry About Fleas
Fleas are a very common problem for cat guardians. But they can also be a very serious problem. Heres why:
Fleas can suck too much bloodSome cats are allergic to fleasFleas carry parasites of their ownFleas carry bacteria that can harm humansBartonella henselaeB. henselaeBartonellosishenselae
Preventing Fleas On A Cat
Getting a regular flea treatment from your vet may help prevent fleas on your cat.
Remember that when you want to eliminate cat fleas, it is necessary to treat both your cat and your home as well. Normally, a combination of topical products that specifically kill adult fleas as well as home treatments will help eliminate and prevent flea eggs to become adult fleas.
Wash your carpets and soft furnishings well and regularly, ideally on high heat. These prevention measures will greatly help keep your cat and home flea-free.
Note that it is vital to talk to your vet before treating your cat and home, especially when you have young kittens and pregnant cats. That way, you are assured that the treatment that you provide wont harm your cat/kitten in any way.
A pet camera such as the Petcube Cam may also help you detect issues with your cat such as a flea problem. The interactive pet camera is an affordable smart HD pet camera that also has a 24/7 Online Vet service.
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Are Fleas Contagious To Other Animals
Fleas will happily leap from one animal to another, infesting all of the warm-blooded creatures in a household. While they aren’t able to reside on humans as easily as furry pets, they will bite people and cause itching. Many flea-borne diseases can be transmitted from fleas to cats. dogs, humans, and other pets in a household as well.
How To Check Cats For Fleas
This article was co-authored by Pippa Elliott, MRCVS. Dr. Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS is a veterinarian with over 30 years of experience in veterinary surgery and companion animal practice. She graduated from the University of Glasgow in 1987 with a degree in veterinary medicine and surgery. She has worked at the same animal clinic in her hometown for over 20 years.There are 14 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 95% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 363,524 times.
Before you go on a flea hunt, think about why you suspect your cat might have fleas. If you’ve seen fleas on your cat or in your house, you know for sure you are dealing with fleas and should use a veterinary flea treatment labeled for cats. But, you may have a flea problem even if you’ve never seen a flea on your pet or in your home. Your cat may have cleaned the adult fleas from her fur. Flea eggs may have fallen off your pet and could hatch a few weeks later. Either way, it’s important to know for certain if your cat has fleas.
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