The flea infestations are common and represent a major skin problem in cats. The cat flea ( Ctenocephalides flea ) is primarily responsible for such infestations, but rabbit and hedgehog fleas can also threaten cats. In some cats, the flea bite can cause an allergic reaction (flea allergy dermatitis). Additionally, fleas can act as intermediate hosts that carry certain types of flatworms. So if your cat has fleas, you need to have flatworm treatment. A severe flea infestation can lead to anemia in kittens, a life-threatening disorder. Remember that fleas can also bite humans, although luckily, cat fleas cannot survive on human blood alone. Here we will give you a complete guide about flea treatment for cats.
Table of Contents
What are fleas?
The fleas are external parasites most common both in cats than in dogs. Adult fleas can live for several months and spend most of their life on the cat to eat and lay eggs. Females lay up to 50 eggs per day, which fall to the ground and hatch. Giving rise to small larvae that nest in carpets, linings, and often in the cat’s bed. The larvae later turn into pupae and remain inactive within a silky cocoon for 2-4 weeks or even longer. As soon as they feel heat and vibrations, adult fleas come out of the cocoon and jump on a passing guest to start the life cycle all over again. Fleas can also transmit diseases, including some blood parasites.
The ticks sink the rostrum in the skin of the cat, and they suck blood. Unfed ticks are small in size, have eight legs, and can be black, brown, red, or tan in color. After feeding, their size increases, and ticks take on the appearance of a brown sphere. They belong to the class of arachnids and have a much longer life cycle than that of fleas. Fortunately, they spend most of their time away from their hosts, but they are still carriers of serious diseases and can lay thousands of eggs at one time.
How do you detect the presence of fleas?
Suppose the cat is constantly scratching. He likely has fleas. Some cats do not scratch but tend to lick each other more than usual, resulting in hairless areas. Fleas are dark brown in color and 1 to 2mm in length. They move very fast, and it is not easy to recognize them, but it is possible to see them on the cat’s body or notice black dots. Their feces, in the cat’s fur when you comb it. To verify that flea feces are flea, place the black dots in a moistened piece of tissue paper. The flea feces turn red due to the digested blood in them. The maximum flea activity season is the end of summer due to high humidity and high temperatures. But using central heating in winter makes it necessary to subject the cat to flea treatment for cats throughout the year.
Ticks are large enough to be easily seen, particularly after feeding on blood, when they look like small warts. They are usually found in the head and neck area of the animal. A straightforward way to spot ticks is to separate the cat’s fur and run your fingers over the skin, trying to recognize any bumps by touch. Generally, contact with ticks occurs in places rich in vegetation. Therefore, if the cat is used to living outdoors, it is advisable to check its coat when returning home.
Cat has fleas: what now?
Fortunately, there are very effective solutions. First of all, it is good to remember that if you have several animals, they must all be treated simultaneously, even those that do not seem infested. Don’t give cortisone! Cortisone should only be used in severe cases and under the advice of the veterinarian.
The most effective treatment is to carry out a pesticide bath in grooming to give quick relief from itching. After 2-3 days, apply an external pesticide (in spray or pipette) to prevent reinfestations. Pesticide products must be applied at least 48 hours after washing (both before and after). The most common mistake is to take advantage of the groomer’s availability and have him apply the pesticide directly after the bath.
Warning! When using an anti-parasite shampoo, you will have to be very patient (it is not enough to give a quick lather, you will have to be very scrupulous), and of course, you must be sure that that product is effective. Many are on the market, but they are not all the same (there are very effective natural molecules, such as tea tree oil or tea tree oil). Trust your trusted groomer.
Possible anti-parasite treatments for cats
Several types of flea and tick treatment are available, including powders, sprays, topical dressings, and even injections. Always consult your veterinarian to determine which pesticide treatment to apply and preferably use authorized veterinary products, tested to ensure their safety and effectiveness. It is not enough to treat the cat to fight fleas, but it is necessary to disinfect the house properly. Use a combination of products that can eradicate adult fleas at home (adulticide treatment) And prevent eggs from turning into adult fleas (insect development inhibitor or growth regulator).
As for advice on removing ticks, please don’t rush to remove them. As the beak could remain in the animal’s skin, causing an infection or inflammation and making the affected area painful. Instead, ask your vet to provide you with a special tick removal tool that can also remove the rostrum. Once the tick is extracted, make sure that the head and legs have also been removed, and nothing is left in the animal’s skin. Some flea products can also kill ticks or offer protection against them, although they may require more frequent application than flea protection.
Other pesticide treatments for cats
Flea products often contain natural ingredients, such as lemongrass and eucalyptus oil. Some of these products do not undergo the mandatory safety tests for veterinary products, so they may prove ineffective or potentially toxic to the cat. For this reason, it would be preferable always to use authorized veterinary products.
A balanced diet, such as a PRO PLAN diet for cats, contains all the nutrients necessary to keep the pet’s skin and coat healthy, such as Omega-3 fatty acids and proteins. For more information, see
Where do cat fleas come from
A walk in the garden or the park with our dog or cat is often enough to open the door of our house to fleas: the environment, in fact, plays a fundamental role in the life cycle of this insect. The adult fleas live exclusively on the dog and the cat, and the environment where the animal lives take place the rest of their cycle made up of the immature forms (eggs, larvae, and pupae). In the absence of an animal to infest, fleas can survive in the environment, protected within the cocoon, for up to a year.
This is why our dog or cat, if not adequately protected, can be attacked by fleas. It is sufficient that a flea-infested animal passed weeks or a few months before being attacked in turn. In fact, the fleas will have laid eggs, which in the meantime will have become pupae, waiting for the passage of a guest.
Habitat and seasonality of the fleas: Flea Treatment For Cats
Adult fleas are mostly active between late spring and early autumn, but they can withstand even milder winters. In warmer areas, they can survive all year round. The flea larvae require a specific habitat, preferably dark and damp. Therefore, it is easy to find them in animal bedding, between the cracks in the floors, and in beds and under carpets. In nature, there are numerous species of flea. The most common on our dogs and cats are Ctenocephalides felis, cat flea, and Ctenocephalides canis, the dog flea.
The cat flea is the most widespread of all. Despite its name, it doesn’t disdain the blood of other mammals, including dogs and humans. It has a long and flattened body, without wings, but with long legs that allow it to jump. So it is the most prolific species and can perceive the movement, heat, and noises caused by a passing guest. It tends to nest in the animal’s resting places, such as kennels and baskets.
Flea treatment for cats: Natural Remedies
They are the true Achilles heel of dogs, and cats are even more vulnerable. The fleas can cause severe trouble, especially in the summer and autumn months, when these pests are rampant. Think that the female flea can lay up to 20 eggs per day on the animal’s body, leading to fall and spread everywhere. Among other things, the flea, black or dark brown in color, has a tiny body. From 1 to 3 millimeters, and six legs, two of which in the back of the body. And this is what allows it to be very agile, elusive, and able to move quickly from one part of the animal’s body and the house to another.
Also Read: How Much Water Is Too Much
Where the flea lives: Flea Treatment For Cats
It is not true that fleas are found only in countryside environments or in gardens and outside the house. They nestle easily in sofas, under carpets, between carpets, and in the kennels of pets themselves. However, outside, the flea chooses humid places, from gardens to hedges, while it is scarce to find it in a sunny area.
The damages of fleas: flea treatment for cats
Fleas live and mate, usually in the evening, on the dog’s body: in summer more frequently and in winter as the heated environment of a house is a natural habitat for fleas. The first thing a dog risks with fleas is an allergy, particularly allergic dermatitis, or the transmission of other parasites. Again: fleas that cause tapeworms and, in the case of massive infestations. Even anemia, the debilitation, and weight loss of the dog.
Also Read: How Clothes Impact Your Self-esteem
How the fleas recognized: Flea Treatment For Cats
You see your dog scratching and nibbling, especially on the back near the tail’s base, on the belly, and the sides: fleas are attacking him. During the attack, the dog bites and licks itself often, sheds hair, has pale gums. Furthermore, black dots appear on the bed of his kennel: these are the feces of fleas.
What to do? There are some pesticides on the market and, as prevention, flea collars are very effective but generally do not last beyond 4 months. But here are some contraindications. However, in the case of pesticides, these are chemical agents, often very toxic to cats if you have them with you. When purchasing commercial products, always consult with your veterinarian.
Also Read: Heartworm Prevention For Dogs
How to eliminate fleas from cats
Although on the market you will find many useful products to remove fleas from dogs, here are some natural alternatives that can be easily reproduced at home at meager costs.
- Do you know how to make a natural flea collar? Applying ten drops of eucalyptus essential oil and ten drops of lavender essential oil to lace or a cloth handkerchief will then be rolled upon itself. Other suitable essential oils are those of mint, cedar, and lemongrass. Another essential ingredient to keep fleas away from our four-legged friends is vinegar.
- The lavender, beautiful and fragrant, is definitely the first form of self-defense against mosquitoes and fleas on dogs and cats. Always keep some plants at home, on the terrace, on the balcony, or in the garden. It is valuable in this pest control function.
- Avoid excessive washing, which could be very counterproductive. They reduce skin pH and protective sebum and thus expose dogs to the arrival of fleas.
- The most effective natural remedy is to use four lemons squeezed and mixed in half a liter of water with 2 tablespoons of bicarbonate: then dab, with a clean cloth, on the animal’s fur.
- Finally, remember that it is essential to clean and disinfect the dog’s environment. The kennel he sleeps in or the car. An effective solution is a solution of water and vinegar.
How do I remove fleas from my house?
Spot-on pesticides that simultaneously protect animals and the environment are sufficient in most cases. For more stubborn cases, with recurrent infestations, special sprays are to be used on kennels, sofas, under furniture, and any other possible hiding place for fleas. It is good to keep animals away until the product is dry.
If an even more energetic flea treatment for cats is needed, some dispensers diffuse a gas inside the room; they must be left to act for a couple of hours, then it is necessary to air the room. Of course, these treatments can also be combined. After using the products, use the vacuum cleaner! In addition to cleaning the environment, it emits vibrations that cause fleas to come out. Remember that the vacuum cleaner bag must be disposed of immediately. It is not enough to throw it in the dustbin: it must be taken out of the house!
Do fleas only itch or bring disease?
On animals, we can see:
- LOCAL REACTIONS: it is the most common consequence, with the consequent itching. A single flea can sting more than a hundred times a day. Imagine how annoying a real infestation can be! Some animals scratch or nibble so obsessively that scratching lesions are also severe (dermatitis, alopecia, wounds), which can then also become infected.
- ALLERGIC REACTIONS: Some sensitive animals can develop allergic dermatitis from flea bites. Just as you may be allergic to certain fruits or certain pollen, some animals are allergic to flea saliva and can develop very severe skin reactions.
- We often hear, “but my dog doesn’t have fleas!”. In reality, only one flea bite is sufficient; maybe the flea has already been ingested or has fallen. And it is impossible to find it, but this does not allow us to exclude this disease a priori.