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All you need to know about fleas in cats

Just thinking about fleas makes people start to itch. Fleas are really small, but not so small that they’re invisible. You can see them, though spotting them is tricky on dark fur.

When a cat starts to scratch and bite itself, this is a good indication that it has fleas. Fleas are extremely irritating to an adult cat and can infect the cat with tapeworm. To a kitten they are also potentially dangerous – lots of fleas biting a kitten at the same time could drink so much blood that the kitten dies.

Fleas, eggs and larvae

Only adult fleas live on cats. If your cat has fleas, then it is necessary to kill the fleas. The better pet shops stock organic sprays that can deal with this problem. In addition, you will need to clean your surroundings (e.g. carpets, skirting boards and cushions) thoroughly to ensure they are free of eggs and larvae. All loose items (cushions and blankets) must be washed in the washing machine at not less than 60 degrees. Lower temperatures will not kill the eggs and larvae.

If your cat already has fleas, then use a flea comb. Do go for a metal comb, as a plastic one is not as effective.

It goes without saying that prevention is better than cure. Start a defleaing programme for all your pets prior to the start of flea season (periods of hot weather). Any animal going outdoors can infect any animal indoors. Your vet will be able to advise you on the best flea-control remedies.

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