What to do if my cat has fleas?
Whenever one brings up the topic, most people start scratching themselves: fleas. Small parasites that occur year-round, cause an annoying itch and love cat blood. Luckily, you can prevent infection by using a flea repellent. Read more about fleas and cats here.
What are fleas?
Fleas are parasites that occur year-round, but are especially prevalent during warm seasons. A flea has four life phases: egg, larva, pupa and mature parasite. The eggs, larvae, pupae and fleas live in the direct environment of your cat; this can be outdoors, but inside your home as well. Fleas are often transferred from other animals, such as dogs, rabbits, and hedgehogs.
How do I know whether my cat has fleas?
When your cat scratches and bites itself often, this is a good indication that it has fleas. Fleas are very annoying to a cat. They can cause additional infections, such as tapeworm. In addition, cats can be allergic to fleas and flea repellents.
Kittens and fleas
Fleas aren’t just annoying for a kitten, but dangerous as well. Fleas feed on your kitten’s blood. If a large number of fleas do this at the same time, your kitten may even die as a result. It is therefore important to combat fleas at all times.
Tip: check for flea faeces
The hair of your cat’s coat can make it difficult to see the fleas themselves. Flea faeces however are easier to spot. These are small black dots that look like dirt. Placing the black dots on a wet piece of cloth will reveal whether it is dirt or something else. Do the black dots turn red? This means they are flea faeces and you can be certain that your cat has fleas.
Once you have determined that your cat has fleas, it is necessary to get rid of them. Organic sprays or powders are available at high-end pet shops. Most flea repellents for cats work for three months, but always make sure to check the packaging. Make sure you apply the correct dose and type. Do not use flea repellents on your cat that are intended for small dogs or puppies. Even though it may involve the same type of flea, a cat’s metabolism is different than that of a dog. Especially flea repellents that contain the active ingredient permethrin are not suitable for cats. Make sure you apply a smaller dose or use a different repellent for a kitten than an adult cat.
Use a flea comb to check your cat for fleas and remove them from his/her coat. Metal combs are best: plastic combs are less effective.
Fleas inside the house
Fleas like warm, moist environments, which includes your home. High pile carpets or rugs make for a perfect living environment as well as pillows, blankets and inside small corners and skirting. If your cat has fleas, it is important to keep your home clean in order to prevent an infestation. Wash everything you can wash at a minimum of 60 degrees, vacuum regularly and spray your home with flea repellent.
Preventing fleas in cats
Of course, prevention is better than treatment. Put all your pets on a flea regimen before the flea season (warm periods) begins. A pet that goes outside may infect all the other animals at home. Your vet can recommend the best flea repellent.