Most people are aware that fleas exists, and many pet owners have had an experience with them firsthand. Unfortunately, not many people fully understand the dangerous affects of fleas, and this leads to many pets being left to suffer with their parasitic infestation. After reading this article, we hope that ALL pet owners will have a better understanding of the dangers of fleas, and will make every effort to protect their cats from them!
What is a Cat Flea?
The Cat Flea (Ctenocephalides felis) is a parasite that, despite its name, will attach itself to most animals and humans; including dogs. It is the most common flea found in North America. The Cat Flea lives off the blood of its host. It will jump onto a host and bite into their skin to access their blood.
What are the affects of the Cat Flea?
Once the Cat Flea has started biting their host, an irritation may occur. This irritation may only start as a slight itch, but can lead to severe blood loss and even death. In some cases, cats are more sensitive to the flea’s bite. This leads to a much more severe irritation for the cat.
How can I tell if my cat has a flea infestation?
Owners may notice that their pet has been scratching at themselves more frequently. While this scratching may be caused my many different skin irritations, it is always helpful to inspect for fleas. To inspect for fleas, check your pets coat for the fleas feces and their eggs. The fleas feces will be black and will be all around your pets coat. The eggs, will be white, and will also be found throughout the pets coat. Furthermore, the fleas themselves are visible with the naked eye. They are under 3 mm in length, and are dark brown in color. They have no wings, but are capable of jumping very far and very fast. It is recommended that when you do your flea inspection, it is not done near other animals, and preferably outdoors.
Owners should make sure to inspect all areas of the cat for infestation; the warmer the area, the more preferred it is by fleas. A fine toothed comb is a very useful tool for using during the inspection.
How did my cat get the fleas?
Many cats get fleas from being outdoors. They run through the grass and other brush and pick them up as they pass through. They also come in contact with other dogs, cats, or other animals that are infested with fleas. This may sound like only outdoor pets will get fleas, but do not be surprised if your indoor animals get a flea infestation as well. Indoor pets can also get fleas. Fleas can enter the home through open windows (even ones with screens), by getting on your clothes, or by coming in the house on other pets.
My cat has fleas, what can I do now?
If a pet has a flea infestation there are a few options available to fix the problem. The first option is to visit the veterinarian. The vet has training for how to deal with these infestations and may be able to recommend a safe way to remove the fleas. Another option is external medications and shampoos. This method is effective at removing the fleas, but may also have some toxic side effects. It is recommended that you read all of the ingredients, as well as do plenty of research before you subject your cat to an over-the-counter external medication. Internal medications are also available, but may also have a negative impact on your pet. Research is also recommended before using internal medications. The final, and most recommended, method is using soap and water with a flea comb. This is the safest way for your pet to have the infestation removed.
Do not think that just because the fleas are removed from your pet that they are out of your home. If measures are not taken to clear your home of the fleas, then owners will soon see the fleas returning on their cat. Owners should research the safest, most effective ways of clearing the infestation out of their home.
Is their any way to prevent a flea infestation?
While their are many over the counter products that claim to prevent flea use, they are not the most recommended. The safest and most recommended method of preventing flea infestation is through proper inspection and grooming. Routinely inspecting a pet will help stop an infestation before it starts. Owners should be ready and willing to groom (combing and bathing) their pet regularly to remove any fleas and their eggs. If owners make sure to spend the time needed grooming and inspecting their cats, they can prevent a flea infestation, as well as prevent any necessary use of potentially harmful products.