Got Fleas on Your Cat?
How’s that for a blown-up image of a disgusting flea?!
If your cat is scratching but you aren’t sure if fleas are the problem, there are two ways to check. One way is to use a flea comb on your cat and look for black dots on the comb. Those black dots are likely flea excrement. The second way is to part the fur and try to get a really good look at her skin. The belly, the rump, around the head are great areas to check the skin. Again, you’ll be searching for little black, crunchy dots – flea crap! As an experiment, smash some on a damp, white paper towel. The black dots will turn red because of the residue from your cat’s blood.
Chances are good, if your eyesight is decent, you’ll see the tiny, fast-moving critters zipping through your cat’s fur. Fleas bite your kitty’s skin, drink her blood, and cause terrible itching. Sometimes your cat will scratch an area raw trying to seek relief, only to make matters worse with the sore spot. If the flea infestation is bad, you may have been bitten yourself by the obnoxious parasites.
Fleas cause other problems and conditions such as:
•Anemia: Heavy infestations of fleas can actually cause anemia from blood loss.
•Tapeworms: With kittens, fleas and worms are sadly considered almost the “norm”. Tapeworms affects adults, too!
•Haemobartonellosis: A more serious form of anemia caused by a microorganism carried by the flea.
Getting rid of fleas and eggs
The following involves taking care of items inside the house:
>Wash all bedding. This includes your own bed if she sleeps on it! Vacuum the mattress and don’t miss the crevices.
>Vacuum carpet daily and trash used vacuum cleaner bags.
>Ambitious? Steam-clean carpeting.
>Even more ambitious? Insect bomb your house. Follow directions. Remove counter food and all pets.
>Or…hire a pro to treat the house inside and outside – make sure he understands you own a cat and the reasoning behind his treatments.
The following involves getting rid of the fleas ON the cat:
>You may want to consult with your veterinarian on the extent you need to go in ridding your cat of fleas, as you don’t want to overdose your cat with chemicals.
>Suggestions are to use an actual flea comb, bathe the cat and start her on a topical flea control product.
>In greater detail…using a flea comb, slowly and thoroughly go over the cat’s entire body. Nearby, but safely positioned, have a bowl of diluted bleach that you can tap the comb on the edge, sending the fleas to their death in the bleach mixture.
>A bath will drown most of the leftover fleas on the cat. You don’t have to use a flea solution; a cat shampoo or possibly mild baby shampoo will work.
Topical Flea Control Products have quickly become the preferred choice vs. using flea collars, flea sprays, flea dips and flea powders. They work by affecting the nerve receptors of the flea. They are applied to the cat’s skin at the base of the neck. The product is slowly released over time. Most topical flea control products are a once-a-month application.
Don’t use flea control products labeled for dogs on cats.
Here are popular brands of topical flea control products. Pick ONE. Follow the instructions for the age and weight of the cat:
>Bio Spot for Cats
Several of these topical flea control products will treat other parasites, too. Example: Revolution states it kills adult fleas, keeps flea eggs from hatching, prevents heartworm disease, treats and controls ear mites and treats and controls roundworms and hookworms. Some can be purchased through a pet store and some may require a prescription.
Jessie Cat says: I can proudly say that I am flea free! And no ear mites or other nasty critters! Meow-ay!