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Measures against fleas for cats

It is well known that cats usually have fleas more than ticks (very rare cats carry ticks). As cat lovers, it is very inconvenient to see our lovely cats suffer from the blood sucker parasite. Fleas also bite human sometimes and can transfer some diseases to us. So let’s see what are fleas and how to prevent them from our cats.

What are fleas on cats?

fleas
Source: wikipedia

Cat fleas are parasites that feed on the blood of any warm-blooded body. They are one of the more significant groups of pests because they not only cause discomfort by biting, but they can transmit several diseases. Cat fleas are the most common domestic flea. Cat fleas can feed on the blood of dogs too but only bite human sometimes (very rare).

Adult cat fleas are about 1/8″ in length. Their bodies are laterally flattened and brownish black to black in color. Cat fleas may appear reddish black when full of blood. Female cat fleas have disproportionately small heads, as they are twice as long as they are high. Cat fleas are wingless and have six legs with the hind ones capable of helping them jump large distances. Cat flea eggs are about 1/64 (0.5 mm) long. They are oval and white.

When an animal with fleas moves around the fleas usually lay eggs on the way. Around 50 eggs may be produced each day. These eggs fall from the cat, and into the environment.

Within 2-16 days these eggs will hatch in larvae, then into pupae in a cocoon. At this point they are ‘dormant’, and can remain so for up to two years. They will remain immobile until a new host comes along. The pupae can usually sense the presence of a host through signals such as warmth and vibration. It may only take a few seconds for the flea to emerge and attach itself to the host.

What causes fleas?

Most cats have thick fur and warm skin, a perfect harborage for fleas. Also, they are vulnerable sources of nourishing blood that will keep the flea infestation going.

So how does a cat acquire fleas? There are a variety of possible scenarios here, but the following are the most common:

  1. Exposure to infested pets – If another pet visited your home before the flea infestation, it’s possible that your cat acquired it from that other kitty or doggo. Take note that dog fleas can also infect cats and vice versa. These two flea species also attack humans for blood.
  2. You brought your cat outdoors – It can be challenging to identify where you cat got the fleas. However, the outdoor environment is one of the common culprits. Fleas can be dropped on the ground and transferred to your feline.
  3. Your home has an existing infestation – If you have a new cat and it got infested with fleas after a week or two, you should consider that your home is the source. Sometimes, fleas just hide on tiny crevices until a food source is available. Take note that an adult flea can survive up to 100 days without feeding.

Take note that these are just some of the possible ways that your cat can acquire fleas.

How do I know if fleas are parasitic?What are the symptoms of flea infestation in cats?

It’s quite easy to check if your cat has fleas. These tiny insects will leave visual marks on your pets’ skin. And if the infestation has been lingering for long, it could even be the root of infections and other serious health problems on your kitty.

Here are some of the signs of mild to severe flea infestation on cat:
*Shaking head constantly
*Excessive grooming as an effort to remove the fleas
*Losing fur or developing bald patches
*Scabs and red bumps on the skin, commonly found on the back or neck area
*Crawling or jumping insects with a brownish color

Take note that even a well-groomed cat that has been taken care of properly can have fleas. Some owners will also find it shocking when they discover that their pets are hosts to fleas.

You should know that what you’ll see on your cat’s coat is just a small population of the pest. There are a larger egg and nymph population within your house that’s brewing a larger infestation.

Fleas lay up to 50 eggs a day. Just imagine how massive the infestation will be in a matter of weeks.

How to exterminate and prevent fleas

As we know that cats get fleas from other cats and environment, so it’s really difficult to get rid of the cat fleas. You have to take care of the cat and environment. For the cats: spot-on product or tablets or shampoo or spraying products or combining some of them (spot-on is known as the most effective and safe product recently).

For your house:

  1. Use a powerful vacuum on any floors, upholstery, and mattresses. Cracks and other tight spaces are usually good hiding places for fleas and their cohort of eggs, larvae, and cocoons. If you can, use a vacuum with a bag you can dispose of without coming into contact with its contents.
  2. Employ a steam cleaner for carpets and upholstery, including pet beds. The combination of high heat and soap is the enemy of fleas in all stages of life. Pay special attention to any hot spots where your pet usually lies down.
  3. Wash all bedding, including your pet’s, in hot water. Dry it at the highest heat setting. If the infestation is severe, consider getting rid of old bedding and starting anew.
  4. Use chemical treatments. Aerosol sprays are recommended over the foggers, as you can direct the spray under beds or other places that the foggers may be unable to reach. Choose an insecticide that contains both an adulticide, such as permethrin, that kills adult fleas, and an insect growth regulator, such as methoprene or pyriproxyfen, that kills the eggs, larvae, and pupae. People and pets shouldn’t come into contact with the spray until it has dried. Be sure to wear gloves when you apply the spray, and only spray when everyone is out of the house.

For your yard:

  1. Mow your lawn regularly and rake the exposed surfaces thoroughly. Fleas like to hide in tall grass. Make sure to bag the contents rather than add them to your compost pile.
  2. Remove all debris, such as dead leaves and twigs, from flower beds and from under any bushes. Expose as much of the shady areas to sunlight as you can.
  3. Spread cedar chips on the areas where your pet likes to lie down, under the bushes, and on flower beds (cedar chips is a natural anti-insects wood).
  4. Ask your gardening center about nematodes, which are small worms that can eat parasite eggs, and sulphur granules. You can spread both around problem areas to help remove fleas.

Summary

Cat fleas are a very unpleasant parasite for both cats and cat owners. They will bite your cats, transfer some sickness to your cats (tapeworm, anemia, Bartonella, Flea Allergy Dermatitis) and human too (typhus and plague, and can transmit “cat scratch disease” (infection with Bartonella)). The best way to prevent it is using spot-on product for your cat often (as vets recommendation it should be once every month).

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