How to Tell if Your Cat has Fleas
Written by Dr. Jennifer Kvamme (DVM). When the warm weather of spring arrives, you may find yourself the target of some unexpected visitors. Fleas are most active when the weather conditions are good (temperatures of 35°C and relative humidity of 70% are optimum for flea populations). Homes and pets in areas of the world where winter temperatures dip below this level for more than 40 hours a month benefit from a temporary reduction in flea activity in the winter months. Fleas are, in fact, highly active insects that feed on the blood of both your cat and yourself.
This is bothersome to the animal as well as to people, since the bites can cause significant itching and inflammation in the affected area.
How Do I Know if My Cat has Fleas?
The presence of fleas leaping and crawling on and off your cat’s body is simple to detect in extreme infestations. Even in less evident conditions, you may notice that your cat is more restless and that he is scratching or biting on specific portions of his body more frequently. Cats who shake their heads frequently and scratch at their ears may be suffering from a flea infestation, according to the American Cat Association. Excessive and continuous licking of the haircoat is another indicator of probable flea infestation, particularly among cats.
Check the Skin and Haircoat
It is possible that you may have to check quickly in order to find genuine fleas on your cat. Fleas have the ability to jump very quickly and very high. Fleas are extremely little (1/16-1/8 in.) and flat-bodied insects with a dark brown, nearly black coloration on their bodies. The greater the amount of blood they consume, the lighter their skin tone may look. Turn your cat on his back and inspect for fleas in any locations where they could be hiding. Fleas prefer to hide in the armpits and groin because they are warm and sheltered; thus, they are popular hiding places.
- Fleas can appear in any of these ways.
- There may be hair loss in particular places of the body where the skin is being scratched excessively, and there may be black patches on the skin as well as scabbing.
- Meant to capture and drag fleas out from under the haircoat, the comb’s teeth are designed to catch and pull fleas out from beneath the haircoat where they are hiding.
- Prepare a bowl of soapy water to use as a catch-all for any live fleas you may come across while brushing your hair.
- Flea filth (i.e., flea excrement) will fall from the cat’s skin and drop on the piece of writing paper.
If they develop a dark reddish-brown hue, this indicates that the flea has ingested and discharged blood that has traveled through its body.
Fleas aren’t simply restricted to your cat’s fur. They can also be discovered all throughout the house, particularly in areas where your cat spends a lot of time, such as the kitchen. Examine your cat’s food area, bedding, and other preferred spots for evidence of flea filth (black specks) or for the presence of live fleas themselves. Knowing that cats like to sleep on top of items like window sills, kitchen cabinets, and refrigerator, be sure to go up on the highest shelf possible when inspecting their favorite sleeping spots.
Fleas and/or flea filth may be caught up by the fibers of the socks, which will make them stand out against the white backdrop of the garment.
Before turning out all of the lights in the house for the night, place a small basin of water with dishwashing soap beside a nightlight on the floor in the bedroom.
Several may be found floating in the water first thing in the morning.
Get a Veterinarian’s Advice
If you can’t discover any evidence of actual fleas on your cat or in the surroundings, or if you’ve completed the whole flea eradication treatment on your cat and in your home but your cat is still scratching, it’s time to consult with your veterinarian for assistance. He or she will assist you in determining the source of your cat’s suffering and will make recommendations for therapy.
How to Check Cats for Fleas: 13 Steps (with Pictures)
Before you begin on a flea hunt for your cat, consider why you believe your cat may be infested with fleas. If you’ve seen fleas on your cat or in your home, you may be certain that you’re dealing with fleas and that you should treat your cat with a veterinarian flea medication that is designated for cats. However, even if you’ve never seen a flea on your pet or in your home, you might have a flea infestation on your hands. It’s possible that your cat has removed the adult fleas from her fur.
In either case, it’s critical to know for definite whether or not your cat has fleas.
- 1 Pay close attention to how your cat grooms itself. If your cat is allergic to fleas, she may have an adverse response to the medication. Even cats that are not sensitive to flea saliva might suffer discomfort and itching as a result of a single bite from a flea. Grooming behavior becomes excessive as a result of this. Your cat may clean herself so frequently and thoroughly that the fleas are no longer present. It may be more difficult to detect fleas since they bounce on to the cat to feed and then hop off again, so they are only visible for a short period of time. The reason why your cat can have fleas even if you can’t locate them is explained by this.
- There are a variety of signs of a flea infestation that vary based on your cat’s health, the quantity of parasites on the cat, and other specific characteristics.
- 2 Look for signs of flea infestation. Flea bites are quite uncomfortable. Keep an eye out for the following flea signs in your cat:
- Cats with flea infestations have small bumps or crusts on their necks and backs
- Skin irritation, particularly on the back of the neck and base of the tail
- Increased scratching, particularly around the face and base of the tail
- Increased grooming, resulting in hairball formation from excessive grooming
- Hair loss
- And passing tapeworms in their stool (fleas carry tapeworm eggs, which cats eat and pass).
- 3 Pay close attention to how your cat behaves. Your cat may suddenly shun areas she used to adore, especially if the carpeting is filthy and the fleas are present in them. Your cat may also look agitated or edgy at times. She may even begin to snarl or shake her head a lot in response. It’s possible that your cat is attempting to rid itself of fleas.
- Some cats may be more sensitive to flea bites than others, and they may look more distressed as a result of the flea bites. They may exhibit unusual actions as a result of their discomfort.
- 4 Keep an eye out for indicators of anemia. If your cat has a severe flea infestation, she will not only have a large number of fleas in her coat, but she may also suffer from blood loss and develop anemia as a result of the infection. If this is the case, watch for signs of lethargy or excessive fatigue, pale gums, and muscle loss. Additionally, you should examine the flea filth against a damp white cloth to ensure that there are no fleas present. If your cat is anemic, regardless of whether or not she has fleas, you should take her to the veterinarian.
- Flea infestations are more likely to cause anemia in kittens and old cats than in other cats.
- 1 Make sure your kitty is safe. Placing your cat on a white sheet or pillowcase is a good idea. The white cloth will allow you to spot any fleas or flea filth that may have been dislodged during the cleaning process. For example, if you wish to hold the cat in your lap while combing, first lay the cloth across your lap.
- Fleas are little, wingless insects that are 3 to 4 millimeters in length and are dark brown in color. As you work, you may see that they take a step back. Check the area between the cat’s legs and on the cat’s belly for parasites. The fur should be parted here since it is a typical location for fleas to congregate
- 2 Comb your cat’s fur with a comb. As you work, use a flea comb to comb the cat from head to tail, paying close attention to the fur and exposed skin. Pay close attention to the insides of the legs, the rear of the neck, the base of the tail, and the back of the neck. Those are some of the fleas’ preferred hiding places.
- In order to capture fleas on the teeth of the comb, flea combs are made of a special material. Because the teeth are so close together, the flea is unable to escape and is dragged to the surface of the water.
- 3 Take a close look at the flea comb. It is possible to locate flea feces or flea eggs, which have the appearance of salt and pepper, even if you do not see jumping fleas. If you come across any questionable stuff, lay it on a moist paper towel to investigate further. Flea feces includes blood, which causes it to become dark red when it comes into contact with water.
- If you discover this flea feces, also known as flea filth, it is likely that your cat has fleas on him or her.
- 4 Look for flea excrement or flea filth on the carpet. You should shake off the dirt from the comb and her fur onto the white sheet so you can see the black spots more clearly. Sprinkle a little amount of water over the particles to distinguish between typical dirt and flea excrement. Depending on whether it’s flea dirt or not, the black specks will turn reddish-brown or orange with a halo appearance around them.
- When combing your cat, it is simplest if you set her on a white towel or sheet first
- Otherwise, it is difficult.
- 5 Keep an eye out for areas of hair loss. Flies may cause hair loss in cats for a variety of reasons. Here are a few of the most common. The continual biting and scratching may cause your cat to get inflamed, resulting in areas of hair loss on her body and on her fur. Alternatively, your cat may be allergic to flea saliva, which causes irritation of the skin and increased scratching.
- It’s possible that your cat is allergic to anything other than fleas. If you do not locate any fleas, but your cat is still scratching excessively, take her to the veterinarian.
- 1 Find a flea treatment that works for you. In the event that no fleas are discovered, you should consider using a solution that both protects your cat from fleas and treats present infestations. Modern flea preventatives are non-toxic and incredibly successful in eliminating fleas. While some of these medications may be obtained over-the-counter, others are only available through veterinarians.
- Because some dog products contain elements that are dangerous to cats, it is best to choose a product that is particularly designed for felines. Consult your veterinarian for assistance in selecting a product that is appropriate for your cat’s requirements.
- 2 Treat your cat with flea medicine on a monthly basis. When administering the medicine, follow the guidelines on the box or those provided by your veterinarian. Treatment will safeguard your cat from future flea issues and will inform you whether your cat’s symptoms were caused by a flea problem. Treatment will last for several weeks. If the condition disappears following treatment, it is likely that fleas were involved, even if you were not aware of their presence.
- Regular monthly preventive treatments are provided as oral pills, intravenous injections, and topical therapies.
- 3 Select a flea collar that has been recommended by your veterinarian. There are many different types of flea collars available on the market. Others are effective, while others are ineffective at all, and some may even be poisonous to your cat. As a result, it’s critical to consult with your veterinarian before utilizing a flea collar.
- Consider putting a flea collar in your vacuum bag or canister to kill any fleas that you vacuum up
- This will help to prevent flea infestations.
- 4 Keep your home free of fleas to avoid an infestation. Every day, thoroughly vacuum all of the carpets, rugs, and furniture. Make careful to dispose of the vacuum bag in an outside dumpster so that the fleas can’t come back into the house. In addition, you should wash your pet’s bedding in hot water to kill any fleas that may be present.
- Using a household fogger may be necessary if you have a flea infestation that you can’t manage to get rid of for whatever reason. This causes chemicals to be released, which kills the fleas and their eggs, but it may be hazardous to pets and children. Before utilizing foggers, be sure you understand how they work.
Create a new question
- Question Is it possible for fleas to be transmitted to humans from a cat? A veterinarian with over 30 years of expertise in veterinary surgery and companion animal practice, Dr. Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS, is a member of the British Veterinary Medical Association. Veterinary medicine and surgery were among the subjects she studied when she graduated with honors from the University of Glasgow in 1987. She has been employed at the same animal clinic in her hometown for more than two decades now. An Answer from a Veterinarian Cat fleas do not survive on humans, and humans do not become infected with cat fleas in the same manner as cats and dogs do. Fleas do bite people, but it’s usually by mistake rather than on purpose. Some people, however, are allergic to flea saliva, which is why they might become itchy and unpleasant when they are bitten. Question I recently got a 6-month-old cat that had been plagued with fleas. He’s been sequestered in the washroom for the past few hours. On top of that, he’s had three doses of Capstar and had Frontline Plus administered to his neck. When will I be able to let him loose in the house? A veterinarian with over 30 years of expertise in veterinary surgery and companion animal practice, Dr. Elliott, BVMS, MRCVS, is a member of the British Veterinary Medical Association. Veterinary medicine and surgery were among the subjects she studied when she graduated with honors from the University of Glasgow in 1987. She has been employed at the same animal clinic in her hometown for more than two decades now. An Answer from a Veterinarian Any moment in the future is alright with me. With its quick kill action, Capstar will eliminate any fleas on the cat’s body within minutes of application. Frontline kills fleas more slowly than other products, but it has a longer duration of activity – around four weeks. As a result, any fleas that he brought into the country with him should now be dead and buried.
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- If the infestation is severe enough, it may be necessary to hire an exterminator. If your cat has been bitten by fleas, you might want to inquire with your veterinarian about treating him for tapeworms. Fleas are the most prevalent cause of feline skin illness, and they are also the simplest to identify and cure
- However, they are not the only reason. It is possible to see flea eggs (little white specks) in the cat’s fur in addition as flea filth. To avoid flea infestation on your cat if you reside in a flea-endemic region, be sure to administer a prophylactic medication to your cat regularly. If you believe that any of your pets has fleas, make sure to inspect all of your pets in your home.
- Considering hiring an exterminator if the infestation is severe enough. If your cat has been bitten by fleas, you should consult your veterinarian about treating it for tapeworms. Flies are the most prevalent cause of feline skin illness and are also the simplest to recognize and cure
- Fleas are the most common cause of feline skin disease. It is possible to see flea eggs (little white specks) in the cat’s fur in addition to flea filth
- To avoid flea infestation on your cat if you reside in a flea-endemic region, be sure to administer a prophylactic medication to it. If you believe that any of your dogs may have fleas, make sure to inspect all of them.
About this article
The summary of this articleXTo check for fleas on a cat, throw a white sheet over your lap and place your cat on it. Then, using a flea comb, comb your cat while visually inspecting it for fleas, which are little and brown in color. Some of them may leap off the cat and onto the fabric, while others may become entangled in the comb or remain attached to it. Flea eggs and excrement, which appear like salt and pepper, should be checked for on your cat and on the fabric even if you don’t see any fleas.
Check out the next section for guidance from our Veterinary reviewer on the symptoms and treatments for fleas. Did you find this overview to be helpful? The writers of this page have together authored a page that has been read 345,440 times.
Did this article help you?
The summary of this articleXTo check for fleas on a cat, drape a white sheet over your lap and place your cat on it. Afterwards, use a flea comb to thoroughly comb your cat while keeping an eye out for fleas, which are little and brown in color. Some of them may bounce off the cat and onto the fabric, while others may become entangled in the comb or remain on it. Flea eggs and excrement, which appear like salt and pepper, should be checked for even if you don’t see any fleas on your cat or in your material.
Were you able to benefit from this overview?
How do cats get fleas?
The summary of this articleXTo check for fleas on a cat, place a white sheet over your lap and place your cat on it. Then, using a flea comb, comb your cat while visually inspecting it for fleas, which are little and brown in appearance. The majority of them will either leap off the cat or get entangled in the comb. Flea eggs and excrement, which appear like salt and pepper, should be checked for even if you don’t see any fleas on your cat or on your material. Continue reading for advise from our Veterinary reviewer on the symptoms and treatments for fleas.
Thank you to all writers for contributing to this page, which has been read 345,440 times so far.
- Fleas climb on your cat’s coat when he’s outside exploring and bring them inside the house with him. This type of flea is known as a ‘hitchhiker flea’ because it ‘hitchhikes’ on your pet
- Fleas can leap onto our clothing and accompany us home! Because humans aren’t their favorite host, they will seek for your pet to entertain them. Adult fleas may occasionally leap from one animal to another if they are in close proximity to one other.
Fluffy parasites jump on your cat’s fur when he’s out exploring and bring them inside the house. This type of flea is known as a ‘hitchhiker flea’ because they ‘hitch a ride’ on your pet; fleas can leap onto our clothing and accompany us home. As a result of us not being their chosen host, they will seek out your pet; If two animals are in close proximity to one another, adult fleas may occasionally leap from one to the other.
How to tell if your cat has fleas
To determine whether or not your cat has fleas, keep an eye out for the following signs and symptoms:
1. Scratching, biting and licking
Felines get itchy and irritated when they are infested with fleas, which is why scratching is one of the most widely recognized signs that your cat has fleas. It’s important to note that all cats scratch, bite, and lick themselves as part of the grooming process, so this isn’t necessarily a symptom of a flea infestation. Alternatively, if your cat is scratching excessively, it is more probable that they are attempting to alleviate the itching sensation produced by fleas.
2. Hair loss and skin problems
Your cat may be losing fur or breaking skin as a result of excessive scratching and biting. This might be an indication of a severe flea infestation in your home. If this occurs, we urge that you consult with your veterinarian to rule out any medical issues. Another cause of hair loss and skin issues in cats is Flea Allergy Dermatitis, which is an allergic reaction to fleas (FAD). This is a disorder that can affect both animals and humans.
Saliva is transferred from one flea to another during a blood meal. If you or your cat is allergic to flea saliva, the body will respond by releasing histamine, which will cause an allergic reaction. This manifests itself as a rash that is frequently unpleasant and irritating.
3. Change in behaviour
Another method to detect whether your cat has fleas is to keep an eye out for any changes in his or her behavior. Fleas are unpleasant and annoying, and they will make your cat feel uncomfortable and anxious, as we have already stated.
4. Black specks in your cat’s coat or bedding
It is possible to identify whether your cat has fleas by inspecting their bedding or fur for little black specks or ‘flea dirt.’ Flea filth is made up of flea feces and contains undigested blood from your cat’s digestive tract. As mentioned above, it is possible to find flea dirt on a properly treated pet; thus, if your cat is up to date on their medication and you have properly secured your house, there is a low likelihood of an infestation. Anyone who comes into contact with a properly treated pet will be killed within hours by the flea medication you’ve been applying.
5. Pale gums
A cat suffering from a severe flea infestation may have pale gums, which might be a symptom of anaemia in the feline population. A situation in which the number of red blood cells being lost exceeds the amount of new red blood cells being created is called anemia. Fleas have the ability to consume up to 15 times their own body weight in blood in a single day. Because of their small stature and growing physique, kittens are more susceptible to flea anaemia than other animals. Adult cats, due to their size and development, can tolerate a little amount of blood loss due to fleas.
My cat has fleas, what should I do?
If your cat is exhibiting any of the symptoms of flea infestation, it’s important to act fast, especially if you haven’t taken steps to protect them or your house. If left untreated, a single adult female flea can produce up to 50 eggs each day, resulting in a population of hundreds of fleas in a short period of time. By inspecting your cat for fleas, you can determine whether or not he or she has a major flea infestation. We recommend performing a basic wet paper test, which we’ve broken down into a simple step-by-step instruction to make it easier for you to understand.
- Adult fleas on your cat will be killed as a result of this treatment.
- You’ll also need to know how much your cat weighs and how old he is.
- You will also need to treat your house in order to eliminate the various phases of the flea life cycle that may be present.
- This spray contains an insect growth regulator (IGR), which stops the flea life cycle by preventing eggs and larvae from forming, allowing you to control a flea infestation more rapidly.
- More information may be found at: In 5 simple actions, you can eliminate a flea infestation.
Even if one of your dogs is confined to the house all of the time, it is possible that they will acquire afflicted with fleas carried in by your other pets. The cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis) is the most common flea found in the United Kingdom, and it may infect both cats and dogs.
Do I need to flea treat my indoor cat?
Even if your cat spends the most of his or her time indoors, he or she still requires flea treatment. While there is a lower likelihood that your indoor cat may come into touch with fleas, there is still a possibility. As previously stated, people can carry hitchhiker fleas into their homes. Furthermore, because fleas may occasionally travel from one pet to another, if you have another pet who goes outside, it is possible that they will bring fleas into the house as well. Unless you treat your cat for fleas, you may soon find yourself in the midst of a flea infestation if you don’t treat him right away.
Because it includes two active components, this flea treatment is known as a combination flea treatment.
When it comes to flea prevention, this medication is perfect, and it may be more convenient if you have an indoor cat, where the risk of coming into touch with fleas is minimized.
Why is my cat still itching after flea treatment?
Despite the fact that itching and scratching may suggest that your cat is still infected with fleas, it is not necessarily caused by fleas. It’s possible that your cat is grooming as usual. Alternatively, it’s possible that they don’t enjoy the sensation of a flea right on the back of their neck and are attempting to groom it off; nonetheless, this should pass. If your cat is allergic to one of the active chemicals in the flea treatment, it is possible that your cat will be allergic to another of the active compounds in the flea treatment.
You should also contact our Customer Service Team if this occurs after using a Beaphar flea product.
The VMD is responsible for ensuring that all veterinary drugs remain safe and effective.
Find out more about the Fleas and Beaphar Flea Products
Despite the fact that itching and scratching may suggest that your cat is still infested with fleas, it is not necessarily due to fleas. Grooming may be occurring on a regular basis for your cat. They may be attempting to groom the flea off their neck because they don’t like how it feels there on the back of their neck, but this should subside. There is a slight chance that your cat has a sensitivity to one of the active chemicals in the flea treatment, just as there is with human medications.
If this occurs after using a Beaphar flea product, we would also like you to get in touch with our Customer Service Department.
The VMD is responsible for ensuring that all veterinary medications remain safe and effective. Please see the bottom of this page for information on how to contact our Customer Service Team:
How to Get Rid of Fleas in Cats
Flea treatment for cats is a process that takes time and effort. Unfortunately, there is no simple resolution for this problem. Fleas are particularly troublesome because they may survive for months without being fed. Therefore, even the cleanest of houses and the cleanest of cats may quickly become breeding grounds for parasites and other pests. However, if you remain watchful and make an effort to stay on top of things, you will never let an odd case of fleas to develop into a full-blown infestation.
How much of a risk do fleas pose?
If a flea infestation is allowed to grow out of control, it may quickly become life-threatening — and not only for your cat. Fleas bother all cats, but some cats are hypersensitive to flea saliva to the point that they experience an allergic reaction. If left untreated, this might result in very major health consequences for the patient. In addition, don’t forget that fleas are bloodsuckers. If your cat is young or delicate, losing an excessive amount of blood to fleas can be deadly. Additionally, a flea infestation can serve as a conduit for the transmission of other, more dangerous illnesses.
As a result, an apparently innocuous flea infection can quickly escalate into a potentially fatal tapeworm infection in a matter of days.
How to tell if your cat has fleas
They can be seen from time to time. You may see microscopic scurrying insects or tiny black specks of flea dirt in your cat’s fur, as well as flea dirt on your clothing. You could also notice them on your carpets, furniture, or even on your own body and clothing if you look closely enough. In the event that you are unable to detect any fleas, there are a few tell-tale indications to keep an eye out for. Scratching is the most evident of these behaviors. Cats scratch on occasion, but if your cat is scratching more than normal, it is possible that they have fleas on them.
If you suspect that your cat has fleas and want to confirm your suspicions, brush your cat with a fine-tooth comb while holding it over a white surface, such as a piece of tissue.
By adding a few drops of water, you can eliminate any lingering doubts.
Unfortunately, your pet has fleas.
Flea treatment for cats
Even though there are many different types of flea treatments available, not all of them will be appropriate for your cat. Your veterinarian will be familiar with your cat’s medical history, so ask them to make a recommendation for a therapy that is appropriate for your cat’s needs. Never provide a therapy that has not been prescribed by your veterinarian. At best, it will be ineffectual, and at worst, it may make your cat’s condition worse by making him feel even worse. However, treating your cat for fleas is one else entirely.
Keep in mind that fleas may survive for months without a host, and it is believed that 95 percent of flea eggs, larvae, and pupae are found in the natural environment.
In other words, if you cure your cat without also treating the rest of your home, don’t be shocked if the problem reappears in a month or so.
How to treat your home for fleas
Even though there are many different types of flea treatments available, not all of them will be effective on your cat. Inquire with your veterinarian about a medication that is appropriate for your cat’s medical history, since they will be familiar with it. A therapy should never be used that has not been advised by your veterinarian in advance. At best, it will be ineffectual, and at worst, it may make your cat’s condition worse by increasing his or her anxiety. The treatment for fleas on your cat, on the other hand, is somewhat different.
Fleas may survive for months without a host, and it is believed that 95 percent of flea eggs, larvae, and pupae are found in the environment, according to the CDC.
Cat Fleas: Causes, Prevention & Treatment of Fleas on Cats
The cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis) is the most frequent species of flea seen on cats, however rabbit and hedgehog fleas can also be detected on your cat. Flea bites are itchy for all cats, and some may develop allergies as a result of the bites (known as flea-allergic dermatitis). Felines are already a nuisance, but they may also serve as a breeding ground for some types of tapeworms, and high infestations can result in kittens suffering from anaemia as a result of the parasite. There is no need to be concerned, though, because there are a variety of alternative cat flea prevention treatments available for you to consider.
What are cat fleas?
Cats are superb groomers, therefore it may be difficult to envision your well-groomed pet becoming infected with parasites! Probably the most apparent indicator that your cat has fleas is that he or she scratches excessively or over grooms themselves, which can result in bald spots on their coat. If your cat develops a flea allergy, they may develop scabs and red, painful spots on their skin as a result of the reaction. Grooming your cat on a regular basis will not definitely avoid parasites, but it will provide you with an opportunity to examine their fur for symptoms of unwelcome guests, allowing you to seek treatment as soon as possible if necessary.
What do cat fleas look like?
Fleas on cats are dark brown and 1-2mm in length. It’s possible that you’ll find them in your carpet or that you’ll see little black specks of flea waste in your cat’s hair when you’re combing his or her fur. To check for fleas, place these black specks on a piece of moist tissue paper; if the specks are from a flea, the tissue paper will become red due to the digested blood they contain. Fleas flourish in warm, humid surroundings, which means that the peak season for fleas on cats is in the late summer.
Does your cat have fleas?
Is it difficult to identify whether or not your cat has been infected with this microscopic parasite?
The following are the most typical indicators of cat fleas that you should be on the lookout for:
- Scratching that doesn’t stop
- Areas displaying hair loss
- Skin irritation
- Excessive grooming
- Lethargy and pale gums caused by flea-related anaemia
- A black speck in the cat’s fur or bedding
- And other symptoms.
How do cats get fleas?
Wandering out in the fresh air all day sounds like a certain way to bring home a family of fleas with you. Although your cat may prefer to stay indoors, parasites such as fleas may find lots of opportunities to infest the soft fur of your indoor cat. Here’s how cats can become infected with fleas:
Wondering If Your Cat Has Fleas? Here Are 9 Signs
Are you curious about how to tell whether your cat has fleas? Here Are Nine Indicators Cats, without a doubt, are among the most hygienic creatures on the face of the planet. Any cat owner who has ever observed their cat grooming will know that it may go on for what seems like hours at a time. The majority of cats comb their fur for about ten percent of their waking hours. Despite the fact that you may believe that all of this grooming will assist your cat in avoiding one of the most irritating parasites on the planet—the flea—this is not the case.
Flies can enter your house through the mouths of unwary guests or their pets, making indoor cats no more safe than outdoor cats in this regard.
1. Your Cat Begins to Groom Excessively
If your cat’s grooming habits have changed, this might be a clue that he or she has fleas. You may realize that grooming for your cat has evolved into more of an intense sport rather than a pleasant hobby for both of you. While your cat is an expert when it comes to self-care, it can’t keep up with an army of fleas. Excessive grooming, as well as licking, chewing, scratching, and biting, can result in an increase in hair loss and, in rare cases, bald spots on the back of your cat’s legs, neck, or base of tail.
2. Your Cat Develops Red Skin Lesions or Scab-Like Bumps
It is the mouthparts of the flea that puncture the skin of your cat, similar to a needle, in order to suck on the cat’s blood. It is possible that your cat will have an allergic reaction to the saliva that the flea injects into him. When it comes to cats, the response is minor in some, but severe in others, resulting in the skin becoming red and inflamed. If you observe red skin lesions or scab-like lumps on your skin, it is critical that you get medical attention from a veterinarian immediately to minimize inflammation and avoid infection.
3. Your Cat Becomes Weak, Or Its Gums Become Pale
In severe situations, a cat might lose so much blood as to develop anaemia as a result of a severe flea infestation. Cats of any age can be harmed if the infestation is large enough, although small kittens are more susceptible than older cats to this condition. As soon as your cat appears to be losing its color, take it to the veterinarian right away.
4. Your Cat Begins Losing Weight
When a cat suffers from a severe flea infestation, he or she may have blood loss to the point where anemia develops.
Cats of any age can be afflicted if the infestation is large enough, although it is most frequent in kittens under the age of one. It is important to seek veterinarian attention as soon as your cat seems discolored.
5. Your Cat Suddenly Avoids Certain Parts of Your Home
Fleas prefer temperatures between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (18 and 27 degrees Celsius) and humidity levels between 75 and 80 percent. Despite the fact that those sound like circumstances you’d find outside in warm weather, those are conditions you’ll encounter inside your house all year long. A common place to find flea eggs and larvae is under carpets, under skirting boards, and in soft furniture. So take care, and pay heed of what I’m saying. It is important to vacuum properly on a regular basis and to empty the vacuum regularly to ensure that fleas do not grow in the vacuum.
Flea pupae can remain latent for several months at a time.
6. Your Cat Becomes Anxious
Fleas may be quite irritating to anyone, but they are more irritating to the animal they are attacking. As a result of your cat’s persistent biting and the discomfort and irritation that results, you may notice a significant change in his generally nice and serene personality. Fleas may be the source of your cat’s increased aggression, irritability, agitation, or frantic behavior if you detect this in your cat. Examine your cat’s fur and skin more closely, and seek the care and guidance of your veterinarian if you see anything unusual.
7. You Notice Tiny Pepper-Like Specks in the Fur
It’s possible that these particles are flea dirt. It’s one of the most prevalent indicators that your cat has fleas, yet it might be difficult to detect. Once the flea has digested the blood, the faeces will emerge on your cat’s hair or on a comb or brush that you use to comb or brush it. In the event that you discover these little, pepper-like flecks, take a sample and lay it on a white paper towel or cloth before misting it with water. Flea mud is most likely present if the sample becomes red.
8. You Detect Dark Pepper-Like Specks in Your Cat’s Bedding Fabric
It’s that flea dirt all over again! Immediately see your veterinarian if you discover this on your cat’s bedding or furnishings and want to know what procedures should be done to get rid of the fleas and keep them from coming back into your house.
9. You See Pinhead-Sized Black or Reddish-Brown Insects Crawling in Your Cat’s Fur
If you see this, you are staring directly at the fleas themselves! If your cat is suffering from a severe flea infestation, you may be able to see fleas or flea filth in their fur, which indicates that the infection is severe. These are often very fast-moving objects. You may check for fleas in your cat’s fur by examining the skin beneath the fur after splitting the hair. Fleas are known to congregate around the lower back, rear legs, and stomach, so make sure to examine these areas thoroughly for infestation.
If your cat does really have fleas, your veterinarian can advise you on the best course of action.
Fleas must be treated with an effective alternative for at least 3 months without any pauses in between treatments in order to be completely eliminated.
Three-month flea prevention is great for removing not only the fleas that are now present, but also any fleas that are likely to hatch in the near future.
How to Get Rid of Fleas on Cats
Fleas are much more than an annoyance; they are a health risk. In just 30 days, a small infestation of 10 fleas can grow into a large infestation of up to 250,000 fleas on your cat and in your home, causing your pet to feel itchy and exhausted – or worse. There are various techniques to determine whether or not your cat has fleas, as well as how to prevent fleas from becoming a problem on your cat and in your house. The following information will provide you with everything you need to complete the task swiftly and securely.
How to tell if your cat has fleas
There are numerous frequent indicators that a cat may be suffering from a flea infestation, but it will require some investigation on your side to determine whether or not the cat is infected with the parasite. Fleas are extremely little, measuring just 1/12 – 1/16″ in length, which means that when there are only a few of them, they are difficult to detect. Furthermore, their reddish-brown tint may be able to mix in with your cat’s coat. Rather from concentrating just on physically detecting fleas, keep an eye out for some additional typical symptoms that your cat is infested with fleas:
- Itchy skin and excessive scratching: Even though fleas can multiply fast, it only takes a small number of them to set your cat on a scratching frenzy.. The general movement of the flea across your pet’s skin is not the only thing to consider. Your cat may also be sensitive to flea saliva, which transforms it into an irritant that causes sensitivity to the touch as well as itching, scratching, and little scabbed lumps on their skin
- Biting or nibbling excessively at their fur, legs, or feet: In addition to scratching, your cat may turn to biting or gnawing excessively at their fur, legs, or feet in an effort to seek some comfort. Patchy hair loss, particularly towards the tail or neck: Even a single flea’s saliva can create an allergic reaction in your cat, resulting in hair loss. This is in addition to any fur that has been taken by your cat’s own biting or scratching, which can also cause hair loss. Inactivity: A single flea can bite its host hundreds of times each day, drawing blood from its host at every attack. This blood loss can result in anemia in severe circumstances, such as when a large number of fleas bite your cat at the same time. The most prevalent symptom of this is lethargy. Visual clues include: Fleas may become visible if the population of fleas begins to increase. Seek out light-colored specks in your pet’s coat or bedding (these are flea eggs), or black, pepper-like spots in their coat or bedding (these are flea larvae) (this is flea feces). The darker insects crawling about in your pet’s coat might potentially be seen by you.
When it comes to your cat, fleas may cause more than simply irritation; they can also create major medical concerns, which is why you need to treat them immediately and thoroughly. If you suspect that your cat is suffering from flea-related problems, you should consult your veterinarian as soon as possible. It is critical to maintain your cat on flea preventive medicine in order to avoid these medical difficulties in the future. The following are some of the most prevalent flea-related problems in cats:
- Flea allergy dermatitis: Some pets are allergic to the saliva of fleas, which causes significant irritation, itching, and aggravation when they are bitten by a parasite. It is possible to identify if your cat is suffering from flea allergic dermatitis by the appearance of tiny scabs and redness at the bite site, as well as by the presence of severe fur loss. It is possible to develop a secondary infection at the bite site. If your pet already suffers from other allergies, he or she may be at greater risk of developing flea allergy dermatitis.
- In order to assist ease your cat’s symptoms, you should remove all of the fleas that are already in your house and yard and maintain your cat on a flea preventive medication. In addition, your veterinarian may give steroids or antibiotics to assist alleviate the itching.
- Cats can become infected with tapeworms if they eat a flea that is carrying a tapeworm larva. If this happens, the tapeworm will mature and grow in your cat’s digestive tract. If your cat has tapeworms, they will appear as minute grains of rice around the anal area of your cat or in their feces
- If your cat does not have tapeworms, they will not appear.
- If you suspect your cat is infected with tapeworms, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible for treatment. Your veterinarian will offer a deworming treatment as well as any continuing preventative measures that your pet should be on the lookout for.
- The danger of flea-bite anemia increases when your pet is subjected to a severe flea infestation and has a high number of fleas eating on him or her for a lengthy period of time
- This is known as flea-bite anemia. Keep an eye out for indications of lethargy in your cat, especially if it is very young.
- Anemia caused by flea bites has the potential to be lethal, and treatment may include blood transfusions, iron supplements, and possibly hospitalization. If your cat has become extremely sluggish, especially if they are younger than 12 weeks old, it is critical that you take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible.
Despite the fact that there may be treatment options for these flea-related health conditions, you may assist your cat prevent them by administering an over-the-counter flea medication or a prescription prescribed by your veterinarian to your cat.
How to get rid of fleas on cats
When it comes to helping your cat avoid flea-related diseases, getting rid of the flea infestation in its entirety and preventing subsequent infestations are your strongest lines of defense against them. There are various things you can do to cure an existing infestation while also preventing new ones from forming.
- When it comes to preventing flea-related diseases in your cat, getting rid of the flea infestation in its entirety and avoiding new infestations are your greatest defense. In order to cure an existing infestation and prevent new ones from forming, you can take a variety of steps.
- Cats’ flea and tick collars are available. aid in the immediate killing of fleas, flea eggs, flea larvae, and ticks, as well as the repelling of fleas Topical treatments and shampoos also aid in the killing of adult fleas, flea eggs, and lice, as well as the prevention of the hatching of new fleas. A fast-acting method of killing and relieving symptoms of fleas is by the use of flea tablets and chewables. Several flea-relief products are available at Petco Grooming Salons.
- Take good care of your home. It is critical to not only cure an infected pet, but to also address the environment in which the pet lives. In the absence of attention to your home, fleas will make their way onto your pet, and the cycle will repeat itself.
- Maintain the cleanliness of your house by washing or cleaning all of the bedding, and applying spray or powder to the upholstery and carpets. Wash all of your pet’s bedding on a regular basis. After each usage, remove vacuum bags and toss them away to prevent flea eggs from hatching in them. Vacuum the whole house, including hardwood floors, upholstered furniture (especially the bottoms of furniture), carpets, and rugs. If necessary, seek the assistance of a professional flea extermination firm.
- Maintain the cleanliness of your house by washing or cleaning all of the bedding, and using spray or powder to the upholstery and carpets
- Clean all of your pet’s bedding on a regular basis. After you have vacuumed the whole house, including the hardwood floors, upholstered furniture (especially the bottoms of the furniture), carpets, and rugs, remove the vacuum bags and throw them away after each usage to prevent flea eggs from hatching in the bags. If necessary, seek the assistance of a professional flea extermination firm
Our cats are known to be quiet suffering, which makes it all the more essential to pay attention when they begin to act differently and to be aware of the indicators that a flea infestation may be taking place in your home. Your veterinarian can help you identify and treat the problem, and you should look into the flea prevention options available at Petco for an easy and quick method to put those pesky little pests to rest.
- There are six different flea treatment options. What is the mechanism of action of flea medicine? The Best Way to Keep Fleas Off of Dogs and Cats
How to Tell if Your Pet Has Fleas?
Fleas are a common external parasite that may make your pet unpleasant and uncomfortable. They are incredibly contagious. Fleas may transmit illnesses and cause fatal ailments if they are not treated promptly. Our Tracy veterinarians discuss the early indications of flea infestation as well as what to do if your pet is infected with fleas.
The Problematic Flea
Fleas are external parasites that rely on the presence of a host animal in order to thrive.
Fleas are parasites that reside on the animals that serve as hosts. In the absence of action to interrupt their lifecycle, adult fleas will continue to breed and flourish on your pet – and in your home.
Signs of Fleas on Your Pet
Because certain cats and dogs may be allergic to a protein found in flea saliva, they frequently scratch themselves when bitten by the insects. Even a single flea bite can cause dogs to itch excessively and get irritated, causing them to become ill. In addition to scratching, red spots or pimples may form on their belly, at the base of their tail, on their behind, on their crotch, or under their legs, among other places. As a result of the continual scratching and itching of these places, dry skin and hair loss will develop.
How to Check Your Pet for Fleas
Fleas are little and brown in color when they are adults. Using the naked eye, they are pretty simple to identify. While you’re grooming your pet, it’s a good idea to examine the brush or comb they’re using. Allowing your pet to lie down on its side can allow you to have a better look at regions with sparse hair, such as the belly, more closely. It is possible to observe “flea filth.” When wet, it has the appearance of small grains of sand or black pepper, depending on the lighting. In order to check for flea dirt (feces), use a fine-toothed flea comb, which may be obtained from your veterinarian, to comb down your pet’s back and underbelly.
No Sign of Fleas but Pet Still Scratching
It is important to arrange an appointment with your veterinarian if there are no visible fleas but your pet continues to scratch. During your consultation, your veterinarian can do a skin test to determine whether or not your pet is allergic to fleas as well as other forms of allergies. It’s possible that your pet is reacting to another form of allergy that is causing them discomfort.
Getting Rid of FleasPreventing Fleas
Flea treatments are available in a variety of forms, including shampoos, sprays, powders, and topical solutions, all of which are considered safe and effective. If your pet’s condition is more serious, you may need to take him to the veterinarian for prescription creams and antibiotics. Early treatment and prevention are the most effective means of ensuring that your dog does not have more significant difficulties in the future as a result of fleas infesting his coat.
Do you think your dog may have a severe case of fleas? Prompt treatment is essential.Book an appointmentatPawsClaws Veterinary Hospitaltoday to find out the best way to treat your pet’s flea problem.
The date this page was last updated was 07/05/2019. Cats may quickly become infested with fleas – even if they never leave the house – and this can be really painful for your dear companion. Besides infecting your cat with additional parasites, fleas can also cause your cat to develop allergies and other health problems if left untreated for long periods of time. Oh, and they will bite humans as well! It is important to inspect your cat’s skin on a frequent basis since no one wants an itchy or sick cat.
- Cats can also become infected with other parasites, such as ticks and mites, and develop skin diseases that require medical treatment.
- Checking your cat’s skin on a regular basis is really easy.
- Comb your cat’s fur using a flea comb to remove fleas.
- In addition to insects, you’ll be on the lookout for speckled black dirt, which is a type of soil with irregular patterns.
- To see if the dirt comes from fleas, lay it on a moist paper towel and let it sit for a while.
- To view the skin of your cat, separate the hair with your fingers.
- If you come across anything strange, you should take it to a veterinarian to be safe.
- If you’ve detected evidence that your cat has fleas, you’ll need to get a reputable flea treatment that will effectively rid your cat of the parasites.
- It is possible to treat fleas with a variety of methods, and the most effective method will depend on your home, your cat, and the severity of the flea infestation.
Speak with your veterinarian about what to do next and get some professional guidance. In addition, never use a dog flea treatment on your cat since it includes components that are toxic to cats and should not be used on them.
Effective Flea Control Methods for Cats
Fleas on cats are not usually visible to the naked eye. In fact, cats are well-known for their ability to ‘hide’ the fact that they have fleas. Moreover, guess what? Even cats that live indoors are susceptible to contracting them! In most cases, when you find fleas on your cat, you will be taken by surprise. Fleas are small, agile insects that scamper through the fur of your cat, feeding on its blood and causing irritation. Occasionally, it is only a minor itch. It can also cause significant hair loss and itching in certain cases.
How Can I Tell If My Cat Has Fleas?
The Ctenocephalides felis is the most common flea that feeds on cats, dogs, and people, and it is also the most dangerous. In the event that you see your cat scratching and are unsure whether or not fleas are the source of the problem, you can absolutely try to use a flea combination on your cat and see whether any little black dots are present. It is generally thought of as “flea dirt,” but in truth, it is the feces excreted by fleas on the ground. You should not assume that just because you cannot see fleas that they are not present; fleas might be present in tiny numbers in areas where the flea or flea filth is just not visible due to poor vision.
Sometimes, the experienced eye of a veterinarian is required to see these little black spots that appear on the comb (particularly if your cat is multicolored or deeper in color) that appear on the comb.
The crimson hue is caused by blood remnants on your cat’s fur and serves as a reminder that cat flea prevention is required.
Common Feline Diseases Carried by Fleas
As if the scratching and stinging weren’t enough, fleas can also spread other diseases that can have a more detrimental effect on your cat’s health.
- Anemia: Unchecked fleascan infestations can actually induce anemia due to blood loss, which can be deadly in some cases, particularly in kittens. Pale gums in kittens are a warning indication of anemia and indicate that they require prompt veterinary intervention. In addition, fleas can carry a parasite known as a tapeworm, which is typically observed in cats that have been exposed to fleas. In cats, fleas can potentially be a vector for the transmission of a blood-borne parasite known as Mycoplasma Haemofelis, which causes haemobartonellosis (mycoplasma). This bacteria is capable of causing anemia, fever, and other serious illnesses. Blood transfusions are required in severe cases of haemobartonellosis. The disease is detected by laboratory tests and treated with antibiotics.
The Life Cycle of a Flea
Fleas go through a number of developmental phases before reaching adulthood.
- Fleas deposit their eggs on the host animal, where the full life cycle of the flea can be completed. Other eggs fall out into the surroundings, landing on your carpets, your pet’s bedding, or your own bed, among other places. In the case of larvae, they are referred to as “hatchlings,” and they feed on the excrement left by the adult. They can develop for anywhere between a week and 6 to 7 months. They are frequently found in the environment
- Unlike the butterfly, the flea larvae will create a cocoon for itself, where it will continue to develop into the adult flea, similar to how the butterfly does. It has the potential to keep you in this state for up to a year. Adult: The newly emerged adult feeds on its host, mates, and reproduces in order to complete the life cycle. Does it come as a surprise that cat flea management is so important?
Treating Your Cat
Your first task will be to thoroughly combing and cleaning your cat in order to eradicate as many fleas as possible. Once the majority of the little annoyances have been eliminated, you may prevent new flea infestations by using a topical flea control treatment that has been suggested by your veterinarian. It is critical to note that you should never use a dog flea treatment on a cat, since this can cause severe sickness in cats if done incorrectly! Baths are not always tolerated by cats, therefore do not push them to do so because it is not the most crucial step.
The use of a “flea” shampoo or a “flea dip” for this purpose is not essential at all. Simply using a mild cat or baby shampoo would do the trick admirably. Remember that flea treatments and shampoos alone will not enough to clear your home of a flea infestation.
Topical Flea Prevention Product as Recommended by Your Vet
There are various topical flea control medications available for cats that act by interfering with the flea’s nerve receptors. Their application is often made to the cat’s skin at the back of the neck, where they are absorbed into the skin and then gently released into the environment. Topicals are typically used once a month, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. In order to completely eliminate a flea infestation, you must keep your cat on flea prevention for at least three to four months.
- Because of the threat of illness and other flea-related concerns, year-round protection is recommended.
- Dogs and cats have highly diverse physiologies, as well as being significantly different in size.
- If you decide to use such items, make sure you complete your research and are very certain that the components used are not harmful to cats.
- Always choose a product that has been prescribed by your veterinarian, and make certain that your cat is within the appropriate weight range and that the product is not the dog version of the product.
- Advantage: This product contains the active substance imidaclopridas, which is usually considered to be safe for cats and kittens over the age of six weeks. Ticks are not killed by this product. Using a synthetic substance called fipronil, Frontline is said to kill both fleas and ticks. However, it is possible that the region where Frontline is applied will become sensitive for a short period of time. Revolution: Its primary active component is isselamectin, which is said to kill not only fleas and certain ticks, but also ear mites and to provide protection against heartworm. Due to the fact that Revolution remains in the bloodstream, it should not be administered on kittens younger than six weeks of age.
Assuring All Dogs and Cats in the House Are on Flea Prevention
If you have numerous dogs or cats in your home, it is critical that they are all on the same preventative medication regimen. In most cases, if you see fleas on one cat or dog in your home, it is quite likely that all of the cats and dogs in your home have fleas as well. In order to effectively eliminate fleas, each cat and dog must be treated with a dependable vet-recommended flea prevention product on a constant and continuous basis for several months. Assuming that one of your pets has it and the other does not because you do not see them will result in the non-treated cats and dogs being bitten by fleas on a regular basis, causing them to get unwell.
Eduardo Gonzalez Diaz / Getty Images & Stock Photography
Removing Fleas and Their Eggs From Your Home
Fleas and their eggs will be removed from your home as a next step. As long as the adult flea treatment is effective in killing the live fleas, this should be a continuous regimen.
- All bedding should be completely cleaned. During the time when the bedding is not covered, vacuum the mattress, paying special attention to crevices where eggs may be hiding
- Vacuum the carpets once a day and discard the vacuum bags that have been used. Any eggs that may have survived the vacuuming process will be destroyed by steam cleaning the carpets. The majority of the time, you will not need to do a flea or bug treatment in your home environment. However, if you do decide to do so, we recommend that you hire a professional and request that they use cat-friendly products. Keeping your house clean and keeping your pets on dependable flea medication throughout the year are the two most important things you can do to prevent fleas.
If you adhere to the guidelines in this cat flea control program to the letter, fleas will soon become a thing of the past in your home, and your cats will be forever grateful to you for liberating them from bothersome fleas and the troubles they cause. If you have any reason to believe your pet is unwell, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Always consult your veterinarian for health-related inquiries, since they have evaluated your pet and are familiar with the pet’s medical history, and they can provide the most appropriate suggestions for your pet.