Dealing with fleas in cats requires ongoing preventative care. One key issue with fleas is their resilience, allowing them to survive without a host for extended periods.
Consequently, even the cleanest of homes and well-groomed cats can swiftly turn into breeding grounds for these parasites. However, by remaining alert and proactively addressing potential issues, you can prevent isolated flea instances from escalating into infestations.
Understanding the threat posed by fleas
Fleas, when unchecked, can rapidly transition from being a nuisance to a significant health concern, not only for your feline friend but potentially for you as well. All cats experience discomfort from fleas, but in certain cases, some cats may develop allergic reactions to flea saliva, which can pose severe health hazards if not managed. Remember, fleas are creatures that feed on blood. In instances where your cat is either very young or frail, fleas can be fatal due to anaemia as well as excessive blood loss.
Moreover, fleas can introduce additional severe health complications. For instance, flea larvae may harbour tapeworm eggs, which cats can unwittingly consume while self-grooming. Thus, an initially minor flea problem can quickly turn into a tapeworm infection. This highlights why maintaining a regular de-worming schedule is as crucial as implementing consistent flea control measures.
Identifying fleas in your cat
Occasionally, fleas are visible to the naked eye. Tiny black granules, known as flea dirt, may be visible in your cat's fur, or you may observe minuscule, darting insects. These pests can also be found on household items such as carpets, furniture, or even on your own body and clothing. However, even without seeing fleas directly, there are several indicative signs to look for.
The most apparent sign is increased scratching. While all cats scratch occasionally, if your cat seems to be scratching more than usual, they could be dealing with fleas. Fleas don't limit their feeding to cats, so if you notice inexplicable insect bites on your skin, this could also point towards a flea infestation. To confirm your suspicions, brush your cat with a fine-tooth comb over a white surface like a tissue.
If your cat is infested, fleas or flea dirt will drop onto the white surface. To further confirm, add a few drops of water to the specks. If they change to a reddish-brown colour, it indicates flea dirt, comprised of your pet's blood. This is an unfortunate confirmation that your cat has fleas, and it's time to take action!
Contact your local vet in Guildford immediately to start the process of eliminating the fleas.
Addressing flea infestation in cats
There is a myriad of flea remedies available, but not all will be a good fit for your feline friend. As your vet is well-acquainted with your cat's medical history, it is advisable to consult them for a suitable treatment recommendation.
Avoid resorting to treatments that your vet has not endorsed. These may range from being simply ineffective to potentially exacerbating your cat's condition. However, addressing your cat's fleas is only one aspect of the solution. The broader and arguably more crucial task is eradicating fleas from your living space. Keep in mind that fleas can survive for several months without a host, with an estimated 95% of flea eggs, larvae and pupae residing in the environment. Therefore, if you only treat your cat without addressing the broader home environment, the issue is likely to reoccur within a few months.
Flea-proofing your home
Vacuuming is an effective method to help control fleas – it is advisable to regularly vacuum your floors, furniture and baseboards to tackle fleas in all stages of their lifecycle. Ensure to properly discard the vacuum bag after each cleaning session. Your vet can also suggest home flea treatments suitable for your situation, usually in the form of a spray for various areas where fleas might hide. Bear in mind that these treatments may contain substances mildly toxic to cats. Always read the instructions on these treatments for the home to ensure you and your pet’s safety as they can be mildly toxic. To prevent any adverse effects, apply the treatment one room at a time. After spraying, air the room by opening windows, close the door, and restrict your cat's access to the treated area for at least an hour.
It is beneficial to frequently wash your bedding and any surfaces your cat frequents. By maintaining this routine, you can prevent the flea problem from escalating. Get in touch with us about the appropriate frequency to treat your cat and make the home treatment a part of your standard cleaning routine.
If you have any further inquiries regarding flea treatment for cats, or any other aspect of cat care, do not hesitate to reach out.
Call us on 01483 536036