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Cat Fleas: Could Your Feral Cat Be Suffering in Silence?

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Cat fleas are nothing short of a nuisance to our felines and us alike. And going by the fact that they can infest your kitty without your knowledge, it’s crucial to check on the well-being of your lifelong companion repetitively.

Besides causing irritation and seeing your furry friend as a yummy snack, fleas can transmit diseases to cats. They quickly jump on the chance to plague unsuspecting cats without invitation.

In this article, we take a look at cat fleas, their effects and the various ways to treat flea infestation on your cat and in your home.

How Do You Tell If Your Cat Has Fleas?

Cat fleas are small flightless insects that survive by feeding off your cat’s blood. Usually tiny and brown with somewhat flattened bodies, it can be challenging to find them unless you thoroughly check your cat. They also have an extreme ability to leap and jump on and off anytime, making it even more challenging to find them. What’s more, they may not infest in large numbers and can be groomed off by your meticulous cat.

Owing to this elusive nature, looking for fleas on your cat requires a meticulous search. As such, always start with the spots that fleas love to infest. The back, neck, armpits, groin, chin and under the tail are their preferred hiding spots. You should also check for the following — which are signs of flea infestation:

  • Scratching on head, neck or ears
  • Licking their underside especially between the hind legs
  • Flea dirt (black specks found on the cat’s skin)
  • Excessive grooming and fur loss caused by scratching and itching
  • Redness/soreness on the skin
  • Chewing or biting their skin
  • Restlessness/agitation
  • Muscle loss
  • Lethargy

Pro Tip: Lay your kitty on their back and check the spots mentioned above for fleas. You can also use a flea comb to brush your cat and check if any flea jumps out.

It's vital to recognize that not all cats scratch when infested by fleas. Some cats rarely scratch unless they're allergic to a flea's saliva — injected when fleas draw blood.

Health Risks Associated with Cat Fleas

If not controlled, fleas can cause more harm than seen above leading to serious medical conditions such as:

  • Tapeworms if your cat ingests fleas carrying tapeworm larva
  • Flea allergy dermatitis for cats allergic to flea saliva
  • Flea-bite Anemia in case of severe flea infestation
  • Bartonella

In such, more dramatic, health-related cases its best to visit your vet immediately.

How to Protect Your Cat and Home from Fleas

Even if you don’t spot fleas on your cat, there’s no surety they aren’t there. Cat fleas can be found almost anywhere and don’t need an invitation to infest both your cat and home. Furthermore, they can actively survive for long periods even without hosts, especially in warm houses and in hot seasons.

To help prevent cat flea infestation,

  • Keep your kitty on monthly flea programs
  • Regularly treat your home with effective flea prevention product for cats
  • Give your kitty a cat flea bath under your vet instructions
  • Use a flea comb to remove fleas and their eggs
  • Keep your home, cats’ house and their beddings hygienic
  • Buy you cat a flea collar

In case you suspect your furry friend is infested by fleas, consult with your vet for confirmation and the best and proper treatment for cat fleas if there is an infestation.

Unfortunately, once you embark on the journey to be a cat owner, fleas become part of the risk. Nonetheless, that shouldn’t deter you from adopting your kitty as flea infestation can be easily kept under control. Always keep an eye on your feline and should you notice any of the signs above, there’s a good chance your cat might have fleas. Luckily, with the correct treatment, measures and home hygiene, you will effectively exterminate fleas from your cat and home.

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