Many cat owners assume that indoor cats do not have fleas since they have no contact to the outdoors, but fleas can get into a house through many ways. They could grab onto your pants, your sleeves, your shoes, or even your hair. Cats have higher body temperature than humans, so it is a better residing place for fleas.
Fleas can cause your cat to itch, bite and scratch aggressively and excessively. Fleas can also spread over to humans, other animals and the surrounding environment. It is important to know if your cat is affected by fleas and take the appropriate action to help control flea infestation.
How do I know if my cat has fleas?
If you have a light colored cat, the easiest way to see if your cat has fleas is by checking the coat. Fleas usually hide under the fur on the abdomen, hind legs and lower back. If you brush the fur upwards, you should be able to see fleas hopping around or dark specks (flea feces) underneath the coat. Use a flea comb to help you remove the dark specks which look like pepper flakes.
In order to distinguish flea feces from dirt, you can place the dark specks on a piece of wet paper towel. If the dark specks remain solid, it is dirt. However, if it breaks down and melts into a dark red color, it is an indication of flea feces. Other signs of flea infestation are: your cat’s skin starts showing red bumps or scabs which came from flea bites or you have noticed dark specks scattered all over your cat’s bedding.
If you have a darker colored cat, it is more difficult to spot flea feces unless you use a flea comb. Flea combs are made with very fine small bristles that can clamp out small particles from the fur.
What should I do to get rid of the fleas?
Once you have discovered fleas in your cat, it is important to inspect the whole house, including all residents in the house to see if fleas have spread out. There are many products out there that claim to remove fleas, but some of them not only fail to work, but also may potentially be harmful to your cats. Flea collars are not a good idea for your cats since most fleas reside in the lower half of your cat’s body, thus the medicine from the flea collars cannot effectively reach the infested areas. Also, the medicine is toxic to your cats, so that’s a big NO NO. Flea powders are equally disappointing since it dries out the cat’s coat, and when your cats groom themselves, they inhale the powders which could cause respiratory problems.
Don’t fret, there are flea products out there that do work, but most of them are prescription products where you will need to consult a vet before getting it.
Fleas can do great harm to your cat if left untreated. Ingestion of the fleas can cause tapeworms in your cat. Aggressive flea bites can cause anemia which happens more frequently amongst kittens. Anemia could lead to death if not treated in time [See video below to learn more about anemia in cats]. Finally, fleas can also cause allergic reactions to your cat but it can be controlled by administrating Cortisone shots by your vet.
If your house is infested with fleas, it is imperative that you get it cleaned up thoroughly. Fleas can be persistent, so checking every corner of your house including areas under the carpet or behind the fridge would be crucial.
When you detect an abnormal behavior from your cat, the rule of thumb is if the problem is harming your cat, you should bring your cat to see a vet and obtain proper treatment from your vet.
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