My Cat Has Fleas. What Should I Do Now?

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As you know, everyone gets riled about the tick season. The arrival of warm weather means there is another parasitic pest that you may need to worry about: Fleas. A cat who scratches and chews its skin or is being restless may keep the owner bothering. Especially when you are a new pet owner, you may have multiple concerns, and flea could be troublesome. When they are not addressed immediately, it gives more space for the hospitable eggs to hatch on the body’s surface.

 

You can see that cats become highly suspicious while they are more likely to make the pets anemic. Many pet owners in multiple forums have felt worried about their cats being infected by fleas. Even after wiping out completely, they appear back and cause severe damages. Fleas are just a starting point, while they can bring tapeworms and other diseases to the cat.

 

The gist of this article might look threatening. However, we wanted to give you a relatively detailed overview of the flea. This article is about the cats infected by fleas and how you can protect them, and the remedial measures to be taken.

 

What is a flea? What happens when your cat gets one?

Fleas are a natural but unpleasant part of life for pets. It’s not only cats; even dogs are affected by them. The most common fleas are found on indoor pets, and occasionally they can be seen on the rabbit hedgehog. Even though it’s common, in some cats, they show minimal infestation. Whatever be the case, it is advisable to control them for several reasons.

 

The cat fleas usually carry a larval stage of Tapeworm, and when they eat it, during grooming, it causes fatal problems in them. They have a great potential to transmit other deadly infectious agents. When it comes to adult fleas, they can live on the blood in young kittens. They cause itchy bites and allergies in pets, which can later develop as a skin disease.

 

The major problem is that fleas are not always apparent in the cat. They are hiding under the coat and often keep you surprised. They are black, tiny, and look like a speck of dirt, however, feasting on the blood while causing itching. Watch for any signs of movements in the fur or the tiny bugs bouncing on the coat.

 

If you observe your cat scratching and aren’t sure if that’s fleas, then you can comb the cat and take a look at the dirt pattern present across the body. Some owners dip the comb in Luke’s warm water mixed with the detergents to kill the flea while combing. If you do not see them, that does not mean they are not present. Veterinarians can easily find it through their trained eyes and experience. If your cat is multicolor or darker, it is better to immediately take the cats to the vets.

 

Sometimes while combing, they get smashed, turning into rust or red color. This is nothing but the cat’s blood residue and a warning sign that you may need to take the flea control necessarily.

 

How long does a flea stay on cats?

Adult fleas spend most of their time on the cat or dog. They are a parasite that can live up to two years. When a female starts laying eggs, they would immediately find a host within two to three days. The eggs laid by the flea may fall off the pets during the movement. They get into the environment and the flea dirt (Excrement), which provides a good source of food for the larvae when they hatch from the eggs.

 

Larvae will hatch in typically two days and are commonly found in the cats’ belongings (Beds, toys, carpets, etc.) Since the fleas are photophobic, they choose to move deep under the carpets and other soft furnishings, becoming very challenging for humans to find it.

 

Once the larvae grow and develop into a pupa, potentially within a week, during this time, they are encased in a cocoon. The adult flea is inside the cocoon waiting for the signs like movements from the pets, temperature changes, carbon dioxide levels, etc. The new adult flea comes out of the cocoon within seconds to find its host and attach itself to the surface.

What’s very surprising is that fleas can lay waiting inside the cocoon for more than two years.

 

Since their lifecycle is interlinked and is very quick in response, it’s tough for humans to eradicate them. In the right conditions, the flea’s lifecycle is completed within 10-15 days, but controlling them within this period could be hectic.

 

Symptoms of Cat Fleas

The truth is that the symptoms of fleas in both cats and humans are just the same. The table below will give you an idea about the symptoms to look for. These are mere signs, and as an owner, one may have to take precautionary steps or remedial steps. If you think none of this working, experiment. Take your cat to the vets.

 

Symptoms

How does it appear?

Itching   Fleas releases saliva that contains an anticoagulant in the skin. This will help them to find the blood flow and making it easier for the flea to feed. However, this causes uncontrollable itching on the surface. Sometimes it gives a feel to wear off the skin by making it completely dry.

 

Swelling   The skin around the fleas looks swollen. You cannot find these swollen parts on the surface. They will be found under the coat. It is a sign of allergic reaction due to fleas.
Reddened Skin   Reddened color is also due to the allergy and because of the flea-generating saliva. They form as clusters randomly across the skin are. This is the only sign, and you need to consider visiting the vet on a serious note.

 

Injuries   Due to continuous itching and dryness, the cat develops injuries in the body. If you have a dark-colored cat, it might difficult to find the injuries. This is usually found in the advanced stages of flea bites. When you haven’t seen the infection in a week, then injuries occur.
Irritability The bites will continue as long as the flea stays in the host. It will hurt and itch in scattered parts of the cats, increasing day by day. It causes discomfort, and cats keep meowing as they are irritated.

 

The above table might be a little scary, and it’s no fun. Be no longer surprised when your cat seems to be highly in discomfort and off for long hours. Cats are usually moody but spend time to see if there are any reasons behind their constant meowing and coming behind you. Because when fleas infect the cats, they don’t stop there. There are additionally many other fatal complications.

 

The itching and stinging are the beginning while they are not enough. The fleas bring other conditions that are highly dangerous and can even lead to a cat’s death. The table below has the details about the deadly diseases.

 

Common Diseases caused by Fleas

 

What happens when the cat is affected?

Anemia An unnoticed flea infestation can cause anemia in cats. They cause blood loss and sometimes be fatal, especially in kittens. This can be a trouble when starting with the pale gums. It’s a red flag for you to visit the vet and seek medical attention. The blood is sucked out of the cats and can be severely damaging. Even though they eat and the diet is healthy, the cats are tired and do not gain any weight.
Tapeworms   Fleas, when they carry another parasite like Tapeworm they can make your cats a victim. Since fleas host in the coated surface, the cat tends to groom themselves and end up eating fleas. When they eat fleas with Tapeworm, it gets inside the body. They cause parasite infection in the intestine. The cats lose their appetite and become weak.
Haemobartonellosis Fleas can also be a conductor for the blood-borne parasite called Mycoplasma Haemofelis in cats. This bacterium can cause anemia in cats primarily. Your cat will often be affected by fever and severe illness.  It can be diagnosed by lab test only. However, it can lead to severe cases like blood transfusions when not found in the early stage. There are antibiotics found for this disease which is also effective to an extent.

 

It seems highly risky, right? Because it is. Most owners also found this standard behavioral change in cats, which later led to flea diagnosis in them. Usually, cats are not up for baths. However, when fleas infect them, they tend to take baths quite often. They feel relaxed when you give them a warm water towel bath. They feel highly comfortable. But if you are not sure about any of the points, it is advisable to take medical help.

 

How do cats get flea?

Roaming outdoors for a longer time seems to the primary source for the cats to bring flea inside the home. But even if your feline is born and brought up inside the house, parasite such as flea finds its ways to get inside the home. There are plenty of occasions, and from air to the land, anything can be a source for transmission. However, listed are the few fundamental reasons how cats can catch fleas.

 

When cats play outside

Does your cat love to play in the garden? Do they feel refreshed when they are taken outside? Then they can find an easy way for the fleas to find a home. It’s not like they can never go out or be taken. However, if you tend to play in unclean places, there are high chances of catching fleas. Also, when they play with stray cats, there is a probability that the cat is infected, and the flea can show up.

 

Rodents in the garden

Cats love mouse hunting. They are very proud of their hunting skills and want to prove it now and then. They quickly jump and try to attack the cats. Imagine if the rats have few pairs of fleas, they can soon shift bodies and infect the cat.

 

How to help your flea-affected cats?

 

Powders: Powders are one of the old-fashioned methods and can be a messy way of treating fleas. As the powder applied to cats will remain on the cat’s coat for an effective result, it is not suggested for all cats. The cats with dust allergies can get sick by using this powder as they inhale.

 

Sprays: Sprays are used less and suggested to be used only during the early stages of flea infestations. The spray’s sounds can upset and make the cats nervous. Sprays are effective to an extent but not after the three days of infestation.

 

Spot-On products

 

Spot-on products are one of the simplest forms of cat flea treatments. It is a modern method that usually contains a small vial liquid applied to different body parts of the cats. This includes the back, cat’s neck, and even under surfaces. They not only prevent the cat from fleas but also help in killing the existing fleas. As of now, these are some of the best methods for cats. Frontline Plus For cats is exclusively made for cats to kill fleas, flea eggs, larva, ticks, and chewing lice.

 

As the topical treatments suggested above are helpful, some of the internal treatments are possible by taking medications. This type of cat flea treatment is something you may have to take only after consulting with the doctor. There are tablets and liquids which the cat can absorb, and they can kill or sterilize the flea bites. There are also injections to prevent the growth of flea eggs on the body. Even though there are many home remedies when you feel that it is more than important to take the help of the doctors, go for it. It’s always better to speak to your vets before using anything.