Yes, you must take the cat to the vet if it has fleas. Your vet can examine your cat thoroughly and suggest a better treatment.
Treatment for fleas in cats is a continuous process. Regrettably, there isn’t a quick remedy. The primary issue with fleas is that they may survive for months without a host.
This implies that even the cleanest homes and cleanest of cats may become infestation hotspots in no time. However, if you keep watchful and make an effort to remain on top of things, a minor infestation of fleas will never turn into a full-fledged infestation.
Fleas, how dangerous are they?
Things can quickly become severe if a flea infestation is allowed to spread — and not only for your cat. Fleas bother all cats, but some are hypersensitive to the saliva of fleas and can develop an allergic reaction. This can have significant health consequences if left unchecked. Remember that fleas are bloodsuckers. Too much blood loss from fleas might be dangerous if your cat is young or weak. Infection with fleas can potentially lead to other, more dangerous illnesses. Flea larvae, for example, can get infected with tapeworm eggs, which your cat can readily consume while grooming. So a seemingly innocuous flea illness can quickly turn into a life-threatening tapeworm illness. That’s why worming should be done regularly, just like flea treatment.
How to tell whether your cat is infested with fleas or not?
They are sometimes visible. You might notice small scurrying insects or tiny black flecks of flea filth in your cat’s fur. They may also be found on your carpets, furniture, or even your own skin and clothing. Even if you don’t see any fleas, there are a few telltale indications to keep an eye out for. Scratching is the most visible. Every cat scratches now and then, but it could be due to fleas if yours is crossing more than usual. Fleas don’t just affect cats, so be on the lookout for any unexplained insect bites. Groom your cat using a fine-tooth comb on a white surface such as tissue if you suspect your cat has fleas and want to confirm your suspicions.
Check for fleas first
Find out if fleas have settled on your cat before you spend money on flea treatments:
- Keep an eye out for any movement in their fur. It’s time to battle fleas if you see minor bugs bouncing off their coat.
- Several times a day, comb your cat from head to tail with a fine-toothed metal flea comb. Adult fleas and their eggs will be skimmed off, and their itching will be relieved.
- Kill the fleas by dipping the comb in a mixture of warm to hot water and liquid dish detergent.
The life cycle of a flea
Fleas spend most of their lifetime on your dog or cat as adults. They can live for up to two years and begin laying eggs two days after finding a host. Together with ‘flea soil,’ females’ eggs slip off the cat or dog and into the environment (flea excrement). When flea larvae hatch from the eggs, this flea soil provides a good supply of food.
Larvae can hatch in as little as 2-3 days and can be found almost anywhere cats and dogs spend (typically in bedding etc.). Larvae are photophobic (afraid of light) and prefer to hide deep into carpets or soft furnishings, where they are rarely observed.
The larvae grow and develop into pupae enclosed in a sticky cocoon (perhaps in as little as a week). An adult flea develops and waits for a sign (vibration, moisture, noise, carbon dioxide levels) within the cocoon that an animal or person is nearby. The new adult flea can emerge from the cocoon in seconds and adhere to the host, but fleas can stay in the cocoon for up to two years.
The flea’s entire life cycle can be completed in as little as 15 days under ideal conditions, which helps to explain why these parasites are so successful. Adult fleas on the cat must be destroyed, and re-infestation from the environment must be avoided for effective treatment.
Treatment for fleas in cats
Several flea treatments are on the market, but not all of them will work on your cat. Ask your veterinarian to prescribe a treatment that is appropriate for your cat based on their medical history. Never use a treatment that your veterinarian hasn’t recommended. It will be ineffectual at best, and at worst, it will make your cat feel even worse. However, treating your cat for fleas is one thing. The bigger and, perhaps, more significant task is to get rid of fleas in your house. Fleas may live for months without a host, and 95 percent of flea eggs, larvae, and pupae are thought to dwell in the environment. So, if you only cure your cat and ignore the rest of your house, don’t be shocked if the problem reappears in a month or two.
How to get rid of fleas in your house
Vacuuming helps – you should vacuum your floors, furniture, and skirting boards regularly to keep fleas at bay at all stages of their life cycle. When you’re finished, throw away the dust bag from your vacuum cleaner. Your veterinarian can recommend flea treatments for your home and animals. This will most likely come in the shape of a spray that you can use to spray the various areas of your home where fleas may be hiding. For cats, this type of flea treatment can be somewhat harmful. Treat your home one room at a time to avoid disease. Open the windows, close the door, and keep your cat out for at least an hour after treatment.
How to Keep Fleas at Bay
A flea’s dream habitat is your cat’s warm, velvety coat and nutritious blood supply. To keep these minor bugs from setting in, use a flea barrier on your pet.
Traditional bits of dust, shampoos, and sprays are less safe, less convenient, and less effective than spot-on treatments. You can get them from your veterinarian or contact them online. Please inquire with your veterinarian about where to apply the product, how much to apply, and how often to use it on your cat. If you’re not obtaining the therapy from your veterinarian, check sure the product is safe for cats by reading the label.
The following are some examples of common active compounds and brands:
- Imidacloprid (Advantage)
- Fipronil (Frontline Plus)
- Selamectin (Stronghold/Revolution)
- Fluralaner (Bravecto)
- Flea Ex (Two Crazy Cat Ladies) Recommend
A flea collar with Seresto and flumethrin can also work well.