Fleas on Cats
The fleas on cats most commonly found are (Ctenocephalides felis). sometimes, cats can be infested with rabbit and hedgehog fleas. Modern treatments are now available which control fleas on cats.
Cat Flea Ctenocephalides felis
Probably the most widespread fast breeding species of flea that is found anywhere on Earth. The main host for this parasite is the domestic cat, it also claims dogs as their victims throughout the world. The cat flea will also claim other carnivores as hosts, fortunately for humans we can not be troubled from infestation, although we can be bitten which is not very nice.
Flea allergy dermatitis
The life cycle of the flea begins when the female flea lays her eggs on the cat, the eggs then dry and fall from the cats fur onto the cats bedding or onto your carpet. Hidden deep in the fibers, (as they hide from the light) the eggs hatch into larvae, eating an assortment of organic matter, dried blood that is left by adult fleas as fecal material falls from the cat into its bedding.
The larvae change going through four stages of metamorphosis before reaching the pupal stage, when they will remain dormant until they detect an unsuspecting host passing by, heat or vibration alerts them, they will emerge from their cocoon and instantly jump aboard, and begin feasting on the cats blood within minutes of landing, and start the cycle off all again unless preventative action is taken. Adult female fleas lay eggs at the rate of fifty per day.
Allergic reactions to chemicals in flea saliva can cause erythema (redness), papules (bumps), pustules (pus-filled bumps), crusts (scabs) also if the reaction is severe, hair loss will occur in the affected area. A small animal that is heavily infested with fleas may become dehydrated, losing body fluid to the fleas. A quick inspection of your cats skin will reveal any of the above symptoms.
Fleas on cats are capable of transmitting, parasites and infections onto other pets and also to humans. The commonest of these being Bartonella, murine typhus, and apedermatitis. The tapeworm Dipylidium caninum can be transmitted when a flea is ingested by pets or humans. Cats are susceptible to this as they are constantly cleaning themselves. Fleas on cats have been found to carry Borrelia burgdorferi, the etiologic agent of Lyme disease.
How to tell if your cat has fleas
Now we know how they survive and reproduce you can see that a cat is no match, for these tough little devils. If your cat is itching a lot or you suddenly find insect bites about your ankles, then these are sure signs your cat has fleas.
To be certain, the best method is to place your cat on a white surface and draw a fine tooth combe through her fur, any fleas or flea dirt will show on the white surface, if you put the flea dirt onto damp cotton wool it will dissolve into blood.
What steps to take now
Having determined that your cat has fleas it is necessary to eradicate them.
Step1 Vacuum your house frequently, this will not eradicate fleas but will help to keep their numbers down., dispose of vacuum bags carefully after each vacuuming session.
Step 2 Dispose of everything that is heavily infested
Step 3 Stop the fleas from breeding by treating your pets with a long lasting flea insecticide to kill adult fleas.
Serious note NEVER use a dog flea treatment on a cat it will have serious effects on its health, which ultimately results in DEATH
Step 4 Eradicate fleas in the house at all stages of their development, treating carpets, soft furnishings and all nooks and crannies wherever the cocoons may lodge, which is basically everywhere. As cocoons are extremely resistant to treatments, several repeated treatments over a period of weeks or months may be needed.
Numerous solutions exist for the treatment of fleas on cats powders, collars, drops, tablets and 'spot-on' products some work better than others. I do not recommend the use of powders as these are only effective as long as they stay on the cats fur, the cat will clean herself and ingest the powder and fine particles of powder can be inhaled, which intern will lead to breathing difficulties.
Collars are effective but care must be taken when selecting one. Choose one that has a safety fastening and check that the chemicals in the collar are not causing hair loss if the collar is in contact with the skin.
Spot-On products this is a term used for the method of application rather than a brand, products applied by placing a SPOT of the product onto the cats skin on the neck or between the shoulders, the treatment is distributed throughout the rest of the body, it is advised to prevent the cat from licking or cleaning themselves until the drops are fully dried, A simple flea protective collar does the job, watch your ornaments as most cats detest wearing these. Check with your vet that you are using the correct product as each one will vary, some kill adult fleas while others control the growth and reproduction.
ALWAYS read the instructions carefully and follow recommendations from the manufacturers
On going preventative treatments are the best method of keeping fleas on cats at bay, they may only be small but they can be a huge problem. I hope you have found this information helpful, I am off now to have a good scratch and prey I don't see the cat doing the same. Be sure to call back and read my articles on ear mites and ringworm in cats they should have you wriggling with joy, all joking apart these are serious health issues for cats, and as cat owners we have to be aware and protect our cats from ailments
interesting observation:Less than 20 fleas could have laid as many eggs as there are words on this page in a fraction of the time it took me to write it!
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