Flea Prevention and Control in Cats

Getting rid of fleas can be tough, but with a little work, you can prevent and control them!


Seeing fleas on your cat can be alarming — watching the tiny creatures scamper about their coat looking for a tasty snack and in the meantime causing itching and discomfort in your favorite feline friend.


Once you see fleas, you can’t unsee them! Rest assured even though it feels like they’re everywhere, there are many things you can do to be proactive in preventing and treating fleas in your cat.


The Vet Set is your ally in cat flea control and flea remedies! As the weather warms up fleas become more of an issue, especially in the humid New York neighborhood of Carroll Gardens! If you have fleas on your mind, this is a post for you — learn all about getting rid of fleas on cats in today’s post.

Fleas, Fleas, Fleas: Are You Itching Yet?


As a cat owner, you are well aware of the effects of fleas and how cats can be susceptible to them, so let’s dive into the flea life cycle to get a better grasp on flea prevention.


The Flea Lifecycle


The lifecycle of these pests is often compared to that of a butterfly, except without all the beautiful colors to boot!


The entire lifecycle of a flea begins when they take up residence and lay eggs on your cat, and what’s worse yet, the eggs not only are within your cat but they also fall in the surrounding environment such as your cat’s bedding, your carpet, and even in your own bed.


Once the eggs hatch, the larvae feast on the feces of the adult fleas and continue to mature.


Once the larva is a bit older, just like a butterfly, it will cocoon itself as it continues to develop into a full-fledged adult flea.


After the cocooning period is over, the adult flea emerges and feast on your cat’s blood, mates, and begins the lifecycle once again.


And this is why cat flea control and prevention is so vital — the cycle can continue on and on if it’s not treated and disrupted.


So, how do you know your cat has fleas?


The most common sign of fleas is constant scratching. If you’re not sure if it’s fleas, you can also grab a flea comb or pull their coat \back — if you notice tiny black dots or “flea dirt” your cat may indeed have fleas. The tiny, black dots are flea feces and if you wipe them with a damp paper towel and it turns red, this indicates they’ve been snacking on your cat’s blood.


Why are fleas an issue for cats?


Aside from being itchy and uncomfortable, fleas can cause a host of health issues that make you cat sick including:


Tapeworms – Fleas are harmful to kittens and often manifest into worms so if your kitten has fleas, ensure they’re treated by their local vet for tapeworm.


Anemia – If fleas go unaddressed in your cat, it can result in anemia because of the blood loss. Signs of anemia are pale gums, so be sure to check their gums if they’ve recently had a flea infestation.


How to Prevent a Flea Infestation From Affecting Your Home


Once fleas get in, or on your cat, all bets are off — their eggs can spread to other animals and in all the nooks and crannies of your home.


Once the fleas are removed from your home, their lifecycle can be greatly impacted.  


A good, thorough cleaning should do just the trick, but as a guide, consider dong the following:


Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum! – It is crucial to do this on a daily basis after or during an infestation. After a couple of vacuumings, dispose of the bags or clean out the container


Have the carpets cleaned – A good steam cleaning will kill any remaining eggs and ensure a halt in the lifecycle of the fleas.


Wash just about everything! – If you can wash it, take this measure. This means throwing in bedding, pillows, blankets, etc. If it can’t be thrown into the washer, spot clean it with a detergent and wipe down surfaces with a disinfectant.


Hire a professional – If you want to rest completely and trust that the fleas are gone, hire a pest control company. They often have pet-friendly solutions that mitigate fleas and keep everyone in the household happy and healthy.


Treating a Flea Infestation


If your cat has fleas, they need to be treated promptly by your local vet to stop the infestation from spreading.


The first line of defense is to comb and bathe your cat — as you comb and collect fleas dispose of them properly. Throwing them away isn’t advised because they’re hardy and they may be able to hop right out of the trash and find another victim! Instead, drop them into a jar of bleach water. The fleas will die and then you can discard the remains down your disposal.


Although cats are typically horrified from a bath, you can attempt to drown the fleas by bathing your cat. Use a mild shampoo and your cat should be well on its way to shaking those fleas.


Flea Topicals For Cats


It’s important to highlight that you use a flea topical specifically made for cats. Many people pick up a flea treatment for dogs thinking it’ll do the trick, but dogs and cats have different physiologies, so you’ll need a flea treatment specifically for cats.


Imidacloprid is the active ingredient in a popular topical and is great for treating fleas.


Fipronil is another popular ingredient in topicals, but some cats may be sensitive to it.


Selamectin – This is a well-rounded ingredient that tackles not only fleas but ticks, ear mites, and heartworms.


Before using any topical on your cat, connect with your vet clinic.


If you suspect your cat has fleas, call your vet immediately. Fleas may not seem serious, but a flea infestation in your home is not something you want to deal with. Instead, take preventative measures and keep your furry feline healthy!


To learn more about flea control and prevention, reach out to our Carroll Gardens vet clinic today!


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