Fleas in Cats: Health Risks & the Most Popular Treatments

Adopting a cat can bring plenty of love and affection to your home, but pets are also a lot of work and commitment. You need to think about the innate needs of your cat and provide it with things like cat scratch posts to keep it happy. But sometimes, no matter how well you take care of your kitty, it can wind up with fleas that make it feel itchy and uncomfortable.

How to Know Your Cat Has Fleas?

Source: thesprucepets.com

Common signs of fleas in cats include scratching, skin irritation and dark red or black dots on your cat’s skin, fur, bedding and even furniture. These dots with a size of grains are also known as “flea dirt” and are flea feces. To distinguish it from regular dirt, you can scoop them and damp into a paper towel. If the paper turns red, it’s proof of flea dirt.

Take a flea comb (a very fine-toothed comb) through your cat’s fur. You can inspect your feline friend’s skin by parting the hair with your fingers as well. If you find any live or dead fleas or flea dirt, then it’s a warning that you need to find a suitable flea cat treatment.

Types of Flea Treatments

Some types of flea cat treatment products are sold over the counter, meaning that you can buy them without the prescription. But bringing your feline friend to a veterinarian first might be the right thing to do. Prescribed flea control products usually cost more than over-the-counter alternatives, but they protect against more parasites, especially deadly heartworm. There are several types of flea treatments that you can choose from.

Topical Preventives

Source: spca.bc.ca

Also called “spot-on” products, topical flea cat treatment products are great for both killing fleas and preventing potential flea infestations. You can get them prescribed from your vet, or you can buy topical cat flea treatment online. Most topical flea control products also prevent roundworms, hookworms, ear mites, ticks and heartworms. A great example is Ivermectin which is suitable for both cats and dogs.

These products are applied directly to the skin on your cat’s neck (at the base of the skull ) once a month. Depending on your cat’s weight, you need to apply in one or two spots. It’s a fuss-free option, as you only take a pipette and spread the tube content of your cat’s skin. It provides rapid and persistent protection. Plus, it’s safer, more convenient and more effective than traditional methods with shampoos and spas.

Oral Flea Products

Source: crossroadsanimalhospital.ca

Oral cat flea treatment options or “flea pills” are given to your cat by mouth. Besides killing any existing fleas immediately, they are also used for protection. Some prevent fleas for up to a month, while others must be given more frequently (as often as once a day) to continue with flea protection. Sometimes, especially if you have a bigger cat, it might be difficult to administer anything orally, and that’s the reason why some cat parents choose topically applied options.

Flea Collars

Flea collars for cats are worn around the neck, protecting your cat from fleas for up to 8 months. Collars provide the longest period of successful treatment for cats with fleas, which makes them a good choice for cat owners that don’t want to apply a topical product every 30 days. The collar is non-greasy, odour-free, lightweight and adjustable. Your cat can wear it alongside her existing collar and has a safety system that ensures your cat is free from harm if the collar gets snagged on something.

Flea Shampoos

Source: animalcorner.org

Flea shampoos kill fleas that are currently on your cat. However, these are no longer considered as a good option. Some shampoos are even harmful to cats because of some controversial ingredients, like pyrethrins. Knowing that some cats really dislike bathing, shampoos are nowadays rarely in use.

Flea Sprays

Flea sprays need to be applied to the skin and coat. They aren’t as effective as a topical application and oral pills, but some people still prefer to use them. You need to apply the spray against the lay of the hair and make sure that the entire coat is thoroughly wet and allow to dry naturally. It’s important that the product penetrates the skin. Spays are effective against fleas for up to 12 weeks and may be used on kittens from 2 days of age

Health Risks Caused by Fleas

Fleas are classified as the most common of all external parasites and consequences of infestation will be very uncomfortable for your cat. Fleas cause itching and more sensitive cats may even get open wounds in the skin which can lead to serious infections. They can also be transmitters of other diseases which can have more dangerous effects on your cat’s health.

Infestations of fleas may cause anemia from blood loss, which sometimes can be fatal, particularly in kittens. The most obvious sign of anemia is pale gums, which requires an immediate veterinarian visit. Fleas may also carry a parasite called tapeworm that transmits diseases. A condition called scratch fever caused by Bartonella henselae bacteria that make cats very sick can also be passed on to people causing serious issues.

These are sure enough reasons for you to apply your chosen cat flea control treatment scrupulously. Fleas will soon only be a distant memory in your home, and your feline friend will be grateful to you for getting rid of unwanted invaders and all the problems they bring.