All About Cat Fleas
If you've noticed your cat has been scratching more than normal, you probably should consider that she could be hosting tiny parasites known as cat fleas.
How did your cat become infested? Now that she has them, how do you get rid of them? Read on for the answer to those questions and more about cat fleas.
How Did My Cat Get Fleas?
One study detailed in Veterinary Parasitology found a flea that could jump 19 inches in one
Creepy Crawly Clues
Just one flea can turn into a major infestation in a short time, as a single female can lay up to fifty eggs a day, according to the University of Kentucky. The most obvious sign of a flea infestation is a cat obsessively scratching herself. Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine writes that fleas most frequently bite cats on the back of the neck and the top of the tail head. Since they can't reach these places with their tongue while grooming, it means they have to scratch.
If you suspect your cat has fleas, run a fine-tooth comb through her coat while she stands on a white piece of paper or a white towel. If she does have fleas, you'll more than likely dislodge tiny black specks (flea feces) and maybe even a flea or two that you'll be able to easily spot on the white background. You can see fleas with the naked eye.
What Health Problems Do Fleas Cause?
Cat fleas can be more than an irritant; sometimes they can be the cause of other serious health issues. For instance, writes Cornell, fleas can transmit dog and cat tapeworm, or their bloodsucking can lead to anemia if your cat is still a lightweight kitten.
A cat with fleas can also be a danger to her human family. Cat fleas can act as agents for human diseases like toxoplasmosis.
Treating and Preventing Fleas
Ready to put the "no vacancy" sign out for these tiny freeloaders? Your first course of action is to call your vet to get advice and treatment options. Your vet might also suggest having your cat tested for tapeworm and other diseases.
Not only do you have to treat your cat
You can prevent fleas from coming back by using one of the proven
The FDA advises treating your pet at the beginning of flea and tick season in your area, but your vet will likely recommend treating them for the entire year. Flea season typically peaks in warmer months, but in some parts of the country can last year-round. You may think you have the cleanest kitty in the world, but fleas can affect any pet. So keep a watchful eye to make sure she's happy, healthy and itch-free.
Kara Murphy is a freelance writer and pet parent who lives in Erie, Pa. She has a