Fleas are pesky little creatures that love to feed off our beloved pets. Depending on the climate you live in your cat may be more prone to getting fleas. If you live in a country area with a lot of dirt and your cat goes outdoors then you can bet on the fact that at some point your cat will get fleas. However, even cats who live inside can get fleas as they tend to come in on your shoes when you enter the house. If you live in a multi-pet home then your chances of a flea infestation are even greater. In addition, fleas tend to enjoy carpeted areas of your home quite a lot so you may find fleas jumping on your legs from time to time. The problem is that our cats cannot communicate with us and tell us that something is biting them on the back of their necks. For this reason it is up to us to look for signs of fleas to be sure that are cats are free of them.
The first and most obvious sign that you cat may have fleas is excessive scratching. If you notice that your cat spends a lot of time scratching himself then there is a good chance it is because he is being bitten by fleas. There are other skin disorders that could cause itchiness in cats so it is important to make sure there are no fleas to rule that out as a possibility. If you do a flea check and do not find fleas or evidence of fleas then you should probably take your cat in to the vet to see if there is an allergy or something else that is causing him to itch. Your cat can also become sensitive to things that you use around your house such as laundry soaps and cleaning agents so be sure none of these things are responsible by using the process of elimination.
How Can You Look for Fleas?
Fleas, when they are present in large numbers will be very hard to miss. They will jump from your cat and onto you if an infestation is present. However, if there are not a lot of fleas present then it may require you to do a more thorough exam of your cat’s fur. Your cat will probably find this revolting but it is a necessary evil. Put a white or light colored towel down on the floor and gently set your cat on it. Take your fingers and start parting little pieces of the cats fur to see if you notice and visible fleas or even remnants of fleas. Fleas leave of excrement that looks like small pieces of dirt. This is usually called flea dirt, appropriately. If you do not see a flea but you see a lot of this black dirt then you can probably safely assume that your cat has fleas.
Look for Patches of Hair Loss
Some domestic animals have allergic reactions to fleas and develop rashes as a result of being bitten. If these bites are left untreated then a lot of times small patches of bald spots will appear. These spots will generally look red and even inflamed. If you notice anything like this on your cat, do not attempt to use any over the counter flea treatment. Instead, take your cat to the vet to have his skin looked at. If fleas are the cause then your vet can offer a flea pill to help kill the fleas without having to put anything topical over the open sores. These sores will usually clear up after the fleas have been eliminated.
Effective Flea Treatment
There are products on the market such as front line and advantage that keep fleas and ticks off your animals. These products are made specifically for cats or dogs and are sold separately. You apply these products to areas of the animal that he or she cannot easily get to when self cleaning. Follow the directions labeled on the bottle and consult your veterinarian for any further advise before using these types of products on your cat. There will be some age restrictions and other factors to consider so it is always a good idea to check first. If you use these products religiously every month your cat will never get fleas. While these products are not considered cheap by any means, they are definitely useful and will save you the headache of worrying about fleas later on.
Flea Baths and Spays
If you are looking for an immediate fix to your cat’s flea problem then you may be tempted to run out to your local supermarket and pick up a cheap bottle of flea shampoo or spray. This is an alternative but probably not the best. Some products work better than others and some are just complete and total garbage. This is why it is always best to ask your vet before using anything on your cat. You do not want to have to bath your cat twice (your cat won’t want that either) so make sure that whatever you plan on using will work right the first time.
Once you have successfully ridden your cat of fleas then you will need to focus on your home to be sure they do not come back. If you have chosen the smart option and have decided to get a flea guard such as frontline or advantage then you probably won’t have to worry too much about your cat. However, if your home is full of fleas you better believe they are going to be feeding off you. Flea bites are very uncomfortable and can have you up all night itching and scratching. To make sure this does not happen to you make sure that you treat your home. If you have carpets in your home one really neat trick is to sprinkle Borax (a laundry detergent) on your carpet and let it stay there for 24 hours and then vacuum it up. Borax contains boric acid which is deadly to fleas. If your home is mostly comprised of hard floor surfaces then your job will be much easier. Begin by cleaning all lines and spraying all furniture with some sort of flea spray. Then sweep and mop your entire floor and get into the habit of doing so once a day until the fleas are gone.