One of the main goals of all cat owners is to keep their cats flea-free, not only because fleas cause your cat annoyance but also because they are the source of certain deadly diseases that can make your cat sick. Some cats are so sensitive that even a single flea bite can trigger a severe flea allergy.
However, you should always stay ahead of these fleas and keep your flea prevention game strong. You can take certain preventive measures to keep yourself and your pet flea-free.
In this comprehensive guide to fleas on cats, you will learn about the risk of fleas and how to control them.
When are cats at risk of fleas?
Cats are always at risk for fleas. Peak flea season is primarily the summer and spring season, but cats can get fleas all year round. Some people believe that their indoor cats are not at risk for fleas, but that is not true. Both indoor and outdoor cats are at risk of fleas.
Indoor cats are at risk as they can get fleas from other pets or their owners because fleas can hide in your room and on your clothing. On the other hand, cats that live outdoors are at continuous risk of contracting fleas. Fleas are master hitchhikers and can easily travel from human to human or animal to animal.
How to know if my cat has fleas?
One of the fastest and easiest ways to know if your cat has fleas or not is to see if your cat bites or scratches itself more than usual or not. The reason is that fleas on cats give them extreme discomfort and restlessness, and they will lick and scratch more than usual.
Additionally, you will also find fleas on your carpets and cat bedding. You will also see small black flea debris or dirt on the cat’s fur during grooming. An easy way to do a flea test is by placing the black flea dirt on a damp tissue, and if it is flea dirt, the tissue will turn red due to the blood content in it.
Can fleas kill my cat?
In a typical flea infestation, your cat is not at risk of death, but in a severe flea infestation, your cat and kittens are. The reason is that fleas can cause different diseases such as Feline Homotrophic Mycoplasmosis (FHM), anemia, and plague. If not treated in time, all of these conditions can cause death. Although death is rare, your cat is still a risk.
Older cats and kittens are at higher risk for serious illness because they have weaker immune systems, and a single flea bite can make their condition worse. That is why you must take the appropriate measures to prevent your cat from contracting fleas.
Try to keep these older cats indoors and away from other pets, bathe and wash their bedding regularly, and use regular flea prevention methods.
Should I speak to my vet about my cat’s flea treatment?
Are you concerned about fleas in your cats, the best treatments for them, and want to know what age you can flea treat kittens or how to apply flea treatment for cats?
Typically, it is best to consult your vet and communicate your concerns, especially if there are no obvious visible signs of fleas. Your vet will perform a specific skin test and try to detect fleas’ presence on your kitten. Your vet can show you what to look out for when checking your cat for fleas, can recommend the best and most common type of flea treatments, and advise on how often to treat your cat with flea treatments. Never use dog flea medications on your cat, as this will result in serious problems. Your kitten/kitten will start to shake, could have fits and convulsions and you will have to take them to the vet.
So it is best to ask your vet about the different flea preventive medications available on the market, such as spot on treatments, powders, sprays, shampoo, and tablets. But once again, your vet will provide you with the best advice. If your cat or kitten does have a flea infestation, don’t be upset that, in some cases, it can take weeks or even months to kill the fleas fully (this is why it’s far better to prevent them in the first place).
What is the best flea treatment for my cat?
If you are looking for the best flea treatment, then those are the best that provide immediate action against fleas. If that treatment further ensures that your kitty does not get fleas, then what better than that! If you find any such treatment, consult your vet and get proper guidance before using it on your kitty.
One such easy-to-use, vet-approved product is Flerm. If you use it in your kitten on a regular basis, it will provide protection against worms, fleas, and ticks. The difference between other flea treatment and Flerm treatments is that other flea preventives only kill the adult fleas, while Flerm will also kill the larvae and their eggs. If the flea life cycle is broken, your kitty will remain protected for a long time.
How often should you flea a cat?
Most vets will recommend that you treat your cat for fleas regularly and all year round. Most spot on flea treatments last 1 month at a time. And whilst fleas are more common during the Spring/Summer seasons, infestations can also occur in the winter thanks to centrally heated homes offering ideal conditions for fleas to grow and flourish.
Therefore, it is best to do a balanced flea preventive treatment every month, all year round, on both indoor and outdoor cats. This regular flea treatment is also vital to protect your family and home from flea infestations and bites.
How often do you flea a kitten?
Again, the same question how to treat your kitten for fleas, and the advice is the same; you should consult your vet about the proper flea treatment for your kitten. Veterinarians typically recommend flea treatment when the kitten reaches the age of 8-10 weeks or when their weight is around 1.5-2 pounds. After that, a monthly flea treatment is recommended.
Different types of flea treatments
There are different products that can prevent fleas from riding or hooking on to your kitten. The most common products are collars, sprays, spot-on, and tablets. If you live in a house with central heating, a monthly flea treatment is recommended for the whole year.
Spot On Flea Treatments
This type of flea treatment is the most recommended by vets due to its ease of use and efficacy. Spot On flea treatments are small pipettes containing a small amount of liquid that is dispensed on to the back of your cat or kittens neck (where they can’t lick). The liquid is then absorbed into the cats/kittens skin- depending on the type/brand used it will kill adult fleas, eggs, larvae. It will also prevent further infestations of fleas, as well as protecting against lice and ticks. The most common and effective spot on treatments contain the active ingredients Fipronil and S-Methoprene.
Flea sprays for cats and kittens
There are different flea sprays available on the market, and they also protect against fleas, lice, and ticks. These sprays are not only useful in killing fleas on your pets, but they are also effective in killing fleas present on carpets, curtains, rugs, pet bedding, upholstery, cracks in the floor, pet bedding, and cabinets.
The active ingredients that are present in these sprays will kill hatching fleas, adult fleas, and eggs. Different brands claim a different flea protection time, but most flea sprays provide protection for more than six weeks.
If you want to protect your cats and kittens from fleas, treat your pets and the area they are regularly using. Note that you should not use cat flea sprays on dogs and vice versa.
In the case of kittens, if you detect dirt or fleas, treat them immediately; however, do not use these sprays on newborn kittens as they can cause severe toxicity.
Flea powder for cats and kittens
Flea powder for cats and kittens is another effective flea preventative method. Flea powders are applied to the cat’s body, and when fleas come in contact with the active ingredient in the powder, they die.
The active ingredient in flea powders is imidacloprid which is fast-acting and is not absorbed into cats’ blood. Imidacloprid remains active in the fatty layer of the cat’s skin. It also helps kill fleas in your home. When the cat naturally sheds its dead fur, the active ingredient is present in it and mixes into the environment. When the larvae present in the soil come into contact with imidacloprid, the flea life cycle is broken.
Vets recommend using flea powder on your cat once a month throughout the year. Flea powder can also be used on kittens, and there are no weight or age restrictions. Before weaning, treating the mother will give the kitten protection, and the kittens will be protected after weaning.
Flea shampoo for cats and kittens
Bathing is something cats don’t like, so don’t force the bath as it is not essential. However, if you bathe your cat with shampoo or soap, it will kill the flea. It is not necessary to use any flea dip or flea shampoo for flea treatment.
Veterinarians often say that using a mild baby or cat shampoo will do the job instantly. It would help if you took special care with the kitten after bathing them. Bathe them with lukewarm water and then pat them dry immediately because kittens cannot maintain their body temperature. Flea shampoos are completely prohibited in kittens less than 12 weeks of age.
Flea collars for cats and kittens
Flea collars are commonly used on cats and kittens to kill fleas. Flea collars work in two ways, either by releasing an active ingredient that is absorbed into your cat’s skin or by emitting pesticides in and around the neck. Some collars are so effective that they protect the entire body.
The active ingredients that are present in flea collars take 24 hours to show their action. However, flea collars provide long-lasting protection for almost eight months.
Flea collars can be worn on kittens after 12 weeks. It is essential to wear the flea collar correctly; otherwise, it will put your kitty in a life-threatening condition. It is best to consult your veterinarian and use the flea collar according to their advice.
How do I know my cat’s flea treatment is working?
Cats suffering from fleas will remain uncomfortable, and when flea treatment is applied, they will feel at ease. Another sign that will show that the flea treatment has started to work is that the fleas will become more active after the use of the flea treatment. You will feel fleas on the surface of your pet’s fur, and your pet will feel a little itchier before fleas get killed.
Fleas are a nuisance and can put cats in significant discomfort. However, you can protect your cat from fleas by using different flea prevention methods. It is also essential to consult your vet for choosing effective flea treatment.