If you own a pet cat, you have a responsibility to make sure that your feline friend is living a happy and healthy life.
Whilst this includes ensuring that your cat is provided with comfortable and sufficient living conditions, it also applies to making sure that they are free from disease and infection.
So, let’s say you are playing with your cat one day and you notice that there are tiny reddish-brown coloured insects crawling over their fur. In this situation it’s highly likely that he or she has managed to catch fleas.
Hearing the word fleas is enough to drive any cat owner up the wall, although with regular spot checks and an understanding of the symptoms, your cat can be treated as soon as possible. So where do you start?
Before you can treat fleas, you need to establish if this is definitely what your cat has caught. If your pet is displaying any of the following signs, then there is a good chance that they may be suffering from fleas.
- Your cat is constantly grooming itself
- Has bald patches over its tail
- Has small and scabby patches over its body
- Is scratching itself more often than usual
On closer inspection, you should brush your cat’s fur and observe if there are any tiny moving dark specs scurrying about. Another way to do this is to place the fur that has stuck to the comb on a white surface, such as a piece of paper, as they will be easy to identify. You may also notice that you have a number of small bites on your ankles too from walking barefoot around the house.
If you do come across tiny, dark moving insects then your cat has fleas. If this is the case, don’t panic, it’s a step in the right direction that you have actually managed to discover them at this stage. If fleas are not treated then there is a chance that your cat can catch worms as a result of infected flea larvae.
Taking action against fleas
Now that you have discovered that your cat has fleas, you need to take appropriate action. The fleas won’t cause your cat any major harm and can be treated easily with the correct prescription.
However, there is a risk that your cat can become allergic to the substances found in flea saliva which can result in flea allergy dermatitis. To avoid this, you need to act straight away.
First of all, speak to your vet to see if they recommend a specific treatment for maximum impact that is more suited for cats and not dogs. Regardless of the product that has been prescribed, always make sure you read the instructions to avoid giving your cat too much medication. If at any stage you are unsure of what you should be doing, seek veterinary advice.
When speaking to your vet, always inform them of any cat flea treatments that you have already been using. Furthermore, check that the medication you are using is suitable if you will be using it for kittens or pregnant cats.
If your vet has told you to use a specific product, such as spot-on solutions, spray or shampoo, then these can be purchased from your vet or a pet supplies store.
Tips and advice
As mentioned above, never give your cat flea treatment that is suitable for dogs, as this could result in death. It is also advised that you keep your cat away from other dogs that have just been treated for fleas to avoid possible contact with these products.
Also, avoid exposing your cat to other insect killer sprays to prevent additive effects and to ensure that your pet can make a quicker flea-free recovery.
In rare cases where your cat suffers an allergic reaction, take them to the vet with the packaging for any flea treatment that you have been using.
Recovery and cleaning your home
With effective usage of the correct medication, your cat will make a swift recovery over a short period of time.
To avoid the spread of fleas, it’s not only your cat that needs to be checked, you also need to thoroughly clean your home.
Fleas will avoid the light and instead live in darker conditions, such as in your carpet. Therefore, as your cat is being treated, vacuum the floors, including all of the nooks and crannies where your cat has been and where the fleas could spread to.
Next, wash your cat’s bedding on a high heat to ensure that any fleas and larvae die out and obtain a household spray to use in areas of the home where your cat has been.
By continuing the flea treatment for the recommended time listed on the product, both your cat and your home should become flea-free and your cat can continue to live without itching and suffering any longer.
This guest post was written by GJW Titmuss, a leading online pet supplies, pet food, and pet accessories store.