Whether you have an adult cat or you just adopted a new kitten fleas have a way of inviting themselves inside your home.
In fact, fleas are the number-one skin parasite which affects cats and dogs, and more than 50% of skin disease cases reported to vets are flea related.
Not only can flea bites be painful and uncomfortable causing your cat to itch and scratch but they can also bite you and your family too!
Flea bites are a real nuisance, so less is definitely best for pets!
Here are some suggestions to help get rid of fleas on your cat and how to help break the flea life cycle to prevent reinfestation.
How to tell if your cat has fleas
Finding fleas on your cat can be unexpected but be aware that a clean home and well-cared-for cat may still be subject to a flea infestation.
Did you know that the fleas you see on your cat are adults and are just 5% of the total flea population? The majority of fleas are hidden during immature stages as eggs or larvae that you can’t see developing in and around your house.
So, the adult fleas we see are actually just the tip of the flea iceberg!
Your cat may have fleas if it’s showing any of these signs
- Excessive grooming, making fleas difficult to find
- Red bumps or scabs, specifically along its neck and/or back
- Shaking head
- Restless behaviour
- Loss of fur
- Brown parasites jumping or crawling in fur
If you’re unsure if your cat has fleas, talk to your vet clinic.
To help get rid of fleas, use a flea treatment for your cat ALL year round
Regularly treat your cat ALL year-round with a trusted and quality flea treatment. Keep in mind that applying a flea treatment for only one or two months per year could leave your cat unprotected and at risk of a future flea infestation.
And as soon as you see a flea on your cat, you should treat your cat with a quality flea treatment, such as Advantage™, Advocate™ or Seresto™ for cats.
These quality flea treatments all kill fleas through contact, which means fleas don’t have to bite your cat to die, which means less flea bites!
Each flea treatment has their own benefits and its best to check with your vet clinic to see which flea treatment is right for your cat.
After you’ve applied the flea treatment you can then remove fleas with a flea comb; afterward, dip the comb in a mixture of dish soap and water to kill any fleas left. Inspect and comb your cat regularly to monitor the flea infestation.
If you have other cats or dogs, they could be at risk of fleas too. Ensure you treat ALL your cats and dogs (including both indoor and outdoor pets) ALL year-round with a trusted and quality flea treatment to help keep a flea infestation from spreading and reduce the risk of future infestations.
Kitten flea treatment tip: Check the label on the flea treatment to ensure the product is safe for the age of your kitten. If your kitten is too young, contact your vet clinic to discuss other flea treatment options.
Fact Check: Essential oils for fleas on cats
Some online pet blogs may recommend using essential oils such as tea tree oil as a “natural” treatment for fleas. However, natural doesn’t necessarily mean harmless. Cats are more sensitive to essential oils than humans and undiluted oils can be harmful or even toxic. Essential oils and extracts are not regulated and do not require testing for safety, and are therefore not recommended. Before using essential oils on your cat, check with your vet clinic first.
Treat your environment for fleas
Fleas don’t have set territories and aren’t confined just to your cat. Flea eggs can roll off your cat and scatter throughout your home and back garden.
Treating your home, as well as your pet, is an important part of getting on top of a flea infestation. Find out more here.
Make an ongoing plan to treat and prevent fleas on your cat
Ongoing awareness combined with regular flea treatment is the key to breaking the flea life cycle. It may take a few months to end the infestation, so don’t get discouraged. Even if you continue seeing a flea or two on your cat from time to time, that doesn’t mean the flea treatment isn’t working.
To help prevent a flea infestation from returning, follow these steps:
- Regularly check your cat (weekly) with a flea comb and look for signs of itching and scratching.
- Set reminders to apply flea treatments according to product labels.
- Be aware of your cat’s interactions with other pets, animals or people to determine the risk of catching fleas.
Fleas are small but mighty. They can reproduce quickly and easily hop on other pets or wildlife. Help your cat by remembering to regularly use a quality flea treatment ALL year-round on your cat and your other pets too.