Of all the parasites that exist in cats, dogs and rodents, fleas are considered the most common. Their endurance, tenacity and resourcefulness can only be envied. Fleas in cats are not only unpleasant for their owners but also dangerous for the animal itself. The wounds that are formed after the constant scratching of the parasite’s bites become a gateway for the penetration of infection. This can lead to severe dermatitis and allergic reactions with consequences in the form of swelling, severe itching and fever.

Kittens and weakened or elderly cats may become anemic if there are large numbers of fleas. In addition, if the cat accidentally swallows a “bloodsucker”, it is at risk of becoming infected with helminths.

Fleas are parasitic wingless insects 3 mm long and belong to the bloodsucking category. Their mouthparts allow them to easily bite not only the skin of all mammals but also hard wool. Like all insects, these parasites have six legs covered with spines. A pair of hind legs is considered the most powerful, so fleas can quickly jump half a meter in length (equal to 200 m for humans).

Where do fleas come from?

Fleas sleep in an unfavorable environment, but unlike ticks, they do not lose their activity all year long. When a “victim” appears nearby, they immediately wake up and quickly head towards the new host. These small insects live outside (on the ground, in the grass, in the snow), as well as in the entrances and basements of houses. Seeking warmth, they dwell near heating pipes in the winter. The main goal of these tenacious parasites is to move into human dwellings with pets, where ideal breeding conditions await them.

One flea can lay up to 400 eggs in a day in a cat’s fur. Because the eggs have no adhesive properties, they easily fall to the floor, carpet, sofa, and folds of laundry during the pet’s movement, transforming into larvae. Although the life cycle of fleas is 14 days, they are in no hurry to emerge from the cocoon if there is no food object nearby. They wait for the right moment. The most favorable factors for egg development are humid air and unsanitary conditions. Therefore, they most often develop in gaps in the floor and behind baseboards.

Signs of fleas in cats:

1. Frequent and intense itching. Fluffy is restless, constantly licking and nibbling on his skin in an attempt to catch the ectoparasite.

2. Appearance of black or white dots when combing out. If you brush a cat placed on a clean piece of paper, you will see small black grains sprinkled from it. These are flea excrement, which fleas feed on if there is no food source nearby. If you drop water on them, their color changes to reddish. The white dots are flea eggs.

3. The presence of the fleas themselves. Parasites are the easiest to spot. They have flattened bodies on both sides that allow them to crawl quickly in the fur. The insects are most often found in the neck and chin area.

4. Skin lesions. Your pet has small wounds, abrasions, or scratches on its body or you notice pale mucous membranes.

5. Deterioration of coat condition. The skin and coat are severely stressed and can lose their healthy shine and fall out.

6. Allergic reactions. Allergic reactions can develop after infections have entered infected bite wounds. In particularly advanced cases, abscesses, purulent wounds, or fistulas can be found.

If you find one of these signs in a cat, do not hesitate. If a few insects are not eliminated in time, they can become a colony of “bloodsuckers”, causing more and more trouble for the cat and its owners.

How to remove fleas from a cat: 5 steps

In fact, removing fleas from pets is not a difficult procedure, especially in the early stages of infestation. All you need to do is choose the right products and follow the steps below to eliminate the parasites:

  1. Bathing. First of all, you will need an antiparasitic shampoo with which to wash your pet thoroughly.
  2. Animal treatment. Two days after bathing, the cat and all other pets in the apartment should be treated with a special flea repellent, which can be in the form of a spray, collar, tablets or drops on the withers. The most effective are droplets, which are easy to apply. It is important not to make a mistake with the dosage, which is determined on the basis of the weight of the pet. As for the collar, it only makes sense to put it on the pet if the insects have already been eliminated, as it only protects against new fleas. In the case of hypersensitive skin or allergies, it is better to use tablets.
  3. Treating the cat’s sleeping places. In addition to the cat itself, it is important to treat the places where the cat spends most of its time (bed, carpets, furniture, etc.). With a special spray, both adults and pupae and larvae can be exterminated.
  4. Deworming. As fleas are vectors of helminth eggs, internal parasites must be eliminated after controlling the external parasites.
  5. Prevention. Repeated application of a special agent will help to ensure that the pet is flea-free. It is important not to overdo the dosage and not to combine several remedies at once, as it can harm the health of the cat.

If you can’t decide on an anti-flea product, ask your veterinarian for professional help.

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