Friday, April 11, 2008

cat fleas--what you need to know as a cat lover

Cat Fleas are a very common problem and most cats will become infected at least once during their lifetime. It's nothing to be ashamed of, it doesn't mean you have a dirty house. In fact we have had to deal with a flea problem at least once with every cat we have ever owned. Cats can pick up these little parasites from a variety of sources at any time of the year, the main ones being:

Other cats and dogs they come in contact with.
Hedgehogs and rabbits found during their nocturnal garden wanderings.
Second hand furniture may also harbour some unwanted fleas as they can survive quite some time without being anywhere near a cat.
Why you should control fleas!
There are several reasons to make sure your pet is flea free as well as the fact that you don't want to pass cat fleas onto anyone else.
The specific cat flea carries the larva of the tapeworm, which can then get inside your cat whilst they are grooming themselves. They can also carry a number of other nasty infections, which you would rather not be passed onto your furry friend.

Adult fleas feed on your cats blood, so small cats or kittens are prone to anaemia.

Some cats can be allergic to the cat flea bite. Our cat Mo was and it was terrible to see her scratch herself almost to bleeding and running around the room frantically trying to get away from the discomfort she was obviously in. We took her to the vets straight away for treatment.

Does your cat have fleas?
So how can you tell if your pet does have cat fleas? well the first sign is usually noticing your cat repeatedly scratching and being a little edgy and dashing around the room suddenly. If you see any of these symptoms the best thing to do is to buy a special flea comb and stand your cat on paper while you gentle comb through their fur. A couple of fleas may get caught in the comb but you are more likely to find flea droppings. They are black in colour and when squashed will contain little amounts of blood. Yuk!
Getting Rid Of The Critters
Once you know for sure that your cat does have fleas it is your responsibility to provide good cat care by making sure that you eradicate them for good.
Firstly, you will have to treat the cat fleas on your cat. There are a number of powders and sprays available for you to choose from, but look out for ones that say they kill fleas quickly. Follow the manufactures guidelines, but usually it will involve you combing through your cats fur whilst applying the products. The neck area is where fleas are usually worse; so pay special attention to this area being careful not to get any products into their eyes or ears.

Secondly, you will have to treat your home, especially areas where your cat spends a lot of time. If you do not do this your cat will become re infected and a vicious circle will begin.

Wash your cats bedding thoroughly.
Vacuum every room
Use special sprays and powders designed to kill fleas in the home on both your floors and furniture.
You may have to repeat this process several times over a period of weeks to make sure you have killed any dormant flea eggs.

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