Fleas in cats - How to get rid of them

The cat is scratching all the time. Cat owners get nervous and immediately wonder if it could be fleas. But how do you recognize these annoying, blood-sucking insects?

Article from
Dr. Christian Dimitriadis
Veterinary surgeon with Dr. SAM
Table of contents

Definition

The cat flea (medically Ctenocephalides felis) is a parasite that lives on the body surface. Fleas are insects that are about 2 mm in size and reddish-brown in colour. They live in the fur or around cats and feed on blood. Fleas reproduce rapidly and are transmitted by jumping from one pet to another.

Cat fleas infest a wide range of animals, but also humans. Their bites can transmit diseases and other parasites. When there are no pets in the area and the fleas get hungry, they suck the blood of people in the vicinity. However, fleas do not stay on humans.

Cause

The less contact a cat has with other animals, the lower the risk of catching fleas. Nevertheless, you as the owner can transport an egg, larva or flea into the home. Fleas develop as follows:

  1. Female fleas lay eggs in the fur of your cat after mating.
  2. These fall off the cat and spread throughout the apartment. After 1-2 weeks, but in rare cases up to 6 months, larvae hatch from these eggs.
  3. These larvae develop into adult fleas after a few days. They jump on your or another cat again and the game starts all over again. Fleas can live up to 2 years.
Only 5% of the flea population is adult, the remaining 95% consists of eggs or larvae in the surrounding area.

Fleas feel particularly well in the warm season, between 25 and 30 degrees. On the one hand, this means that fleas do not develop so strongly outside in winter, but on the other hand a heated apartment can become a breeding chamber.

In the online shop of Dr. SAM you will find effective spot-on preparations and Foggerwhich reliably protect your four-legged friend from insect and tick infestations. The application is simple and safe: Carefully part the hair on the back of your dog's neck so that you can see its skin. Now apply the contents of the spot-on tube directly to the skin. The protective effect lasts for one month.

Symptoms and diagnosis

There are 2 possibilities to detect a flea infestation:

  1. living fleas found in the fur
  2. Flea droppings found in the fur

The easiest way to find live fleas or flea droppings is to use a flea comb. Flea combs can be found in any pet shop, online or at your local vet.

  • Comb your cat from front to back completely. Fleas love the flank area. Go through especially thoroughly here with the flea comb.
  • Check immediately if there are any live fleas in the ridge.
  • But if you haven't found any living fleas, are there black crumbs in the fur? If so, it could be flea droppings. If you put these crumbs on a wet paper towel, they will turn reddish-brownish.

If you're still unsure how it works, check out our "Fleas on Cats" video.

Combs for humans are unsuitable for the detection of fleas, as the spaces between the teeth are much too large and fleas cannot be caught in them.

Flea bites leave red spots on your cat's skin, which cause severe itching. The main symptoms of flea infestation are:

  • Severe itching
  • Bald areas on the body
  • Hair Loss
  • Massive skin inflammations (dermatitis)
  • skin spasms
  • head shaking
  • sudden hyperactivity

One of the main problems that fleas cause is flea saliva allergy. By nature, fleas cannot drink the blood directly because it is much too thick. So they dilute it with saliva. However, our domestic tigers often react allergic to this saliva, so that a strong hair loss as well as very strong itching develops. The skin is destroyed by the extreme scratching and a bacterial inflammation is the result.

Fleas also play a very important role in the transmission of diseases. The transmission of worms (especially the cucumber tapeworm) is also carried out by fleas. Other important pathogens are Bartonella (cat scratch disease), Rickettsiae and mycoplasma.

Therapy

But what do you do when your darling has a flea infestation? There are three kinds of remedies on the market:

  • synthetically produced materials
  • semi-natural substances
  • Substances on vegetable basis

The Internet is flooded with advice. However, the Internet often recommends poisonous preparations for your darling! Always ask a vet about this. The team of Dr. SAM will help you with pleasure!

These are in turn available as Spot-On preparations (drops that are applied to the skin on the back of the neck), tablets, spray bottles and Collars spray bottles. Depending on the infestation and the situation, different preparations should be used. The correct procedure:

  1. Flea control on animals
  2. Flea protection on the animal
  3. Flea control in the environment
  4. Deworming your cat
Many flea products that are compatible for dogs cause severe poisoning in cats. If you have applied a preparation and your cat begins to tremble, salivate or cramp, this is an emergency!

The veterinarians at Dr. SAM are happy to help you assess the situation and give you useful tips through the online consultation.

Prevention

Your cat should always be protected from fleas. These blood-sucking insects are relatively difficult to get rid of once they have settled down in your home.

- Collars are the ideal solution to keep fleas away for outdoor and indoor cats. It should be noted that only Collars from the vet are actually effective.

-In addition, these have a safety lock for release persons. This is important because it opens immediately in case of strong resistance and the cat cannot strangle itself!

After your cat has been treated, you must thoroughly vacuum and wipe the home and all the places where the cat is kept. It is the only effective solution to destroy flea eggs and stop the development cycle. Textiles should be washed as hot as possible. This includes:

  • Cat baskets
  • Blankets and pillows
  • Cat scratching posts
  • The sofa and other upholstered furniture
  • Carpets and floor cracks
  • The bed

If you still have fleas in your home after a few weeks, the use of a fogger is often the only solution. Foggers is often the only solution. These foggers are placed in the middle of the room and triggered when the owner and all pets are absent (even terrariums and aquariums must not be in the flat!). It must be remembered that many of these foggers are poisonous to the cat! The manufacturer's instructions should be read for each fogger!

If you are unsure and would like to learn more about Dr. SAM - just click on the link and you will receive further insights into our work.

Best regards,
Dr. Christian Dimitriadis
- Veterinary surgeon with Dr. SAM

Table of contents
Article from
Dr. Christian Dimitriadis
Veterinary surgeon with Dr. SAM
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