Shop ManagerAs a cat parent, it’s probably unfathomable that your pet should spend all day long suffering the irritation and discomfort of fleas. But busy lifestyles and the inability to identify “Oi, I’ve got fleas!” behavior could result in your pet sharing space far longer with pesky parasites than they must! Is there a way you can identify fleas on cats in a jiffy by looking at their appearance and monitoring their behavior? Indeed, there is! And we’re going to share the best ways to identify fleas on cats with you right now! When you understand what to look for, identifying fleas becomes a whole lot simpler.
Tell-Tale Signs Your Cat Has Fleas
Your cat’s behavior and physical appearance can tell you everything you need to know about its current state. Just by watching your pet, you can tell if they have a parasite feeding off them or not and ensure that they are seen by your veterinarian immediately. The following signs are a sure-fire giveaway that fleas have moved into your kitty’s fur!
1. Your Cat Becomes Fanatical About Grooming
You’re probably semi-familiar with your cat’s normal grooming behavior, but if your cat suddenly steps up grooming efforts, it’s a sign that something’s not quite right. Excessive grooming is a big red flag! What constitutes excessive grooming? Licking, biting, scratching, and sometimes even hair loss on the tail and legs. You may first notice that your cat scratches the back of the ears and neck more than usual.
2. Little Black Specks Show Up in Your Cat’s Fur
When fleas bite your pet, they’re doing so for the blood. This is what they feed on. When fleas feed on blood, they digest it and pass feces. Those little black specks in your pet’s fur could be flea dirt and an indication that fleas are living quite happily on your pet!
3. Scabby Bites and Bumps Appear on the Cat’s Skin
Your beloved feline was fine the one moment and sporting scab-like bumps and marks or even red skin the next! This is because the fleas are biting your pet, and as a result, your pet is having an allergic reaction (just like you do when a flea bites you). Imagine your body covered in a multitude of small, itchy bites. Yikes!
4. You See Insects in Your Cats Bedding and Fur
This one may seem a little obvious, but it must be noted; if your pet has insects crawling around in their fur, you can safely assume that they are fleas.
5. Your Cat Becomes Skinny
Many people aren’t aware of this, but fleas can carry tapeworm and pass it on to your cat. Cats may ingest developing tapeworm while grooming, sending the tapeworm to their intestines where they will feast and grow. As a result, your cat may start to shed weight and look unwell.
6. Kitty Becomes Seemingly Weak & Has Pale Gums
There’s nothing romantic about the relationship between a cat and a flea. Fleas suck blood from your pet and, in some cases, can deplete supplies to the point of anemia! Anemia can cause general body weakness, and the lack of red blood cells causes the gums to look pale.
** A note on dogs and fleas: It’s important to note that this can also happen to dogs when they have fleas. In fact, flea infestation is a leading cause of anemia in dogs. You can learn more about identifying and treating fleas on dogs by heading on over to Barkspot for top tips and advice. If either your dog or cat seems to have developed anemia, it’s important to seek out immediate veterinary attention.
7. Your Relaxed Cat Suddenly Becomes Anxious
If your cat is usually relaxed and carefree but now looks uncomfortable and shifty – almost anxious – it could signify fleas. Imagine feeling something persistently biting you! We’d all feel a little uneasy under those circumstances.
Ridding Your Cat & Home of Fleas
Once fleas have settled in, they can seem like a nightmare to get rid of them. It’s important to know that you must fight the war on fleas on several levels. You cannot just treat your pet and hope for the best. Instead, you must treat your pet, the home, and other objects in the environment. Below are a few tips to use when trying to get rid of fleas.
Apply a Preventative Product for Your Cat
You can find cat flea sprays and even spots (to be put on the back of the neck) that are specifically designed to kill fleas on cats. However, it would be best if you didn’t use dog flea treatments on cats, as some of the ingredients in dog products are harmful to cats. Always consult your veterinarian before treating your kitty.
Buy Your Cat a Flea Collar
Good quality flea collars can keep your pet free from fleas. Keep in mind that some collars aren’t very effective and that these collars are only meant to be worn for a certain time before being replaced with a new collar.
Place a Flea Collar Inside Your Vacuum Cleaner
Every time you vacuum the home, you could be sucking up flea eggs that then hatch inside the vacuum machine and simply spread right back into the home. To safeguard against this, place a high-quality flea collar inside the vacuum cleaner.
Use a Household Fogger
You can use sprays and foggers in the home to fumigate the carpets, upholstery, nooks, and crannies. Keep in mind that you need to vacate the home and air it out sufficiently before returning to it with your cat once more.
When it comes to fighting fleas, it’s essential to adopt a “prevention is better than cure” approach. By ensuring that you spray your home regularly, vacuum and wash your pet’s bedding as well as carpets and upholstery and treat your pet for fleas and other parasites monthly, you can reduce the risk of flea infestations in the first place. It also goes a long way towards ensuring that your beloved pet never has to suffer the discomfort of hosting fleas.