One of the most common pests that affect cats is the flea. Fleas are parasites and feed on blood. If you have a cat at home, you should be aware that fleas affect humans as well as animals. They can also transmit diseases and parasites to humans, such as typhus, cat scratch fever, and tapeworms.
What Fleas Can Do to Cats
Just because you don’t see them doesn’t mean that they are not there. Fleas are very small, even smaller than ticks, and they are agile. They can jump from one area to another, and burrow underneath fur or other tiny areas. When you don’t see any signs of fleas on your cat but he is incessantly scratching, it might be suffering from a flea infestation. The presence of fleas is detrimental to your cat’s health because these critters can cause a variety of conditions, including the following:
- Intensive Itching
Dogs and cats will scratch and scratch if they have fleas. This can lead to skin irritation, and once an animal’s skin becomes wounded, all sorts of bacteria, parasites, and viruses can enter its system.
- Baldness or Hair Fall
Sometimes, a cat owner won’t be able to see any live fleas on his dog or cat. This often occurs with cats because they are very good groomers. However, because the animals feel like something is crawling on their skin, they will continue to groom excessively up to the point that they create bald spots on their skin from the activity. Over-grooming, also known as psychogenic alopecia, can cause hair fall and baldness.
When fleas bite, they irritate the skin. Some animals also react strongly to flea bites. Animals that are allergic to insect bites will experience a more powerful need to scratch because they are more sensitive. These animals are more likely to develop more inflamed skin, severe rashes, or other skin disorders.
Treating a Flea Infestation
First of all, know that flea treatments for dogs won’t work in the same way when used for cats. Sometimes, dog flea products, especially those with permethrin, can cause severe neurological defects or even death in cats. Therefore, always consult your vet first before treatment and never use dog products for cats, and vice versa.
If your vet finds out that your cat is harboring a huge population of fleas, he will likely prescribe products that inhibit the growth and development of insects. With the use of insect growth regulators, like Precor or Nylar, or insect development inhibitors, such as products that contain lufenuron, fleas won’t be able to grow properly. This means that they won’t be able to develop, mature and reproduce. Eventually, the pests will die out. The two main advantages of such products are that – these are eco-friendly and non-toxic. Other topical powders or sprays may also be prescribed.
There are also oral treatments, such as tablets and liquids, and injections that help in eliminating fleas. Usually, these formulations are absorbed by the animal. When a flea bites the treated animal, it will then take in the medicine, which can either kill the flea or make it sterile so that it won’t be able to reproduce again.
Claire Lassiter is a freelancer and an animal lover. Her blogs about pets and animal health problems due to pests have been used by businesses, like Rove Pest Control. She hopes that through her write-ups, people will become more aware about how common pests can affect the health of both animals and humans.