Dealing with Cat Fleas

Cat fleas can be a very frustrating and tough problem to deal with. Cat fleas (scientifically referred to as Ctenocephalides felis) are the most common type of flea out there, and despite the name, not just limited to the feline species. Cat flea saliva is similar to leech saliva in that it contains an anticoagulant called apyrase which makes the blood free flowing so they can ingest a high amount of blood. Cat fleas are very stressful on the animal and the owner so it’s important to treat the problem as soon as possible and to be gentle with the animal so it doesn’t create even more stress.

The easiest and most efficient way to check to see if your cat (or other animal) has cat fleas is to lie the animal down and gently pet it against the grain of the fur while looking for small black specks (that tend to hop). If you take some paper and lay it under the cat and rub the fur quickly to knock the fleas off. Then mist the paper with water and if the little black specks start bleeding red then you have fleas (the red being the bloody stools from the cat fleas).

If indeed your pet does have fleas, it’s best to immediately wash it (which may be difficult if indeed the animal infected is a cat!) with a flea control shampoo. This will offer immediate relief for the poor animal. Make sure the shampoo is made specifically for the animal you have and be sure to read the directions. Also, make sure to avoid the animals sensitive areas, such as the mouth, eyes, ears, and nose. You can also mix baby shampoo in as it is gentler on the animal, but not that efficient as a flea reducer.

Next, you’ll need to purchase a topical flea treatment. Wait till the animal is clean and dry and read the directions carefully. But most topical treatments work the same way. You’ll part the animals fur at the shoulder blades and apply a small, thin line of flea treatment. Generally, treatments work by attacking the cat’s nervous system and start to take effect in less than 12 hours.

Treating your pet however, is just the first step. As flea eggs aren’t sticky, like lice eggs, once the fleas lay them they fall off. So you’ll want to clean everything and everywhere where your animal has been. Vacuum everything, your carpets, rugs, couches, chairs, and then vacuum again, and maybe even again. Then wash any bedding your animal has laid on in hot water multiple times. It would be a good idea to bug bomb your house too, and if the animal goes outside, lay flea killer outdoors as well.