Fleas are parasites that live in the outside environment and feed on our pets. They can be transferred from pet to pet, from the environment, or through grooming tools, beds, etc. They can be very damaging to pets that are very small, older pets, or those with certain health conditions. Prevention of fleas is easy, inexpensive, and is greatly preferred over treating existing infestations, since this can be time-consuming, annoying, and may not work completely. Visit a veterinarian to see what flea control product is best for your cat.
What are fleas?
Fleas are small insects that live on pets and in the surrounding environment. They feed on organic debris in the environment as larvae and on your pet’s blood as adults. Their life cycle can last anywhere from a few weeks to a year, as the pupae stage can lie dormant for months, waiting for ideal conditions.
How do fleas harm the cats?
Fleas can cause many issues in your cat. The flea can become infected with a tapeworm, which is passed on to the cat when it eats a flea while grooming. Therefore, any cat with fleas should also be tested or treated for tapeworms. Fleas can also cause an allergic reaction in the cat, called flea allergy dermatitis. This is more likely to happen when there are many bites over time, but can occur with a single flea bite. It causes extreme itchiness, hair loss, and infections, as the cat is constantly scratching itself and causing wounds to form. Finally, repeated flea bites can cause anemia, or low red blood cell count, in your pet, as the flea is feeding on its blood. This is more likely to happen with kittens, older cats, or cats that have existing health problems.
Why is treating and preventing fleas so important?
Prevention is key to keeping your cat flea-free and healthy. Once there are fleas, and their earlier stages (eggs, larvae, and pupae) in the environment, they are very difficult to get rid of completely. The entire house should be treated, as well as any beds, grooming tools, etc. If a few fleas or their eggs or larvae are left alive, this could turn into another infestation weeks or even months down the road. The immature stages can also live deep in carpet or rugs, or even in the cracks under baseboards! There are also different products to treat your house. The best prevention methods generally contain an insecticide and growth regulator, to kill existing fleas and stop the immature fleas from maturing. Several treatments may be necessary to fully rid your house of these parasites. In the meantime, your pet should have regular flea control treatments, so that your pet also stays parasite-free.
Simple steps for treating fleas in your senior cat?
If you suspect your pet may have fleas or are interested in preventing a flea outbreak, the best thing to do is visit a veterinarian. They can recommend a prescription product that is best for him or her, and their specific needs. Whether they are an older or younger pet, have allergies, or other health concerns, there is something the veterinarian will recommend. Other products sold at the pet store or department store are usually discouraged, as they can be harmful to some animals.