My Cat Has Got Fleas!

Why Your Cat Has Fleas

We know that cats are very clean animals, but they make an ideal host for fleas.

Once the flea has jumped onto the cat's body it can work its way down the coat hairs to the skin. Here it is fairly well hidden and free to feast on the cat's blood.

That thick fur also makes a nice warm environment for laying eggs.

These same reasons also make dogs good hosts, or grizzly bears if you happen to keep those at home.

Although fleas will bite humans, and sometimes live on humans, they much prefer cats, a much better host by far.

scratching catEvery cat will have the occasional scratch it does not necessarily mean the cat has got fleas. But intense or frequent scratching could well be an indication of the parasites on the cat's fur.

How do fleas get into your home?

As well as hopping in through an open window or door, they can hitch a ride in on your clothing.

That's right, you can unknowingly bring the little pests in to your home.

If your cat goes outside she can bring the fleas in with her when she returns home of course, but even if she is an inside only kitty, you can see that it is very possible for her to get fleas.

How to Tell if Your Cat Has Fleas


All cats scratch themselves sometimes.

The odd scratch now and then does not necessarily mean that your cat has got fleas, but very frequent scratching could be a sign. So too can frequent chewing and licking a particular spot.

Some cats are not too bothered when they get fleas, the parasite does not cause the cat much irritation at all. But if the cat has a cat flea allergy, that's a different story.

These cats are allergic to the flea's saliva which is deposited on the skin when the flea bites.

It causes the allergic cat much distress and the poor animal will scratch and bite at itself vigorously and almost continuously, often the result will be bald patches and soreness.

The flea itself is very difficult to see, often you will only be alerted to its presence by the existence of flea dirt (droppings.)

Use a very fine tooth comb to comb through your cat's coat, the dirt is tiny dark brown or dark red specks. You may also find flea eggs which are white specks.

Inspect the hair around your cat's anus, very small white pieces trapped there could be segments of tapeworm, cats get tapeworm through swallowing fleas.

Pale gums can be another indication that a cat has fleas. The gums and lips are pale because the parasites have gorged so much blood the cat has become anemic, by this time though there will likely be other indications.

What To Do If Your Cat Has Got Fleas

You will need to remove the fleas from your cat's coat. Start with a combing.

If your cat is long haired, deal with any knots or tangles first, carefully cut the knots off if necessary.

black and white cat

Comb through your cat's fur using a good flea comb, a little petroleum jelly daubed evenly over the teeth of the comb will help the fleas stick to it.

You have to comb deeply and all over.

Your cat may protest, if you have to stop don't leave it too long before you continue otherwise the fleas will migrate back to the area you have already combed.

Having a friend hold your cat while you comb helps, a lot. Frequently remove the fleas from the comb by agitating it in a bowl of water containing detergent, pick of any remaining fleas and drop them in the water.

Alternatively you can try bathing your cat with a good quality flea shampoo. Not always an easy task but again, having a friend help you makes it so much more doable.

Please, make sure that you use a flea shampoo that is recommended as being safe for cats.

The exact method of bathing will vary slightly from product to product, follow the instructions.

Don't use water that is too warm, a water temperature that seems right for humans will be too hot for cats. Dry off your cat thoroughly using a towel.

The next phase in the treatment when your cat has got fleas is to use a flea control product. Ask your veterinarian before doing so if your cat is in any way unwell, or is pregnant or nursing kittens. .

Flea collars do not have a very good reputation, they are said not to be very effective and some flea collars are said to be dangerous, (chemicals seep directly onto the cat's skin if the cat gets wet.)

Your Cat Has Flees No More -- Yippee!

But hold on! Your jubilation is very likely to be short lived if you don't also eradicate the fleas from your cat's environment, if your cat is an indoor cat, that means your home.

You have got to get rid of the flea eggs, larvae and pupae. If you don't do this, you will soon find fleas living on your cat once again. You can discover how to do just that on this page How to Clean Your Cat and Home of Cat Fleas. You will also learn a little more about cleaning fleas off your cat.

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A cat shock collar is not the way to discourage a cat from jumping on the counter, or scratching furniture, or other things cats do that displease us. It's not likely to work and just plain wrong.

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