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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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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