What Your Cat, And Your Vet, Wishes You Knew About Fleas!

**This blog is part of a paid partnership with Elanco Animal Health but all the views and advice in it are my own!**


Fleas are a fact of life if you have a cat. You might not see them, you might not get bitten, your cat might look fine but they are probably still there!

Even if you have a cat who lives only indoors. Even if you have just brought a brand new kitten home. Even if your cat only goes into the garden or is very elderly. They can ALL get fleas unless you protect them!

So what does your pet, and your vet, wish you knew about fleas?

Firstly, many people believe that if their cat and home were hosting fleas, they would know about it. When, actually the little insects can be living a happy life inside your house and on your pet without you having any idea!

If your cat isn’t overly sensitive to their bites, they won’t develop sore skin and because they groom themselves they often remove any evidence of fleas or flea dirt. So, checking their coats and coming up empty handed, means nothing!  Also, if you do find fleas combing, removing them will make NO difference to an infestation!  For every one you take out, there will be many more you miss!

In fact, if cats are a bit itchy from the bites, you are even less likely to see the reason why, because the more irritated they are, the more they lick themselves!

Also, contrary to popular opinion, fleas aren’t actually that keen on biting people. So no bites on you, does not mean no fleas! And if you are getting bitten, there are probably a LOT in your house and they are hungry!

For humans, fleas and their bites are more than just annoying. A recent survey discovered around 10% of fleas in the UK are carrying a horrible infection called Bartonella. This can infect the cat, who could then pass that infection on to you and there is some concern the fleas may be able to infect people directly. Bartonella can make people very sick, especially if they have a weak immune system.

Fleas also often carry tapeworm eggs, which hatch out when the flea gets eaten by your cat. And they often are, because of all the grooming our moggies do! So if your cat gets fleas, they may get worms as well! It is also possible, although unusual, for tapeworms to infect people, especially children.

Many kittens, unless they are from very good breeders or rescue centres, will be carrying fleas. They are particularly vulnerable to heavy infestations because a litter is an ideal feasting ground; lots of warm bodies with only baby grooming skills.

Yeah, this guy is cute but quite possibly flea infested!

It generally takes less than 24 hours for fleas to lay eggs in your home, so make sure you get your new kitten checked over as soon as possible by your vet. They will prescribe effective medicine, safe for youngsters, but deadly to the fleas!

Talking of infestations (and sorry if this makes you shudder!) but if you do see a flea on your cat, they are probably already living in your home and with hundreds of eggs just waiting to hatch! Female fleas can lay up to 50 eggs A DAY and live for 3 months or more! Clearing a house of thousands of eggs and larvae can be done but it is a challenge, so prevention is very much better than cure!

One adult flea can lay 50 eggs every day, so if you spot one, there are almost certainly 100’s of others laying in wait!

If your cat lives indoors, don’t get smug! Fleas are more than capable of moving in, they just need to travel on your clothes, on visiting pets or, just by hopping through an open door. Did you know they can jump 150 times their own height? (The equivalent of a person clearing the Eiffel tower!) So a mere door step isn’t an issue for them!

Even if your cat never leaves the comfort of their own home, they can still get fleas!

If your cat does go outside, they will be even more likely to pick up fleas. They don’t need to hunt or meet other pets (although these things will increase their risk), the fleas will find them! Even if they never leave the garden or go more than a few feet from the house!

Even if your cat never ventures further than their favourite spot in the garden – they cans till get fleas!

I know, that you know, that protecting your cat against fleas is important but now you know, what I know about fleas and WHY it is important!

De-fleaing your cat every month throughout the year is the best way to prevent serious problems. Yes, even in the winter! Fleas enjoy our central heating just as much as we do! It is also important to treat ALL the pets in the house, not just the one you spotted the fleas on!

Also, it doesn’t have to be difficult! A new range of cat flea tablets are available that can be given just like treats! Your cat will love them…… but the fleas won’t! There is no faffing about with pipettes of liquid, with fluid dribbling off the fur, getting on your fingers or any worry about whether you did it right or not! Once it’s in, it’s working!

It honestly isn’t as difficult as it can seem to get cats to take tablets!


**This blog is part of a paid partnership with Elanco Animal Health but all the views and advice in it are my own!**

You can follow me on Twitter; @cat_the_vet,  FaceBook;  Cat_The_Vet and Instagram, Cat The Vet


If you liked this blog, why not check out Warm Weather = Wildlife = Worms! or Puppies vs Worms!

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