A cat can pick up fleas while walking around a summer cottage or yard, when visiting a clinic, and even at an exhibition. Only pets are not immune from infection, because insects can get into an apartment on clothes or shoes.

Why are fleas dangerous?

Bloodsuckers not only cause cats to itch, but can also cause serious health problems. Often, fleas are carriers of various diseases, including rickettsiosis, panleukopenia, mycoplasmosis and others.

A reaction to bites, or rather, to flea saliva, maybe become and flea allergic dermatitis. Even one bite is sometimes enough for a cat to itch for up to two weeks.

An unpleasant bonus to fleas can be tapeworms and other helminths. A cat becomes infected when it accidentally swallows an insect that contains parasite larvae. And then, already in the intestines of the animal, the worms continue their development.

Fleas are especially dangerous for kittens and weakened pets. Because of the bloodsuckers, they can develop anemia, which can even end in death.

How to understand that a cat has fleas

Due to fleas, the pet can become restless, constantly chewing or scratching certain places on the body. Other symptoms include frequent head shaking, itchy ears, and excessive licking. Well, when there are too many parasites, you can easily notice them by simply parting the coat.

This is what a flea looks like
Photo: photowind/Shutterstock

When the first symptoms appear, lay the cat on its back. Carefully inspect the armpits and groin, these places are especially fond of fleas. Redness and bumpiness should alert you. In some areas, even local hair loss is possible due to constant combing.

Did the initial examination fail? Do not rush to conclusions. Prepare a bowl of soapy water and a fine-toothed flea comb. Run the comb through the fur on the back and legs. Try to keep the distance to the skin to a minimum, because the parasites feed on it. If bloodsuckers are found, dip the comb in soapy water.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a special comb. A sheet of white paper or a paper towel will come to the rescue. Gently lay it close to the cat when she combs her hair. The waste products of fleas will be clearly visible against a light background. To be sure, sprinkle the blackheads with water. If the color changes to red-brown, you are seeing flea feces that have digested blood in them.

It is possible to carry out a check without the participation of a pet. Take a close look at the places your cat loves: her bedding, window sills, and more. There, too, you can find black dots that turn red under the influence of water, and sometimes you can find the parasites themselves. For complete confidence, you can even put on white socks and walk along the cat’s favorite routes in the apartment, and then carefully look for those same black dots on the foot.

If there are no signs of fleas, but the animal continues to be nervous and itchy, go to the vet. The doctor will help determine the cause of this behavior and tell you what to do.

When you can and cannot treat cats for fleas

If the fleas are already infested, do not delay. With older animals, it is better to act immediately. And kittens can be treated for fleas with age-appropriate drugs when they are 8-10 weeks old. Although the recommendations differ for different means.

Be especially careful around sick and elderly animals. For them, it is better to choose special products with a milder effect that will not harm a weakened body. Collars, drops, sprays and powder should not be used if the animal has open wounds on the body. Accuracy is also needed if the pet suffers from any allergic manifestations. At the slightest symptom of an allergy, consult a doctor immediately.

Lactating cats need special attention. For them, softer means are also preferred. Also, they will not be suitable for drugs that kittens can come into contact with, such as collars. In this case, even the minimum dose of insect repellent can do much harm.

If you have any doubts about the choice of the drug or its safety for the animal, be sure to consult the clinic.

What are the remedies for fleas

There are many ways to get rid of bloodsuckers.

Flea drops

This option is perhaps one of the most popular. Drops from fleas of different brands differ in terms of validity, so treatment will be needed at different intervals. In addition, there are variations in composition. Such funds are made on the basis of natural components or synthesized substances.

Please note that drops for dogs will not work here. They may contain permethrin, which is deadly to cats.

What to buy

Flea collars

In fact, this is a plastic strap treated with special insecticidal agents. In addition to fleas, such collars can also protect against other parasites. Detailed information about the spectrum of effectiveness is usually in the instructions. The validity period is from one to several months, depending on the manufacturer.

This strap is a good option if you have one pet. If there are several cats in the house, they can gnaw on each other’s collars, so the risk of poisoning is quite high. Active animals that walk a lot are also at risk: they can catch on something with a strap and hang on it. So, if you still want to use this particular method, choose a collar with a break line: this will save your pet from trouble.

A more expensive and advanced option is ultrasonic flea collars. They are safe for people and animals, but they have a depressing effect on bloodsuckers. These devices run on miniature batteries.

What to buy

Flea Powder

Powder (powder) is effective only against adult bloodsuckers. It is applied to the skin and hair of animals, and then combed out.

What to buy

Flea Sprays

To destroy parasites, you need synthetic sprays with special insecticides in the composition. Like drops, flea sprays are best taken specifically for cats. These products for dogs may contain permethrin, which is dangerous for cats, so carefully study the composition.

What to buy

Flea tablets

The active substances from the tablets are absorbed into the blood. Therefore, when a flea bites an animal, it dies. The validity period is usually about three months, after which the treatment must be repeated.

What to buy

Flea shampoos

Such funds will help to destroy bloodsuckers and remove traces of vital activity of parasites from the body and wool. Additionally, the composition often includes substances that soothe irritated skin and simplify combing the coat.

It is better to use shampoos if your pet calmly tolerates water procedures. Otherwise, processing can become a real problem.

What to buy

Folk remedies

Tar soap or laundry soap is another option for dealing with bloodsuckers. This method will not help to completely solve the problem with a single application. So get ready to bathe the animal several times with an interval of 4-5 days.

The disadvantage of this method is that the soap will not completely destroy the fleas. Therefore, it is recommended to use, for example, a special collar with it, which will scare away insects. And regular treatment with soap does not have the best effect on the skin and coat of the animal.

What to buy

What to consider when treating fleas

In order not to harm your pet, you need to follow a few simple recommendations:

  • Use only products intended for cats.
  • Use only one type of medication at a time, do not combine different types of drops or other medications.
  • Choose options that are suitable for the animal by age and weight.
  • Strictly follow the instructions that come with the drug. Don’t overdo it.
  • Spraying should only be done outdoors.
  • Take precautions and wash your hands after treatment.

How to remove fleas from a cat with drops

Secure the animal in your lap or on a suitable surface. Gently part the hair at the withers. If the pet is long-haired, use a comb.

To apply drops, spread the hair at the withers
Photo: mariesacha/Shutterstock

Apply drops to skin but do not rub. Wait a few minutes until the product is completely absorbed. Do not drip on other places, especially those where the animal can easily reach.

Do not bathe your cat for several days before and after treatment.

How to remove fleas from a cat with a collar

Remove the strap from the package and gently stretch to activate the active ingredient.

How to remove fleas from a cat with a collar
Photo: Fayzulin Serg / Shutterstock

Put on the neck of the animal and cut off the free edge with scissors. Do not overtighten: leave a gap of one or two fingers between the collar and the neck. Loosening to the extent that the cat could pull off the accessory is also not worth it.

How to remove fleas from a cat with powder

Apply the powder to the coat and gently rub into the skin, moving against the growth of the hair. Make sure that the product does not get into the eyes and mouth of the pet.

After 5-10 minutes, comb the animal with a fine-toothed comb.

How to remove fleas from a cat with a spray

Lifting the coat against growth, spray the product from a distance of 15-20 cm. Avoid areas near the eyes and mouth.

How to remove fleas from a cat with a spray
Photo: Vaillery/Shutterstock

Wait until the product dries. To prevent the cat from licking itself at this time, you can use a special collar.

Brush out the animal. Do not bathe for 3-4 days before and after treatment.

How to remove fleas from a cat with pills

Give the animal the correct dose of the product with or without food.

How to remove fleas from a cat with pills
Photo: Elenica/Shutterstock

How to get rid of fleas in a cat with shampoo

Wet the animal’s fur with warm water. Apply shampoo, lather thoroughly and spread over the body. Pay special attention to flea areas, and avoid areas around the eyes, ears, and mouth.

How to get rid of fleas in a cat with shampoo
Photo: In The Light Photography / Shutterstock

Let the drug work for a few minutes. And then rinse thoroughly so that no traces remain on the coat.

At the end of the procedure, comb your pet.

How to remove fleas from a cat with soap

Wet the animal’s fur with warm water. Lather well, especially in flea areas. Avoid areas near the mouth, eyes and ears.

Wrap the pet in a bag so that only the head remains open. Wait about 20 minutes, then rinse thoroughly with warm water.

Brush out the animal’s fur.

What to look for after flea treatment

Means that kill fleas can be dangerous for cats too. Therefore, in the first few days and especially hours after treatment, you should carefully monitor your pet.

Animals may develop allergies due to the use of pesticides. It usually manifests itself in the form of redness, itching and irritation. In some cases, hair loss, nasal congestion, redness of the eyes and lacrimation are possible. If your pet has these symptoms, it is best to contact the clinic and use a different remedy next time.

Another danger is poisoning. Symptoms include lethargy, thirst, refusal to eat, profuse salivation, dilated pupils, diarrhea, convulsions, numbness in the paws, and disorientation. With such signs, it is better not to hesitate to visit a doctor.

Do not throw away the packaging of the product you are using. If problems arise, information about the active substances will be useful to the veterinarian.

Collars have their own nuances. Be prepared that not all pets will appreciate the accessory. Some cats will try to remove the collar by all means, and if you tighten it too much, there is a risk of strangulation. Another possible reaction is that the animal will walk on bent legs, almost clinging to the floor. This effect occurs due to the fact that it seems to the cat that she is being held by the withers. Don’t worry, it will all go away in a few days.

How to treat a room for fleas

Not all eggs laid by fleas remain on the skin and in the coat. They fall on the floor, beds and rugs. That is why it is not enough just to treat the animal from fleas. It is important to free from parasites and the room in which cats live. It is better to solve the problem in a complex way.

For example, a flea spray for animal habitats is suitable for surface treatment. It must be applied to the couch and other favorite places of rest, as well as to the cracks in the floor, rugs and baseboards. After processing, do not forget to vacuum.

Flea shampoos can be used to wash rugs and beds. A solution of laundry or tar soap is useful for washing floors.

Wash your bedding and blankets as well. And be sure to do regular cleaning with a vacuum cleaner.

How to protect a cat from fleas

Even if you have defeated the bloodsuckers, there is no guarantee that they will not appear again. Treatment is especially important for animals that spend a lot of time outdoors, for example, in the summer in the country. Although absolutely domestic cats that do not leave the apartment, prevention will not hurt.

Adult and healthy animals, as well as kittens from 3 months old, should be regularly treated for bloodsuckers as a preventive measure. As for those who are younger and sick, it is better to consult a doctor. Processing intervals depend on the selected tool.

For prevention, you can use different options:

  • Flea straps. Choose repellent collars with essential oils. They are usually labeled accordingly. Such funds scare away bloodsuckers, but do not destroy them.
  • Flea sprays. Use natural products based on essential oils. Like collars, they do not kill parasites, but only repel them.
  • Flea shampoos. Bath products with essential oils and plant extracts will also help protect your pet from parasites.

Please note: prices are valid at the time of publication of the article. Stores can update the cost of goods during the day.