Fleas are the worst nightmare of a cat and its owners. As one would expect, most people who are not so well aware tend to panic in a scenario. It is nothing of unusualness, don’t put yourself down for this. We have got your back! In this read, we will inform you about everything you need to know regarding cats and their hatred towards fleas. The only thing we ask for is for you to read till the end. We are sure you can do that for the sake of your cat’s wellbeing.
What are fleas?
Fleas are little bugs that are similar to ants in terms of size. If you have weak close sightedness, it might even be impossible to see them with a naked eye. They are only capable of jumping around from one surface to another as they do not have any wings. Conventionally, they range from a brown shade up to black, wrapping up all the other tones in between. You must be thinking; this doesn’t seem too frightening; what’s the big deal? Well, we haven’t yet reached the point of distress. Fleas can reproduce very fast. It will only take the blink of an eye for one flea to a hundred, that being said with a tad bit of exaggeration. But you get what we’re trying to say. It is next to impossible to get rid of them without proper treatment, especially when it comes to pets. Ctenocephalides felis is the most common cat fleas, out of a species of 2000 to 3000.
Can your cat get fleas all around the year?
Yes! Fleas prefer a warm and cozy environment for them to settle in. It is no surprise that your cat proves to be a perfect candidate. The breeding season of fleas is known to be late summers; therefore, you can expect them any time in the summers. It is not likely for them to survive through the winters considering their choice of comfort. But if you live in a centrally heated home or a country with shorter winters, you can expect the unwelcome guest to arrive at any moment.
Can fleas be harmful to my cat in any way?
Fleas might not intend to cause any damage to your cat, but that doesn’t divert the issues that its existence brings. First, they can cause your cat a lot of irritation and itching, which would make your feline friend highly uneasy. While this may seem like a lot of inconveniences, this is not all it is.
If your cat is old or weak, a huge health concern may be anemia. Fleas in all stages feed on the blood of your cat. Once fleas have established their habitat in the comfortable fur coat of your cat, the very next they will do is start sucking the blood of your cat. You may as well call them bug vampires! Cats, considering their body size, do not have a lot of blood to donate, because of which they might develop anemia. Anemia may cause your cat the following symptoms;
- Further weakening
- Unusually increased demand for water.
- Loss of appetite
- An increased heart rate
- In extreme cases of anemia, fainting
Cat scratch fever
If you have been a cat parent for a considerable time, you are bound to know this disease. If you still don’t, consider yourself lucky! This is a bacterial infection of fleas that are affected by a certain type of bacteria in cats. Alarmingly, it can also be transmitted to humans through cat scratches or bites. A vast majority of cats who are infected by CSD are asymptomatic, making it almost impossible for you to pinpoint any sickness. However, if you are aware of your cat having fleas, and it starts to exhibit symptoms like fever, vomiting, and redness of eyes. We highly suggest you contact your vet and book an immediate appointment. It is also essential that you try as best as you can to maintain a distance from your cat during this time. You can only take good care of your cat if you are doing well yourself!
Flea allergy dermatitis
Trust us when we say flea bites are unbearably itchy to the point of your cat scratching itself. To rid itself of the pain and irritability, your cat might scratch itself to the point that there is no fur left at the spot of the bite on its skin. A single bite from a flea can get your cat to lose its marbles quickly. If such a circumstance arrives, a derma condition known as flea allergy dermatitis can arise. If suffering from this disease, your cat might develop crusty skin all over its body or especially around the facial area. Unlike the catch scratch fever, this is much easier to identify in cats. Your feline fellow’s agitated behavior will concern you the minute you lay eyes on it.
All of these health conditions can doubtfully be treated. Sometimes it takes antibacterial medications, dietary modifications. However, in severe anemia, your cat may require a blood bag to get it back on its paws.
Can fleas kill a cat?
Unfortunately yes. Fleas are capable of taking the life of your cat. Please don’t fall for their size; the damage they can bring might even be irreplaceable at times. Feline Infectious Anemia is one of the most brutal health conditions that fleas can cause, which may be fatal to your cat. It tricks the cat’s body mechanism to attack itself. The fleas may start to thrive directly onto the cat’s red blood cells. However, the problem arises when its immune system and white blood cells realize the entry of this intruder. They carried out their duty unknowingly to attack the red blood cells as a defense mechanism. Instead of the situation being solved, red blood cells are drawn down to dust, causing the cat severe anemia. It might be tricky for a layman like us to put our fingers on what exactly the cat may be suffering. This is for the reason that the symptoms of anemia and FIA are similar to a confusing degree.
Did you know…?
You might think the plague has exited this planet for good. Let us tell you that you are highly mistaken. We wish this were the case, yet unfortunately, fleas are capable of carrying the plague. Since they hop from place to place, they might be infected through rodents and other such animals. Indeed, there has not been a plague pandemic for over a century. Thus, it is understandable if you feel as if it is far from reality. Nonetheless, it is better to be safe than sorry. If you can identify a symptom of the plague in your cat, instead of adopting the ‘if I ignore it, it’ll go away,’ inform the concerned authorities as soon as possible. A few symptoms that a cat may develop are as follows;
- Rapid heart rate
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Difficulty breathing
- If left untreated for a prolonged interval, coma
Which cats are more susceptible to the diseases transmitted by fleas?
All cats have a high probability of being affected by these diseases, yet it may not be able to cause a lot of damage to your furry little friend. However, if you are the owner of a cat who is often sick and has a comparatively weaker immune system, a kitten, or an elderly cat, they are at a far greater risk. It is essential to be extra vigilant when it comes to their hygiene, even though we are sure you already are. Additionally, stray cats are more prone to fleas and the diseases they transmit. Therefore, if your domestic cat plays with outdoor cats, it is best to check your cat for fleas every day.
How to get rid of fleas?
There is nothing you and your cat can’t beat together – not even fleas. It might be a prolonged and challenging process to get rid of fleas eventually, but it will all be worth it. Once you are sure about the presence of the tiny insects inside your house, start cleaning! Vacuum the rugs and mats of your house thoroughly several times. Fleas are repellent to essential oils and pungent odors. Therefore, when you put your house’s carpeting for a wash, add in half a cup of lavender or eucalyptus. It will act as a barrier to the culprits of this discussion.
When you are on a cleaning spree against the flea infestation, be sure to clean the bedding of your cat as well as any other pet you may have. The insects may have made their way to them without you being aware.
Lastly, consult your vet for a professional flea infestation treatment. If you diminish the root of the problem, it won’t grow again, hopefully. It will be no time before you get rid of them and can take a breath of relief. Just like the good old days before the bugs hindered your lifestyle!