Getting rid of cat fleas
Fleas are parasites that attach themselves to the body of their host and survive by consuming blood. Cat fleas attach themselves to the skin of your cat, underneath their fur, and can be usually seen when you part their coat with your fingers or a comb.
Despite their usually meticulous grooming regime, cats can sometimes get fleas. Unless a cat is allergic to flea bites they will not show signs of scratching, and this can make fleas even harder to spot. If they are allergic, they may excessively scratch (as flea bites can be itchy).
It’s best to treat fleas the moment you spot them. But of all the flea treatments out there, which one should you choose?
Before you treat your cat for fleas, always check with your vet first. They will be able to prescribe the most effective treatments. Additionally, removing fleas from your home environment is an important part of preventing reinfestation.
Flea collars were once the most popular way of getting rid of cat fleas. They emit a gas that kills or repels the parasites. Traditional flea collars may only kill fleas around the collar area. However, a modern type of cat flea collar releases a substance that dissolves in the fatty layers of your cat’s skin, and kills the fleas elsewhere your cat’s body. You usually require a prescription from the vet for this second type of collar.
- They are fairly cheap.
- They are easy to use: they only need to be slipped onto your cat’s neck.
- Some collars do not come with any elastic in them, which means that if they get caught in a branch or object, your cat may be stuck.
- There is a chance that they will irritate your cat’s neck.
Spot-on treatments are essentially liquids. You apply this liquid to the back of your cat in spots, usually at the nape of their neck, between their shoulder blades, and then down their back. The size of the spots depends on the size of your cat and how extensive the flea infestation is. This liquid then seeps into your cat’s skin and kills fleas living on the body.
- It is easy to use.
- The treatment can get rid of both live fleas and flea larvae.
- Some cats can be sensitive to this medication.
- Cats will feel the medicine on their body and may want to rub it off. It’s important to monitor your cat for a while, as the medicine absorbs into the skin slowly.
Flea shampoos are specially produced to kill cat fleas on contact. The task of applying it can be labour-intensive, as you do have to ensure you are thorough when bathing your cat and that all parts of the body are covered. After a bath, you can use a flea comb to see if there are any fleas or flea larvae left behind. If there are, you may have to repeat the bath.
- It is relatively cheap.
- It takes effect immediately.
- As any pet owner knows, giving your pet a bath can sometimes be a task. Giving your pet a bath with strange shampoo while they have fleas may be even more challenging. Irrespective of which flea treatment your vet recommends, whether it is one on this list or a different treatment, do remember that it is not only your cat that needs to be purged of fleas. Flea larvae live in the environment and it is crucial to treat your furniture and carpet (and especially your cat’s bedding) to get rid of all of them. Otherwise, it becomes very easy for fleas to return and you will have to begin treatment from scratch.