When it comes to animals and fleas, you probably think of dogs. However, cats are just as likely to bring fleas into the house, especially if you have an indoor/outdoor cat. Fleas become an annoyance not only to your pet cat but also to your home as well, and a flea infestation has a way of completely taking over your home. Should you notice fleas on your cat, you need to move right away to take care of the situation with the bet flea treatment for cats.
The longer you wait, the worse the situation may become, and eventually the fleas can spread to your furniture, clothing and even your own scalp. As you don’t want to be the person who brought fleas into the office, nor do you want to deal with exterminating fleas from your entire home, it is critical to do everything in your power and take advantage of flea treatments early.
What Is a Flea?
Fleas are very small insects. These insects do not have wings but are able to jump from subject to subject with their powerful legs. In fact, a flea can jump 50 times its body length (which is about seven inches in the air and up to 13 inches horizontally), making it one of the most powerful jumping organisms on the planet. Fleas live on animals for as long as possible by sucking blood from their host. At full size, a flea will grow up to be about 3mm in size.
When a flea lands on a host it usually is not alone; it typically comes with several other fleas. As the flea feeds on the animal’s blood, it will then become able to reproduce. With several fleas on the animal, it will begin to reproduce and lay eggs. This is where the real problem with fleas is. The life of a flea is short, and so the original flea will probably die off before you even notice there are fleas present. However, it is the subsequent generations that continue to spread out on your cat.
In most cases when you spot fleas on your cat, 5% of the flea population will be adults capable of drawing blood from your cat, 50% of the population will be made up of eggs, 35% will be made up of larvae, and 10% will be made up of pupae (the stage right before becoming an adult and gaining the ability to draw blood from your cat). So, if you spot only two fleas on your cat, there’s likely going to be another 50 fleas in varying stages present as well.
Is There a Need for Flea Treatment for Cats?
There is absolutely a need for flea treatment for cats. There area number of reasons why you need to look at a flea treatment in the case that you discover your cat does in fact have fleas. First of all, it is rather uncomfortable and agitating for your cat. These small insects will continually bite at your pet. If you’ve ever seen an animal (such as a dog) begin to chew at an area of their body and continue to chomp as if they are trying to mow their fur, it’s usually because there is an insect bitting at them.
Now, if you do not take care of the fleas immediately, within just a few weeks the few fleas will transform into hundreds of fleas and make the pet’s life miserable.
The next reason why you need to use a flea treatment for cats is that the fleas will begin to spread. While a flea can only jump around seven inches or so vertically, think about how close your cat comes to you when you pet them or they sit in your lap. Chances are you have arm hair or hair on your head close enough for the fleas to jump to. While these fleas will probably not survive on your body with everyday showering, it opens you up to possibility of fleas spreading out to you or other animals.
A third reason why you need a flea treatment for cats is the spread of sickness. Fleas can make your cat especially sick. In fact, the spread of illness is largely attributed to fleas throughout human history. Oriental rat fleas fed on black rats and traveled to different areas of the world through ships. Between the years of 541 and 542, bites from fleas that lived on these rats became known as the Plague of Justinian. Later, in Europe between the years of 1346 and 1671, fleas spread what is now referred to as the Black Death, killing 200 million people.
In the early years of the plague, it killed a third of the entire population in Europe. Fleas even served as one of the earliest forms of biological weapons as the Japanese dropped fleas that were infested with Y. pestis on China. While the chances of a flea biting you that is also infected with the plague is slim to none (unless you live in certain parts of Africa and India), it is little more than an annoying scratch. However, you’ll still need to take advantage of a flea treatment for cats.
Flea Treatment for Cats: Top Options
There is a number of flea treatment for cat options available to you. You may find that using a combination of treatments will not only be the most helpful but give you the greatest peace of mind. After all, the faster you rid your cat of fleas, the more comfortably you and your family will be able to live (and sleep at night).
Ingredients to Avoid
There are certain ingredients you should avoid when choosing a flea treatment for cats. Flea treatments are pesticides. Just like pesticides you’d apply to a yard, there are some that are perfectly safe around animals and others that can prove dangerous. Most flea treatments are fine, but you’ll want to look out for a handful of ingredients.
First, there is tetrachlorvinphos. This can cause side effects in you (not your animals). You might begin to suffer nausea and dizziness. It has also been linked on the rare occasion to paralysis and death. The next ingredient is pyrethroids. If you are exposed to this, you’ll likely experience burning, itching, tingling, and stinging. Of course, if you’re feeling this on your skin, there is a good chance your cat is feeling this also.
The third and final ingredient to avoid is pyrethrins. Your cat cannot metabolize this product. It isn’t going to be harmful on its own to your cat, but it increases your cat’s potential of suffering from other chemical contact (such as pesticides from the outside if your cat is an indoor/outdoor cat). When this happens, your cat may suffer from shaking, tremors, problems breathing, and hypothermia.
First, you can try to give your cat a flea bath. This is a good way to kill off most of what is on your cat. Of course, if you haven’t given your cat a bath before, you might find it difficult at first (make sure to wear thicker sleeves and gloves in case your cat is a scratcher). These flea baths are strong, so you should consider giving them a calming bath after with soothing ingredients (like oatmeal) to sooth their skin. Repeat this every few days until you spot no more fleas or eggs.
These are medications you drip onto your cat’s neck and often down their spine. These will kill not only the current fleas but will also prevent new fleas from moving in. When buying these flea treatment for cats options, make sure to pick one up that says it kills the eggs of a flea.
There are also some oral options for ridding your cat of fleas. Oral options dissolve into your cat’s bloodstream. When an insect, such as a flea, feeds on the cat, they will die from the dissolved medication. This is an excellent option to consider if your cat has a large infestation of fleas, as it will kill off most of the fleas in just a few hours. However, it will not prevent future fleas from returning. Due to this fact, it is a good idea to combine the oral and spot treatments together. Toss in a flea bath for good measure, and you’ll have done everything in your power to rid your pet of fleas.
If you discover your cat has fleas, it is important to act right away. The sooner you rid your cat of fleas, the better off they will be. There is a number of flea treatment for cats options, so keep these in mind when treating your cat. While your cat may not be open to a bath, the combination of a spot treatment and oral treatment will more than likely kill off all the fleas. Just make sure to read the ingredients and avoid the harmful ones.