Fleas are little parasites that bite your cat and cause a lot of itching. They can be a real problem, especially if your cat has a flea allergy.
You’re more likely to find fleas on your pet during summer when it’s warm, but their eggs can be in your home at any time. Centrally heated homes with fitted carpets provide ideal conditions – warm and humid – for fleas to develop all year round.
Fleas can spread lots of different ways. If your cat comes into contact with another cat who has fleas, the fleas are likely to jump onto your cat. They then come home, where the flea will lay its eggs and more will hatch.
They can also easily pick up fleas in places like catteries or the vet, or even off any rodents they might chase while out and about. Once they have a flea on them it doesn’t take long for more to appear.
Mostly, flea problems come from your house itself. Fleas pupate and can lie dormant for up to six months in your carpets and soft furnishings which is why you should always treat your home for fleas as well as your cat.
There are a few symptoms of fleas in cats. These include:
If your cat has a flea allergy you may also notice:
If you comb your cat with a fine-tooth flea comb you might find a lot of flea dirt. If your cat has any symptoms of fleas, contact your vet for treatment.
All cats can get fleas, no matter their age. That’s why you should make sure you treat your kitten for fleas with an appropriate product. Ask your vet if you’re not sure what to get.
Even if you are keeping your kitten indoors until they are neutered, you should still treat them for fleas. Fleas can come into the home on us and can live in soft furnishings for a really long time because they don‘t actually live on your kitten. Kittens are still at risk of getting fleas, even indoors.
The symptoms of fleas in kittens are the same as a cat would get and are listed above. However, kittens are at higher risk of becoming unwell from fleas. If your kitten has a bad infestation, it could cause anaemia because of how much blood the fleas are taking. Make sure you take them to the vet if they show any signs of illness and keep up to date with a kitten appropriate flea treatment.
To treat cat fleas, you’ll need to get a proper flea treatment from your vet. These are guaranteed to kill any fleas on your pet and protects them for up to a few months after, too, depending on the product used. You should regularly get a flea treatment from your vet, even if your cat doesn’t have fleas as this will help to prevent them.
Some flea treatments available ‘off the shelf’ in supermarkets and pet shops aren’t effective at preventing fleas. That is because they contain less effective ingredients than a prescription flea product.
Flea collars are largely ineffective at preventing fleas, however there are now some better veterinary prescribed products available. Speak to your vet if you are unsure which flea treatment is best for your cat.
Take a look at our video for advice on applying flea treatment to your cat at home:
The only effective way to get rid of cat fleas is to use a flea treatment prescribed by your vet at the recommended intervals and also treat the home environment.
While treating your cat, you can try these tips to help get rid of cat fleas from your home:
If you’re looking for more cost-effective preventative care for your cat, check out subscription services such as Pet Health Club, or ask your vet for a flea treatment prescription to order products online.
Humans can’t get fleas. If your cat has fleas they may bite you, but they’re unlikely to keep doing so as they feed on your cat’s blood not human blood.