Fleas Aren’t In The Circus Anymore!
What animal can leap longer than 100 times its own length? Or can lift a weight a 100 times heavier than its own body weight?
Yes, you guessed it, the common cat flea. Cat fleas are one the most annoying and resistant pests that pet owners normally encounter.
Next to roaches, bedbugs and ants, they are one of the most common household insects in the country. And the little buggers have a stinging bite like a 200 lb vampire!
What are cat fleas?
A tiny wingless bloodsucker, that moves about by leaping from pet to owner to carpet and back again. Except for their painful, itching bites, fleas would appear to be harmless but these small parasites can host lots of ugly diseases and illnesses for both you and your pet. Fleas can be carriers of tapeworms and a type Typhus. Both can be transmitted to humans.
How can I tell if my cat has fleas?
The main symptoms you will recognize are increased licking and scratching. Flea bites are very irritating to the skin and your cat will respond to bite sites with an almost violent reaction of scratching and licking.
Another sign will be signs of “flea dirt”. Flea dirt are tiny bits of dried blood and fecal matter that looks like grains of black pepper on your pet’s coat. Check the back near the base of the tail for the signs of these dark specks. If the flea infestation is heavy, you can check your pets gums for signs of anemia.
How to Combat a Flea invasion
Fleas are tiny and drop their eggs in pet bedding, carpets and furniture, basically anywhere your cat can travel. So the first step is to vacuum. I mean not just your normal housecleaning but break out the crevice tools and do a really deep vacuum of all areas your cat loves to frequent. Make sure to take the used vacuum bag outside to the trash as soon as you finish because fleas can crawl back out if you are not careful!
Wash all pet beddings. Yes, I know cats get upset when you disturb their routine, but nothing will make you more embarrassed than a flea zapping the leg of visiting dinner guest or your boss or church deacon.
Buy a good non-toxic bug spray that kills adult fleas. Forget about the pupae, when fleas are in their egg cocoons nothing can touch them but you can take of any stray adults and larvae.
Spray under furniture and in all the corners since larvae like to hide from the light. Don’t forget to spray out in the yard where you pets play.
If you are worried about using a spray around your pet or family then you can always fall back on using Diatomaceous Earth. This a natural product that can be used as a topical powder for bedding and carpets or internally.
Now for the cat. Bet you thought, I had forgotten but first you have to beat back the main army before you work on the snipers lurking on kitty. Grab your fine-tooth flea comb and pour a little rubbing alcohol out in a shallow bowl.
Now sit down with your cat in nice quiet corner. Using the comb, remove any adult fleas you may find. The alcohol is to drown and kill them immediately.
Flea collars, sprays, powders are obsolete so don’t waste your money. Buy a good flea killer like Frontline (fleas & ticks). I have tried everything on the market and I have had the most success with Frontline which kills adult and baby fleas.
Now all pet insecticides are absorbed the skin and kills fleas in a matter of days. But don’t be surprised that in a week or two, you know yourself slapping your leg again.
This is because the flea eggs (pupae) have hatched and they are looking for that first blood meal but since your cat is now treated, they are attacking you. So do the deep vacuum and use either a non-toxic spray or the Diatomaceous Earth again. This should take care of you and your pet through flea season.