Fleas on Cat
Fleas are tiny, blood-sucking insects that are seriously annoying to people and their pets. Their bites are itchy, and they can carry and transmit disease and other parasites. The ordinary cat flea - Ctenocephalides felis – is the most common external parasite of domestic cats. It also affects dogs. Adult fleas are dark brown to black, fairly flat and about 2 to 3 millimeters in length. They usually can be seen with the naked eye. Fleas can’t fly, because they don’t have wings. However, they have well-developed, extremely powerful hind legs that give them amazing jumping capabilities. Like rabbits, fleas reproduce rapidly. Two fleas can produce 2000 fleas in a single 4-month lifespan. Adult fleas live on the skin of a host animal. Different types of fleas gravitate toward different hosts, including cats, dogs, rabbits, rodents, horses, birds and people. However, if they are hungry enough, fleas will feed on almost anyone they can hop onto. Sometimes, fleas can be seen scurrying under the cat’s (or other host’s) fur, but they can be quite difficult to catch.
Cats become infested with fleas when they live in an area that is conducive to the insect’s life cycle and when appropriate flea preventative measures are not taken. Fleas thrive in warm, wet climates. An average temperature in the range of 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit is optimal for these blood-suckers. From a flea’s perspective, the hotter and damper, the better. Cats living in hot, humid climates tend to develop more severe complications from flea
Fleas are the leading cause of itchiness (pruritis), scratching and severe skin irritation in companion cats. They cause some degree of irritation simply by crawling around. Inevitably, once they settle on a particular cat, fleas quickly begin to dine. They bite into the cat’s skin and feed on its blood. An animal’s physical reaction to a flea bite is really a reaction to the flea’s saliva that enters the bite wound. Some cats have mild
A veterinarian presented with a cat that is scratching and biting at her skin and losing hair, is weak, has developed raised red skin bumps and is showing evidence of flea feces and/or eggs in her coat, will quickly recognize the classic signs of flea infestation. He will conduct a thorough physical examination to look for adult fleas and to take samples of flea feces, which look like pepper, and/or eggs, which look like salt.
The goals of treating cats infested with fleas are to eliminate the flea population on the cats and from their immediate living environment, and to provide as much relief, as quickly possible, from the itchiness, pain and discomfort that accompany flea bites.While prevention is the best cure for fleas, there are a number of good available treatment options. Determined owners should adopt an integrated flea management program that treats not only the cat, but also