Cats and Dogs
Article Rating
1 звезда2 звезды3 звезды4 звезды5 звезд

How did my indoor cat get fleas?

How did my indoor cat get fleas?

Cat ownership inevitably introduces you to more aspects of Nature than you had bargained for. Welcome to the wonders of parasitology! You probably don’t want to know just how many different creepy crawlies might be lurking on that little fluffy bundle curled up on your bed, but the one you’re likely to encounter at some point is the flea.

How does my cat catch fleas?

The cat flea is an extremely common parasite. Outdoor cats pick them up from mixing with other cats or by walking through areas where other cats have been. Indoor cats are not safe either. Fleas can hitch a lift home on your clothing then hop onto a more desirable host when they meet your cat.

Are fleas harmful?

Some cats become extremely sensitive to flea bites and develop itchy, irritable skin. Fleas can transmit tapeworms to your cat which can cause gut upsets and weight loss. Very heavy flea burdens result in an anaemia which can be fatal in very young or debilitated cats.

Will fleas affect other animals or people?

Dogs are commonly infested by the cat flea. Although the cat flea prefers to chew on an animal, it’s not averse to biting exposed human flesh. Some people appear to be very attractive to fleas and the appearance of red itchy spots around their ankles and legs is often the first indication of fleas in the house.

How do I know if my cat has fleas?

Fleas have very streamlined bodies and can run very quickly through fur. A search for flea droppings in the coat tends to be more rewarding than trying to find the fleas themselves. Droppings look like little black specks near the base of the hair. Suspicions can be confirmed by placing these specks on a piece of damp cotton wool; flea droppings dissolve to a reddish-brown colour.

Do fleas spend their whole lives on cats?

Unfortunately not! Fleas only use the cat as a fuel stop. Adult fleas feed on the cat’s blood and lay eggs in the coat. The eggs fall off into the surrounding environment and after a variable period (usually a few weeks in the summer) they hatch into larvae or grubs. The grub then encases itself in a cocoon where it goes through further stages of development before it emerges as a newly-hatched and hungry young flea! If fleas breed in your house, you will only find 5% of the total population on the cat. The other 95% are taking advantage of your hospitality and are living it up in carpets, bedding and furnishings!

How do I get rid of fleas?

A number of different preparations are available, some more effective than others. Powders and collars have been traditional treatments for years but they have their limitations. Powders can be difficult to apply and cats have to be dusted regularly to keep on top of the problem. Flea collars are only suitable if your cat is troubled by the occasional flea. Many cats have a sensitivity to the chemicals in flea collars and develop a rash or bald patch around their neck. Sprays tend to have stronger chemicals but the slightest whoosh of an aerosol can cause fur and claws to fly in all directions! Spot-on preparations are extremely popular. The contents of a dropper are applied directly to the skin once every few weeks. The chemical works its way through the coat, covering the cat within 24 hours, and provides a highly effective flea treatment. Certain spot-on preparations have an added bonus in that they will also help to treat the environment. If owners want to speed up this process or be extra vigilant about environmental flea control they can use a household spray or a powder. There are limitations if there are any hidden pockets of fleas which are difficult to reach with the preparations. We can help environmental control but giving an oral preparation or an injection to the cat of a preparation which prevents any fleas feeding off the cat producing viable eggs.

Some effective flea products are prescription only medicines (POM-V’s) and are available from your veterinary surgeon. Although the products are given this category, they are extremely safe for use on your pet but equally importantly they are extremely effective against fleas. Over-the-counter (OTC) flea treatments such as those bought in pet shops don’t contain compounds which are as effective. At The Cat Clinic we would always advise you to approach us for anti-flea preparations. The products may seem more expensive but they are usually much more cost effective in the long run.

How safe are flea products?

Until relatively recently, effective cat flea preparations were usually based on organophosphorus (OP) chemicals. There is growing concern about the use of these substances in our environment. Cats as a species are also very sensitive to the side-effects of OP’s
— there’s always been a fine dividing line between using enough OP to kill off the fleas without harming the cat. The first spot-on preparations were based on OP’s but there was a manufacturing problem which caused toxicity in a number of cats. The new generation of flea treatments are proving to be so safe that they can even be used on pregnant and nursing queens and very young kittens.

Fleas seem to be more prevalent as the years go on. There are rumours of the emergence of a superflea which is becoming resistant
to certain chemicals but a more likely explanation is that more of us have centrally heated houses and we’re keeping ourselves warmer than we used to, so more fleas are surviving the winter months. Treating fleas has to be viewed as a battle, but with the modern treatments, the good news is that we appear to be winning.

4 Ways Indoor Cats Get Fleas

A Cat Relaxes in its Cat House | FRONTLINE® Flea and Tick Protection

All cats are at risk of getting fleas—yes, even if your cat lives indoors. There are many ways your indoor cat can get fleas, from moving into a new home to taking a routine trip to the vet. Keep reading to learn how flea infestations can start, how to protect your indoor cat from fleas, and fight off flea infestations.

Table of Contents

Two Paragraphs

A Girl and Her Cat Look at Each Other | FRONTLINE® Flea and Tick Protection

Can Indoor Cats Get Fleas?

It’s easy to assume that only pets who spend time outdoors are at risk of getting fleas, but the fact is that indoor cats are also susceptible to flea infestations. It’s important to be aware of the risks and regularly check your cat for fleas. What appears to be one single flea can very quickly turn into a full-blown flea infestation, which can be dangerous to your cat.

How Indoor Cats Pick Up Fleas:

1. People in the House

Did you know fleas have been known to jump as far as 13 inches? That’s nearly 200 times their own body length! 1 This makes it easy for fleas to hop onto humans in search of a host, clinging to their clothing or shoes. You, or anyone else who enters your home, could unknowingly bring fleas indoors to your cat’s environment.

This is even more likely if there are wild animals in your neighborhood, like rabbits and opossums, that pass through your yard. If those animals are infested, they may be dropping flea eggs around your yard that will eventually hatch and make their way indoors via a human host. These are sometimes referred to as “hitchhiker fleas.”

Regular deep cleaning can help rid your home of any hitchhiker fleas that may have gotten in. This includes vacuuming the carpets and washing all bedding, upholstery, and furniture. It’s important to do this routinely, but especially after guests have visited your home.

2. Other Animals

If you have other pets in the home who do spend time outdoors, they may also be bringing fleas into your cat’s environment. For example, most dogs take several bathroom breaks a day, and they also go on walks or to the dog park. Your dog could be bringing fleas home that can then jump onto your cat.

You should also be aware of other pets who enter your home, like a friend bringing their puppy over for a playdate, since other people’s pets carry the same risk of bringing fleas into your home.

To reduce your cat’s risk in these situations, continue to clean and vacuum frequently, especially after having guests. It’s also important to treat all dogs and cats in your home with monthly species-appropriate flea and tick prevention, and make sure everyone is up-to-date on their vaccinations.

3. Other Places Cats Visit

Body Copy

Your indoor cat may never venture into the yard, but trips away from the home are still necessary. Common places your cat may visit include the vet’s office, a boarding facility, or maybe even the pet groomer.

To protect indoor cats against fleas while away from the house, ensure that each place you visit with your cat follows proper cleaning protocols. Don’t be afraid to ask about the business’s cleaning practices or other measures they take to prevent the spreading of fleas.

Of course, the best way to reduce the chances of a flea infestation on your cat is to treat your cat with monthly flea and tick protection.

A Cat Sits in an Open Pet Carrier | FRONTLINE® Flea and Tick Protection A Cat Sits in an Open Pet Carrier | FRONTLINE® Flea and Tick Protection

4. New Home and Furniture

Humans aren’t the only ones who call a house a home—parasites may be doing the same! If you’re moving into a new house or apartment, be aware that the previous homeowner could have had fleas living there.

Places with carpeting and central heating provide the perfect conditions for fleas to thrive year-round. Since flea eggs and flea larvae can survive in the carpet for months at a time, it’s possible that there may still be an infestation, even if the home has been vacant for some time.

Furniture may also be a mode of transportation for fleas. Use caution when purchasing used furniture from a thrift store, garage sale, or online.

If you’re moving into a new home or bringing home used furniture, it’s a good idea to do some serious cleaning before you move in. You may even hire professional cleaners to deep clean the home and/or furniture beforehand.

Two Paragraphs

A Cat Lays on a Scratching Pad | FRONTLINE® Flea and Tick Protection

My Indoor Cat Has Fleas. What Do I Do?

It’s much more ideal to prevent than to have a full-blown infestation that can take months to get rid of. But while it’s never ideal to find fleas on your cat, there are ways to treat your cat and prevent future flea infestations. Even if you’ve never found a flea on your cat, there are measures you can take to prevent an infestation from happening in the future.

Best Practices for Protecting Your Cat From Fleas

Flea Inspections

Body Copy

Make it a habit to perform regular flea inspections on your cat. While it’s convenient to turn your cat on their back for this, many cats aren’t comfortable with this. It may be easier to wait until your cat is relaxed and just run your fingers through their fur, going against the direction of the hair, to look for bumps or fleas.

When searching for fleas, pay close attention to areas where fleas can easily hide. This includes the armpits, groin, and ears. Flea combs are also helpful, because their tiny teeth are designed to catch and remove fleas from your cat’s skin. When using a flea comb, get as close to the skin as possible and have a bowl of soap and warm water on hand for rinsing the comb in between brushes.

Link to main publication