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Does my cat have fleas?

Why is my cat so itchy, I hear you shout! Well, unfortunately the most likely cause are those little critters known as fleas. Fleas are non -discriminatory in which cat they choose to live on, and if your cat has been outside or near another cat then they can catch fleas.

How do I check if my cat has fleas doc? Well, there are a few clues you can rely on.  Your cat will most likely be itchy, and sometimes frantically so! Parting the hair on their coat may reveal the fleas themselves (although they are fast moving!) or their flea dirt (which is actually their faeces- YUCK!).  Your cat may also have scabbing of their skin and excessively groom themselves.  If you check your cats bed, you may also find evidence of flea dirt. Did you know that if you get some flea dirt on a damp tissue it will leave a reddish brown mark confirming it is in fact flea dirt.

Ok, so you’ve done your work as Sherlock Holmes and confirmed that your cat has fleas. What do you do next? Well, there are a number of products on the market able to kill fleas and the different parts of their lifecycle.  The best person to talk to is your veterinary surgeon as they will be able to advise on the best products for your feline friend. All of these products are available from our pharmacy here (most will require a prescription from your vet). But do remember that a single treatment is not going to be a complete fix.  You will need to repeat treatments regularly to ensure all stages of the flea lifecycle are killed.  Also, these parasites love to live in your home.  They will often take up residence in your carpets, bedding, furniture and will jump on and off your cat when they are hungry!  It’s therefore equally important to treat the environment with insecticides, regular deep hoovering and high temperature washing of your bedding (and your cats bedding).

One point that we must strongly make is NEVER USE DOG FLEA PRODUCTS ON CATS.  Dog products can contain medications that are poisonous to cats.  Always speak to your vet regarding appropriate flea treatments for your cat.

I’ve treated my cat for fleas and followed your advice, but they are still really itchy- what is causing this?  Some cats are particularly sensitive to flea bites and actually then develop an allergy.  This is known as flea allergic dermatitis.  This will require further treatment from your veterinary surgeon.

While, most flea infestations are easily treated, fleas shouldn’t be looked at as insignificant.  Due to the fact that they sick blood from your cat to feed, small kittens and even some adults have been known to become severely anaemic from a flea infestation.  And did you know, fleas also transmit tapeworms! So, if your cat has been diagnosed with fleas, you will need to treat them for tapeworm infection too!

So, pleeeeeease, make sure your cat is treated for fleas!

[Wow, I’m a poet and I didn’t know it ;)]