Flea-Ridden Cat? Here’s What You Can Do 
Fri, December 3, 2021

Flea-Ridden Cat? Here’s What You Can Do 

One of the most common problems with pets is that they almost always get fleas even if they’re mostly at home with you / Photo by: Vera Larina via Shutterstock

 

After years and years of begging your mother to let you keep a kitten in the house, she finally says yes. It’s the best day of your life when you meet the furry friend that you know will now share your home as their own forever home, but of course, this arrangement will not always be sunshine and rainbows. 

One of the most common problems with pets is that they almost always get fleas even if they’re mostly at home with you. Worry not, though, for it is not the end of the world for you as a pet owner. Here are some tips and things to remember when your cat gets fleas. 

 

Symptoms 

Like any responsible pet owner, after getting a cat, it would serve you and the cat well if you are constantly aware of their needs. Remember that they are animals. The added fact of them being cats means that they won’t really bark or gently press their noses against you if they’re feeling something, not in the way dogs do at least, so you have to be observant and responsible. 

Before getting into the list of things you need to know to determine if your cat has fleas, a little backgrounder on why cats become infected in the first place is also essential. According to Good Housekeeping, a women's magazine that features articles about women's interests, product testing by The Good Housekeeping Institute, recipes, diet, and health, as well as literary articles, cat fleas (Ctenocephalides felis) are bad not only because they are direct parasites to cats but also because they are known to bite humans as well. 

Dr. John de Jong, DVM, a veterinarian in the Boston area and president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), explained: “Fleas are parasites—they’re looking for blood to suck. If they don’t find enough cat hosts, they’ll suck on the owner’s ankles and feet.” 

If, for instance, your observations lead you to believe that your cat may have fleas (and hopefully you don’t), check for the following symptoms: 

- Scratching at the head and ears and excessive grooming

- Licking at the underside, between the hind legs 

- Redness, bumps, or scabs along the neck and back 

- Black particulate matter on fur 

- Loss of fur

Like any responsible pet owner, after getting a cat, it would serve you and the cat well if you are constantly aware of their needs / Photo by: elwynn via Shutterstock

 

Home Remedies 

With that list in mind, how do you begin treating your cat? Well, your cat wouldn’t like it, but the best option you have is to give it a bath. For this option, you could rely on an anti-flea shampoo to try and keep them away, but really, that’s just one way to do it. Some fleas need actual remedies and sometimes baths don’t really cover that. 

Here you should remember that the advice of your veterinarian is something worth considering, especially since they know a lot more about animals than you do. If you have asked your vet and they have given you enough advice and permission to treat your cats with home remedies, you can try the following items: 

Dish Soap – We know our pets aren’t plates or utensils, but believe it or not, some types of dish soap have been known to effectively get rid of fleas. According to the pet website The Spruce Pets, the job is finding dish soaps that have good and mild formulations. But how exactly does that work? Apparently, the chemical in the dish soap is effective in breaking down the flea’s exoskeleton, which will kill it within minutes. 

Lavender and Chamomile – Also a remedy that’s mild enough for your pet’s skin, lavender is a good option because it is “a powerful, fast-acting agent” and can easily be spritzed over your pet without fear of irritation. Because of lavender’s soothing nature, you also won’t need to rinse it out of your cat’s fur after spraying it. Both lavender and chamomile tea home remedies need to be steeped and strained first, of course, and from there you can just repeat the treatments for as long as needed.

We know our pets aren’t plates or utensils, but believe it or not, some types of dish soap have been known to effectively get rid of fleas / Photo by: iiiphevgeniy via Shutterstock

 

Keeping Clean 

Say you still wonder why your cat has fleas even when they spend most of their time indoors; maybe it’s your house that needs some cleaning. PetBasics, an online resource for pet owners, advises that you start with vacuuming your house. It’s known that fleas also don’t just stay in your cat’s fur; they can also scatter around the home and yard, especially since adult fleas make up only a small portion of a flea infestation compared to their eggs. 

Good Housekeeping added that carpets should also be cleaned for lingering fleas. The bristles can very easily trap and gain fleas more than pet owners would like so it’s important to remember to clean that out too. 
If you really want to go the extra mile, try to contact a professional exterminator to treat your house with effective insecticides with the ingredients permethrin, imidacloprid, or dinotefuran, which has been known to “kill adult fleas” as well as methoprene or pyriproxyfen to “stop the development of eggs and larvae.”

Keeping your cat clear of fleas should always be one of your priorities as a pet owner not only for your peace of mind but, more importantly, for the overall health of your furry friend.