Discovering a flea infestation either on your cat or in your home can cause a headache to say the least. It’s natural to dread the drawn out process of combating fleas and ticks, and even the expense that many flea treatments for cats incur.
Your best hope to minimize both the effort required and the expense is to gain a good understanding of how flea infestations are best handled and what treatments work best for the different stages of a flea’s life cycle.
Spotting a flea infestation
The hustle and bustle of daily life makes it easy for fleas to sneak into your cat’s coat or your carpets at home without you noticing immediately.
One of the first signs that you are likely to notice is erratic behavior from your cat. If they suddenly stop walking to bite or scratch themselves vigorously then they are probably harboring fleas or ticks.
If you regularly groom your cat you may also notice flea dirt or eggs in the loose fur.
Controlling fleas in your home
Once you’re aware of a flea infestation, it’s time to act. The sooner you get to grips with the issue at hand, the easier and less costly it will be. Fleas should be simultaneously removed from your cat and your household, so they have nowhere to hide.
Many cat flea treatments offer ongoing protection against fleas that make this easier, but it still requires some manual effort on your part.
Removing fleas from the surrounding environment
Fleas will settle everywhere that your cat frequently visits. If your cat has a bed, or any fabric areas where they sleep often, then those will need to be thoroughly washed.
If you have carpet floors, they’ll be dormant there too. A combination of regular hoovering and the use of a spray can help remove them from carpets and linens.
There are flea sprays for cats available that are suitable for use on both the surrounding area and on your cat itself, but it’s always super important you read the labels beforehand to make sure they’re safe.
Follow the instructions carefully on any flea sprays and make sure you apply it to all the areas of your home that are infested.
Removing fleas from your cat
There are several options out there to rid your cat of fleas effectively, some work quickly while others offer mid to long term protection against re-infestation.
For the fast removal of fleas, a topical treatment is recommended. These make use of a number of insecticides that work to paralyze adult fleas and inhibit growth in young fleas, essentially ending the entire life-cycle.
Topical treatments have active ingredients that can be quite potent, so discuss these with your vet before taking action.
Although they aren’t quite as popular as they used to be, flea collars still pack a punch when used properly. With a flea collar it’s important to manage your expectations. They aren’t going to blow all the fleas out of your cats’ fur and the surrounding home furniture, but rather gradually release chemicals that repel fleas and reduce the chances of them settling in the first place.
Collars and spot on treatments tend to be the most common products used to tackle fleas, but you can also use a combination of sprays and oral capsules depending on the severity of the infestation.
As always, discus any active ingredients with your vet before using them.
Keeping cat fleas off your cat
Aside from flea collars that repel using chemicals, keeping your cat’s coat well groomed and free of debris with more natural approaches can work wonders to stop fleas settling.
Brushing or combing with any tool will provide a benefit, but you’ll see more of a benefit using special flea comb. These are typically very inexpensive, and with regular use can stop adult fleas settling in your cat’s coat before things get out of hand.
Stay vigilant in the home. If you spot a flea on any linen or in your carpets, consider respraying to ensure they can’t remain dormant in the carpets, ready and waiting to jump back on your cat and thrive as soon as they’re able.