Catherine has some spring advice for spotting cat fleas
March 21, 2021
Spring not only brings warmer temperatures and beautiful bulbs, it can also bring a number of unwanted guests. Checking for fleas is all part of owning a cat, advises head nurse, Catherine Scott.
Fleas are tiny, blood-sucking parasites that jump onto cats and other pets. They feast on your pet’s blood, excrete and mate, and then the females lay eggs at an alarming rate. The eggs aren’t sticky so they often fall off and spread throughout the home.
The best protection against fleas is regular vet-recommended flea treatments, which you can get from our 28 Clarendon Street practice. You should also keep an eye out for any signs of fleas and act quickly if you suspect your cat has an infestation.
What do fleas look like?
- Tiny (2-3mm) dark brown, almost black, oval-shaped with legs – they turn lighter brown the more blood they ingest.
- If they’re big enough, you might see fleas jumping on/off your cat, or you.
- Fleas excrete the blood they ingest, leaving ‘flea dirt’ behind.
- They can carry diseases and will irritate your cat, other pets, and humans.
How to check your cat for fleas & flea dirt
Signs that your cat might have fleas include:
a. Excessive scratching, licking and biting.
b. Bald patches of fur.
c. Bumpy skin/scabs around the groin/tummy.
d. Black spots on the skin or fur.
e. Irritable or jumpy behaviour.
If you suspect your cats has fleas, take a flea comb (a specially made comb with narrow-set teeth) and run it slowly back and forth through your cat’s fur close to the skin, which is where the fleas are most likely to be
Put a piece of white paper next to your cat so any potential flea dirt falls onto the paper – when wet, flea dirt turns a reddish brown colour.
Have a bowl of hot soapy water handy so you can put any fleas that come off in the comb straight into the water.
If you find fleas on your cat, check when they last had their flea treatment and give further treatment if due. You can also get additional topical flea treatments for your cat and products to treat your home. If you would like any further advice, we are here to help.