Fleas are pests that can really cause your cat a great deal of discomfort. This is why there are so many different cat flea treatment options available.
With so many to choose from, how do you know which is the best cat flea treatment for your feline friend?
We will take a look at all of the options here in an effort to help you find the perfect one for your cat.
A Little Bit On Fleas
A flea will spend its entire life on your cat. In fact, fleas do not hop around from host to host as has been the popular belief. The truth is, from the moment a female flea sets up a home on the body of your cat, it will begin feeding on your cat’s blood.
The reason for this is simple – blood allows a female flea to become fertile and reproduce. Roughly 24 hours after first arriving on your cat, the flea will start to lay eggs. She will drop somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 eggs a day. The eggs do not stay on your cat.
As your cat moves around in its living environment, the flea eggs drop off and end up in any location your cat has been in the past several hours. Most of the flea eggs will end up in the spots where your cat sleeps or rests during the day.
About a week after the eggs are laid – and distributed unknown to your cat – they will hatch. A larva emerges and since they are not keen on light, they will burrow themselves into whatever surface they happen to be on. This can be carpet, furniture, even hardwood floors.
Within the next two weeks, the larvae spin cocoons and inside they develop into pupae. A baby flea comes out of the pupae anywhere from one to three weeks later. The baby fleas will hop onto your cat when it walks by and the entire process repeats.
How To Know Your Cat Has Fleas
Live fleas can be seen on the coat of your cat. Another easy to see sign is the flea dirt – which is in reality flea poop – which resembles pepper in appearance. All you have to do to confirm that the flea dirt is in fact flea dirt is to use the paper towel test.
All you need is a dampened piece of paper towel. As you comb your cat’s coat onto the paper towel the digested blood in the flea dirt will be re-suspended which will stain the paper towel red. Once your determine fleas to be present, you have some options available to you.
Fleas are going to give your cat an uncomfortable, itchy feeling. While that may not sound severe, fleas can also pass conditions on to your cat. The most common flea transmitted issues are tapeworms and dermatitis. Anemia can develop in heavy infestations of kittens.
How Can You Treat A Flea Infestation?
The trusty three-step method is what has been used in the past to treat fleas. The three parts of the process include the yard, the house and the cat. Thankfully, with new, modern flea treatment options, usually just the cat is treated and all other areas rarely need additional attention.
Topical Cat Flea Treatment Options
A topical product is one that can be applied directly to the skin of your cat. The most common products include one of the following ingredients:
The typical place these products are applied is on the skin at the back of your cat’s neck. This is where the solution will be absorbed and spread throughout the layer of fat located just beneath the skin. This will kill any of the adult fleas that are currently living on your cat and will continue to do so for the next 30 days. After that time, another application is required.
Oral Cat Flea Treatment Options
Oral products work a lot differently than the topical kinds. For example products that contain nitenpyram are best for heavy flea infestations as a single dose will kill fleas within a half an hour. Products containing spinosad will kill all adult fleas on a day within a day and it will keep killing them for up to a month.
Products that contain lufenuron interfere with the growth cycle of insects but do nothing to adult fleas. It can be administered once a month. This works in a very simple way. The blood of a cat that has been treated with lufenuron is ingested by a female flea. When she lays her eggs, they will be infertile.
This is the most common flea treatment known to cat owners. Typically they contain time release formulas of various flea and tick killing compounds. Some collars are effective for months.
How Can You Tell What Is The Best Treatment For Your Cat?
This depends on your cat and the severity of the infestation. Some cats respond better to topical treatment than oral. Other cats respond better to oral treatment than topical. You may find that you have to try more than one method to determine which is the best for your cat’s health.
Fleas are a problem for cats regardless of how many choose to move into the fur of your feline friend. There are ways to determine whether or not your cat has fleas and fortunately, there are many different solutions available to treat any kind of flea infestation.
Fleas can spread easily in egg form to infest your home of you do not treat your cat once you determine that fleas are present. A topical solution can kill fleas quickly once applied to the skin on the neck of your cat. Oral solutions work as well and continue to work.
Once the flea infestation has been remedied, you can keep the little buggers at bay by having your cat wear a flea collar. These devices come with a time release formula that makes them effective for a much longer period of time protecting your cat from future infestations.
It may sound like a lot of work to rid your pet of these tiny, annoying little insects. But in the long run, your cat will love you for taking care of them and ridding your home and surroundings of these nasty little bugs. Hopefully we have solved the problem on how to treat your cat and what you need to use to treat your cat should you encounter a flea infestation in the future.