According to veterinarians, although the summer is the most common time to see fleas, flea populations peak in winter, when central heating tends to warm up houses. The warm temperatures make it more hospitable for eggs to hatch, and more probable for adult fleas to jump onto cats, so flea protection should be given year round.
The most common signs of a flea infestation include:
- Scratching, biting or gnawing at the fur
- Fur loss from scratching and itching
- Pepper like black specks on the skin (flea feces)
- Light colored specks in the coat
How to put the "no vacancy" sign for these teeny-tiny freeloaders:
- Use a fine-toothed metal flea comb to remove fleas, flea eggs, and flea feces. Run it through your cats' fur in the direction of hair growth and dip the comb into hot, soapy water after each pass. Repeat several times daily for best results.
- Give your cats a bath with flea shampoo. This helps kill adult fleas, flea larvae, and flea eggs, as well as keep new fleas at bay. It's always best to speak to your vet before using any product.
- Flea pills and chewables are a fast-acting solution to get rid of fleas and ease the symptoms. Your vet will be able to advise on the best cat flea treatment for your cats.
- Treat the environment to eradicate the infestation."Fleas spend about 20% on animal and the rest of the time they're in environment," Dr. de Jong told GH. Treating your cats isn't enough. Adult fleas lay eggs which hatch into larvae and get everywhere - in the carpet, in between the floor boards, and even in your car, if you have a habit of taking your cats on rides.
- Use a powerful vacuum on any floors, upholstery, and mattresses, and seal and throw away the vacuum bag afterwards.
- Wash your cats' bedding regularly and thoroughly. The combination of high heat and soap is the enemy of fleas at all stages of their development. If the infestation is heavy, consider disposing of old bedding and starting anew.
Featured image by Buenosia Carol