How to Get Rid of Fleas on Cats?

cat itching from fleas

How to Get Rid of Fleas on Cats? To get rid of fleas on cats, you need to use a combination of topical treatments, oral medications, and environmental control methods to ensure complete eradication.

What Do Fleas Do to Cats?

Fleas are small, parasitic insects that feed on the blood of mammals and birds. They can cause a range of health issues in cats, including:

  • Itching and Scratching: Flea bites are irritating and can cause intense itching.
  • Skin Infections: Constant scratching can lead to open wounds and secondary infections.
  • Flea Allergy Dermatitis: Some cats are allergic to flea saliva, which can cause severe skin reactions.
  • Anemia: Severe infestations, especially in kittens, can lead to significant blood loss and anemia.
  • Tapeworms: Fleas can carry tapeworm larvae, which cats can ingest while grooming and become infected.

Are Fleas Dangerous to Cats?

Yes, fleas can be dangerous to cats. In addition to the health issues mentioned above, flea infestations can lead to more severe problems if not treated promptly.

Anemia and secondary infections can be particularly harmful to kittens and older cats.

Effective Methods to Get Rid of Fleas on Cats

Topical Treatments

Topical treatments are applied directly to your cat’s skin, usually between the shoulder blades. These treatments kill fleas on contact and can provide protection for up to a month.

  • Spot-On Treatments: Products like Frontline, Advantage, and Revolution are effective in killing fleas and preventing infestations.
  • Flea Collars: Flea collars, such as Seresto, release chemicals that repel and kill fleas.

Oral Medications

Oral medications are ingested by your cat and work by killing fleas when they bite. These medications are available in both prescription and over-the-counter forms.

  • Nitenpyram (Capstar): Provides rapid relief by killing adult fleas within 30 minutes.
  • Lufenuron (Program): Inhibits flea egg development, breaking the flea life cycle.
  • Spinosad (Comfortis): Kills adult fleas and prevents infestations for a month.

Flea Shampoos and Dips

Flea shampoos and dips can provide immediate relief by killing fleas on contact. These are typically used for severe infestations and should be followed up with long-term treatments.

Flea Combs

A flea comb with fine teeth can help remove fleas and their eggs from your cat’s fur. Comb your cat daily and dip the comb in soapy water to kill the fleas.

Environmental Control

Fleas not only live on your cat but also in their environment. To effectively get rid of fleas, you must treat your home and yard.

  • Vacuum Regularly: Vacuum carpets, rugs, and furniture thoroughly to remove fleas, eggs, and larvae. Dispose of the vacuum bag immediately.
  • Wash Bedding: Wash your cat’s bedding, toys, and any fabric items they frequently use in hot water.
  • Flea Sprays and Foggers: Use flea sprays and foggers designed for home use to kill fleas in carpets, upholstery, and pet bedding.
  • Mow the Lawn: Keep the grass short to reduce flea habitats.
  • Remove Debris: Clear away leaves, grass clippings, and other debris where fleas can hide.
  • Outdoor Flea Control Products: Use products specifically designed for outdoor flea control to treat your yard.

Preventing Future Flea Infestations

Cat Taking a Regular Bath

Preventing fleas is easier than treating an infestation. Use preventive measures to keep fleas at bay.

  • Regular Treatments: Continue using topical or oral flea preventatives as recommended by your veterinarian. Regular treatments can keep fleas from re-infesting your cat and home.
  • Regular Grooming: Regular grooming with a flea comb can help detect and remove fleas early. Bathing your cat with a mild shampoo can also help keep fleas away.
  • Keep Your Home Clean: Maintain a clean living environment by vacuuming regularly and washing your cat’s bedding frequently.

Conclusion

Getting rid of fleas on cats involves a multi-faceted approach, including topical treatments, oral medications, and environmental control.

Preventing future infestations through regular treatments and maintaining a clean environment is essential for keeping your cat flea-free and healthy.