Snoops: Mom has been feeling like a bad cat mom recently. In all of her years of living with cats (including her first cat who went outside regularly), she had never experienced fleas. So when I started scratching, Mom assumed it was my usual winter dry skin. After a bit, Mom was horrified to discover fleas!
Kommando: Of course, fleas are nasty little things, and by that time, they were all over poor Snoops. She had to get bathed and treated.
Snoops: And combed and combed and combed.
Kommando: I got treated too. It was pretty unfair, all things considered.
Snoops: So we thought that we would share a couple of things about indoor cats and fleas.
Generally speaking, there are four ways indoor cats can get fleas:
- Neighbors – You know those noisy humans living in the next apartment? Their pets might have fleas. Or maybe the humans do.
- Fur Siblings – If you live with a dog that goes outside, they might bring in fleas. Or any other critter that comes in from the great outdoors.
- Used Furniture – That great new chair from the thrift shop might have some unwanted guests. It might even happen if there are fleas in the carpet when your family moves into a new place.
- Wild Animals – Any warm-blooded animal that is outside is susceptible to fleas. If they have fleas, the fleas will eventually have eggs that may be dropped off somewhere outside the house. When the fleas grow up, they can jump on your humans and get a ride into the house.
Snoops: As near as Mom can tell, I got my fleas from one (or more) of the mice I caught. They come in from outside and set up shop. I get rid of them when I find them, but I guess one got even with me.
The signs of flea infestation:
- non-stop scratching
- spots of hair/fur loss
- skin irritation
- excessive grooming
- loss of energy and pale gums from anemia
- black specks in the fur or bedding
Snoops: The worst part was that I lost a lot of my thick fur around my throat. I could have frozen to death this winter.
Kommando: Yeah. By the time it grew back, you were getting spring fur.
Once a cat has fleas, both the cat and the house need to be treated. Fleas love to hide and lay their eggs in the carpet or any soft surface. Your vet can tell you which treatment is best for you. Treatments include:
- flea powders
- flea sprays
- flea collars
- spot flea treatments
- oral medication
Kommando: And lots of grooming with a flea comb. Flea combs get out the fleas, their eggs, their dirt, and the extra dead skin they cause on kitties.
Snoops: All that grooming actually feels pretty good.
Kommando: It took a while, but Snoops is back to looking pretty spiffy.
Snoops: Why, thank you!
Kommando: So remember: If you see any of the signs of fleas, make sure your human helps you groom with a flea comb. Better to be over-cautious than let the little monsters take over.
Snoops: It’s a lot easier to get rid of them before they’ve had a chance to spread.