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|Flea control for your cat|
Have you noticed your cat has a flea problem this summer?
Where pets are concerned, fleas are a fact of life. But you and your cat do not have to suffer the misery fleas can bring, as it is relatively easy and inexpensive to prevent a problem from taking hold.
Advantage™ for cats:
Rose Atkin, charity coordinator, told us: “We only use Advantage on the charity’s cats because in my experience it is the most effective treatment available. There are other spot-ons and different product types available from the vet and online, but these are not always reliable. And once a flea infestation takes hold in your home, it is very troublesome to eradicate.”
Dosage (weight dependent)
If you are in any doubt about the correct dosage for your pet always consult a vet. NEVER use a dog product on a cat – it could be fatal.
1. My cat is an indoor cat, do I still need to flea it?
2. Do I still need to treat my cat in the winter months?
3. My cat dislikes the spot-on, is there any alternative?
4. Are there any ‘natural’ flea treatments you would recommend?
5. Do I have to buy Advantage from a vet?
Fleas: more facts
The cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis) is visible to the naked eye, about 2-4mm, brown and flattened from side-to-side. They can jump but will tend to run through the fur. Owners often notice the flea’s droppings as black, gritty dust in the fur which, if rubbed or dropped onto wet kitchen paper, will mark the paper red due to their blood content.
The adult flea sucks blood from the cat before laying eggs that fall to the ground from wherever the cat is resting; this could be outside, on their bedding, or on your carpet. In the right conditions, these will hatch in 10 days and the larvae will feed off flea droppings and dust in the carpet, before pupating. During this stage they also act as a host for the tapeworm. The pupae can remain dormant in the carpet for months and only hatch when they sense vibration, warmth or carbon dioxide – indicating the presence of another animal. They hatch and jump onto the nearest animal to feed; it could be us. Now that we tend to have central heating, fleas can survive and breed year-round in our homes and may even survive outdoors in milder winters.
Not only are fleas upsetting to owners, they often cause severe problems in cats. Their movement and biting causes itching and scratching. The most common problem we see in cats is due to an allergy to flea saliva which leads to Flea Allergic Dermatitis or FAD. A single bite can induce a severe reaction in affected cats. They can show severe scratching leading to self trauma, scabbing skin, baldness and wet eczema-type reactions.
There are various flea treatments available which vary in their effectiveness and work in different ways; they aim to target different points in the flea life cycle. Always make certain that you only use treatments intended for cats; it could be fatal to use anything intended for the dog, particularly spot-ons.
Overview of some commonly available flea products for cats:
*These products are NOT recommended as we believe there are safer and more effective alternatives
There are also sprays, available from your vet, to treat the house with; remember that 95-99% of a flea infestation is in your carpets, soft furnishings and cat bedding – and not on the cat. So, if there is a serious flea problem, the house needs treating as well. Wash all beddings at 60 degrees C and, if spraying the house, vacuum before spraying to encourage the pupae to emerge. Try to vacuum twice daily when treating the house.