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Preventing and Treating Fleas and Ticks for Cats

The Dangers of Fleas and Ticks for Cats

Of all the pesky nuisances out there your cat may face, fleas and ticks are two of the most troublesome. For cats, fleas and ticks pose a variety of potential health issues, including:

  • Skin irritation
  • Itching
  • Rashes and skin infections
  • Transmission of disease and illness
  • Suffering

Another danger of fleas and ticks for cats is infestation of the home and possible transmission of disease to humans through sharing a living space. Many people believe that indoor cats are immune to fleas and ticks, but this is not true. Fleas and ticks can enter homes on visiting pets and people's clothes, and will seek out your cat to feed and live. Once a flea is on your cat, it stays and will produce 30-50 eggs within 24 hours. These eggs are the consistency of sand, and will fall off of your cat, land in the carpet or bedding, and become an adult flea in 14 to 365 days, depending upon the environmental conditions. It is easy to understand how the house can become quickly infested with fleas.

Depending upon the stage of the tick, it will feed and either climb off the cat for the next moult or, if at adult stage, the tick will produce eggs that can contaminate the house. Ticks primarily transmit diseases such as Lyme or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in the nymph and adult stages. Fleas cause itchy, irritating bites and can transmit diseases such as cat scratch fever or even the plague. 

This is why flea and tick prevention is important for every cat.

Flea And Tick Prevention For Cats

When it comes to fleas and ticks, our primary focus is on prevention. Prevention is important because it stops a serious problem before it starts. If you are starting to notice signs and symptoms of fleas and ticks, that indicates that you are already dealing with an infestation. With good education and the right prevention products, you can easily avoid a flea and tick infestations.

A proactive approach to flea and tick prevention starts with a discussion about various factors that play a role in your pet's potential exposure to fleas and ticks. For example, if your cats are indoor/outdoor is a factor, as well as whether they are exposed to other animals that go outside (including pets of friends or family that may come over for a visit).

It is important to be aware that there are numerous products on the market that our veterinarians would strongly suggest you avoid. We will work with you to customize a parasite prevention plan for your pets.

Signs that your Cat may have a Flea or Tick Infestation

  • Visible fleas or ticks
  • Scratching
  • Red or irritated skin
  • Scabs and/or flakes of skin
  • Excessive grooming

Common Flea Treatments for Cats

There are many different flea treatment products on the market for cats. Some common flea treatment methods include:

  • Oral Tablets: These are a great choice for both prevention and treatment of fleas, while being safe for both your cat and your family.
  • Spot-On Flea Treatments: There are many different spot-on treatments with varying effectiveness and different spectrums of use.
  • Cat Flea Collars, Powders and Sprays: We do not recommend the use of flea collars, powders, or sprays. While these products were the mainstay of flea control in past years, they are more toxic and less effect than the products we currently recommend.

We choose our products based upon safety and efficacy. However, as with any new medication or product, there is a possibility of adverse reaction. If you notice any discomfort or behavioral changes after administering, please call us. It is essential to discuss flea treatment options with your veterinarian, in order to ensure the method you choose will be safe and effective for your feline friend.

Some dog products are lethal to cats, so make sure you are using a product specifically made for cats.

Finding and Treating Ticks on Cats

Ticks on cats are not as common as ticks on dogs because of grooming habits and lifestyle. However, cats can get ticks, and they can become a health issue if left untreated. Ticks feed on the blood of the host, and use tiny but sharp teeth to embed themselves firmly into the skin and soft tissue of cats. Because they penetrate into the bloodstream, ticks can also spread blood-borne illnesses.

Ticks on cats cause welts and bruises around the area being fed on. It is also common to find the tick still attached. If you find a tick on your cat, please bring your cat in so we can show you the safest way to remove the tick, and help formulate a plan to avoid ticks going forward. The various methods for treating ticks on cats include:

  • Spot-On Treatments
  • Oral medication
  • Tick Collars

We strongly recommend consulting your veterinarian immediately if your cat has ticks. Although there are various remedies to treat ticks on cats, it is essential to make sure the method you choose is safe, effective and clinically proven.

Contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our veterinarians today!

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