Help! My Cat Has Fleas

My Cat Has Fleas! What do I do?

Fleas are non flying parasites that travel easily from the ground to a new host or from host to host.  Even if your cat is an indoor-only cat, they can get fleas from pets who go outside like your dog, or outdoor animals who roam in your yard.  Did you know that fleas can jump 13 inches? Outdoor animals who enter your yard like rabbits, squirrels and mice carry fleas and can leave behind fleas or larvae in your yard.   These very fleas can jump on your dog or even enter through a screened window.  that can easily enter your home by hitchhiking on you or a dog coming in from outdoors. Fleas can easily jump from pet to pet, no matter the species. These parasites jump onto your pets and drink their blood, leaving flea dirt and eggs in their wake.  

short hair cat who needs cat grooming sitting on perch at cat boarding hotel cat's meow resort

How Fleas Harm Your Cat

Fleas drink your pet’s blood and leave flea dirt and eggs causing itchy bumps wherever they bite.  Pets can even have severe blood loss if they are badly infested with fleas.  While fleas make cats itch, some cats are allergic to fleas, and the itching is so intense cats can scratch themselves and damage their skin and cause secondary skin infections.

Fleas Invade Your Cat, Your Yard and Your Home

By the time you find a flea on your cat, they have probably taken shelter in your yard and home.  Did you know fleas have a life cycle of four stages that can take up to 8 months to complete?  This means it will take more than just bathing fluffy to get rid of these little beasts.  You need to control them at every stage.

Step 1: Flea Bath

You must first get rid of the fleas on your cat.  We can give your cat a flea bath with a cat-safe flea shampoo that removes all adult fleas that your cat has when they enter the salon.  This provides temporary relief from the current fleas. A bath won’t kill all stages of the flea life cycle.  You’ll need to continue with a topical or oral treatment as directed by your veterinarian followed by a flea bomb or other method to treat your carpet and home.

Step 2: Prevention

Many over the counter flea medications don’t work.  Treat your cat with an oral or topical treatment like Revolution or Cheristin.  Be sure to consult with your veterinarian on safe and effective flea preventatives.   Your veterinarian sells these products and knows which ones are safe for your cat's age, weight and health.  They can also advise on the correct application and future prevention.  Cats are very sensitive to certain chemicals and if you use a product for dogs, it could result in injury or even death.  If your cat has just been bathed, you will need to wait a few days before applying the product (consult your vet for instructions).

Step 3: Treat Your Home and Surrounding

Now that your kitty is more comfortable, start to eliminate the fleas in your environment.  If you do not treat the environment, the fleas will just keep reproducing and continue to bite you and your pets!

House: Many different products exist for treating your house for fleas.   There are pest control services like Orkin and Terminix who will come in and take care of the problem for you.   There are carpet and floor sprays, bombs and foggers and even powders.  Be sure to read the labels carefully to find what product is best for your home and it’s safe for your cat.

Yard: If you have fleas in your house you probably have them in your yard.  Fleas can jump over 8 inches and can ride in or on any carrier, pet and human alike.  There are many insecticides available on the market, but the best long-term flea management contains insect growth regulators.  These products prevent anything with a larval stage (like fleas) from maturing so once the current generation dies, the fleas will be unable to replenish their numbers.

Last But Not Least

Don’t give up!  A flea infestation can be very difficult to get rid of, but with the right products and diligent effort, you and your cat can be flea free and feel much better.  To help with the flea removal process, we recommend a Follow-up Flea Bath within 2-3 weeks after your initial grooming appointment. 

Schedule your cat’s flea bath appointment here.


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