CAT FLEAS: WHAT TO DO? WHAT HAZARD? NATURAL FLEA REPELLENT?
Does your cat scratch or clean itself more than usual? You notice small black marks on his soft coat: likely, your cat is not a cat flea but an invasion of a colony of cat fleas. It is crucial to act!
THE CAT CHIP: WHAT IS IT?
The cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis) is a widespread species of flea. But beware, its name may seem misleading because, in search of hosts, the cat flea is undemanding: cats, dogs, birds, small mammals, and sometimes humans.
Adult fleas measure about 2 to 3 millimeters and feed on blood (ectoparasite). They reproduce quickly, jump nearly 25 cm apart, and are not seasonal, although they are most virulent from March to October.
The life cycle of the cat flea is as follows:
The egg: once fed, the adult female flea can lay about twenty eggs a day, which will hatch between 2 and 10 days later
The Larva: emerging from the egg, it measures about 1.5 mm. It must move in a favorable environment without supporting light, cold, and humidity. After 7 to 18 days, she will make a cocoon to move on to her next state, the Nymph.
The Nymph: 10 days after entering the cocoon state, the nymph turns brown. It is thus ready to transform and invade your habitat as soon as conditions permit. The larva will gradually emerge from its cocoon but remain in this state for up to 150 days.
The Adult Flea: we speak of an adult flea from the moment it is entirely out of its cocoon. She can survive up to 6 weeks before her first meal but no more than two days without food after her first meal.
CAT FLEAS: WHERE DO THEY COME FROM?
Fleas are among the most common parasites in pets. Many cats become infected through contact with other animals or outdoors in the wild. But the domestic environment can also be contaminated by fleas and/or eggs or larvae. Especially cat fleas survive very well in apartments, better than dog fleas, for example.
They multiply rapidly: only 5 percent of the flea population are adult fleas, and 95 percent are eggs, larvae, or nymphs. Eggs are laid by adult female fleas in the fur of infected cats and can be distributed throughout the house (hence the point of not letting your cat sleep in your bed :-)). The larvae are light-sensitive and prefer to stay under carpets, furniture joints, or beds. Nymphs, in particular, can survive at home for a long time (up to 150 days). They are highly resistant to external parameters and more resistant to chemical fleas. Therefore, a cat in its environment becomes infected again and again. Nymphs constantly hatch new adult fleas, which immediately seek out a host.
CAT FLEAS OR KITTEN FLEAS?
Fleas attack all cats, whether young or old. Of course, your cat's exposure varies according to age, but if one of your cats is infested, it can also invade the kittens.
HOUSE CHIP OR APARTMENT CHIP?
It is also apparent that more fleas are found in cats that live in houses than in apartments, but to be more precise, the more the cat is free, the more likely it is to be infested, so the habitat is a secondary source of risk.
If you have an indoor cat that is not exposed to other animals, then the risk is shallow.
HOW TO DETECT CAT FLEAS: SYMPTOMS, TEST?
CHECK YOUR CAT'S BEHAVIOR
Depending on the intensity of the flea infestation, different symptoms appear in the cat. While dogs are more prone to scratching, cats try eliminating fleas with extra cleanings. However, this is usually not a success.
Here are different signs that can alert you:
-Your cat cleans itself excessively and for a long time;
-Your cat is scratching more than usual;
-Tiny black dots appear on its fur or near areas where it rests;
-Your cat is more restless than usual;
-Your cat has skin irritation or redness (often due to an allergy to flea saliva);
-Your cat has duller fur.
CHECK FOR CAT FLEA IN CAT'S POOP
If your cat has any of the above symptoms, there is a simple flea test you can efficiently perform:
Take a flea comb (distance between the teeth less than 2mm) and carefully comb your cat's coat.
Now wipe the comb on white paper or tissue. If black crumbs appear, they could be chip droppings.
Dampen the paper with the supposed flea debris and crush it gently. If the report turns reddish, it is probably flea droppings, as it is unprocessed blood. If the tissue remains colorless or yellowish, it may just be dirt.
If you don't have a flea comb, place your cat on a sheet of paper and scrub his hair vigorously with your hands. If small black spots fall on the leaf, do the test by moistening the paper to check if it is flea droppings.
LITTLE FOCUS ON CAT CHIP POOP!
Cat flea droppings are, of course, the residue of the flea's feast on your pet. When your pet is in motion, the flea stays warm in your pet's hair but cannot enjoy the near feast. from her.
Therefore, the cat flea waits patiently for your animal to rest (a short break or a long nap). The flea then takes the opportunity to start its orgy, so much so that it rejects 8 to 10 droppings per meal. These droppings are full of blood residue, hence the reddish appearance when crushed.
CAT FLEA PoopING NEEDS TO BE FIGHTED
The poop of a cat flea serves as food for the larvae, which are new fleas. Therefore, removing as many of them as possible is essential. But, again, the most effective anti-chip remains the comb to remove them from your feline's hair.
DO A FURTHER ANALYSIS AT YOUR VETERINARIAN IF NEEDED
In any case, inform your veterinarian of your results! Then, if necessary, the parasites can be examined again under the microscope, and appropriate treatment can be initiated.
TRANSMISSION OF CAT FLEAS TO HUMANS?
Can my cat's fleas be transmitted to humans? The answer is, unfortunately, YES.
Fleas do not belong specifically to a host. This means that the cat flea makes no difference between cats, dogs, other animals, or humans – all are possible hosts. To do this, the flea only has to jump on humans or other potential hosts.
If, for example, your cat loses a few fleas or a few flea eggs on the couch, it can end up on humans. Fleas also cause severe itching and skin irritation or allergies. They can also transmit bacteria and worms to humans, as to cats.
It is, therefore, very important to treat this parasite so that it does not ruin the life of you and your lovely cat.
KITTEN CHIP ON HUMANS - CAT CHIP ON HUMANS: IS IT SERIOUS?
We said it before, a flea on a kitten is the same as a flea on a cat.
If you have fleas from your cat or kitten on you, remove them with tweezers and drown them in water. Fleas rarely stay on human bodies, but they will be all over your house if you do nothing.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I AM ATTACKED BY FLEAS?
Cat flea bites are incredibly itchy and very itchy. You should see bumps appear, often on the ankles and legs. Papules are pink (or slightly red) pimples that are full, i.e., without fluid.
TRANSMISSION TO OTHER FAMILY ANIMALS
Once one of your animals is infected, your house is infected, and your other animals will be infected quickly. Dogs, cats, guinea pigs, everyone will go through it. Then it's time to clean your house and treat all your animals. We have already said that the chip does not target a specific animal but all your animals!
CAT FLEA TREATMENT: PROTECT YOUR HOME
Once an animal is infested, it will be necessary to clean the house from top to bottom before taking care of your animal. The reason is simple: when you realize that your cat has fleas, it will already be too late, and the house will be infested. If your home is not treated and anti-chip, there will be a recurrence.
-Put your cat (or cats) away while cleaning your accommodation (plastic transport box, for example, which will have to be cleaned afterward, of course);
-Clean your home thoroughly and remove all dusty areas where larvae and pupae accumulate;
-Wash cushions and blankets at 60 degrees; if possible, vacuum regularly and apply flea spray in the rooms (remember to treat the vacuum bag after each cleaning). You can also use diatomaceous earth, which will tend to smother the larvae;
-Use a pressurized steamer for carpets and parts that won't fit in the machine (be very careful because while heat kills larvae and pupae, moderate, humid heat will help them proliferate).
Treat your cat(s) and kitten(s) to free them of parasites .
NATURAL CAT FLEA TREATMENTS: CARING FOR YOUR CAT
Once fleas have taken hold of your cat and in your home, getting rid of them takes work. First, you will need to treat all the animals in your household.
NATURAL TREATMENT #1 AGAINST CAT FLEAS: WASHING WITH LAVENDER OR LEMONGRASS OIL
The first thing to eliminate fleas from our cat is to wash it. Since felines have more sensitive skin than dogs, we must be careful with our products.