Internal parasites aren’t the only parasites your cat has to contend with: numerous insects would like to call your pet’s skin home. These are called external parasites and include such dastardly creatures as ticks, fleas, mites, lice, and flies. They can cause severe itching, skin infections, and even internal problems such as tapeworms, anemia, and a form of paralysis.
Preventing or treating these unwelcome creatures requires the use of insecticidal preparations. Understanding parasites’ life cycles will give you an edge in this battle, and the following discussion should be beneficial. Ticks and mites are discussed separately.
Any cat older than six months of age can develop an allergy to flea saliva. Fleas are thin, wingless, brown insects that are extraordinary jumpers and move through the hair coat rapidly. The flea injects its saliva under the cat’s skin as an aid in retrieving its meal (the cat’sblood). The saliva acts as foreign material that can cause your pet to itch and bite itself profusely. Even people may be bitten by hungry fleas: their favorite human areas are ankles and waists. and the bites are very itchy.
Hair loss and skin infection are characteristics. especially on the lower back, neck, and inner thighs. favored flea-feeding sites. The hair loss usually has a pattern: a triangular patch on the lower back and patches at the tail base, on the neck. and on the inner thighs. You may even see fleas jumping or moving in these areas. although often you won’t see fleas on your cat. Flea droppings are black specks(digested blood, found primarily on the hair of the lower back. To test. place the droppings on white paper and moisten them with water.
If they turn red, they are flea droppings: if not, they are dirt.
Before treating fleas, check to see if your cat might have allergic inhalant dermatitis or contact dermatitis. Food allergies may just show scabs on the head.
Cat Fleas Treatment
You must control fleas on all animals in the household and in the environment. A natural control agent that can be tried before your cat gets fleas is brewer’s yeast. Mixing 0.1 grams per pound in the food daily seems to make some cats “distasteful” to fleas.
For flea control on all the animals in the household, you can use flea powders or dips, or flea collars. When using dips, read the directions on them carefully. Sponge your pet with the dip, avoiding the eyes, and repeat as the directions indicate. Do not apply dips to open sores.
If you use a flea collar, use the recommended size for your cat. The flea collar must be aired for a few days before you place it around your pet’s neck. If the skin underneath the flea collar becomes red and hair is lost, remove the collar. Some animals are sensitive to chemicals. Do not combine flea collars with other insecticides. For example, don’t dip your cat and then put a flea collar on it.
There has recently been some discussion about the wisdom of animals or their owners inhaling the vapors in the collars. If your pets sleep on your bed, it might be prudent to remove the flea collar until the morning.
Since fleas spend most of the life cycle in your cat, controlling or treating the environment is most important to avoid that frustrating “Where are the fleas coming from? I sprayed my cat a month ago!” routine. Vacuum weekly for a few months, especially rugs, upholstery, cracks and crevices, and closets. Throw the vacuum bags away after vacuuming; otherwise, the fleas will hatch in your vacuum, closets, and so forth. Wash or throw away the cat’s bedding. Finally, commercial insecticides should be sprayed around your house periodically for a few months. If you think it might stain something, test by spraying only a small area first.
Your cat should be treated from the end of the winter through the first frost if you live in a varied climate.
If you have tried everything and your cat is still scratching, see your veterinarian. He or she will make sure that none of the “rule-outs” are present. If a flea-bite allergy is suspected, corticosteroids, which can reduce or stop the itching, will be prescribed. If there are open sores, your doctor may give you antibiotics, a medicated shampoo, and a topical ointment to use. Be sure to discuss flea control for the pet and the house to avoid a recurrence of the problem.
See more: Cat First Aid