If you’re a cat parent, you must’ve heard or dealt with cat flea infestation at some point in your life. Cat flea infestation can badly harm your cat’s health which we will also discuss in this article. However, if you have ever had flea bites, you may be wondering what harm it can cause to you. Read on and let’s find out.
The lifecycle of Cat Fleas
The scientific name of a cat flea is Ctenocephalides felis and is found on cats’ bodies and is the most common type of parasite. A female flea lay 50 eggs a day on a cat’s body and then they drop off from your cat and hatch into larvae in about two to 16 days.
Further, these larvae turn into immobile pupae in cocoons. A larva will start to develop inside the cocoon and will wait for favorable signals to emerge out as a flea. These favorable signals include heat, presence of carbon dioxide, and vibrations. In a nutshell, a cat’s body. A flea can attach to a host in seconds and then can live permanently on a host.
The cocoon is hardy. It can live up to two years in the absence of a host. However, favorable conditions can complete the cycle quickly. An ideal condition for fleas is a centrally heated room with fitted carpets. A perfect warm and humid environment to produce fleas to develop all year round.
Signs of Flea
The presence of fleas initially can be identified by an itchy cat or flea bites on human ankles. If the cat is not allergic to flea bites, the cat will not show a significant response to diagnose a flea infestation.
Their high speed of moving from one place to another makes them impossible to spot. The conventional and right way to check for their presence is to comb a cat meticulously while placing him on a white clean sheet. You will spot some fleas stuck on closely packed teeth of the comb along with black specks of ‘flea dirt’. Flea dirt is basically your cat’s undigested blood and flea dropping. If you find such things on the sheet, your cat is likely infested with fleas.
If you want to ensure the infestation further, you can place flea dirt on damp cotton wool. The dirt will dissolve producing bloody streak. In addition, you can find flea dirt and eggs in your cat’s bed.
Cat Flea Allergies
As I said, cat fleas are not easily identified unless your cat shows an allergic response to their presence. Here are some signs you should never ignore as they are the key symptoms indicating cat flea infestation.
- Oozing, crusty or thickened skin
- Inflamed skin
- Hair loss resulted from overgrooming
- Small scabs on their body, especially around the neck region and the base of the tail
You should consult your vet of any of the symptoms shows up. However, it is important to employ flea control methods to make the environment free from fleas because a single flea can cause problems again.
How To Treat Cat Fleas
As one might think, a rational solution to this is killing all the fleas present on your cat’s body and in the environment to avoid re-infestation. There are a lot of products available on the market to kill fleas like collars, sprays, foams, powders, shampoos, injection, tablets, and spot-on products.
Dogs also get infected with fleas. However, you should not use flea treatment products designed for dogs on cats. Those products are toxic for cats. Also, choosing the right type of product for treatment is important. The product for which is difficult to apply is unlikely to succeed. For instance, shampoos and powders won’t have a long-lasting effect. Some collars are not effective enough to solve the problem. That said, your vet will be able to give you the best advice on this.
Make sure you let your vet know if you have used any flea treatments and medication before, especially when he prescribes flea control products or medication and when he is contemplating sedation or anesthesia for your kitty.
How Do Fleas Affect Humans?
Humans are vulnerable to the harmful effects when their cats are infested with cat fleas. Those fleas can bite humans once they are dislodged from their original hosts (cats). In addition to bites, humans can also suffer from flea dermatitis due to contact with the debris of their pets suffering from serious flea dermatitis.
The fleas are also infamous for spreading plague and another bacterial disease murine typhus through rats. Moreover, cat fleas can also carry and spread tapeworms, especially, dog tapeworms (Dipylidium canninum) and rodent tapeworms (Hymenolepis diminuta). These tapeworms sometimes get spread to humans, especially to very young children. Also, dog tapeworms can be found as parasites in cats that spent more time outdoors.
All in all, cat fleas can harm humans in some ways but it is not deadly. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore any signs of cat infestation in your cat.