Spring is here, so in addition to smelling the flowers and enjoying the sunshine, we need to be thinking of some of the less pleasant aspects to the change of seasons, also… fleas. This is the time of year when they start to appear, so a proactive approach to your cats’ (and your own) health is crucial.
Should I buy over-the-counter products for flea control?
The Just Cats team advises against over-the-counter products for flea control. We want pet ownership and top-level care to be as affordable as possible, so we’ll never recommend something that’s more expensive if a less pricey option will work just as well. But that’s not the case for flea prevention. The products that we prescribe are better quality and provide more effective protection than the less expensive products you can find in pet stores.
And, spending a little more up front for flea protection is well worth it, even if you have indoor cats. For one thing, it’s possible that you won’t even be aware that your cat has fleas until it becomes a major infestation because they can be buried deep within the fur.
Common flea-borne illnesses in cats
Tapeworms: This could cause your cat to experience abdominal pain, diarrhea, and itching around its anus.
Bartonellosis: This bacterial infection is actually from the fleas’ excrement. It won’t have an immediate effect on your cat, but the bacteria (which is absorbed through your cat’s skin) can lead to mouth and gum disease, eye inflammation, and heart disease. The other issue is that once the cat becomes a carrier of this bacteria, it can be spread to other fleas and then other cats.
Flea allergy dermatitis: If your cat is bitten by a flea, the flea’s saliva can cause this condition, which results in itchiness from an immune response. Your cat will be uncomfortably itchy and can develop secondary skin infections.
Anemia: Anemia is a serious condition, especially for kittens. If your cat is host to a large number of fleas and each of those fleas are sucking your cat’s blood, it can weakness, lethargy, and potentially death if not handled correctly.
What about ticks? Ticks carry diseases that are hard to diagnose and hard to treat. We hear most about Lyme disease, but there are other tick-borne diseases that can be even worse. You don’t have to be out in the woods to get a tick bite. If a tick attaches to your cat and comes into your home, it can easily jump from your pet to you.
What if I have a flea infestation in my home?
A flea infestation is a condition that cannot be ignored. Once inside your home, fleas not only make your cats sick, but they are also harmful to humans. Generally, fleas don’t feed on humans. However, if you are bitten by a flea, you could contract Bubonic plague, cat-scratch disease, or typhus. Typhus, the most common human disease associated with fleas, can include headache, fever, nausea, and body aches.
If you need a flea exterminator for your home, the costs will add up. An initial treatment by a professional exterminator is usually around $100, but it will usually require a follow-up visit at an additional cost. However, you’ll also need to perform a thorough house cleaning (either done yourself or as a service you’ll need to pay for), in addition to laundry, pet treatments, possibly specialty cleaning of upholstery, curtains, and carpets, and other items.
Call Just Cats today to protect yourself, your cats, and your home from fleas
The Just Cats team is ready to help. We’ll recommend the best flea and tick prevention for your cat and your home. Don’t wait — once the warmer weather arrives in full force (and it will, soon!), so will the fleas and ticks. A treatment prescribed by Just Cats today can save you a lot of headaches (and keep your cats healthy) later.