If you have a cat, then you probably agree that fleas are one of the biggest nuisances there can be. Not only does it break your heart seeing them scratch day in and day out, but it gets even more annoying when those fleas move onto you.
“Fleas don’t travel on to humans,” or so people say. The next thing you know, you wake up in the morning with “love bites” from said fleas. That’s when you know that you have to take action.
However, to be a responsible owner, you also need to be a responsible buyer. How can you help your cat if every treatment on the shelf looks the same? Simple: by being informed.
As a pet owner, fleas are probably something you never want to hear about. However, it’s important to know what they do if you want to keep your beloved pet safe.
Basically, fleas are small parasites that survive by ingesting the blood of their host. They only consume warm blood, which is why they stay on live creatures.
Fleas are small, but they were made to survive. Every pet owner knows that they are very easy to get – but not as easy to get off. This is the reason why a cat flea treatment is something you should always use.
Fleas are also wingless – but they can jump very high, too fast for the human eye to see. Plus, they don’t only live on your pets; they can live in your carpets too. They can lay eggs there, and you will have a small army of fleas, ready to feast on your cat.
Fleas are much smaller than 1/8 of an inch; however, they can put your cat through a lot of hell. Most of the time, you may not even know that your cat has fleas. If you see them scratching continuously, you may take a fine-toothed comb and check for them.
You may want to pay closer attention to the areas around the ears and tail. Skin is thin there, so they’re more likely to “hang out” in those parts. If you see small brown shapes moving around, then there you have it: fleas.
There are 2000 varieties of fleas around the world, causing headaches to pet owners from every country. And the problem with fleas is that they are quick to multiply.
A female flea, for instance, can lay eggs in as quickly as 48 hours after they’ve had a meal. Before you know it, you have an infestation on your hands – one that cannot be that easily battled.
Here are the types of fleas that you will generally come across:
Bird fleas are a sign of spring as they are a sign of annoyance. This type of flea spends its winters in a pupal cocoon of a bird’s nest, emerging when the spring sun is starting to shine.
If they do not find birds in that nest, they will start moving about, infesting nearby used nests. They rarely enter human houses, as they don’t survive for long indoors. Still, it can happen if you work with or near bird nests.
Bird fleas do not spend much time on the bird itself, as they prefer to settle in the nesting material. They also breed during nesting time, when both parents and chicks will be constantly available for meals.
However, you will see them on the bird as well. Acting like ticks, you will most likely see them with their heads buried in the bird’s skin, around the head area. At first, it will look like blackheads – but they are in fact fleas.
It is rare for pet birds (such as parrots) to get fleas; mites and lice are actually more common. They are more likely to stay if they have a nest to settle in.
Cat fleas are actually the ones that concern us in this article – and they are also the most common types of fleas that you can find.
These fleas are the survivors among survivors since they can live on cats, dogs, goats – even humans. Any animal can be considered their host.
If they are indoors, they will spend a lot of time in carpets. Do not be, therefore, surprised if you find eggs in places other than your pet’s fur. These eggs are fairly difficult to get off and will require extensive cat flea treatment.
Dog fleas closely resemble cat fleas – and like those, they can easily move from one pet type to another. Just like cat fleas – or any kind of flea – they can live without blood for a few months.
Still, in order to lay eggs, the female must consume fresh blood. After that, it can easily deliver around 400 eggs on the fur, therefore increasing in numbers.
If you thought humans would get away without fleas, you were very wrong. There actually is such a thing as the human flea.
These fleas will stick to the skin and hide in the hairiest parts of your body – such as your head or underarms. However, if you follow a strict hygiene, it will be fairly easy to keep them at bay.
Fleas are little – but for some reason, they have all the biological advantages that they need. A flea can jump up to one foot vertically and five feet horizontally. They may be small, but they have great muscle power in their legs.
This, in turn, makes them very difficult to catch. Plus, fleas use the mentality of an invader, and they only have three objectives: eat, survive, and reproduce. Depending on their living conditions, fleas can live more than a year – and lay thousands of eggs.
Fleas are also silent stalkers. For every flea that you will see, there are likely to be at least 10 cocoons around the house or on your pet – each cocoon hosting around 20 eggs.
Last but not least, fleas know how to adapt to famine conditions in order to survive. Just one meal and they’ll be able to stay alive for about two months. Imagine you not eating for a month; how would you survive like that?
Fleas are survivors, and they will know how to hang on for dear life. They will even bury their heads in your cat’s skin if it means it will save them. In these cases, unless you get the best flea treatment for your cat, it won’t be easy to get rid of them.
Again, the problem with fleas is that they are able to adapt to all kinds of conditions – and if this means staying in your cat’s favorite sleeping place, then so be it.
We can get a cat flea treatment from the veterinarian; however, most of the traditional chemicals that we have access to (such as sprays or bombs) will only get rid of the adults – and in some cases, the larvae.
If it’s the egg, on the other hand, it will be much more difficult to kill. According to various cat flea treatment reviews, there are only some products that will get rid of the eggs as well – and they’re not always easy to come by.
The problem is that it’s simpler to treat the cat than it is to treat its living spaces. Fleas do spend a lot of time on your pet – but as for their eggs, they are usually laid in the “nest.”
This will be wherever your cat spends most of its time – a cubicle, the rug, wherever. So, no matter how much you may try (and succeed) to blast those adult fleas away, the baby ones will be just waiting to hatch and set for a round two.
In order to get rid of fleas complete, you need to find the best cat flea treatment that will eliminate all flea cycles – not only the adults. You will probably have to read review after review – but the results will be definitely worth it.
There are several types of flea treatments out there that you may use on your cat. Depending on the gravity of the situation, you may have to use one of the treatments – or a combo of more.
Choosing the best options can be slightly overwhelming since each method works differently. There are many important factors to consider, including the age and needs of your cat.
To make things easier for you, here are your options when it comes to choosing a cat flea treatment:
Topical treatments are usually the most popular options, generally because they are very easy to apply. These treatments are not only useful when it comes to adult fleas, but they represent a powerful ally when it comes to eggs and ticks as well.
The application is simple, but you also have to be careful about it. The best (and safest) way is to put the treatment at the base of your cat’s neck, where the little one can’t lick it.
Most of the time, the best topical cat flea treatment is not dangerous or toxic. However, if the cat licks it off, then the treatment will not have any effect whatsoever – since it will no longer be there.
These treatments generally come in packs, but you will only need one tube for a cat. If your kitten is small of age, you may want to make sure that the age requirement is respected.
The best oral cat flea treatment can be purchased in two forms: drops and tablets. Oral drops have the same consistency as topical applications – the only difference being that you have to ‘drop’ them in your pet’s mouth.
This method may not sit well with your cat if they do not like taking medicine via oral routes, but they are just as effective as topical treatment. The only difference will be that, unlike topicals, your cat won’t be able to lick it off.
Tablets, on the other hand, are newer on the market when it comes to killing fleas. Their purpose is to provide a high dose of active ingredients – therefore killing the adult flea.
Sadly, this type of medicine does not work against larvae and eggs, which means that you’ll have to get a secondary topical treatment for that. For this reason, tablets are considered preventive rather than for treating an existent problem.
Collars are very easy to use, and they are the least messy option out of all cat flea treatments. These treatments work by providing a continuous scent stream that is toxic to the fleas – but otherwise harmless for your pet.
The disadvantage is that since collars are placed around the neck area, there’s a chance that fleas will gather around other parts of the body. This will happen especially when the effects will start to wear off.
It is recommended that you change the flea collar once every six months, even if the fleas have disappeared. This method may not necessarily kill the eggs, but it will certainly keep the fleas away – therefore minimizing the chances of them laying anything.
You may also want to combine these collars with topical treatments. We might as well be talking about the best cat flea collar, but not even that will be able to perform miracles on such limited areas.
If you need something to use on your cat between the monthly treatments with topical medicine, then you might want to consider a spray. These were made to kill fleas on the spot, so they are a good option if you see a flea or two.
These, however, are not such a good option for keeping the fleas off your cat. For that, you will need topical treatments, oral, or a flea collar.
Powders are not exactly the preferred option when it comes to cat flea treatments, mostly due to the fact that they are very messy. Plus, while they are fairly effective, they can also dry out your cat’s skin or fur.
Powders are only a good option if you plan on using them for a short period. Using them in the long term can be dangerous for your pet, so you may want to consider them for emergency situations when you have no other options left.
Every now and again, your cat will have to take a bath. If you’re lucky and your cat loves water, then the problem is solved. On the other hand, if your cat acts like you are pouring sulfuric acidsover it, then tough luck.
Shampoos are a great way to give you a jumpstart for getting rid of the fleas since they practically wash off the “bulk.” However, they are not preventive, so you may want to use them with a collar or some other preventive cat flea treatment.
The only way to completely eradicate fleas is to make sure that you target every life stage. Now, in the past, you were only been able to get rid of the exterior problem – the adults. But nowadays, you can think about a deeper strategy.
Generally, killing off the adults should be the first stage. They are the easiest to get rid of – and once they are off, there will be no more egg laying. A modern topical cat flea treatment, for example, will kill the fleas on the spot, taking care of the “bulk.”
The second stage will be to get rid of the eggs. These will be more troublesome to address since they are smaller and more resilient. You’ll have to make sure that the treatment you purchase is strong enough to attack the eggs.
Even the best cat flea and tick treatment will take a while until it takes action. However, most of the time, it will depend on the lifestyle of your cat – as well as where it chooses to spend most of its time.
Nowadays, it’s fairly difficult to get rid of fleas if you keep your cat indoors, mostly because fleas thrive in warm environments. However, the duration of the “eradication” will depend on the gravity of the problem.
The longest infestation can take two months to end completely, provided you apply the right cat flea treatment. However, most of the time, it should not take more than a month.
There should be no difference between outdoor cats and indoor cats. As long as you apply a preventive treatment, it should not matter if your cat is in or out.
Basically, if the fleas can’t bite on the cat, then they will have to live in the furniture or carpet. However, fleas will die in two months at most if they don’t consume blood – so if the cat’s not “available”, they will practically starve.
Every pet owner has this concern when it comes to applying powders, sprays, or a topical cat flea treatment: what happens if the cat licks the treatment?
Usually, the label will tell if the flea treatment is toxic – but most modern ones are nothing to really be concerned about. The worst thing that could happen is that the cat licks the treatment and no longer letting it act against the fleas.
Symptoms are rare, but it usually does not cause anything more other than excessive saliva – and sometimes, a bit of vomiting.
Next time, you may want to place the treatment where their head meets their neck, as it will be impossible for them to reach for that place.
As mentioned, it is highly unlikely for your cat to have flea treatment poisoning, as long as you apply the treatment properly. It would have to be particularly allergic to an ingredient, which is generally not dependent on the product.
If there’s an allergy, it’s generally due to the pyrethrin – so if you suspect it’s an allergic reaction, look for products with other active ingredients. However, most of the time, the poisoning is caused by overuse of the product.
Cats are more sensitive than dogs to flea repellents, which is why you may want to avoid using dog treatment on a cat. Dog treatments will have higher concentrations of pyrethrin, which may cause your cat to have a reaction. Here are the symptoms that you may want to look for:
If you see any of the symptoms and your cat is wearing a flea collar – or any other cat flea treatment – you may want to remove it immediately.
If the effects are caused by an overdose, stop the treatment immediately and start again after a few days – only this time, applying a smaller dose.
Fleas are annoying – both to you and your pet. However, treating your furry companion should always start with you understanding every aspect of a treatment – usually by reading the best cat flea treatment reviews.
For instance, if you have an ongoing flea problem, simply giving it a tablet will not really solve the problem, since it will only kill the adults. You need to get something strong enough that will also kill the eggs.
So, what is the best cat flea treatment? That depends, since no product was made to be equal. To be completely sure that a product will offer you the best result, you may want to do some research first.
If you are looking for tips, you may also want to consult our buying guide. Not only will we tell you what to look for, but we will also recommend a few products that you can use.