Does my cat have fleas?

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“Does my cat have fleas?” is one of the most common questions cat owners ask themselves, the moment they see their cat having a scratch.

If your cat is host to a severe flea infestation, you may actually see fleas on your pet but in most cases, it won’t be that obvious. Here are some of the signs that fleas might be causing them a nuisance;

Itching/Scratching: If your cat is affected by fleas, it’s likely that they will spend a lot of time scratching themselves. They may also chew on their fur.

Excessive Grooming and Hair Loss: Cats with fleas will often lick their fur, sometimes to the point that it becomes excessive. This can lead to fur loss. You may notice this happening on your cat’s back, which can suggest that fleas are the culprit.

Agitation/Restlessness: Being host to a flea infestation can be very miserable for your cat and it can make them extremely agitated and stressed, due to itching.

Pale Gums: This can be a sign of iron deficiency anaemia, which can develop as a result of a severe flea infestation. Fleas use your cat as a host and feed off them. If there are enough fleas, this can lead to your cat becoming anaemic.

We always recommend speaking to your vet if your pet is acting out of character, mostly to make sure that there are no serious underlying medical factors to be concerned about. At its worst, a flea infestation can cause health problems such as anaemia so it’s a good idea to see your vet even if you can see no obvious signs of fleas in your home. If your pet has been affected even though you have been using flea treatments, your vet can also suggest ways to stop recurring infestations.

Other signs that there may be fleas in your home

In addition to the physical signs of a flea infestation, there may be other indications that fleas are lurking within your home. These include:

  • Black dots on your cat’s bedding and anywhere else they like to sleep. This is usually “flea dirt” (flea faeces). If you’re not sure whether it is household dirt or flea dirt, try brushing your cat over a white surface such as a piece of paper to catch what comes off – if it is flea dirt, it will dissolve and leave only blood behind when it is wetted.
  • Wearing white socks around the home can pick up evidence of flea dirt and even fleas themselves.
  • Placing a bowl of water in front of a night light during the night can be another way to see if there are fleas in your home. In the dark, they will be attracted to the night light but in doing so, they will inadvertently jump towards the water. In the morning, you’ll probably find a few dead fleas floating in the bowl and this is your proof that they are in the vicinity.

If you do find evidence that there are fleas in your home, you’ll need to eradicate them as soon as possible. This includes getting rid of flea eggs, as well as adult fleas themselves.

Flea eggs are often hidden in bedding, soft-furnishings and carpets and can hatch at various times throughout the year (often when it gets warmer – whether due to indoor winter heating or naturally during the spring and summer) so treating these areas throughout your entire house with a purpose-made flea household spray* is recommended. *Be sure to read to read the instructions on these sprays very carefully before you begin.

If you’re not sure how best to go about this or you’ve found that your previous efforts for protecting your cat and/or treating your home haven’t worked, speak to your vet. They will be able to advise on flea treatments for your house, cat and also worming at the same time too.

Don’t forget, we supply many prescription-only flea treatments, so once you have your prescription, don’t forget to check out the prices on our website.