Caturday blogging: Fleas and more than fleas


Happy Caturday! Today we discuss one of every pet owner’s worst nightmares: the telling scratching that indicates the arrival of fleas into your house.

Fleas. Of all the hazards, frustrations, and struggles of pet care, fleas are the best-known and one of the most obnoxious. They sneak in so easily, and before you know it, you have fleas all over every pet and in your bedding, and you’re devoting far too much time and money to cleansing your home of their influence. Last night, we discovered flea allergy breakouts on both our dogs, but didn’t see any fleas.  This morning, I woke up to a flea on my arm and both cats scratching vigorously. Yup, time to get to work.

Even if your cats are not outdoor cats, fleas can still be carried in by other animals or means, so caution must still be used during the warmer months of the year when they are most active. Removing them from your household once they’re in can be a massive pain. Fleas will hang out on any warm-blooded creatures with hair, including yourself, though you don’t need to worry too much about them setting up a civilization there. If you do experience flea bites, do not attempt to use pet products on yourself. Put some antiseptic on them and don’t scratch. They’ll go away in a few days.

Aside from the usual flea collars, medications, and shampoos for your pets (have fun if you choose to bathe your cat, by the way), you’ll also need to get rid of flea larvae however you can. Fleas lay their eggs in soft things like carpet or fabric or fur, so wash that bedding and vacuum the carpet and furniture very thoroughly. Thoroughly clean any place your cat regularly likes to lounge, especially if they have carpeted cat trees or scratch posts.

Fleas require diligence to remove, and won’t go away overnight. You’ll need to keep up a strict cleaning regimen for awhile, and keep a close eye on your kitty both for the fleas themselves, and signs of a flea allergy. Cat flea allergies manifest frequently as tiny red bumps on the cat’s rear, belly, base of the tail, or around the neck. Mild flea allergies will disappear once the fleas are removed, but severe ones may require a trip to the vet for some stronger medication.

Next: Caturday blogging: Friends, foes, and felines

If you’re in the same boat as I am right now of staring down the daunting task of dealing with fleas, I feel your pain. Remember that if there’s ever any doubt as to how to handle a persistent flea problem, your vet is your best resource. Now, to go meticulously vacuum my entire house…