Cats are notorious and fastidious groomers - their daily routine can resemble that of a self-absorbed Hollywood star. But that won't stop fleas and ticks, determined parasites that may threaten the health of your cat and the people in your home. Simple, regular prevention can beat fleas and ticks before they cause a problem.
Ounce-for-ounce, few creatures can inflict more discomfort than fleas. These tiny, pests can hop onto your cat unobserved to feed on its blood and lay their eggs, producing yet another generation. Fleas can make life miserable for people and pets alike, disrupting your household with a nasty cycle of biting and scratching and causing ailments such as flea allergy dermatitis (FAD).
- Where Fleas Hide: Fleas can hide in a number of flea-friendly locations around your home. Take a look at some of their favorite hideouts!
- Flea Life Cycle: The flea life cycle can last several months - plenty of time to be mighty irritating to you and your cat.
- How Fleas Affect Pets: Fleas don't just make your cat itchy - they may actually make it quite ill. Fleas aren't choosy - cats of all ages and types are susceptible.
Ticks attach to pets to feed. You might not even notice these minute pests on your cat until the ticks have fed so much that they've become engorged. Worse yet, ticks may transmit diseases that can cause serious cat health problems. And ticks may also transmit disease to your family.
- Tick Life Cycle: A tick's existence is a hungry and hardy one. They can actually live for several years.
- How Ticks Affect Pets: If your cat is bitten by a tick, the results can be fatal.
How Fleas Can "Bug" Your Pets
Flea Infestation Warning Signs: Be aware of the following warning signs that indicate the presence of fleas on your cat:
Black specks: Black specks on your cat or where your cat likes to sleep could be what's commonly called "flea dirt," which is actually adult flea feces. Here are two easy ways to check for black specks:
- Use a metal flea comb, available from your veterinarian
Run the comb over your cat, making sure the comb reaches the skin through the coat. If you see black specks on the comb when you've finished, they could be flea dirt. If there are actually fleas on the comb, drown them in a bowl of soapy water before they can hop away or jump back on your cat.
- Use a white paper towel
Moisten a white paper towel, put it underneath your cat, and rub your hands across your cat's hair. If you see black specks on the towel, they may be flea dirt.
Agitation and scratching: Cats infested with fleas will become unusually nervous and agitated and will scratch excessively.
Don't delay - If you observe black specks or agitation and scratching, be sure to consult your veterinarian immediately. Used as directed, FRONTLINE ®(fipronil) from Merial can eliminate your cat's existing fleas and keep fleas from reinfesting your cat.
Flea-Bite-Related Illness: Fleas are responsible for flea allergy dermatitis, or FAD - a condition that can make your cat very uncomfortable. A cat can develop FAD as a reaction to the small amount of saliva fleas leave in the skin after biting an animal. Cats suffering from FAD scratch and bite excessively around the tail, groin, or backside and may also develop scabs or bumps on the neck or back.
Regular applications of FRONTLINE Plus lower your cat's risk of facing fleas that cause flea-bite-related illness. If you see signs of FAD in your cat, don't wait - consult your veterinarian right away.
Prevention: the Best Way to Keep Fleas and Ticks from "Bugging" Your Household
FRONTLINE kills fleas and ticks on your cat. FRONTLINE is easy to use and highly effective. Research has verified that greater that 99% of fleas are killed within 18 hours of FRONTLINE application.
You can limit your cat's exposure to fleas by taking a few simple steps to eliminate as many immature fleas (eggs, larvae, and pupae) as possible:
- VACUUM frequently wherever your cat has been, especially your car, carpeted areas, and any furniture or fabric your cat sleeps on.
- WASH your cat's bedding, blanket and other washable items regularly in the hottest water possible. Check the laundering instructions for appropriate water temperatures for your cat's washables.
- TAKE CARE OF YOUR YARD by mowing your lawn and raking up leaves, brush and clippings.