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House cats don’t have natural enemies. Well, not the big ones at least. Dogs can be the enemy, but they can be friends, too. There is one arch-enemy though, that makes cat’s life miserable occasionally. It’s a flea. Fleas are not just an annoyance. They pose a risk for your cat’s health. Fortunately, there are many effective flea treatments for cats, that will take care of these pasts.
Fleas are not extremely dangerous for cats. Nevertheless, they can cause skin disease, tapeworms and even a blood problem called anemia. That is for your cat, while you can catch a cat-scratch disease. So, in order to have a happy and healthy cat, you should make sure that your cat is protected against fleas.
How to Recognize Fleas
These little undesirable intruders will reach your cat by jumping. However, once they get to the cat, they stay there for the rest of their life. Unless we eradicate them, of course. As soon as they land on the cat they start feeding on blood. After feeding they are ready to mate and lay eggs in around 1 or 2 days. A single female flea can lay between 30 and 60 eggs per day. Most of the eggs will fall off the cat all around the house. In about week time eggs will hatch, releasing larvae into the world.
The larvae stage lasts for about a week or two. In this time they will look for dark and humid surrounding, like cracks, under the carpet or so. At this stage, larvae will start feeding on any organic material. They will create cocoons and transform into the pupa stage. After a couple of days or weeks adult insects will emerge to start a new cycle.
How to Fight Fleas
The best way to fight the fleas is to prevent them in the first place. There are several different kinds of solutions to this problem. None of them can be called the best because different cats have different needs. House cat that never leaves the cozy and clean living space and an outdoor cat in the countryside will need quite different approaches. Anyway, I will walk you through the most effective and most popular treatments of all kinds, so you can find your own best flea treatment for cats.
Topical solutions are applied to the back of the neck, directly on the skin. There are different kinds of agents with different ingredients. Most of them kill both adult fleas and eggs and do so for about a month. They don’t repel fleas, so new fleas can hop on your cat. However, they should die within a couple of hours.
The best medicament in this group is Bayer Advantage II for Cats. Bayer Advantage has two active ingredients to eliminate flea adults, eggs and larvae. It is odorless and waterproof. Of course, you shouldn’t bathe your cat immediately after the application. But, after 24 hours it is safe and won’t reduce the effects of the treatment. When you apply it for the first time, monitor your cat, because some cats can have a bad reaction. It is extremely rare though. Advantage kills fleas efficiently, but it has no effect on ticks.
Frontline Plus for Cats and Kittens is another good option. Cats are not prone to ticks as much as dogs, but if you live in an area with a large number of ticks, this is the best choice. Otherwise, it acts similar to Advantage. It kills fleas at different stages and it is water resistant.
When you use these treatments make sure they are cat-specific. Some of the dog treatments look very similar, but they might be toxic to your cat.
Flea Collars for Cats
Flea collars come in two different types. One type repels fleas and ticks, while the other kills and repels the pests. Actually, there is a huge gap between some old collar models and new generation ones. The best representative of the group is Bayer Seresto Flea and Tick Collar for Cats. This collar repels and kills fleas, flea larvae, and ticks. It is odorless, water resistant, and protects your cat for 8 months. It is also safe for other cats and kids should they make a contact with the collar, as long as they don’t chew on it.
This is the most convenient way to protect your cat. It is easy to apply, lasts for 8 months, takes care of both fleas and ticks. However, some cats are more sensitive than others. The collar can cause irritation, redness or hair loss. It is rare, temporary and may withdraw without taking the collar off in a week or two. Still, if it irritates your cat you may look for another way of protection.
Oral Flea Medication
Oral medications are helpful for more serious infestations. They tend to kill adult fleas but have no effect on other flea-life stages. Most of these will work for 24 hours. Novartis Capstar Flea Tablets is the best choice. Since it kills only adults, these tablets are good for an instant result but should be followed with some long term treatment.
Capstar is safe for kittens over 2 lbs., and for pregnant cats. Just make sure that you get the dosage right. Higher doses can be dangerous.
A couple of oral medications can last for 30 days. However, all of them are prescription only, so they shouldn’t be used without your vet’s recommendation. If your vet does recommend you one of these, make sure you know how to give pills to your cat.
Shampoos and Sprays
Both of these can be effective, but make sure that you get approval from your vet. Some of the shampoos and sprays are made of natural ingredients, while others can have dangerous chemicals. Always go for natural ones as they can repel the insects while being perfectly safe for your cat.
Vet’s Best Home Spray for Cats is safe and effective. As long as your cat tolerates the spraying, it is good. You can use it to spray infested areas like pillows, blankets and cat furniture.
Shampoos are effective because you physically remove fleas by scrubbing and rinsing, and active ingredient will take care of the rest. Adams Flea and Tick Cleansing Shampoo is my favorite in this department.
Both shampoos and sprays can’t provide long-lasting protection. So, check out with your vet to apply the best combination of treatments.
Fleas are a major nuisance for your cat, not to mention health risks. Of course, there’s every chance that your cat will be finicky about the treatment of choice. However, nowadays it is really easy to find a number of treatments and medications. So, both you and your cat can choose to find the most suitable one.
Prevention is the best way to avoid these irritating pests. So, you should protect your cat before the possible infestation. While most of the treatments are safe, make sure that you use the right dosages and follow the instructions. A healthy cat is a happy cat. So, take care of your furry companion and she will make you happier as well.