Fleas are infectious external parasites, which thrive on the blood of mammals. Based on the respective host organism, several different types of fleas are identified. In cats, Ctenocephalides felis, a.k.a. cat flea, is the main culprit and one of the most widespread species. Being very tiny, it is hardly visible to the naked eye. So, a strict watch over your cat's behavior is the only practical solution to identify its presence. Prompt action is imperative to control these blood-sucking parasites and therefore, you need to be aware of all the signs and symptoms to watch out for.
Cat Flea Signs and Symptoms
Cats of all age groups, right from kittens to old cats, are prone to flea infestation. They can get infected after coming in direct contact with an infected pet, or while playing in garden that is already infested with fleas. And the worst part is that, they can transmit pathogens to pet dogs and humans as well. So, the signs that you should look out for in order to pinpoint the presence of cat fleas are ...
Skin irritation is manifested in the early stage of cat flea infestation. The signs of skin condition caused by this condition mimic those of dermatitis and therefore, skin problem triggered by flea bites is called cat flea allergy dermatitis. Bumps, pustules, and itchy symptoms are caused as a result of the pet's sensitivity to the saliva of fleas.
Due to allergic responses to flea infestation, the cat tends to scratch continuously. Thus, itchiness is another notable symptom that you need to keep an eye for. When examined carefully, you will find reddish spots in the cat's skin, which are nothing but marks left by flea bites.
Frequent scratching may result in loss of hair in an infected cat. If your cat is showing skin irritation signs, check for the presence of hot spots and bald spots. For self diagnosis, you can wear hand gloves and full-sleeved shirt, and comb the cat's fur. You will notice small black specks, which is the flea dirt, and live fleas moving rapidly in between the fallen hair. Flea dirt comprises remains of undigested blood, which give red color when crushed.
Weakness and Lethargy
Pet cat with severe flea infestation may exhibit signs of weakness even when it is fed its normal diet. If bloodsucking continues and there is excess loss of bodily fluids, signs of lethargy and dehydration are manifested in the infected cat. Dehydration due to flea bites is more prevalent in kittens and weak cats.
Anemia is one of the symptoms that emerge when infestation progresses unabated. Being a blood-sucking parasite, the flea sucks blood from the infected cat. If the number of fleas is more, or if the infestation remains unchecked for a prolonged time, the pet will manifest anemia symptoms. In this case, you should immediately consult a veterinarian.
How to Get Rid of Cat Fleas?
Flea control should be initiated at the first sign of infestation. It is important for the cat as well as other pets in the house, and even your family. You should never delay the treatment of this condition. Eliminating fleas from the cat's body is relatively easy, if you follow effectual tips, like bathing the pet with a cat flea shampoo regularly, applying topical flea killer, cleaning the cat's dwelling place, and cleaning household stuff.
If the symptoms of cat flea infestation persist even after treatment at home, you should get the pet checked by a trusted veterinarian. The vet will examine the symptoms and run some tests. According to the severity of these symptoms, the doctor may recommend bathing powder, therapeutic drops, or other commercial products for effective treatment.