Arrrgh Fleas!

It’s getting warmer here in Australia, and that means fleas!

Keeping up with your flea prevention is so important, especially if you have children, or cats that roam (or some that come into your backyard).

If you find fleas on your cat, the first thing you should do is check your flea prevention. Only use what is sold in pet stores or vets. Those in supermarkets although cheap, don’t work. Flea powders are also a waste of money.

Can I use a flea shampoo?

Washing your cat in flea shampoo is not recommended, (yes I'm telling you not to wash your cat!) Using flea shampoo adds chemicals to your cat’s coat, and are very toxic, which they ingest. They do not kill enough of the life cycle to make a difference to the infestation. When you see one flea, there are hundreds more! Wait until your cats flea treatment works, until you do a normal maintenance bath for flea dirt and dead egg removal.

How can I tell that my cat has flea dirt (flea faeces)?

Your have appearance of speckles of dirt. Wet a tissue or wipe. Wipe the section until you have a piece of the dirt on the tissue/wipe. Wait a few minutes. If the surrounding tissue is red/orange, there is evidence of fleas or there has been fleas.

But my cat is indoor, how is it getting fleas?

Fleas can be brought in by neighbouring animals, other animals, visiting pets, and even on your shoes.

Think of a flea ridden pet like a pepper shaker, once they walk into an area, they can drop fleas and eggs, everywhere they go.

How do I check my cat for fleas?

Fleas love to congregate around the anus and the base of the tail. Under the cat between the legs and around the face. You may find fleas or flea dirt, or in some cases flea allergy dermatitis.

I recommend:

  • Wash all bedding and floors with hot soapy water.
  • Vacuum daily.
  • Spray the garden with a pesticide.
  • A natural way to kill fleas is adding food grade diatomaceous earth to cat’s food, or a as a coat powder, as this is safe for the cat and works by breaking down the fleas exoskeleton. More about diatomaceous earth.
  • Worming is important as fleas carry tapeworm. Worming should be three monthly from 6 months of age.
  • Use a spot on treatment or internal treatment. If infested, use of a spot on treatment more often then on the packaging, along with a capstar (Nitenpyram) daily, for five days, will help kick start the killing of fleas. Call the company on the flea treatment product for advice on the dose recommended for infestations, many can be used 2 weekly.

Students! You will receive a handout for your clients in this months newsletter :)