The most common flea for cats is Ctenocephalides felis (cat flea). Your kitten may contract a flea from another animal, its mother or the environment of the house which has larvae/pupae present.
Fleas are small parasites that live on the skin of your kitten, they feed on blood. One flea can lay up to 200 eggs before it dies. These eggs fall off the pets coat onto the carpets, floors or furniture. The eggs then develop in larvae and then in turn into pupae. The pupae will then become adult fleas continuing on the cycle. The pupae can remain dormant in the environment of your home for along time and will only hatch when the environment is suitable (vibrations, movements, heat etc)
These triggers of movement, heat and vibration are all produced by your kitten playing, moving around and also by central heating within our homes, our walking around, hoovering etc.
Adult fleas only represent 5% of the total flea life cycle, meaning that the other 95% is in your home carpets, beds, seats etc
Fleas can be hard to spot on your kitten, they are small and very fast. You might spot flea dirt (faeces), this is small black/brown specks in the coat. This is a sign of an active infection.
Fleas cause multiple problems – they cause irritation to your kitten, skin rashes/lumps from bites, allergies to flea bites causing hair loss and over grooming/biting self. The fleas feed on your kitten’s blood which in a young kitten can cause weakness and anaemia. Fleas also transmit tapeworm when they feed on your kitten. Family members within the house might get small red itchy bite marks.
What can you do? Prevention is better than cure.
Prevention – flea treatment once monthly. Again there are many products available - tablets, spot-ons, sprays, shampoos, collars etc. Unfortunately again a lot of these products have poor efficacy and it is not uncommon for us to see kittens that have been treated using some of these products to still have fleas.
Here in Rutland we use very effective spot-ons to prevent flea infestation and will kill any fleas your kitten gets within 24 hours. We also have an injection to protect your cat from fleas which only needs to be given every 6 months.
The vet/nurse will be able to give you advice and again we have a free weigh and flea treatment service by our trained staff.
If your cat gets fleas then we can help – we recommend a spot-on treatment to kill the fleas and help prevent more going forward. BUT remember, 95% of the problem is in your house now, not on the cat. So it is also very important to treat your house. This is done by hoovering, washing bedding but also we have an environmental/house spray which will kill the larvae and pupae and lasts for up to 1 year.
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