Fleas can be tricky customers, due to the complexity of their life cycle and resistance to insecticides. The fleas seen on your pet are, in fact, only a small part of the problem (around 5%). The vast majority of the flea family is in the carpets, floorboards, furnishings and pet bedding in your home.
Some exist as adults but the majority are in the form of flea egg (upto 50 eggs per flea can be laid a day), flea larvae and flea pupae. Unfortunately the last of these is impossible to destroy, their “armour-like” coating protecting them from all the flea products, but the other forms we can do something about.
The fleas life cycle
The life cycle of a common flea can last as little as three weeks, depending on the temperature and humidity of their surroundings
Identifying flea infestation - The warning signs:
- Black specks
- Black specks on your cat or his/her bedding could be flea dirt. Which are the faeces of partially digested blood from you cat, excreted by the adult fleas. They can often be found around the neck area and the base of the cats tail.
There are two easy ways to check for flea dirt:
- Using a metal flea comb, available form the Veterinary Practice. Run the comb over your cat, making sure the comb reaches the cats skin through the coat. If there are black specks on the comb they may be flea dirt.
- Place a white paper towel beneath your cat and rub your hands across the fur. If black specks appear on the towel, they may be flea dirt.
With both of these methods, to confirm if the specks are flea dirt. Place the specks on a white piece of paper, sprinkle a few drops of water on the specks and if after a couple of minutes a reddish, brown stain is seen in the water. It will indicate that the dirt contains, partially digested blood from your cat. This is flea dirt.
Your cat may exhibit nervous or annoyed behaviour coupled with excessive scratching and or grooming, your cat may even start to bite himself, which not only confirms the presence of fleas, but also may indicate that the presence of fleas may be affecting your cats health. (See ailments below)
We have several types of flea treatment available, some are spot on’s and others are tablets or injections. We can discuss what products best suit your cat and your lifestyle. If your cat has got fleas, it’s important to also treat the environment.