How Fleas and Ticks Can Affect Your Cat

No pet lover wants to see their precious kitty suffering with fleas and ticks. Yet, as every pet lover knows, these nasty parasites are a fact of life when you have furry companions -- this is especially true in the summer months as that’s when they thrive.

All pets are at risk when it comes to fleas and ticks. Even indoor cats. Sometimes cat lovers think they're indoor cats can’t attract fleas or ticks but that’s not true. You can bring ticks in on your clothes and if you have a visiting pet, they could bring fleas with them.

You don’t want that!

Your veterinarian will share good flea and tick prevention strategies and products with you. It’s also a good idea to know how these creatures can affect your kitty so you’ll know what to look for. After all, fleas and ticks are parasites that will not only cause your kitty harm, but can also transmit them to you.

cat fleas and ticks

Fleas and Ticks Can Cause:

Skin Irritations -- If you see sores or scabs on your pet’s skin, it could be due to fleas. In fact, some veterinarians say flea allergic dermatitis is the most common skin condition in cats. It may sound like an odd concept but this occurs when your cat is bit by the flea and reacts to the flea saliva. This type of sensitivity causes incessant itching -- often around the hindquarters. Your cat may scratch the same place so often that she creates bare spots in her coat. Her skin may be red and irritated, or you may even see sores. You might think you’d see the fleas, or at least evidence of them. Yet, sometimes, you can’t. Depending on the flea life cycle, they may not leave a lot of “evidence” behind, other than the skin problems. If your kitty shows skin irritations, please make an appointment with your veterinarian.

Relentless Itching (Which can be passed on to you.) -- Even if your kitty doesn’t have a flea allergy, having those parasites crawl on her and constantly bite will make her itch. If lf left untreated, you’ll have a full blown flea infestation on your hands and may find fleas attacking you as well. If you’ve ever encountered a flea infestation, you know you don’t want to repeat the experience.

Internal infections -- If your kitty swallows a flea, she’s at risk for internal complications which can include a tapeworm or even anemia. It may sound crazy, but the flea itself can have the tapeworm and if your kitty swallows it….well, then your kitty has the tapeworm. Anemia can occur too. This is most common in kittens who are simply so bitten up with fleas that they lose too many red blood cells.

Lyme disease -- Carried by ticks, lyme disease is one of the best known parasite-carried diseases. It’s actually rare in cats, though your cat could bring in a tick which could be transferred to you and if the tick had the disease, it could give it to you. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Cat Scratch Fever can also be transmitted by fleas and ticks and can spread from cats to people. In fact, the misery brought on by fleas and ticks is such that it’s worth frequent checks to ensure your pet isn’t carrying them and of course, to take extra precautions.

Types of Flea and Tick Prevention

You’re probably familiar with flea and tick collars. You may also know about external flea/tick applications that go between the shoulder blades of your pet. Then, there are powders and oral tablets. In fact, if you’ve ever felt overwhelmed at all the varieties available, you’re not alone. There are a lot of of flea and tick options. Yet, not all of them are created equal and there are some we’d recommend you avoid.

You’d do well to discuss flea/tick products and prevention strategies with your veterinarian, not only because we stay current on the different options, but we also take into account your pet’s lifestyle, age, and other factors.

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