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Fleas are small, black blood-sucking insects and one of the most common parasites found on cats.

About Cat Fleas

The most common flea found on cats is the cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis) but occasionally rabbit and hedgehog fleas may be found on cats. Adult fleas live on the cat and the females lay eggs at a rate of up to 50 eggs per day. The eggs fall off the cat and so end up on floors, house furniture, the cat's bedding, etc. The eggs then hatch and the larvae then develop into pupae in a sticky cocoon until an adult flea emerges. The new flea then attaches itself to an animal host and the cycle continues. The flea's saliva is considered a strong allergenic substance and is the cause of a skin disease in cats called Flea Allergic Dermatitis (FAD).

Symptoms Of Cat Fleas

The symptoms of fleas can vary from no visible signs to severe itching with the cat scratching or chewing itself, usually on the lower back or base of its tail. Small black insects may be seen on close inspection and flea faeces may be seen by brushing the cat's coat with a fine-toothed flea comb and placing the debris collected on a wet piece of white paper. Flea faeces are made up of dry blood which are dark brown when dry, but turn red when wet. In some cases fleas can result in severe blood loss which can cause anaemia and even kill a kitten.

Treatment Of CatĀ Fleas

If you suspect your cat has fleas, there are a variety of treatments for fleas such as flea collars, spot treatments and spray available from pet shops and veterinarians. However the fleas on the cat are only part of the problem, the cat's bedding, around the house should also be treated with flea treatments to kill any eggs. It is important to read and follow the instructions on any flea treatments carefully.

Prevention Of Cat Fleas

Prevention is best achieved by applying flea treatments regularly to the cat to kill adult fleas, and so prevent the laying of eggs.