Fleas and ticks can be excruciating for you and your cat. In just one day, an adult female flea can lay up to 20 eggs, 10 of which will be females and lay eggs again until about 20,000 new fleas are produced in just 2 months. That’s crazy!
You may keep your cat safe from the outside world, but you also risk bringing in fleas into your home after an encounter with an infected cat or dog. Fleas and ticks are incredibly small, and it would be impossible to spot one jumping or crawling on to your clothing as it settles on its next host.
There are many dangers fleas and ticks pose to your cat’s health. They can transmit diseases such as Lyme Disease, Bartonella, and even tapeworm. In rare cases, they can even cause paralysis. This is why you need to know to spot fleas and ticks so you could check your cat yourself from time to time.
Here are 5 signs to know if your cat has fleas and ticks:
- Behavioral Changes
The fastest way to tell if your cat has fleas and ticks is to see if he’s scratching and biting parts of his body more than usual. Having fleas and ticks is extremely uncomfortable and your cat’s restlessness would show for it. Observe if your cat is scratching and licking itself more than usual. If he is, your cat probably has fleas and ticks and you may want to get flea and tick meds for cats immediately.
- Actual Fleas
Of course, one of the best ways to check if your cat has fleas or ticks is actually looking for them. But this is not a very easy thing to do. Growing only from 1/16 to 1/8 inches, and jumping too high for you to see, searching for a flea could be a painstaking process. You can do this with a flea comb instead. Try to focus on the areas around the cat’s neck or his tail.
- Dirt Specks on the Fur
If you don’t have a flea comb, you can always check for fleas and ticks another way. Since they can be difficult to catch on the act, and they could jump really fast so you couldn’t see them, you can check for evidence of flea habitation instead. If you see small specks of dirt stuck on your cat’s fur, you’re most likely looking at the fleas’ feces called “flea dirt.” They usually turn red if you wet them a little since flea dirt is just digested blood that flea larvae feed on.
- Hair Loss
If your feline is losing patches of fur, he probably has fleas and/or ticks. The itch from fleabites can make your cat go crazy so there definitely will be more scratching and biting. This results in hair loss and bald spots on your cat’s hair.
- Red Spots and Scabs
Aside from bald patches, another way to find out if your cat has fleas and ticks is to look for red spots, lumps, or scabs on his body. Irritation is due to constant scratching and biting, and it may also be due to an allergic reaction to flea saliva. This condition is called flea allergy dermatitis. Over time, irritation due to flea allergy dermatitis can form crusts all over your cat’s skin. If you observe this kind of symptom on your pet, contact your vet immediately and get flea and tick meds for cats.
Fleas and ticks are heavy blood-drinkers. They can consume as much as 6.7 UL of blood every single day – that’s 15 times more than their actual weight. So when a cat, especially a kitten, is heavily infested with fleas and ticks, anemia is possible. If your cat has anemia, he may appear less energetic and his appetite may decrease. You can also try checking the gums. Healthy gums should look reddish or pinkish. If your cat has pale gums too, it’s time to bring him to the vet.
Fleas and ticks are among the oldest creatures on earth and they have been tormenting their hosts for millions of years now. They should not be taken lightly. The best way to deal with them when they start to infest your home and your cat is to know how to check for them and how to get rid of them immediately. Even if you still don’t see any signs of infestation, it’s best that you be prepared for it in case it happens.
Source: ROI High