How to keep your feline feeling fine and flea-free
Updated: Feb 7
At St. Cloud Pup Pantry Pet Shop and Grooming Salon, one of the most prevailing series of questions we field is about flea treatment for pets. Be it canine or feline-related. The base fact is Florida is a prime location to have a genuine interest and concern about year-round flea and tick treatments, which ones are safest, which ones are more effective, and what other insect concerns should be addressed.
In this particular informational platform, we will stick to the main pests; fleas and closely related cousin offshoots, the common tick, and how you can choose the best flea treatment for you and your cat. Starting with the basics, if you suspect your cat has fleas, don’t waste a moment because fleas are fast-moving, rapidly spreading prolific breeders and, if left unattended, can quickly become an entire household invasion.
Check it out, comb around for clues.
One of the quickest ways to narrow down the hidden culprit that has your cat in a scratching frenzy is a close-to-skin comb-through with a fine tooth flea comb. A good flea comb should be tight-toothed, slightly flexible, and, if possible, the opposite color of your cat’s fur. A longer-haired breed cat may also be better groomed for clues with a brush or thicker, heavier comb. Ask us at Pup Pantry, and one of our knowledgeable and caring salon stylists will provide you with an excellent choice of flea combs for cats and dogs.
If the comb-out hair has black specks or even tiny hardened scab-like scales, a second peremptory test is to spread them out on a clean paper towel and sprinkle a bit of water on them. If the suspected fecal matter of the flea “dirt” turns a reddish color, this is a sign of flea activity. If you see actual fleas moving and trying to hide into the hair, then you’ve got absolute reason to either call your vet or try to contain the spread of these dastardly pests as soon as possible.
From signs to symptoms.
There is no doubt that fleas are rapid repeaters that defy the old wives’ tale that they just stay on one host. This is not the case at all. Fleas do jump from host to host, and because they burrow into the skin to feed on blood, this will cause your cat to scratch and bite incessantly in an attempt to alleviate the itch and accompanying inflammation. Pup Pantry wishes to remind you that not all fleas attacks occur outdoors either. While keeping your feline inside as much as possible during the peak winter breeding season is healthier, fleas can be brought in from various outdoor carrier hosts. Dogs, other cats, and contact with other rodents; skunks, squirrels, and raccoons, for example, are prime secondary culprits. A quick rundown of outward signs of possible flea activity on your cat includes the following symptoms:
Chewing at prime spots, especially at the base of the tail
Shaking the head from side to side and scratching at the ears.
Lethargic, hiding away.
The sudden appearance of bald spots and rashes.
To avoid the risk of your cat becoming anemic due to blood loss from flea bites, you must begin a round or two of the best flea meds for cats, one that not only will stop the initial outbreak but also kill any remaining larvae left behind.
For the ease of fleas.
The monthly topical spot variety is the best flea treatment on any shelf or vet suggestion. The solution is applied from a premeasured for weight and age ampule usually squeezed onto the base of the neck, between the shoulder blades, and is time-released to last the month. Generally water resistant as well, they can be purchased in a 6-month packet and range in price from $20.00 to $60.00 depending on brand name and any additional pest-ridden combination like ticks, heartworm, etc.
Flea collars are also an option, offer nighttime reflective safety if your feline is an outdoorsy wanderer, and are easy to use. However, some cats are highly prone to the chemical reaction so close to their skin, so it is always best to check with a professional staff advocate or vet before considering a collar. Also, remember that a collar can become snared and snagged on something and cause your cat to react vehemently to avoid being entangled. A rare occurrence, yes, but it does happen.
Soothing the savage beast.
Whatever you choose to use as a flea treatment for cats, you may wish to include a natural calming supplement or agent to give your cat some relief until the medicine begins to work effectively. Pup Pantry can provide you with top options there as well. Grooming a cat is a task best left to the pros when it comes down to an actual bath, but those home pet lovers can also assist by working a trusting bonding routine into your cats at home grooming time. Try some of these in your environment:
Pick a time of day or night when your cat is more apt to be at the calmest.
Start with gentle stroking and move up to soft brushing and combing while praising and treating with little bits of cat-friendly snacks.
Try working in nail trimming or gentle tooth/gum rubbing. If that causes a definite no-go, just stick to what works and build up to an all-out grooming session.
Do NOT try any human allergy dose unless you’ve discussed this with your vet.
Alternately, do NOT use a flea treatment meant for dogs on your cat and vice versa.
Don’t forget to increase your house cleaning routine during flea season.
Wash pet and human bed linens regularly, dust and vacuum, and immediately empty the canister into a separate trash bag to toss away any fleas, fecal matter, or larvae.
Empty your cat’s litter box and disinfect it weekly while scooping out “deposits” at least twice a day.
Try to avoid using heavily scented cleaning products and never use ammonia, bleach, or pine-based cleaners for a litter box. The fumes and lingering scent are quite caustic on cats.
Lastly, while it is not a normal hazard, some of the over 200 species of fleas can find their way onto human hosts, so give your ankles and lower legs a quick look as well. When it comes to flea treatment, it can be one fur all and all fur one.
Prevention and attention.
Should you have further concerns or questions, we invite you to call us at 407-498-4400. Or visit us at our St. Cloud location, conveniently situated at 1704 E Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy, to talk about fleas, ticks, and the best flea treatments available for your cat and dog. Florida living is an all-weather flea season, and we are your all-weather pet pleasing pet shop, grooming boutique, and specialty bakery. Our family is always yours at Pup Pantry, online, on-call, and on-site.