Fleas are one of the most common parasites that can impact the health and well-being of your cat. Fleas can cause cats to itch and scratch, producing an allergic response in some cats. Severe infestations can cause anaemia, more so in young kittens. Cats can also become infected by tapeworm if fleas containing tapeworm larvae are accidentally ingested. But it’s not just your cat that can be at risk to a flea infestation, the home environment, including your family, can be at risk too. So it’s important you speak to your vet about an appropriate flea control program for your pet.
Flea infestations are like icebergs – 95% of the danger is invisible. It is the flea eggs, the ‘maggot like’ larvae, and pupae that go unnoticed by pet owners.
Where it all starts
A cat or kitten will pick up a flea from an infested environment. Each female will lay over 50 eggs per day, which will drop off the cat and into the home environment – carpet, sofa, even your bed. These flea eggs will then hatch into ‘maggot like’ larvae, then vomit up the contents of their stomach, to form pupae (the last stage before developing into adult fleas). The adult flea will then jump onto your cat and so the process begins again, only hugely multiplied.
The 4 images on the right show the different stages of the lifecycle of fleas
- Cat with one or two fleas enters the home.
- One flea lays >200 eggs onto your cat which fall off into the home.
- Larvae and pupae live in the furniture and carpets.
- Pupae develop into new adult fleas and then jump onto your cat continuing the cycle.
Keeping your cat and home flea free
To control and prevent flea infestations on your cat and in your home, you should:
- Kill any existing adult fleas on your cat.
- Eliminate the infestation in the environment – flea eggs, ‘maggot like’ larvae and pupae.
- Prevent reinfestation by ensuring your cat receives regular flea prevention from your vet.
Next steps: what you should do now?
To give your cat the very best protection against the threat of a flea infestation and to help keep your home flea free, ask your village vet about integrated flea control. Village Vet offer an injectable flea control for your cat which is only required every 6 months, so this can be given at your cat’s 6 month flea check.