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Cat Flea and Tick Control


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Cat owners have been battling with fleas and ticks for as long as cats and people have been living together. These parasites are in so many environments that even pets that rarely leave the home should be considered at potential risk for picking up fleas, and to a lesser extent, ticks. Thankfully, controlling these nasty parasites has never been easier.

"Flea and tick bites can also transmit very serious diseases from one animal to another."


Why Should Pet Owners Be Concerned About Fleas?

Fleas and ticks are not just a nuisance. A flea-infested cat may scratch and bite herself until she is bald over large parts of her body. Flea bite allergies can cause even more severe skin lesions. When a large number of fleas are present, they suck a lot of blood from the body, and particularly if the pet is very small or young, a potentially life-threatening anemia may develop. Flea and tick bites can also transmit very serious diseases from one animal to another.

How Do I Know If My Pet Has Fleas Or Ticks?

Adams Plus Flea & Tick Mist

Owners should examine their cats on a regular basis. Use your hands to part the fur so you can see directly down to the skin. Look over the cat's whole body, but pay special attention to the area around the base of the tail, back of the hind legs, around the face and in the armpits and groin. Here are some things to watch out for.

Fleas are smaller than a grain of rice. They have a body that is taller than it is wide and can move very quickly, often dashing across the skin or leaping away when disturbed. Flea feces, also called flea dirt, looks like coffee grounds and is often visible even when fleas are not. Cats may groom themselves so fastidiously that they remove much of the evidence of a flea infestation. If your cat is itchy, fleas are still a strong possibility even if you don't see them on your pet.

Most ticks are significantly larger than fleas, although some species and immature ticks can be quite small. They are often found with their mouthparts firmly embedded in the skin. A tick that has fed on blood will look like a plump bean, rather than having the relatively flat appearance of a tick that has not yet eaten.

Flea Treatments at Home

If you find ticks on your cat, they need to be removed. Use a pair of tweezers or tick pliers to firmly grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull with steady pressure. Flush the tick down the toilet and wash your equipment and hands immediately.

Frontline Plus for Cats

Cats that have fleas or many ticks on them require a more generalized approach. Sprays, shampoos and dips are all useful, but they don't do much to prevent the parasites from coming back in the future. The best way to keep fleas and ticks off of your cat for a month or more is to use a topical preventative like Advantage II or PetArmor. If your problem is limited to fleas only, Capstar and Program are all good choices. Revolution and Advantage Multi can help with fleas, heartworms, and other parasites as well. Collars that claim to control both fleas and ticks are not as effective as some of the other choices now available to cat owners.

Fleas can quickly start breeding inside the home and move from pet to pet, so all animals in a household need to be treated. Vacuuming carpets, floors, and upholstery and washing pet bedding is very helpful and usually sufficient if an effective flea control preventative is also used monthly. If more environmental control is necessary premise and yard sprays and foggers are available.

Whatever type of flea and tick control you choose, carefully follow the manufacturer's directions to maximize its effectiveness and safety. Cats are extremely sensitive to some of the chemicals used to treat parasites. Never use a product that does not clearly state that is safe for cats on or around these animals.

Veterinary Care for Fleas & Ticks

Your veterinarian can help you determine which flea and tick control product is right for your cat. If your pet has an especially severe infestation, or is acting sick in any way, bring her in for an exam.


The above is provided for information purposes only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of any condition. This information does not cover all possible variables, conditions, reactions, or risks relating to any topic, medication, or product and should not be considered complete. Certain products or medications may have risks and you should always consult your local veterinarian concerning the treatment of your pet. Any trademarks are the property of their respective owners.