Felines and Fleas

It’s Summer!!  And I do believe that your indoor cat LOVES summer…maybe even more than you do!  But there are some points that many indoor only cat owners tend to overlook as this warm and glorious season is upon us.  Below are some key points that I like to bring to the attention of my kitty cat owners to help them keep their fur babies happy and healthy!

1:
Indoor cats CAN get fleas!   This may be a tough idea to consider, but hear me out.  The flea is as TINY ectoparasite that LOVES to feed on cats.  In fact, their preferred meal is feline blood.  Fleas notoriously are found outside in your back yard, living on those stray kitty cats that linger about your property, and wild life frolicking about your yard.  The outdoor flea will gain entrance into your home by a few common pathway

    • hitch-hike on your pant leg or on a dog;
    • jump through a screen in porch/door
    • jump through a 1st floor screened in window

    Your sun bathing kitty is a sitting duck for those pesky fleas to feast upon! 

    2:
    Fleas transmit tapeworms and bartonella to your cat!  Yikes!  Tapeworms are commonly transmitted to your cat by means of your cat inadvertently ingesting a flea while they are grooming themselves.  It can take up to 6 months for you to see evidence of this parasite, but you will start to see rice like segments hanging on the fur around the bum of your kitty.  These segments creep and crawl out of the hiney of your kitty (yep…pretty darn gross!) and end up on your bedding/chair and couch cushions!  AND if you accidentally ingested a tapeworm segment, YOU would contract tapeworms!
    Feline Bartonella is a bacterial infection that cats contract from the bites of fleas.  This infection can be transmitted to you through the innocence of a playful scratch resulting in Cat Scratch Fever.  Bartonella in cats can be asymptomatic, but also can cause major health issues leading to costly veterinary bills and your precious baby being ill.  

    3:
    Fleas can be safely prevented!  Can I get an AMEN!  There are multiple safe topical products available for cats and kittens that will PREVENT and treat for fleas.  Please seek the advice of your trusted family veterinarian for their opinion on which product would be best for your indoor kitty.  I ALWAYS advise my clients to run far FAR away from the generic topical preventives as they are more likely to result in adverse effects.  My go to topical product is Revolution (a topical product labeled to kittens 8 weeks and older).  

    The old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” really rings true!  Preventing your indoor kitty from experiencing fleas during this glorious season is the gift that keeps on giving.  Invest in flea prevention for your precious fur baby and enjoy your flea-free summer!

    Cheers!

     

    Carrie Vigeant D.V.M., mother of 3 boys, entrepreneur, wife, and foodie.