Fleas are one of the most common pests plaguing domestic pets such as cats and dogs. Fleas are very small, wingless parasites that feed on blood, laying hundreds of eggs at a time and infesting areas where their hosts live. A large infestation can cause serious health problems, including anemia and even death, so treating your cat as soon as possible is necessary.
Fleas can be very dangerous for your cat. In addition to the itching and scratching that can result from flea bites, it is possible for your cat to contract a form of anemia from a parasite that is carried by the some fleas. What follows are some tips on how to tell if your cat has fleas so that you can prevent a fleas infestation before it gets out of control; since a flea outbreak is very difficult to get back under control once the fleas have got hold of your cat and your home. Perhaps the first sign of a flea outbreak will be unusually frequent itching and scratching by your cat. This scratching can take the form of scratching with hind legs, biting or nibbling itself, or excessive rubbing against foreign objects to scratch. Often the flea bites will have created a strong need for your cat to scratch well before the fleas are obviously visible to the eye, so you will have to be on the lookout for these flea warning signs such as scratching or biting on the part of your cat.
Another warning sign that you may have a flea infestation is the sudden appearance of itchy bites on your legs and ankles. Since fleas will often take up residence in your home's carpets, you and your cat will begin to receive flea bites on your legs and ankles. These flea bites are incredibly itchy and distracting, and you will be amazed at the sheer number of bites that you will receive in a very short amount of time once a flea infestation is underway.
A third way to tell if your cat has fleas is to keep an eye out for "flea dirt" in the areas that your cat frequently sits or lies down. Since fleas feed on your cat's blood, their excrement and droppings will consist of digested and dried cat blood. This will take the form of tiny rust-colored pellets that will seem to magically appear out of nowhere. But this flea dirt is a telltale sign of fleas. If you want to be absolutely sure if you are looking at flea dirt, simply gather up some of the flea droppings, place them on a moist paper towel. If you have genuine flea dirt, then the paper towel will begin to form rust colored streaks as the flea dirt dissolves on the paper towel. If this occurs, you can be sure that your cat has fleas.
If you find that your cat has fleas, you must take immediate steps to rid your cat of its flea infestation since fleas pose a serious health risk to your cat. Cats can develop a form of anemia from the loss of red blood cells due to the fleas' feasting on its blood and due to a parasite infection that can result from parasites that can be carried by fleas. Our own dear cat almost died from this form of anemia that was contracted from a very severe flea infestation we once had. So do yourself and your beloved cat a favor and be on the lookout for these warning signs that your cat and your home may have contracted fleas.
Fleas will multiply exponentially, and by the time you notice their presence you can be sure that the next wave of fleas is soon to be hatching from the eggs that are already surely on your cat and in your carpet. The sooner you nip the flea problem in the bud, the easier it will be to get rid of them. Use medicines such as Frontline or Advantage that are available from your local veterinarian, but you may have to use flea bombs or sprays if your carpets and linens are already swarming with biting, jumping fleas. The longer you wait to get rid of them, the worse the flea problem will get, and the greater the danger there will be to your beloved cat. Even if you have never had fleas before, all it takes is a flea or two to be tracked in from the outside to begin an exponential flea problem that will threaten the very life of your precious feline companion. If you keep your eyes open for the above warning signs, you will be well on your way to preventing the flea outbreak before it begins.