Flea Prevention Is Important for Cats Too!

image of a cat.

When most people think of who needs flea prevention, the family dog is at the top of the list, and often cats are forgotten or assumed to be flea free. Dogs are bathed more regularly than cats and when they scratch it’s much more obvious. Cats are very clean creatures; they groom themselves daily and often don’t show as many outward signs of a flea infestation as dogs.

While fleas are annoying and unsanitary; preventing the diseases they spread is a much more important reason for flea prevention for both the cat and for their families. Fleas feed on blood and breed very quickly and effectively. Young kittens are most at risk for developing anemia simply from being fed on by large numbers of fleas. It is important to address flea infestations early in young cats.

Fleas are the intermediate host for tapeworms and when a cat grooms, it ingests fleas and flea feces resulting in infection. The tapeworms develop into adults in the intestines. Tapeworms can cause no symptoms with very mild infestations to severe malnutrition and death with severe cases. Humans can also become infected with tapeworms through the flea.

Haemotrophic mycoplasma is a bacterial disease transmitted during the feeding process of the flea. It infects the red blood cells in cats and stimulates the cat’s own immune system to destroy those red blood cells. Infection can result in a severe and fatal anemia without treatment. Mycoplasma is most common in areas with lots of cats because the fleas transmit it cat to cat, however. Even cats that don’t socialize are at risk.

There are many flea prevention options available from your veterinarian. The most common are topical preparations applied one time monthly, however, there are other options including injections that last for months and oral medications. Some flea prevention kills adult fleas, others prevent fleas from breeding. It is important to discuss your individual cat's options based on his or her lifestyle and needs. It is also important not to use homeopathic/ herbal preparations without first discussing them with your veterinarian.

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  • "I have been taking my 16 year old lab, Oscar, to this vet since he came to me in 2004, and I wouldn't take any of my dogs anywhere else! They are so wonderful with both pets and people. I would recommend any of the doctors and staff to anyone."
    Erin H
  • "We have been going to another vet for years. We wanted to have our year old Wheaten Terrier, Rylee spayed by laparoscopy so she would have less pain and be back to her usual activity in 2-3 days instead of 10-14 days. Our vet does the traditional spay. We had a consult meet and greet with Dr. Courtney Pierce. She answered all our questions and so friendly and professional. They have a state of the art OR suite. Rylee did great. On post op day three she spotted a squirrel and did an all out chase with no ill effects! All the staff were great."
    Linda A
  • "I love Dr. Jernigan at AHLB and would never take my dog anywhere else! The staff is excellent with animals and always professional, courteous and respectful to owners. I have trusted this animal hospital for all of my dog's care, including check ups, surgeries (she's had three!) and for boarding when we have to go out of town. Every experience I have had here has been wonderful and I highly recommend their services to anyone looking for a veterinary office for their furry children!."
    Avery C