Cat Fleas : Diagnosing And Tackling The Infestation
The cat flea is somewhat different from dog fleas and stick tight fleas. Although it’s primary host is the cat, it can infest dogs, opossums, rabbits, humans, and other carnivores. Typically, the adult fleas feed off the blood of the host animal through bites and deposit fecal material that the larvae feed from until adulthood. You may see tiny bits of what looks like dirt, but it is actually “flea dirt” or the fecal matter.
Symptoms of cat fleas on your pet will obviously be scratching since the bites itch. If there are only a few fleas your adult dog or cat, it will cause very little harm. In some cases the pet may be allergic to substances in the flea’s saliva. If this occurs, it will result in a condition called flea allergy dermatitis. Typically, it will look like dry patches of skin that may loose hair due to scratching the irritating bite. If the animal is small and has a large cat flea infestation, it can lose enough blood to cause anemia. Like human anemia, symptoms would include lethargy and could lead to death if the fleas infestation is not treated. Cat fleas can also transmit diseases and other parasites such as the tapeworm. This is a bacteria that causes diseases such as Carrion’s disease, trench fever, and cat scratch fever.
Treating your pet for cat fleas can be a daunting task. There are so many commercially prepared products that making a choice is overwhelming. Chemicals can be dangerous to the environment and many do not want to put these chemicals on their beloved family pet. Some animals can not tolerate these treatments and become ill when they are exposed. There are several home remedies that can help repel fleas from your home and pet.
One such remedy is placing small sprigs of black walnut leaves beneath your couches and beds to repel fleas from coming into the home. Cedar leaves work well also. Making a home made garlic oil can also help to keep them off the pet as they venture into the great outdoors. There are health hazards to ask your vet about before trying this on cats.
Although dogs can eat small amounts of garlic, cats should not eat it. Garlic has been touted to repel fleas, but science has not confirmed that it works. Generally, it is the oil that smothers the fleas as you rub it into the pet’s coat. Supposedly, the garlic then makes the animal repugnant to future bites from fleas. If you make homemade garlic oil, it should be used fresh and not stored for later use as it is prone to grow the bacteria that causes botulism.
Since cats are more sensitive to essential oils, ask your vet which home made remedy would be safe for your cat’s fleas infestation. There are also commercially prepared garlic oil capsules that can be broken apart to be rubbed into the coat so that you can save yourself the trouble of making it at home and worrying about it spoiling as you store it.
Cat fleas can be an aggravating problem for any pet owner of dogs or cats. With diligent prevention methods, you may never have to treat for an infestation. However, if you do have to treat a pet with flea symptoms, make sure to use the appropriate product for you pet since cats and dogs can not be treated with the same products.
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