Sat June 16, 2012
Cats Vs. Fleas
The battle between cats and fleas turns into a minor skirmish if you use the right product to help your pet fight those bothersome little parasites.
By Mindy Norton
Nobody likes fleas! But if your cat is scratching and biting at its fur lately, you may have a flea problem.
Fleas are pesky little insects that can multiply exponentially. One or two fleas can become millions within just weeks.
Adult fleas do two things - they lay eggs to make babies, and they bite the host animal.
One flea can bite an animal hundreds of times in a single day. As if it weren't bad enough to have thousands of fleas biting one poor animal, your cat may have an allergic reaction to flea saliva that can cause its skin to break out in little bumps.
Some cats will even begin to pull their fur out in an attempt to relieve the miserable itching and discomfort.
It used to be very difficult to battle a flea problem on an animal or in your house. It involved powders and sprays, which didn't smell so great and made a big mess.
Nowadays, fighting fleas on your cat is so much easier because of the topical applications available to get rid of fleas and keep them away. They are applied once a month at the base of the back of the animal's neck.
That's it. We started using it several years ago and haven't had a flea problem since.
When you first begin to use a topical flea preventative, you should also clean your house thoroughly, and make sure to wash your pet's bedding to get rid of any remaining fleas and flea eggs. You should see positive results very quickly.
A word of caution: do not use any products on or around your cat that are intended for use with other animals. Read the label - if it doesn't say it's safe for cats find another product.
Check with your veterinarian for recommendations on products to use and for advice on relieving any lingering skin irritation.
And skip the flea collars - they contain potent chemicals which can irritate the animal's neck and (according to several vets I have asked) they don't really work very well.
So flea season may be upon us, but with a good topical flea treatment once a month it doesn't have to bother you or your feline friend, when you're speaking of pets.
Speaking of Pets with host Mindy Norton (firstname.lastname@example.org) is for people who care about pets and about humane treatment for animals in general, and who want to celebrate that special relationship between us and our animal companions. Find out more about Speaking of Pets at Alabama Public Radio.