How to Tell if Your Cat has Fleas

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how to tell if your cat has fleas or dry skin

Check your cat’s ears carefully for signs of scratching, redness, blood, or dirt. These can all be signs of fleas. The skin on the belly, groin, or base of the tail may appear red and bumpy, especially if your cat is doing a lot of scratching.

How to Inspect and Remove Fleas from Your Cat

By Jennifer Kvamme, DVM

When springtime brings warm weather, you may be visited by some uninvited guests. Fleas become most active when temperatures are favorable (35°C and a relative humidity of 70 percent are ideal conditions for flea populations). In parts of the world where winter temperatures fall below this for more than 40 hours per month, households and pets get a bit of a break from flea activity.

Fleas are indeed very active insects, feeding on blood from your cat and you. They jump onto passing animals and burrow down into the fur to the skin, where they stay well hidden while biting and ingesting blood. This is irritating to the animal, and humans as well, as the bites can cause severe itching and inflammation.

How Do I Know if My Cat has Fleas?

In severe infestations, it’s easy to spot fleas jumping and moving on and off your cat’s body. In less obvious situations, you may notice that your cat is restless and doing more scratching or chewing on certain areas of his body. Shaking the head often and scratching at the ears is another indication of a possible flea infestation in your cat.

Excessive and constant licking at the haircoat is another sign of potential fleas, especially in cats. Many cats will even groom the fleas out of the haircoat before you get a chance to see the evidence.

How to Tell if Your Cat Has Fleas

Flea bites can cause a cat’s skin and fur to feel very itchy, Dr. Weinberg says. One of the signs of fleas on cats is if your cat suddenly starts scratching their body with their paws or chewing their skin in an attempt to stop the itchy sensation.

Excessive Grooming and Hair Loss

Cats are fastidious groomers, but when fleas on cats start biting, their grooming becomes extreme, especially around the hind legs and base of the tail, Dr. Weinberg says. Your cat may lick and chew repeatedly, trying to eliminate the itchy sensation. Without intervention, they may groom themselves to the point that you start to see bald patches, especially on the back of the legs, neck and around the base of the tail.

What are fleas?

Fleas are an external parasite that depend upon a host animal for their survival. Once fleas find your pet, the adult fleas will reproduce and thrive on your dog, and in your home, until you break their lifecycle.

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