Yes! Kittens are delightful! They have everything: they're cute, cuddly and fluffy! What’s not to love? However, kittens tend to be affected by a particularly nasty pest called fleas. These can quickly cause serious health problems for kittens.
Therefore, it's important to eliminate fleas as soon as you spot them. And, even if your kitten doesn’t have fleas, you need to do everything you can to prevent an infestation. That is why flea prevention for kittens is so necessary. In this article, you will learn all about flea infestations in kittens and how best to solve this problem.
Get started with the basics: What is a flea?
A flea is a small, wingless insect that feeds on the blood of its hosts. This external parasite is reddish-brown or black in colour. Generally, each flea can live up to one year, and can actually produce millions of eggs during its life cycle. Surely, this sounds very serious and dangerous for your kitten and your entire household. Plus, it proves how important flea prevention for kittens actually is!
Are fleas harmful to kittens?
According to Dr Alissa Brown, there are several ways in which fleas can harm your kitten:
- Fleas can carry tapeworms, a parasite that, while usually not deadly to cats, will leave behind disturbing evidence that you may not be happy about cleaning up. As the tapeworm matures, pieces break off from its body. Look for these pieces in your cat’s faeces or in the hair underneath your cat’s tail. They resemble small grains of white rice.
- They can cause anaemia and skin problems.
- Flea bites are just plain uncomfortable. They can negatively affect your cat’s level of comfort. Fleas feed on blood, and flea bites can be itchy and uncomfortable for your cat.
How is it possible to tell if your kitten has fleas?
There are three key indicators that will tell you if your cat is hosting a family of fleas:
- The physical presence of fleas in your kitten’s coat – “Fleas resemble little black seeds. Fleas jump; they don’t fly”, said Dr Brown. If you see black on your kitten’s coat, he has fleas.
- Flea dirt – This is flea faeces. These are little black flecks that fleas deposit on your kitten’s coat. When you wash them with water they appear red due to the remnants of your kitten’s blood.
- Frequent scratching, chewing or licking – Flea bites are very irritating to your kitten, so he may attempt to ease the discomfort by scratching or biting.
How efficient is flea prevention for kittens?
Starting a regular flea-control routine is an excellent method of flea prevention for kittens! However, it’s imperative to seek the advice of your vet before starting any type of medication. This is critical because not all flea-control options are safe for kittens. There are several different flea prevention options for kittens to choose from. The three main categories are:
- Oral flea preventatives: these are pills typically given once per month by mouth.
- Topical flea control: is a liquid that is applied to your kitten’s coat (once per month). Incredibly, topical flea control spreads throughout your kitten’s coat on its own. Do not rub it.
- Flea collars: are placed around a cat’s neck. These last longer than a month.
What if your kitten already has fleas?
Sometimes, before you get the chance to start any flea prevention for kittens, your feline friend already has fleas! If this is the case, you need to consult your veterinarian to determine the best course of action. Here you have some tips:
- Remember to never use a flea product designed for a dog on your kitten. Flea treatments for dogs can be toxic to cats.
- Vacuum carpets your home and car.
- Wash your kitten’s bedding.
- Launder everything that your cat has come in contact to. Make sure to use hot water to kill the fleas.
- Consult your vet about the use of a “flea bomb,” fogger or powder for your home.
- If the infestation is severe, consult a pest exterminator.
Flea prevention for kittens is very important. Place the utmost important in this if you want to prevent a full-scale infestation!