Fleas need to flee…. let’s see how!
Watch out for…
The moment you see your cat scratching and chewing at her coat, immediately check, thoroughly, for fleas or flea dirt. If you see a cat who has sores or damp areas, then eczema is very often the cause of the problem. Go over every inch of the cat from the top coat, side and belly and down and inside the legs and tail. Fleas hide all over the coat and in the cat’s bedding. Many cats are not really troubled by fleas but 60 percent can have major problems that can cause serious health risks to your cat. If you are a pet parent of a dog as well, check him as well as they can jump from dogs on to cats and vice versa. Loss of hair is also a good indicator that there may be a problem with fleas.
Place some clean newspaper on a table and then pick up your cat and stand her on the paper. Start combing and go over the entire body. You will soon see flea dirt drop on to the paper and probably a few fleas as well. Have ready some good quality flea powder that is listed safe for cats. Pick up small amounts in your fingers and starting at the under tail, gently massaging it into the coat. Gradually work through the whole body of the cat taking special care of the eyes and ears.
When finished, roll up the newspaper and burn it – if you just toss it into the bin, the fleas can escape and continue to cause trouble. Make sure you thoroughly wash your hands.
Gently brush and/or comb all the powder out. This takes time but is extremely important because if the cat licks the powder she will get sick. If you have more than one cat, they must all be treated in the same way to eradicate the fleas totally. If you have treated your cat for tapeworm, you should also use the flea powder as fleas can carry tapeworm. A rinse through with nice warm water will leave your cat feeling well loved and much happier. Dry her off well and she will, indeed, be a happy cat. You need to do this every 3-4 months.
Pet parents who brush and comb their cats at least three times a week are usually able to avoid flea problems because they pay close attention to their cat’s coat.
(Joan E Henderson is based in Australia and she has judged furry felines in many other countries including USA, Bermuda, Malaysia, South Africa, Hong Kong, Philippines and New Zealand).