Keeping your Cat Free of Fleas
Veterinarian Reviewed on July 23, 2008 by Dr. Janice Huntingford
Dealing with fleas can be a highly frustrating and time consuming activity. While most cat owners will agree that flea season can drive you crazy, there are several natural, preventative measures that you can take to keep your cat free of fleas. For cats, the main symptoms associated with fleas are often itchiness and allergies, many kittens with fragile immune systems can become ill. Skin irritations and hair loss are also sometimes associated wit fleas but perhaps the biggest problem is that fleas reproduce very quickly and can infest your entire house.
Bathing your pet is one of the best preventions to fleas. Unfortunately, bathing a cat can be quite a challenging endeavor. If your cat is still young, it is important to familiarize it with being bathed so that it is easier when they become older. Cats are naturally averse to water but exposing them to bathing from a young age can make the chore more manageable latter. However, if you’re trying to bathe an older and more stubborn cat, here are some tips:
- Think about what you’re wearing. Wearing a long-sleeved sweater or shirt can protect you from scratches and you’ll probably want to wear older clothes that you don’t mind if they get torn or dirty.
- Don’t bathe your cat alone. It’s best to have one person holding your cat’s legs and jaw to prevent being scratched or bitten.
- Trim your cat’s nails before bathing. Obviously this is done to reduce scratching.
- Have all bathing necessities on hand. Make sure that you have shampoo, towels, a comb, and all other items on hand as soon as you start the bath. It will speed up the process so that you and your cat don’t have to suffer any longer than necessary.
Keep Your Cat’s Environment Clean
It is also important to keep your cat’s environment clean. Regularly washing bedding, at least once a week, can help prevent fleas from reproducing. You should regularly machine wash blankets and other bedding in hot water to kill any fleas. Similarly, even if your cat sleeps on the carpet it is important to keep this area clean. You should diligently vacuum carpets especially where your cat tends to sleep. Also, don’t forget to vacuum your furniture as well. Anywhere that your cat might spend time, including sofas, chairs, and other furniture should be vacuumed as often as your carpets. If possible, it might even be best to try to close off areas of the house to your cat in order to prevent the spread of fleas.
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Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for 28 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan