Of all the pesky nuisances out there your cat might face, fleas and ticks are two of the most troublesome. For cats, fleas and ticks pose a variety of potential health issues, including:
Rashes & Skin Infections
Transmission of disease and illness
Another danger of fleas and ticks for cats is an infestation of the home and possible transmission of disease to humans through sharing a living space. Many people believe that indoor cats are somehow immune to fleas and ticks, but this is not true. Fleas and ticks can enter homes on visiting pets and people's clothes. Fleas and ticks will seek out your cat to feed and live. Once a flea is on your cat, it stays and will produce 30-50 eggs within 24 hours. These eggs are the consistency of sand and will fall off the cat, land in the carpet or bedding, and become an adult flea in 14 to 365 days depending upon the environmental conditions. It is easy to understand how the house can quickly become infested with fleas.
Depending upon the stage of the tick (eggs, larvae, nymph, and adult), it will feed and either climb off the cat for the next molt (molting is how ticks move from one stage of development into the next stage) or if, at the adult stage, the tick will produce eggs that can contaminate the house. Ticks primarily transmit disease in the nymph and adult stages. Lyme and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever are just a few of the diseases transmitted by ticks. The plague and cat scratch fever can be transmitted by fleas.
This is why flea and tick prevention is important for every cat. Prevention helps reduce the risk of exposure to both your cat and your home.
When it comes to fleas and ticks, our primary focus at La Jolla Veterinary Hospital is prevention. This is so important because it stops a serious problem before it starts. If you are starting to notice signs and symptoms of fleas and ticks, that indicates that you are already dealing with an infestation. It is best not to reach that stage. With good education and the right prevention products, you can easily avoid flea and tick infestations.
A proactive approach to flea and tick prevention starts with a discussion about various factors that play a role in your pet's potential exposure to fleas and ticks. For example, whether your cats are indoor/outdoor is a factor, as well as whether they are exposed to other animals that go outside (including pets of friends or family that may come over for a visit).
It is important to be aware that there are numerous products on the market that our veterinarians would strongly suggest you avoid. Every year, our veterinarians review all available flea and tick products to ensure that our recommendations are as up-to-date as possible. Our considerations include safety, effectiveness, and cost. Based on these factors, we will work with you to customize a parasite prevention plan for your pets and family.
Visible fleas or ticks
Red or irritated skin
Scabs and/or flakes
There are many different cat flea treatment products on the market. This includes a plethora of remedies containing substances that have no medical validity where fleas and ticks for cats are concerned. Our Veterinarians strongly recommend against numerous over-the-counter flea and tick treatments. Some common cat flea treatment methods include:
Oral Tablets: These are a great choice for both the prevention and treatment of fleas and ticks while being safe for both your cat and your family. Oral tablets that treat fleas and ticks can only be obtained from your veterinarian.
Spot-On Flea Treatments: There are many different spot-on flea treatments with varying effectiveness and different spectrums of use. At your next veterinary appointment, we will help you choose the most effective spot-on flea and tick treatment for your cat.
Cat Flea Collars, Powders, and Sprays: We do not recommend the use of flea collars, powders, or sprays. While these products were the mainstay of flea control in past years, they are more toxic and less effective than the products we currently recommend.
We choose products based on safety and efficacy. However, as with any new medication or product, there is a possibility of adverse reactions. If you notice any discomfort or behavioral changes after administering or applying, please call us at: (858) 454-6155. It is essential to discuss cat flea treatment options with your veterinarian in order to ensure the method you choose will be safe and effective for your feline friend.
Some dog products are lethal to cats, so please make sure you are using a product specifically made for cats.
Ticks on cats are not as common as ticks on dogs because of grooming habits and lifestyle. However, cats can get ticks, and they can become a health issue if left untreated. Ticks feed on the blood of the host, using tiny but sharp teeth to embed themselves firmly into the skin and soft tissue of cats. Because they penetrate into the bloodstream, ticks can also spread blood-borne illnesses. We recommend tick products for cats on a case-by-case basis.
Ticks on cats cause welts and bruises around the area being fed on. It is also common to find the tick still attached. If you find a tick on your cat, please bring your cat in so we can show you the safest way to remove the tick and help formulate a plan to avoid ticks going forward. The various methods for treating ticks on cats include:
We strongly recommend consulting your veterinarian immediately if your cat has ticks. Although there are various remedies to treat ticks on cats, it is essential to make sure the method you choose is safe, effective, and clinically proven.
There are many different remedies and methods out there for treating fleas and ticks on cats, and there are also various over-the-counter cat flea medicine options on the market today. The rapid influx of so many untested cat flea medicine brands in the early 2000s, specifically spot-on treatments, led the Environmental Protection Agency to issue a warning in 2010 about possible toxic reactions to cat flea medicine. This resulted from an increase in cat fatalities attributed to the inappropriate use of some products.
Link to EPA webpage article from AVMA.org
To ensure that your cat is protected against these pesky parasites, contact us as soon as possible. Our veterinarians and support staff have extensive experience in both the prevention and treatment of cat fleas and ticks, and we are here to help.