Fleas and Ticks for Cats

While most people would prefer to keep their cats indoors, that doesn’t mean that they are immune from the dangers of fleas and ticks. Unfortunately, once these pesky pests make their way onto a cat they can cause a wide variety of potential health issues like skin irritation, infections, anemia and the transmission of often-fatal diseases or illnesses. Even worse, these same problems can be transmitted to humans that share a living space with the pet. But what specific dangers are associated flea and ticks infestations for cats and what can you do as a pet owner to help?

cat scratching from fleas

Why Are Fleas and Ticks Dangerous For Cats?

As a cat owner, there’s a good chance that you are adamant about ensuring that your furry friend has the support needed to live a long and happy life. However, even with the best intentions, it can be hard to remember if your cat has been treated for fleas and ticks this season and whether it is actually necessary if they only spend time indoors.  In fact, many pet owners might believe this even though it simply isn’t true.

close up of fleas and ticks

Fleas and ticks will often enter a home as hitchhikers on other pets that are visiting the home or the clothing of people. Once indoors, these pests will then detach and seek out your cat to feed on and continue their lifecycle.  Even more worrying, a flea that has found a cat will begin laying up to 50 new eggs within the first 24 hours, leading to a fast population increase. These eggs will then fall into carpet or pet bedding areas and release adult fleas within 2 weeks to a year depending on environmental factors. Without early detection and removal, this can quickly become a big problem.

 

Unlike fleas, the feeding habits of ticks are dependent on their current life stage.  For instance, if the tick is at an early life stage, there’s a good chance that they will detach from the cat for their next molt. However, at an adult stage, the tick will begin producing eggs that can contaminate the house in any area that the cat may go to. In most cases, ticks will transmit diseases when they are in either a nymph or adult stage. Some common tick-borne diseases include Cytauxzoon and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, although these are just a small sample of potential transmissions.

Fleas and ticks will often enter a home as hitchhikers on other pets that are visiting the home or the clothing of people. Once indoors, these pests will then detach and seek out your cat to feed on and continue their lifecycle.  Even more worrying, a flea that has found a cat will begin laying up to 50 new eggs within the first 24 hours, leading to a fast population increase. These eggs will then fall into carpet or pet bedding areas and release adult fleas within 2 weeks to a year depending on environmental factors. Without early detection and removal, this can quickly become a big problem.

Unlike fleas, the feeding habits of ticks are dependent on their current life stage.  For instance, if the tick is at an early life stage, there’s a good chance that they will detach from the cat for their next molt. However, at an adult stage, the tick will begin producing eggs that can contaminate the house in any area that the cat may go to. In most cases, ticks will transmit diseases when they are in either a nymph or adult stage. Some common tick-borne diseases include Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, although these are just a small sample of potential transmissions.

As you can see, the danger that fleas and ticks pose to felines is great, particularly during the spring and summer months. Without a proper prevention and treatment plan in place, your cat could be at risk even if they spend their entire life indoors. Now that you know the risks associated with fleas and ticks for cats, what can you do to ensure they are safe from these bloodthirsty pests year-round?

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What Flea and Tick Prevention Options Are Available for Cats?

The primary goal of the veterinary staff at Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital is to ensure that your cat has the prevention products necessary to eliminate fleas and ticks before they become a problem. If you are noticing signs of these pests or you are prone to having them lurk around your property, it is important to arm yourself with education and the appropriate prevention options for your cat to remain healthy. With enough preparation, you can ensure that flea and tick infestations never occur within your home.

With a focus on proactive measures, we can help create a prevention plan for your cat and help identify potential exposure risks that may affect them. This will often include a discussion on whether or not your cat spends their time indoors, outdoors or a combination of both. Other potential risk factors may include how much they are exposed to other animals that may be spending time outside as well including other pets in the home or pets that may visit your home frequently from friends or family.

 

There are countless over the counter flea and tick prevention options available at your local pet store; however, the veterinarians at Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital strongly suggests that you work with a professional to obtain flea and tick prevention products. This will also help provide documentation to let you know when new treatments need to be administered while maximizing effectiveness and limiting costs. With these factors in mind, we can help create the perfect flea and tick prevention plan for your cat.

With a focus on proactive measures, we can help create a prevention plan for your cat and help identify potential exposure risks that may affect them. This will often include a discussion on whether or not your cat spends their time indoors, outdoors or a combination of both. Other potential risk factors may include how much they are exposed to other animals that may be spending time outside as well including other pets in the home or pets that may visit your home frequently from friends or family.

cat flea and tick prevention

There are countless over the counter flea and tick prevention options available at your local pet store; however, the veterinarian staff at Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital strongly suggests that you work with a professional to obtain flea and tick prevention products. This will also help provide documentation to let you know when new treatments need to be administered while maximizing effectiveness and limiting costs. With these factors in mind, we can help create the perfect flea and tick prevention plan for your cat.

What Flea and Tick Treatments Are Available for Cats?

At the current time, there are many different flea and tick treatments that may be utilized for a cat that has already been exposed to one of these pests. This includes both over the counter and prescription treatment options; however, the veterinarians at Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital strongly advise against OTC products because they may not be tested, be effective, and may even harm your cat. Some of the flea and tick treatments that you may find for cats include:

cat getting flea and tick treatment

At the current time, there are many different flea and tick treatments that may be utilized for a cat that has already been exposed to one of these pests. This includes both over the counter and prescription treatment options; however, the veterinarians at Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital strongly advise against OTC products because they may not be tested, be effective, and may even harm your cat. Some of the flea and tick treatments that you may find for cats include:

cat getting flea and tick treatment
  • Flea and Tick Collars

    There are seemingly endless cat flea collars, powders and sprays available at your local retailers. And, although they may have been incredibly popular in the past, they are no longer considered a safe treatment option. In fact, many of these may potentially be toxic to your cat.

  • Topical Treatments

    As the most highly recommended flea and tick treatments for cats available on the market currently, topical treatments are designed to kill fleas and ticks the moment that they attempt to consume the blood of your cat. There are several options for topical preventions including a monthly topical and an every 3 months topical prevention.

At Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital, we know the importance of choosing an effective flea and tick treatment option that won’t have any adverse side effects on your cat. However, there is still a chance that some discomfort or issue may arise once the treatment is administered. If this occurs, please contact our facilities as soon as possible. Working with a veterinarian to discuss and choose an available flea and tick treatment options can help ensure your feline remains healthy and happy.

How Do You Spot Fleas and Ticks on Cats?

Fleas will often take up residence around the ears, armpits, groin or back areas because of the protection and warmth that they provide. Many times, pet owners won’t know that their cat has fleas attached to them until they become irritated and start scratching profusely or the infestation has caused problems for the humans in the home as well. Because fleas are most active during the spring months, pet owners must remain vigilant in observing their cat for potential problems.

Often, cats will begin scratching certain areas more commonly leading to scratches, redness, dirt or blood. However, excessive grooming could also be a sign that your cat is attempting to remove fleas from their coat with limited success. Inspection is critical for detecting fleas early. If in doubt, using a flea comb and giving your cat a bath, if it can be done safely, may be another way to determine if fleas are actually present.

 

Fleas may be very hard to find on your feline friend due to their grooming habits. They will commonly eat the fleas that are infesting them. This will also frequently lead to your pet being infected with tapeworms, as they are transmitted by ingesting a flea.

 

Ticks are often not as much of an issue for cats as they might be for dogs because of the strict grooming habits that they often have. However, this doesn’t mean that ticks aren’t still a legitimate problem for cats and, without treatment; an attached tick can become fatal. As a tick seeks a blood meal, they will use their sharp, tiny teeth to attach and embed themselves in the skin of a host cat. Once embedded into the bloodstream, ticks can then rapidly spread disease or illnesses.

 

As ticks are feeding on cats, they will often cause welts or bruises in that general area due to tissue damage that is occurring. If you find a tick on your cat, don’t hesitate to bring them to Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital for safe removal and proven treatment options. We can help ensure that your cat leaves tick free and doesn’t become a host for these pests in the future with a new treatment plan.

Often, cats will begin scratching certain areas more commonly leading to scratches, redness, dirt or blood. However, excessive grooming could also be a sign that your cat is attempting to remove fleas from their coat with limited success. Inspection is critical for detecting fleas early. If in doubt, using a flea comb and giving your cat a bath, if it can be done safely, may be another way to determine if fleas are actually present.

 

Fleas may be very hard to find on your feline friend due to their grooming habits. They will commonly eat the fleas that are infesting them. This will also frequently lead to your pet being infected with tapeworms, as they are transmitted by ingesting a flea.

kitten that has fleas

Ticks are often not as much of an issue for cats as they might be for dogs because of the strict grooming habits that they often have. However, this doesn’t mean that ticks aren’t still a legitimate problem for cats and, without treatment; an attached tick can become fatal. As a tick seeks a blood meal, they will use their sharp, tiny teeth to attach and embed themselves in the skin of a host cat. Once embedded into the bloodstream, ticks can then rapidly spread disease or illnesses.

As ticks are feeding on cats, they will often cause welts or bruises in that general area due to tissue damage that is occurring. If you find a tick on your cat, don’t hesitate to bring them to Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital for safe removal and proven treatment options. We can help ensure that your cat leaves tick free and doesn’t become a host for these pests in the future with a new treatment plan.

Early detection of fleas and ticks can help ensure that your pet doesn’t suffer the discomfort or potentially fatal problems that are often associated with these pests. If you find any signs of fleas or ticks on your cat, call Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital to schedule an appointment. Protecting your cat from these potentially deadly pests is our primary concern.

Why Choose Advanced Care for Cat Veterinary Services?

Advanced Care is more than just a primary care hospital. Our patients and clients are special to us and are the reason why we always treat everyone who comes to visit as another member of our family each and every time they walk in our doors. We do not treat every patient the same because we understand that each one requires individualized care and attention.

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Meet Our Doctors

Jennifer Patton
DVM, CVC, CCRT

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Dr. Patton’s decision to pursue veterinary medicine came after she realized that while education and teaching is her passion, it is not something she could do as a career. Veterinary medicine allowed her to combine her love of animals with her love of teaching.

After she graduated from Oklahoma State University with her Doctorate, she practiced in several high volume hospitals in the Tulsa area, developing medical skills with varied case loads and growing her leadership skills.

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Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital - Dr Jennifer Patton

Allissa Huckabay
DVM, CVA

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Dr. Huckabay’s love of science and animals naturally led her to a lifelong passion of veterinary medicine. She worked and volunteered at a local veterinary hospital before she furthered her education at Oklahoma State University, graduating in 2016 with her Doctorate.

Dr Huckabay immediately found her home at ACVH, where she is able to create a healthy bond with each of her patients as she experiences all stages of their care with their owners.

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Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital - Dr Alissa Huckabay

Matt Sellers
DVM

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Matthew Sellers, DVM is a graduate of Oklahoma State University Veterinary Health Sciences, where he also attended his undergraduate studies and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Agriculture through the College of Animal Science. Dr. Sellers was on the Dean's list and Presidents Honor Roll during his time at OSU. After a year of general practice, Dr. Sellers began studying acupuncture through the Chi Institute and completed the course in December of 2016.

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Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital - Dr Matt Sellers

Phillip Adolph
DVM

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Phillip Adolph, DVM is a graduate of Oklahoma State University Veterinary Health Sciences. He also attended OSU for his undergraduate studies where he graduated with a Bachelors of Arts and Sciences in Agriculture through the College of Animal Sciences. Dr. Adolph was on the President’s Honor Roll and was a member of the OSU jazz orchestra. He joined the Advanced Care team immediately upon his graduation in 2019 after doing 6 weeks of externships during his 4th year of veterinary school.

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Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital - Dr Phillip Adolph