As is the case with all other felines, Ragdoll cats and kittens are susceptible to fleas with the most common type known as Ctenocephalides felis. Adult cat fleas are red-brown in colour while flea droppings are tiny black particles.
Where cat fleas come from?
To understand the flea you first must understand where they come from. Fleas undergo a lifecycle known as metamorphosis, where fours stages take place – Eggs, Larvae (3 Larvae stages), Pupa and finally the Adult stage. As shown on the illustration the adult flea lays between 25-40 eggs on your pet each day, which then fall off into the environment (carpet, rugs etc) to hatch. Hatching takes place within 2-5 days where the 3 stages of larvae begins and after approx 7-18 days the flea larvae pupate. It takes approx another 7-10 days for it to develop into an adult flea, though dependent on environmental conditions (optimum hatching temperatures are between 21 & 32 deg C) it may be some time before the Adult emerges from its protective cocoon. The cocoon itself is a composition of larvae saliva and debris (lint, dust, hair etc).
The male adult flea is between 2-3mm long, while the female can be as big as 4 mm long. The eggs produced by the adults are approx 0.5mm in length and during the 3 stages of larvae the sizes range from 1-2mm, 2-3mm and 3-5mm in length. Pupae are approx 2-4 in length.
How to treat cat fleas?
To treat your cat should it have fleas there are many commercial products readily available from your vet, supermarket or convenient online stores like this Vet Products Direct website. Types of flea treatment include flea collars, shampoo, spray, tablets, flea combs, powders, topical treatments and insect growth regulators.
Flea collars are a good option with some being insecticide only and work by killing the Adult fleas, and others with IGR’s to kill eggs and Larvae. When purchasing a collar check that it will work for the entire cat as some collars are only capable of dealing with fleas around the neck area and not the remainder of the cat’s body.
Specially formulated flea shampoos are a great option for your cat. They are designed to kill both adult and eggs are relatively easy to apply if you’ve trained your cat tolerate being bathed. Link to online store for flea shampoos.
Flea combs are not overly effective. As it is a manual way of removing fleas there are always going to be fleas left behind with typical yonly 10-50% being removed. If you choose to use this method place a bowl with water and detergent near you to place the fleas into.
Spot creams are a very good way of administering and treating fleas. The spot cream is simply applied to the shoulder blade area of your cat’s neck. This type of treatment is safe for kittens from 8 weeks of age, is safe for breeding, pregnant and lactating females, is water proof and also treats Flea Allergy Dermatitis and controls biting lice. Frontline Plus is an excellent example of this kind of treatment and is available from your local vet or even cheaper from online stores such as this one for around $60 (for 6 treatments) including shipping. One of the cheapest found online. Add a comment below and let us know if you found a cheaper price elsewhere.
How to prevent it?
Prevention is always better than a cure and if you can stop or at least dramatically reduce fleas in your local environment then you’ll be giving your cat the best chance to avoid flea infestation. Methods of taking care of your local environment are to hire the services of a professional pest controller who will apply a spray both internally and externally. DIY products are also available from your local supermarket or online and are normally “bomb” type products. These are quote potent and will require a certain amount of precaution and care taken, so ensure ALL of your pets are vacated from the building before setting off the bomb.
Periodic washing of rugs, cat bedding, sheeting, pillows and all washable materials around your house will also assist in keeping fleas away. Frequent vacuuming will also remove eggs and fleas. Ensure you vacuum in all of those hard to reach areas around your home as this is where fleas are likely to be living. One other handy tip is to put a flea collar in your vacuum bag.
Flea are a pest for you and your cat so if make sure all preventative measures, and if required the right treatment are utilised then you’ll ensure your cat leads a healthy flea-less life.
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