March 16, 2023 4 min read

With warmer weather around the corner, you may begin to see more veterinarian signs telling you about flea and tick prevention for your pets. But does your cat really need flea and tick prevention? The answer is Yes. Even is you have an indoor cat, there are many ways for them to become infected with fleas. Once the fleas enter your home, it can be extremely difficult to get rid of them. Fleas can cause irritation, pain, and even severe blood loss in certain cases. Which is why prevention is your safest course of action to make sure your pet stays safe.

Fleas and ticks live outside. So, if you have an indoor cat, you may think you don’t need to worry about any pests getting inside. Don’t be so sure. There are many ways fleas and ticks can make their way inside to your vulnerable pet:

  • Another pet is a gateway for fleas and ticks to hitch a ride inside. If you have any other pets that go outside, like a dog or an outdoor cat, they could be a host for pests. Once they come inside, they can latch onto other pets or hide out in furniture until they sense a host nearby. Even if your outdoor pet is on flea and tick preventative medicine, which doesn’t guarantee the flea will instantly be killed. Some medicines take time to kill the fleas, which gives the pests an opportunity to jump of and find another host once inside.
  • Other places like vet visits, a trip to the groomers, or a boarding facility are potential spots to pick up fleas or ticks. Being surrounded by other pets and people raises your pets exposure to unwanted pests.
  • Windows and screen doors are another area fleas and ticks can sneak inside to your pet. If your cat likes to sit by an open window or a screen door, they are exposed to pests that could be hanging around your yard.
  • Rodents can bring pests into your home as well. Fleas and ticks will feed on many mammals, including rodents that may sneak their way into your home.
  • A new home can be an old home to unwanted pests. When moving into a ne place, be sure to do a cleaning with a professional or a home fogger to be sure to rid a new home of any potential fleas and ticks hiding in the furniture.
  • People are another potential host to fleas and ticks. They can latch onto you or your guests, and you might not even notice until they are already in your home. Fleas and ticks can jump onto your clothes or possessions and hitch a ride right into your home.

Fleas and ticks are tiny parasitic pests that feed on blood from their host. Fleas thrive in warm humid climates and once they enter your home they can be extremely hard to remove. Fleas can multiply incredibly fast; adult female fleas can lay more than 40 eggs per day. Even if you spot an adult flea, there are likely 10x as many eggs that are hidden, and even more adults you can’t see. Once fleas infest your home it can take about 3 months to fully treat your home and get rid of all the fleas. Ticks live in tall brush or grass. Ticks also thrive in warm environments. They latch on to a host, typically close to the head, neck, ears, or feet, but can attach anywhere on a body. Ticks are no larger than a pinhead before they bite, and not noticed until they swell with blood.

Ticks, along with fleas, drink the blood of their host and can carry diseases that can harm you and your pet. Many cats are allergic to flea saliva, which causes the irritation and itchiness when the fleas bite. Fleas can consume 15 times their own body weight in blood, which can cause anemia or significant blood loss in a pet over time, especially in smaller pets where the blood loss can be fatal. Ticks can also cause severe blood loss or anemia in pets. Ticks can carry diseases like Lyme disease. There are many complications that can come with fleas and ticks, which is why it is important to prevent flea and tick infestations before they start.

To avoid having to deal with fleas and ticks after they’ve entered your home, take steps to prevent them from getting to your pets in the first place:

  • Keep the outside of your home clean and free of organic debris that fleas like to hide under. Cut the grass regularly to prevent tall weeds from growing and housing ticks.
  • Keep garbage covered and inaccessible to rodents. Check your pets after they’ve been outside for any signs of a tick or fleas.
  • Use a flea comb on your pet and wash their bedding often. Make sure to talk to your veterinarian about preventative medications for fleas and ticks.
  • When deciding on preventative medication it’s important to make sure the medication is right for your pet. Make sure it’s for the right species – cats cannot be given dog medication – and right for the stage of life your pet is in (either child, adult, or senior). Make sure the medication is for the right kind of pest, as there are many preventatives for pests and not all of them treat all pests. Make sure you know how the medication should be applied and how often.

Be sure to contact your veterinarian with any questions you might have about preventative medication for your pet.

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