Having fleas can be excruciating for your cat and the infestation can easily infest the whole household as well as fleas thrive in carpets, upholstery and beddings. The most effective ways to get rid of fleas in your cat are flea medication, giving her a flea bath and shaving her fur
Can I shave my cat to get rid of fleas?
Yes, you can shave your cat to get rid of fleas but most veterinarians will not recommend it. This is because it does not guarantee that the flea problem will be solved, at least without additional measures. For the most effective results you need to use flea treatments, give your cat flea baths and flea-proof your home through cleaning and vacuuming.
How to get rid of fleas on your cat?
If you notice your cat becoming edgy, irritable and perhaps pulling out her fur, she may be infested with fleas or mites.
These are the signs that your cat is infested with fleas:
- your cat is restless and agitated
- loss of fur
- excessive grooming
- your cat is biting her tail
- your cat has itchy red marks and bumps on her neck and back
- presence of flea waste which is dark pepper-like debris on the cat’s skin
- presence of flea eggs
- presence of fleas on the fur
Here are some effective ways to get rid of fleas on your cat:
1. Give your cat a flea bath.
A flea bath is effective in removing fleas but make sure that you introduce this to your cat in a subtle way since most cats dislike taking a bath. Do this after your cat’s playtime or mealtime, protect your cat’s ears with cotton balls and give her treats now and then. You should use flea shampoo to help eradicate fleas. For a detailed discussion on this, check our earlier article on how to give a cat a flea bath.
2. Use a flea comb to remove the remaining fleas.
After giving your cat a flea bath, use a flea comb to remove remaining fleas. This works best when the fur is dry and if your cat has long fur, you may comb it first with a regular pet brush with widely-spaced teeth to remove the tangles. Be sure to dip the flea comb in a mixture of dish soap and water to kill fleas left on it.
3. Use flea preventives to prevent fleas from coming back to your cat.
These include flea collars, topical treatment, flea sprays and oral products. It is best to consult your vet regarding the right flea prevention for your cat. Also, these preventives will work best if they are used regularly and on a year-round basis. If you have other cats or pets, you should also provide flea treatment for them.
You may also try natural flea preventives like diatomaceous earth, baking soda, lemon spray, salt and rosemary.
4. Treat and de-flea your home to get rid of fleas.
Aside from treating your cat with flea preventives and other methods, you also need to de-flea your home to prevent further infestations. Clean and vacuum the carpets as well as furniture, upholstery and floor cracks and crevices. Wash beddings, fabrics, sofa covers, curtains and other possible hiding places and use hot water if the fabrics can take it. Spray carpets and surfaces with flea spray.
5. Have a continuous plan to treat and prevent fleas on your cat.
Make sure that fleas won’t come back and reproduce again by having a continuous plan. It pays to be vigilant and to continue flea treatment measures as it may take three months or more to clear out an infestation.
Common cat diseases caused by fleas
Aside from the itching and skin infections, these little monsters also transmit diseases that may affect your feline’s health.
Here are some of the diseases caused by fleas:
- Anemia – this is mainly due to blood loss and a common sign among cats is pale gums
- Tapeworms – usually found in cats that are exposed to fleas
- Haemobartonellosis (Mycoplasma Haemofelis) – this blood parasite causes anemia, fever and severe illness
Is shaving good for your cat?
Shaving is good or necessary in many cases such as when treating your cat with a topical cream or as part of post-operative care, but it should not be undertaken lightly. Shaving your cat may instill fear and trauma in your cat and may also result in skin exposure and damage.
Here are the pros and cons of shaving your cat:
- it makes it easier to manage your pet when shedding her fur
- it helps remove matted fur
- it helps in getting rid of fleas
- it reduces shedding
- it keeps your cat clean
- it prevents hairball incidents
- it is a great help for senior cats that cannot groom themselves anymore due to limited flexibility
- it does not keep cats cool
- it can expose wounds and injuries
- it removes the natural oils in your cat’s skin
- it may cause fear and trauma on your cat
- some hair may never grow back after being shaved
You may also check out our earlier article on shaving cats pros and cons for a more detailed discussion on this.
Fleas are nasty and can cause anemia and other diseases. While shaving your cat is an option, it is not recommended by most vets. There are equally effective ways to get rid of fleas including treating your cat with flea treatments and giving her a flea bath.
For tips on shaving itself see our articles how to shave a long haired cat and can you shave a cat with human clippers.
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