Fleas and ticks are more than just bothersome animals, as they can also detrimentally affect the health of your cat. Fleas and ticks are known as external parasites, entirely dependent on your pet to live and reproduce, but they also have the potential to spread dreadful diseases to your cat and, in some cases, your family.

Fortunately, veterinary medicine has evolved to a point where preventing flea and tick infestations is relatively easy with the appropriate preventative care. Here, we will discuss the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions regarding fleas and ticks, how they affect your cat, and how you can effectively protect your cat against the pernicious diseases they carry.

If you live near Las Vegas, NV, don't hesitate to reach out to us at (702) 213-4513. Our dedicated team will happily schedule an appointment with you and your cat to discuss parasite prevention and help you get your pet on the path to optimal health.

Person applying flea and tick medication

How do Fleas and Ticks Impact the Health and Well-being of My Cat?

Fleas and ticks are ectoparasites, meaning they live and thrive on the outside of your cat's body. Both fleas and ticks get their nutrients from the blood of your pet, which may be a risk on its own, as kittens are vulnerable to anemia. Beyond the issue of blood loss, direct contact between fleas and ticks and your cat may result in the transmission of some dangerous and potentially fatal diseases. Evidently, flea and tick infestations have an immense impact on the health and wellbeing of your cat if the proper preventative methods are not in place.

How Do Cats Get Fleas and Ticks?

Cats primarily obtain fleas and ticks from outside, but close contact with affected animals can also lead to infestations. Outside cats are generally at a higher risk of getting fleas and ticks due to increased exposure, but it is just as essential to protect your inside cat with flea and tick preventative care, as there are various routes through which they can reach your cat in your house. Beyond other pets bringing fleas and ticks into your home, pet owners can also carry them on their shoes and clothing without their knowledge. Thus, a myriad of factors can potentially expose your cat to fleas and ticks in or outside the house.

What Do Fleas and Ticks Look Like?

Fleas are very small critters, barely the size of a pinhead. They have a dark brown coloration and move around at a rapid pace, so they are more difficult to observe than ticks. Ticks are round, slower-moving creatures that vary in size depending on their life stage and exhibit a dark brown to black color. They start out being the size of an average poppy seed and grow to become the size of a blueberry. Although ticks move much slower than their flea counterpart, they can still crawl relatively quickly if necessary.

Why is the Prevention of Fleas and Ticks so Important?

Veterinarians treat a variety of diseases stemming from fleas and ticks on a daily basis. Firstly, being bloodsuckers, fleas and ticks can cause blood loss in your cat to the extent that they become severely anemic. Furthermore, adult cats often ingest fleas while grooming, resulting in the transmission of tapeworms. Not only will your cat then play host to external parasites but also to parasites living inside their body. Preventing fleas and ticks is critical to ensuring your cat is happy and healthy.

What are Some Signs and Symptoms of a Flea Infestation in Your Cat?

Cats are incredibly skilled at keeping their coats clean by practicing unyielding grooming habits. Therefore, owners often aren't able to detect a flea infestation through visual inspection as their cat has ingested any fleas that may have resided on their body. If there are any visual signs of a flea infestation, it would most likely manifest in the form of flea dirt: small, black spots on your cat's body that are generally only present in severe cases. If you suspect a flea infestation, the best approach is to bring your cat to a veterinary clinic where a professional veterinarian can thoroughly examine them. Fleas tend to reside on the back half of a cat's body in areas such as the belly, the back legs, and above the tail. However, in some cases, they prefer living in the neck area, where cats have difficulty grooming.

Cat itching itself with a hind leg

What are Some Possible Diseases that Can be Transmitted by Fleas and Ticks?

Tapeworms are the primary concern when it comes to adult cats with fleas. Cats can only be affected by tapeworms if they ingest fleas carrying tapeworms, which they tend to do at an astonishing rate in infested environments due to their unceasing grooming rituals. Several blood-related diseases are also spread by fleas and ticks, but much more so in dogs than cats. Nevertheless, fleas and ticks are both bloodsuckers associated with numerous undesired occurrences in cats.

In general, the following are the most common cat conditions caused by fleas and ticks:

  • Bartonellosis
  • Flea allergy dermatitis
  • Anemia
  • Tapeworm infestation

Are There Any Over-The-Counter Collars, Powders, and Sprays that are Effective Flea and Tick Treatments?

In truth, there are very few reliable over-the-counter collars, sprays, and powders that effectively prevent and treat fleas and ticks in cats. One collar still on the market today is considered reliable, but there are many instances where it has failed to protect pets against fleas and ticks. Although some flea and tick sprays work for a short time, their protective effects wear off rapidly, leaving your cat vulnerable to exposure. Moreover, such sprays typically contain alcohol, which can cause severe pain in a cat with damaged skin. Most veterinarians agree that flea and tick powders, sprays, and collars are some of the least effective approaches to prevention. Instead, there are several veterinary-approved products certain to protect your cat with a low risk of failure.

What Should I Do if I Find Fleas or Ticks on My Cat?

When you discover fleas or ticks on your cat, the best thing to do is to call us at (702) 213-4513. With the appropriate treatment, getting rid of fleas and ticks is a straightforward process. There are several extremely effective products that protect your cat against fleas and ticks for varying durations, all of which are available from your veterinarian in the form of a topical liquid or oral medication.

Treating the environment of an infested pet is equally important. Ensuring your house and yard are flea and tick-free is the most effective way to ensure your cat will not be continuously exposed. There are so many excellent flea and tick products on the market today, but those you find at big box stores and pet stores simply don't have a trustworthy track record, so relying on such establishments for your cat's health is not the best course of action. Your veterinary clinic is your best source of effective medications.

External parasites can affect the health and wellbeing of your cat significantly, so ensuring your pet is protected is pivotal. If you suspect a flea or tick infestation, call (702) 213-4513 to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. We are pleased to offer any additional information you may require and are committed to helping your cat thrive across the board.