Getting Rid Of Fleas

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Does your Ragdoll have fleas even though you are using a flea treatment regularly? It could be that your fleas have become resistant to the treatment.

Even thought my two Ragdolls Marie and Angelo don’t go outside, I found that they had fleas. How could this have happened? And even more so, how did they have fleas when I was using a reputable flea treatment and to someone who hovers regularly?

It all begun a few of months ago when I went on holiday. Family and friends house sat my babies whilst I was away and during this time my house was hijacked by fleas.

So How Do Indoor Cats Get Fleas?

Fleas can jump 100 times their own body height. That’s pretty impressive when you think about it! They can be easily transported from the outside world on pretty much anything or anyone. It doesn’t take much for one to jump onto someone’s trouser leg and take a ride into an unsuspecting pet owner’s house. The little critters have even been known to jump through cracks and open windows!

Once a flea is inside and they find their way onto your cat, they feast and lay about 20 eggs. These then hatch and turn into adult fleas and thus the cycle of a fleas life begins! They can rapidly take over your home within a few short weeks. Below is a diagram showing the different stages a flea goes through.

The Lifecycle Of A Flea

Symptoms Of Fleas

I first noticed tiny black dots on Angelo. Being mainly white and light grey these were highly visible with the majority located at the nap of the neck and behind his ears. These I discovered were flea eggs. In addition there were other signs that my two Rags had fleas:

  • Black flecks – known as flea dirt these are flea feaces. Brush them off and if made wet and squashed they turn red. This is because they are digested blood. Lovely!
  • Excessive scratching and grooming – scratching is down to fleas biting and crawling over your cat skin. I would like to say at this point I am scratching madly at the thought of these tiny bugs crawling about :-/
  • Lethargy and pale gums – this is from excessive blood loss and sings of possible anaemia.
  • Red spots on the sofa or bedding – these are drops of blood from where a flea has bitten your cat.
  • Restlessness and behavioural changes – your cat may behave differently because they are agitated and stressed out by fleas.
  • Fur loss – this could be due to the fleas or your cats excessive grooming and pulling the fur out.

Diagnosis By Image

Here are some images to help you identify if you have a flea problem

Adult Flea

Flea Eggs

Flea Dirt

Flea Treatments

Even though my two Ragdolls are indoor cats, I have always been aware of how fleas can transport themselves in a variety of ways into the home. For this reason, I have been treating my cats with flea treatment especially in the summer months. So how did they end up with fleas and how did they manage to prosper despite flea treatment?

Which Flea Treatment?

I have been an avid fan of Advantage for a number of years and have always used it with no problems. Before I went away on holiday, I popped into my local vet to stock up and they had run out of Advantage but offered me Frontline instead. Unlike Advantage, there is only one product made for cats of any weight. Nevertheless, I didn’t have time to go elsewhere so thought I would give Frontline a go.

Anyway, I brushed my two Rags and applied the Frontline as instructed by parting the fur on the nap of the neck. And off I went on my travels. When I returned, I found that after a few days my family had small red itchy spots on our ankles. The cats were molting fur everywhere and scratching like mad. On closer inspection, I found tiny black dots around the neck and ears. I suspected that they had fleas but how could that be possible given that I had administered a reputable flea treatment prior to go away?

After scouring the internet, I found some interesting posts on Mumsnet about Frontline and how many pet owners were finding their treatment to be ineffective compared to others. I decided to ask the members of the I Love Ragdolls Facebook Page and found some of them too had experienced similar instances with Frontline. Interestingly members rated Advantage, Revolution, Pink Comfortis and Stronghold highly.

After speaking with my vet, he too admitted that many pet owners showed a preference towards Advantage. I am pleased to say after changing back to Advantage we haven’t had any further problems with fleas. A few hours after putting on the Advantage, I noticed dead fleas and those in the process of dying on the sofa next to where one of the cats was sitting. Both of the cats were scratching a lot but then I guess that was becuase the fleas were moving about on them in reaction to the treatment. The following day, the cats had settled down and the majority of fleas had dropped off.

95% Of The Flea Problem Isn’t Always On Your Cat

Its important to treat yourself and your home with any flea infestation. Spray your ankles and socks with deet (found in most mosquito sprays) for a week after you have treated your cats. This should prevent any further bites. Fleas can only lay eggs once they have had a blood meal so denying them blood should stop further egg production.

Hoovering regularly is imperative. Chopping up a flea collar and putting it in the hoover bag is an excellent combatten for any flea eggs that do hatch inside the bag. Emptying the bag after each vacuuming session and spraying the hoover head with flea repellent will also help.

Use a flea spray that kills eggs to spray carpets, sofas and the edges of tiles and carpets. Flea larvae like to hide in dark places so be sure to treat the corners of rooms and underneath furniture.

If this doesn’t do the trick you may want to consider a PEST control company that specialises in ghetting rid of flea infestations.

I Love Ragdolls want to hear if you have any similiar problems with fleas and what you have done to combat them. Please feel free to comment below so that other blog readers can learn from your experiences.

Author: Sam Wonder

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