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No pet parent wants to think about tiny pests crawling around on their cat, but it does happen. When cats go outside—or even if they don’t but live with a dog or other furry friend who goes outside—fleas and ticks can hop onto their fur and hitch a ride.
Those fleas and ticks can make cats itchy and uncomfortable and, in some cases, transmit serious diseases to their feline hosts. Certain flea-borne illnesses, such as cat scratch fever or typhus, can even pass from cats to humans. With the right tick and flea treatment for cats, pet parents can get rid of these pests when they show up and prevent them from coming back.
There are tick-removal tools out there, but a plain old set of tweezers will usually do the job.
Cats don’t tend to love this process any more than their humans do. Things usually go most smoothly if two humans are involved, one to hold the cat and one to remove the tick. For the human holding the tweezers or tick removal tool:
Grasp the tick from the skin line and gently pull. Don’t twist—pull straight away from the cat’s body.
Drown the tick in alcohol to make sure it’s dead or flush it down the toilet. Then begin a regimen of preventive medication to deter future pests.
If fleas are the problem, getting rid of them is a bit more complicated.
Applying an effective monthly flea medication for every pet in the home, including those who aren’t showing any symptoms, is essential.
Flea medication only attacks the adult pests that have found their way into a cat or dog’s fur. For each one of these adult fleas, there are about 40-50 microscopic eggs laid per day, plus maturing larvae and pupae living in the fibers of the house unnoticed for up to six months. Baby fleas can lurk in dark corners of a house for months before they’re old enough to catch a ride on a cat.
Meanwhile, vacuum the house thoroughly every day for at least a few weeks, then slowly ease off. This will kill many of the flea larvae and encourage the adults to seek refuge in a cat’s fur, where the treatment meds will be waiting for them.
There are two types of cat flea meds. One deals with an acute infestation, meaning that there are live fleas crawling around on the cat. The others are preventive, meaning that it keeps the adult fleas from reaching the egg-laying stage and reproducing.
Complete flea elimination requires both flea treatments for cats — a one-two punch. If a cat is lucky enough not to have fleas yet, good preventive flea medication for cats should do the job, so long as pet parents are consistent. A missed dose can be a window of opportunity for pests, with Spring and Summer being peak season.
For pet parents that have more questions about cat fleas or ticks, or want some help selecting a cat flea and tick treatment, there's a quick online solution. Become a Fuzzy member today and access 24/7 Live Vet Chat for personalized recommendations from a veterinary support team.