The Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic in Ohio, USA, provides American citizens with some excellent advice about flea control in their homes. There are 4 things in their advice which caught my eye and which I would like to pass on.
As part of the cat flea life cycle the pupae stage is important because cat flea pupae are particularly hardy. They can remain dormant for up to 9 months. As I read that, it means that they can be in the carpet in your home for nine months waiting for a cat to come along. Pupae are stimulated to emerge by vibrations in the environment. A cat walking by creates vibrations. They come alive and jump onto your cat.
Knowing that, if you have fleas in the home, which is more likely if you have multiple pets, flea control should be an ongoing, constant process. You don’t want to take months of or take a break at all according to the clinic. Those pupae are in your home patiently waiting for 9 months to ‘wake up’ and jump onto an animal.
However, you can break the cycle of the cat flea by making your cat a ‘dead end’. By this the clinic means that the fleas die on the cat rather than flourish. The clinic says that nowadays flea treatments are safer than before. Many good flea control products have come onto the market in the last 15-20 years they say. It should be noted, however, that from my standpoint flea control, no matter how safe, are inherently dangerous because they are all poisons. Great care should be taken in using them. There are many stories on the internet of cats being harmed by flea treatments. It is very easy to hurt your cat with these insecticides.
Instructions should be read carefully. The clinic recommends a product called Simparica which is an oral, flavoured, treat-style flea treatment. The animal eats it and the chemical, I believe, leaches out of the blood into the body and then to the skin where it kills fleas within three hours and ticks within eight hours. Just a thought, but I don’t know if you can buy it in the UK the cats. I know that you can buy the dogs but I’ve not seen it on offer for cats.
Another point that comes up in their advice is that if people in the home are getting bitten by fleas it means that there is a “huge flea burden in the environment”. This is because fleas much prefer to take their meals from cats and dogs. If they are feeding on humans there’s not enough food available from cats and dogs and so they choose humans as well. It means that newly emerging fleas are going for pet owners. In turn, this obviously means that where this is happening the home occupiers or owners have a massive flea problem that needs to be dealt with holistically. Note: full-time cats can get fleas if, for example, their owner walks a flea into the home from the outside.
As usual, prevention is better than a cure. Constant vigilance is the byword. Flea combs are a good diagnostic tool when used daily.
P.S. Fleas are involved in the tapeworm lifecycle. If you have fleas cats are likely to have tapeworms too.
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