Cat's Meow

The Truth about Fleas - Part 1

April 10, 2016 / Cat's Meow / Leave a comment

Good news is we are finally over that long winter but bad news is that flea season is upon us! Although there are over 1900 flea species in the world, pet owners are concerned with only Ctenocephalides felis, the cat flea. This is THE flea that we find on all our domesticated pets. Lets ‘jump aboard & sink our teeth’ into some more information about fleas:

                        There are four stages in a flea's life: egg, larva (maggoty-like-thing), pupa (in a cocoon) and the adult flea. Egg-to-egg life cycle is usually two to four weeks. An average fertile female lays about 200 eggs per month and 500 eggs over her entire lifespan. So for example, a single female flea lays 50 eggs on day one. Each of these flea offspring can produce another 50 eggs. Within 1 month you could have 125,000 eggs in your house!

Pets will not itch from their fleas unless they are allergic to the fleabites. NO scratching does not mean NO fleas!

Common Flea Myths:

  1. 1. Myth: My cat cannot have fleas because he lives entirely indoors.

    1. Truth: Fleas are notorious ‘hitch hikers’ and can be accidently brought in by an unsuspecting family member or wiggle their way through an open window screen. Fleas thrive very well in the comfort of our homes year round.

    2. 2.Myth: My cat cannot have fleas because if there were any fleas in the house they would be biting me because I am very sensitive/allergic to fleabites.

      1. Truth: Despite the cat flea’s ability to feed off of a wide variety of hosts, this flea doesn’t prefer human blood and won’t eat it unless absolutely necessary. A newly emerged adult or a flea knocked off its normal host maybe hungry and desperate enough to take a blood meal from the first warm body it finds. But in general, adult fleas regard human blood as a last resort and will not tend to bite humans unless the flea population numbers are VERY high.

      2. 3.Myth: We do not have fleas because we have only hard wood floors.

        1. Truth: Fleas love to develop in the cracks between the boards.

        2. 4.Myth: My cat cannot have fleas because I would see them.

          1. Truth: You cannot always expect to see adult fleas on a cat, as they are very adept at licking them away. Sometimes all that is to been seen is the allergic response to the actual fleabites, that can include red/inflamed skin, constant chewing at themselves and several small scabs on the skin.

            Now you have the true story.  Next time we'll look at some of the problems fleas can cause for us and our pets...they are more than just a nuisance.  

            Written by Dr. Shari Muller

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