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Attention All Cat Parents: Here’s How and Why You Should Manage Fleas and Ticks

By CarolineGolon on Aug. 14, 2017

attention-all-cat-parents-heres-how-and-why-you-should-manage-fleas-and-ticks-primary-header (1).jpgThe last thing you want to discover on your cat are fleas and ticks. These external parasites are not only annoying all year round, they can also transmit disease. The good news is that with diligence you can keep fleas and ticks at bay.

What Are Fleas and Ticks?

Neither of these pests are very pleasant by definition. Fleas are parasites that feed on the blood of many species of mammals and birds. Flea bites can cause extreme itching and scratching, resulting in disease transmission for both pets and pet parents. Excessive scratching can lead to open sores and bacterial infections while ingestion of a flea can lead to internal parasite infestation caused by tape worms. Ticks are blood-sucking parasites that feed on mammals, reptiles, and avian species known to cause potentially fatal diseases. Examples of feline tick borne illness include Cytauxzoonosis, Tularemia and Ehrlichiosis. Prevention products are key to limit your pet’s exposure to flea and tick borne illness as well as the irritation they cause to both you and your pet on a daily basis.

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Flea and Tick Prevention

The best way to keep fleas and ticks under control is to put your cat on a prevention program. There are a variety of flea and tick prevention methods, so talk with your veterinarian to determine the best program for your cat’s age, size, breed and lifestyle. Some ways to protect your cat include:


Collars repel ticks and fleas for a specified period of time. The medication from the collar transfers to the cat’s neck and fur and keeps fleas and ticks from choosing your cat as the next feeding spot. Collars are easy to use and cost effective.

Oral Prevention Products

Oral prescription treatments often contain insecticides, which kill adult fleas; and a hormone growth regulator, which kills a flea’s eggs and larvae. While oral treatments won’t repel fleas and ticks, the insecticide will kill the flea or tick if it bites your cat.

Topical prevention products

Also called “spot on” treatments, liquid topical treatments are often applied at the base of the cat’s neck and absorbed into the skin, which helps to distribute it throughout the cat’s body. The treatment kill fleas and ticks when they come in contact with the skin and coat.

What to do if Your Cat Already Has Fleas or Ticks

If you were lax on prevention, you may have a problem. If your cat excessively itches and bites, he or she could have fleas. You can put your cat on a white sheet of paper and comb him with a flea comb. If he has fleas, you’ll likely see the fleas themselves fall onto the paper as well as flea “dirt” (aka flea feces). If you get the flea feces wet and smear it a bit, it will leave a reddish brown stain.

Ticks aren’t as easy to detect, but itching and irritation can be pretty good signs. Use a fine-toothed comb and rub your hands all over your cat’s body to find ticks, which will feel like small bumps. Be sure to check dark, warm places on your pet such as ears, underarms and between toes.

Flea and Tick Treatment

If you discover your cat has fleas or ticks there are a variety of products that can be used to get rid of these pests. Then once they’re gone, be sure to put your cat on a preventative program.


Medicated shampoo can be applied to pet’s body just as you do with regular shampoo, and then rinsed off. The shampoo kills fleas and ticks on contact.

Sprays (for home and for pets)

Sprays can be applied around the home and, in some cases, directly on the pet to prevent fleas and ticks.


Dips can kill fleas and ticks on contact. Dips are applied directly onto a pet’s skin and fur but they are not rinsed off.


Powders are rubbed into the cat’s fur and skin and can also be used on bedding and carpet. Read directions to ensure you apply the right amount of powder.  

Professional grooming
A professional groomer can detect a flea or tick problem and treat your pet with the options above. Contact Petco’s grooming salon and ask about their flea and tick service.

Remember, year-round prevention is key to keep your pet and home flea- and tick-free. Talk with your veterinarian about the best option for your cat and family so you can enjoy a pest-free life together.

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‎08-17-2017 09:46 PM

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About the Author
  • Caroline Golon is a frequent contributor to sites like Vetstreet, Catster, Dogster, Mother Nature Network, ASPCA Parents,, Petfinder and more. She’s also the creator of Crayons & Collars, a site dedicated to busy families with pets and kids. You can find Golon many places online but she resides in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and two young daughters. The Golons are dedicated staff members to a fluffy black cat named Pugsley who, obviously, runs the household.
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