Flea Advice for Kittens
It is very easy for your pet to pick up fleas from the outside world. You may even bring them into your house without realising! At best there will just be the itchy bites to cope with (on you and your kitten)! However your kitten could become allergic to the flea bites and develop ‘Flea Allergic Dermatitis’, an itchy and scabby condition that also causes hair loss. Fleas also transmit tapeworms to your kitten.
The Flea Life Cycle
It is important to consider the life cycle of the flea itself when treating for fleas. Fleas are only found on your kitten for part of their lifecycle. Once they have fed and mated they lay hundreds of eggs that drop off into the environment (your house usually). These eggs hatch into larvae that feed on dead skin cells that have also been shed into the environment by the kitten and any humans and dogs they share their house with. The larvae then form pupae which may either go onto hatch into fleas straight away or may lay dormant for months in the carpets (this is more likely to happen in cooler conditions). The new baby fleas climb to the top of the carpet fibres and lie in wait for the vibrations of oncoming creatures. They then hop on and begin feeding straight away. If you happen to be the first creature to come along then the flea will try to get onto you, although because we are generally not as furry as our canine and feline companions the fleas will have a job clinging to us for any length of time.
‘Vectra’ is our number 1 product for flea prevention. It is a monthly spot on which kills fleas within an hour of application.
‘Prinovox’ is a spot on which can also treat round worms and ear mites. It is used once a month. Because it is more expensive than other spot-ons we tend to advise it when there are also ear mites rather than as a routine flea treatment. It is not active against tapeworms, so we recommend combining it with a ‘Droncit’ tapeworming tablet given every 6months
‘Comfortis’ tablets are given monthly to kill fleas; this is an excellent product if your cat dislikes spot-on applications.
Indorex/Acclaim are long-lasting household sprays for killing larvae and eggs in the carpets and soft furnishings. Don’t use this product if you have tropical fish. If anyone is asthmatic they shouldn’t be in the house during or soon after treatment.
‘Program’ is an injectable insect growth inhibitor that can be administered to cats by a Vet every 6 months. It is also available as a monthly dose of liquid that is squirted into food or into the mouth with a meal. You will still see live fleas with this product.
A Word of Warning
Recently spot on products have appeared in pet shops and some supermarkets. Most of the cat versions of these contain only Citronella, which is supposed to repel fleas, but does not actually kill them. If you accidentally apply the dog version of these to your cat it can be fatal!