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Cat flea adults are about 2.5 mm long. Their body is flattened from side to side. They are brownish black to black in colour, and reddish when full of blood. They have chewing mouthparts and feed on organic debris, as well as dried adult flea faecal blood. Cat fleas live mostly on cats! But they can also live on other animals .
After each blood meal a female cat flea lays 4-8 eggs among it’s host fur or in its bedding area, amounting to 400-500 during her life. Eggs are white ovals, circa 5 mm long, which take 1-12 days to hatch. They may fall or be shaken off into crevices where the animal sleeps or spends time. Larvae need high relative humidity (45-95%), going through 3 instar stages in 1-2 weeks to several months. Cocoons (pupae) with camouflaging debris on the surface last 4-14 days, up to a year. The pre-emerged adult stays in the cocoon for up to 20 weeks, protected from dangers such as pesticides. Adults look for a blood meal soon after emerging, but can survive for several months on stored fat. Once on a host, they feed, mate, and lay eggs. Many adults live only a few days, as cat grooming removes up to half of them, but survivors can live about one year.
Cat fleas bother the host animal and the household. They are intermediate hosts of dog tapeworm, which can infest indoor cats, and rodent tapeworm, which sometimes infest humans.
Fleas can be found in pet free buildings as they can jump about 15 cm and come in on peoples' shoes and clothes. Even if a structure has been empty for 6 months, if there have been flea larvae or cocoons present it is possible for the population to have grown to be a nuisance, since a continual food source is not required.
How to control cat fleas:
Treat both the pet and the home at the same time. Remove all items from floors, closet floors, and under furniture. Vacuum floors, upholstered furniture, and the base of furniture where the pet rests.
Remove the vacuum bag immediately, sealing it in a plastic bag, and placing it in an outdoor bin.
Clean all surfaces which the cat uses, such as counters, table tops, refrigerator top, window sills. Remove all pets and cover aquariums, turning off pumps. Only a pesticide registered for the target pest/location, first reading entire label and following all directions, restrictions and precautions.
Your local authority council offices usually offer a home fumigation service, for a small fee. This has proven very successful in most cases of infectation, and can support your other activities above.
As with all health issues in cats, early detection & treatment prevents sever discomfort
for your normally uncomplaining pet.
SEEK VETERINARY ADVICE AND CARE AS SOON AS YOU SPOT SOMETHING UNUSUAL
Cats hide pain very well, and by the time we see it, its
usually unbearable for them