If you see your cat itching, grooming, and biting at itself endlessly, it could mean you have a flea problem on your hands. Depending on the type of fur your cat has, you might be tempted to shave it all off to help with the problem. However, this is not a recommended solution to your flea problem.
You can shave a cat to get rid of fleas, but this will not be enough to remove the fleas completely. It can also be quite traumatic for your cat. Instead of shaving, you will be better off using a recommended flea treatment on your cat.
In the rest of this article, we will look closer at the best flea treatment for your cat. We will see when shaving might be a good idea, as well as how to administer a flea bath properly. We will come to better understand the life cycle of fleas and how to eliminate the pesky problem for good.
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Why Shaving Your Cat Is Not a Good Idea
Particularly with long hair cats, shaving might be a tempting move when you notice you have a flea problem on your hands. While shaving your cat could eliminate some of the fleas, it is not the most effective treatment and might leave your cat terrified and traumatized.
One of the reasons shaving is not very effective has to do with the life cycle of the pest. Adult fleas are prolific egg layers and can lay up to 50 eggs per day, making the rate of flea growth exponential.
If you were able to get rid of most of the visible adult fleas by shaving, this still wouldn’t stop the problem completely. There would still be eggs waiting to hatch and continue the infestation.
You will need to get to the root of the problem, which is killing both the adults responsible for reproducing and the eggs waiting to hatch. This complete elimination is best done through a combination of bathing and a topical flea treatment.
These treatments are designed to eliminate fleas at all life stages, putting an end to the problem for good.
Additionally, shaving can be a horrifying process for a cat. It can instill a lot of fear in your pet and may cause tension and distrust in your relationship. Because there are more effective options available, it is not necessary to shave immediately when you notice the signs of fleas.
Shaving might be used as a last resort. If you prioritize the other kinds of treatments we will explore in this article, you may be able to eliminate your flea problem completely without ever picking up a pair of clippers.
How to Treat Fleas Effectively
There are a few recommended steps you can take to treat your flea problem. Let’s take a closer look at these methods.
Give Your Cat a Bath
You should get rid of as many of the visible fleas as possible, which can be done by using a flea comb on your cat and giving your cat a gentle bath. After completing this part of the process, you can use a topical flea treatment.
This step will help to target the eggs waiting to hatch as well as any adult fleas you missed.
Right now, you might be thinking about how much your cat hates taking a bath. Not to worry, as you can do a few things as an owner to make this part of the process go smoother. Remember to stay calm during the bathing process, as your cat will react to your emotional state.
Make sure you have all the necessary equipment nearby, so you are able to reach the shampoo easily and make the process as quick as possible.
Be patient during the bathing process and allow your pet time to get used to the water.
If this is one of your cat’s first bathing experiences, you will want it to be as positive as possible to set the tone for the future. Offering your cat some treats throughout the process is a good way to make the process more enjoyable.
When bathing your cat, many pet owners have found that a mild cat or baby shampoo is just as effective as chemical flea bath products. You can consult with your veterinarian if you aren’t sure what the best shampoo for your cat and flea problem is.
Most vets, however, recommend Ivory bar soap, as it’s gentle for animals, and it won’t hurt them if they lick their fur after you give them a bath. Be sure to rinse them thoroughly as much as you can, so they won’t get too much soap in their system.
Once you have eliminated as many fleas as possible, it’s time to start your cat on regular topical treatment.
There are many kinds of these treatments you can purchase for your cat. Ask your veterinarian to help you decide which kind of product will be best for you. Products sold through your vet are typically more reputable and are a good place to start when deciding the right flea treatment for your pet.
There are liquid treatments that can be applied to the back of your cat’s neck. These “spot on” treatments are small liquid doses that you will apply directly to your cat’s skin.
Pet owners use these treatments on a monthly basis to act as preventative care.
If you would prefer not to use a liquid option, you can find comparable products in the form of a tablet. Feed the tablet to your cat with their food and allow the medicine to work from the inside out to eliminate your flea problem.
These products are also recommended to be used on an ongoing basis to keep your cat free of fleas year-round.
No matter what treatment you choose, make sure that you have chosen a product specifically designed for cats. There are plenty of flea treatments on the market for dogs as well, and these can be toxic and even fatal to cats. Following your vet’s advice can help you find the best-suited treatment that will be safe for your cat.
For more advice on appropriate flea treatments for your feline, check out this informative video on Youtube:
Additionally, you will want to treat your home environment. Particularly during the summer months or even when the heat is on in the winter, fleas can easily survive in your home.
If you fail to treat your home as well as your cat, it is likely your pet will experience another flea infestation on their skin.
To treat your home, wash any loose materials, which may include your bedding or removable fabric parts of your furniture. Make sure you vacuum your home thoroughly and get rid of contaminated vacuum bags after use.
If you have carpets in your home, they will require deep cleaning as well.
There are sprays available you can use to treat surfaces in your home. While these may not be necessary depending on your cleaning regimen, they can be a good backup option if you are struggling to experience a flea-free home.
There are many brands to choose from, and your veterinarian can recommend one that will be a good fit for your home and your particular situation.
When it comes to treating fleas effectively, reaching for the clippers should be your last option. Giving your cat a gentle bath and grooming with a flea comb is a great place to begin. Next, select the topical treatment best for you and your cat and begin using it on a regular basis.
Finally, take time to make sure your home is also free from fleas at any stage in its life cycle. By following these steps, you can effectively treat fleas without the stressful process of shaving your cat.
- Adams Pet Care: How to Give Your Cat a Flea Bath When Your Cat Hates Water
- Animal Path: Can I Shave My Cat To Get Rid of Fleas?
- Animal Path: Shaving Cats Pros and Cons
- International Cat Care: Fleas and Flea Control in Cats
- My Pet and I: Break the Flea Life Cycle to Get Rid of Fleas
- The Spruce Pets: How to Get Rid of Fleas on Your Cat
- Youtube: How to Treat Cat Fleas
Pam is a self-confessed cat lover and has experience of working with cats and owning cats for as long as she can remember. This website is where she gets to share her knowledge and interact with other cat lovers.