MeOW Welcome to Service Cats and Everything Feline on Furidays. Every Furiday we focus on answering questions ‘bout the furry purrers in your house. We’re here to offur Trainin’ Tips fur the frisky feline and answers to any question you may have ‘bout behavior, nutrition, health, and anythin’ else you can think of. Just leave your questions in the comments or send us a purrivate email via our Contact Page. We do ask that you be as specific as pawssible, includin’ any relevant examples, when askin’ behavioral questions. Purr request, we’re no longer statin’ the names of those who ask the questions. Your anonymity is safe. Just remember, there’s no stupid question. And, ifin you’ve missed any of the posts in this series, you can check them out on our Training Tips and Everything Feline Page in our menu bar. We got some great questions last week and we’ll be addressing them shortly. Now, let’s get the business outta the way and get to today’s topic.
The followin’ post will be written in human English fur reader and translator ease. Our Service Cat posts aren’t intended to be an all inclusive Trainin’ Manual but rather Tips, Tricks and Techniques used/developed by mommy A thru her many years of animal trainin’, cats in purrticular. And to offur insight into your questions about Everything Feline. Always remember, Training is all ‘bout Repetition and Rewards.
Last week we meowed a little about kitty going outside of the home. Whether on a leash, in a stroller, going to the VET or a fun trip to the pet store, park or drive thru, kitty should be protected at all times. That includes protecting kitty from any and all parasites that kitty might encounter. We were asked, “How do you feel about flea and tick protection?” Fleas and Ticks are those bloodsucking parasites that can cause all kinds of problems for us anipals and even our humans. For those of us in the South, they can be problematic most of the year. As much as we complain about the weather, it never truly gets cold enough, long enough to kill off many of the insects and pests that carry diseases or want to make a meal of you and your furry friend.
First, let’s take a look at the flea life cycle: Egg, Larva, Pupa and Adult. The whole life cycle can last anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months. However, the adult flea can lay up to 40 eggs a day. So, if you see one flea, no doubt, there’s more. Fleas are crafty little jumpers and will hitch a ride on pretty much anything to find their next tasty blood meal. So, for those of you who say, “My kitty never goes outside”, first we’d say, Why? We’ve given you lots of Tips for safely allowing kitty to check out all their surroundings, including the big outdoors. But, more importantly, fleas can hitch a ride on you, your clothing, or any other pets you may have that do go outside. They’re also the teeniest of creatures and can enter your home thru minute cracks in windows, under doors, etc.. Once the flea has found it’s preferred host, your kitty, the life cycle begins anew.
The most common problem caused by fleas, is Flea Allergy Dermatitis ( no photos, they’re very graphic). Symptoms can include, lots of scratching, head shaking and biting at areas of the body where the fleas are, fur loss and hot spots. Another common health issue fleas can cause is Tapeworms. Trust me, you don’t want these nasty critters. Symptoms can be seen by examining your furry pals poopy. if Tapeworms are present, you’ll see lots of little white rice sized worm segments in the poop and possibly around kitty/doggy’s anus. And yes, humans can get Tapeworms from animals. If you see signs of Tapeworm in your pet, Treat them ASAP!!! These things won’t go away on their own. Because the Flea consumes blood, your pet may also become Anemic. Symptoms include, really pale gums, lethargy and possibly low body temps. Anemia is nothing to play around with. If you suspect your anipal is Anemic, see the VET immediately. Anemia left untreated can cause many health issues, including death.
Bartonella, also known as Cat Scratch Fever is the last health issue we’ll cover that can be caused by Flea bites. This is something cats, dogs and humans can get. Symptoms include, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures and swelling of the lymph nodes. Bartonella is very serious and if you suspect your anipal has been infected, see the VET immediately. As if fleas aren’t scary enough, we anipals also have to worry about Ticks, Mosquitos and other parasites like chewing lice, hookworms, round worms and more, including heartworms (caused by infected mosquito bite).
So, the question was, how do we feel about Flea and Tick protection? First we’ll say that mommy A hates the idea of putting poison on or in us for any reason. That being said, she also hates the thought of us contracting any of the illnesses these parasites can cause. When mommy saved me, me had a horrible case of Fleas and Tapeworm. Of course me got a bath almost immediately with nothing more than a mild cleanser. Mommy used a Flea Comb to remove the fleas not washed down the drain and then gave me a great blow dry. She then treated me’s Tapeworms with an all natural cure because me was too young to take the actual medication usually prescribed. When using natural remedies, one must remember that they generally take longer to work, so in the case of Taeworms, mommy had to be vigilant about cleaning the litterbox and me’s bloomers.
Most animal parents are familiar with at least a few of the treatment options available. Treatments include, shampoos, sprays, powders, collars, edible pills and spot ons. We recommend that animals only be treated during the actual Flea and Tick season for the area they live in. Most people tend to “Treat” year round. It’s our opinion that’s not necessary, however, we do recommend checking with your VET. The most effective poisons for treating Fleas and Ticks are Fopronil, (S)- methoprene, Imidacloprid, Pyriproxyfen and many swear by Brewer’s Yeast.
As much as mommy may hate putting poison on us, we use a spot on during the spring and summer months. We have a new one we’re trying out right now and will be telling you more about it soon. As most of you know, we are on a very fixed income, but please, don’t take chances with your pets life by using products just because of price. And NEVER, we mean NEVER EVER use a product intended for another species. Using a dog product on a cat could lead to death, and using a cat product on a dog could mean not enough protection. If your anipal is ill, please talk with your VET before using any treatments. Remember, the poison, whether ingested or applied to the anipals skin, will get into their system. You don’t want to over tax a sick animal’s liver/kidneys/heart, etc.. And, if mosquitos are a problem in your area, please consider treating your anipal for heartworms. Prevention just might save their life. If you are using collars or powders, take extra precautions to wash your hands before touching your face, eyes or mouth and keep an eye on small children. Remember, these are Poisons and could be toxic to the young or infirmed.
Well, we hope we’ve helped you to better understand the Flea and protection. Altho’ mommy hates it, she believes some evils are necessary in small doses. Optimal temps fur fleas is 70-85° F and 70% humidity. That doesn’t mean they can’t thrive in other temps, but when your temps reach 70°, start thinking about Flea Treatments. Don’t furget you can check out the other posts in this series by clickin’ Training Tips and Everything Feline from our menu above. And, what questions do you want answers too? Leave questions and topic suggestions in the comments below or send us an email. Join us here each Furiday to learn more ‘bout your favorite furry purrer. We’re also joining Comedy Plus fur Feline Furiday.
So, tell us, do you use any parasite preventions and if so, which ones?
Till the next time………………………………………….Be Blest!!!
Luv and Hugs and Kitty Kisses