SIGNS OF FLEAS ON CATS: Early Signs, Causes, And Treatment


Fleas are tiny, wingless insects that feed on the blood of animals such as cats and dogs. When fleas bite to feed, it can be extremely painful for animals, causing skin irritation, itching, and, in some cases, hair loss. What’s more, fleas can transmit diseases, which can be passed on to cats and dogs by flea bites. The early signs of fleas in cats will be covered in this post.

Cat fleas could be the cause of your cat’s itchy skin. Fleas are a common problem for people who own cats, so there are many ways to treat them. To keep fleas at bay, cats are typically given preventative flea treatments.

Make an appointment with your veterinarian to get a prescription for flea medication if you suspect your cat has fleas. You can also talk to your vet about how to treat cat flea bites and keep fleas from coming back. Keep reading to learn more about the early signs of fleas on cats and how to get rid of them.

What are Cat Fleas?

Because cats are so good at cleaning themselves, it may be hard to think that your well-groomed pet could get parasites. The most visible signs that your cats have fleas are continuous scratching or over-grooming, which can result in bald patches on their coats. Scabs and red, painful spots on your cat’s skin may develop if it develops a flea allergy. Regularly grooming your cat will not necessarily prevent parasites, but it will allow you to check for any signs of unwanted visitors and seek treatment as soon as possible.

How Do you Check for Fleas?

You should check for fleas regularly as a cat parent. There are many possible signs and symptoms of a flea infestation, but the easiest and quickest way to tell if your cat has fleas is to find them on your cat. So, how do you check for fleas on cats?

Roll your cat onto its back to check any areas where fleas are likely to hide. Check your armpits and groin, since fleas prefer warm, inconspicuous areas to hide. You should check your cat’s ears to make sure they aren’t irritated, dirty, or bloody, as these can be signs of flea scratching.

What Causes Fleas in Cats?

Fleas are a problem for both cats and dogs, but what causes fleas in cats? Understanding the life of a flea will help you understand why cats get fleas.

Fleas cling to animals to feed on their blood, which is why flea-infested cats have bites all over their skin. Fleas that feed on the blood of your cat eventually lay eggs, which develop into larvae. When the larvae reach adulthood, they will consume several “blood meals” per day, and the females will lay eggs to restart the cycle.

Your cat may contract fleas from various sources since cats are constantly hunting for a host. Fleas can be transmitted to cats through contact with local wildlife or simply by spending a lot of time outside. If you have a dog, it may bring fleas into the house and pass them on to your cat. As a pet owner, it’s your job to keep an eye out for cat fleas and take steps to keep them away.

Early Signs of Fleas On Cats

Fleas are pests in every way. If not dealt with appropriately, they are itchy, gross, and prolific. Your cats don’t have fleas, which is a good thing, but do they? If your cat has fleas, how can you tell? How do fleas appear in cats? If you spend a lot of time with your cats, you’ll notice what’s normal and what isn’t. Many flea-infested cats exhibit both physical and behavioral changes that indicate a cause for concern. Here are 10 classic signs of fleas in cats:

#1. Intense and Frantic Scratching or Biting

Flea bites can make a cat’s skin extremely itchy. One of the signs of fleas on cats is if your cat suddenly begins scratching or chewing their skin in an attempt to relieve the itching sensation. Use cat flea and tick shampoo to provide them with temporary relief.

#2. Excessive Grooming and Hair Loss

When fleas on cats bite, their grooming becomes excessive, particularly on the back of the hind legs, the neck, and the base of the tail. Cats are meticulous groomers. Your cat may lick and chew repeatedly in an attempt to relieve the itching sensation. If left alone, they may groom themselves to the extent that bald patches appear, particularly on the back of the hind legs, the neck, and around the base of the tail.

#3. Avoiding Specific Areas of Your Home

Fleas thrive in warm environments and can be found hiding in furniture and carpet. (It should be noted that, while hard surface flooring is not an ideal environment for fleas, it can be discovered in the cracks and crevices of wood and tile flooring.) Consider it a red flag if your cat begins to avoid carpeted parts of your home. 

The first rule of flea control (apart from treating your pet, of course) is to keep your house clean, so vacuum your floors and furniture regularly, particularly under the cushions. You can also use a natural cure, such as diatomaceous earth, for your carpets and throw rugs.

Wash your cat’s bedding in the washing machine regularly. Flea spray for the home can also be sprayed on your cat’s bedding and furniture.

#4. Restlessness, agitation, and edginess

Flea stings can cause major behavioral changes in your cat. Because the fleas are driving them mad, your cat can suddenly act like a wildcat. This includes things like growling, shaking their heads, rubbing their heads and bodies hard on the floor, or darting from one end of the room to the other.

#5. Scab-like bumps or red skin lesions

Some cats are so sensitive to flea saliva that when a flea bites them, their skin turns red and inflamed, and these painful sores can appear anywhere on the body. They may start to ooze if the cat chews on them. This is known as flea-allergic dermatitis. Skin infections, skin allergies, and fleas are usually treated for cats in these situations.

#6. Lethargy, muscle loss, and pale gums

If your cat is losing muscle, has pale gums, and seems tired, it may have anemia, which is a low number of red blood cells. This can happen when a lot of fleas eat a cat’s blood or when the cat is infected with Mycoplasma haemofelis, a parasite that is spread by fleas and lives in the blood. Flea anemia is most common in sick, elderly, or kitten cats.

#7. Tiny Pepper-Like Specks on your Cat’s Fur

“Flea dirt” is another sign of fleas on cats. These dark brown flecks are flea feces. They’re most commonly found on the neck and rump, but you might also notice some of these specks on your cat’s comb or brush.
If you sprinkle any of these granules with water and place them on a paper towel, they will turn red. This is because feces are made up of digested blood.

#8. Red Spots on your Cat’s Bedding

Are there any red patches on your cat’s bedding? If you suspect fleas, those spots may be flea dirt that fell off your cat’s fur and onto the bedding, turning red when rubbed against by moisture or the cat’s warm body.

#9. Rice Grains in your Cat’s Bedding or Anus

If you notice rice grains near your cat’s anus, feces, or bedding, your cat most likely has tapeworms. Tapeworms release egg packets in the form of rice grains. To complete their life cycle, tapeworms require fleas. While some cats can get tapeworms by eating infected prey, the majority of cats get tapeworms from accidentally consuming an infected flea while grooming themselves. If you detect tapeworms, your cat probably has fleas, unless it is a hunter.

#10. Pinhead-Sized Black or Reddish Brown Insects Crawling on your Cat’s Fur

This is probably the easiest way to know if your cat has fleas. Fleas are small black or reddish-brown insects that live on your cat’s fur. If there is a strong infestation, you may notice fleas and flea eggs on your cat’s bedding.

Even if you don’t see any fleas or flea signs and symptoms in your cat, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any in your home. Fleas have four life stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Even if you don’t notice any adult fleas on your cat, there may be fleas in the three other developmental life stages in your furniture, carpet, or baseboards that are just days or weeks away from becoming adults and invading your cat. That is why it is important to be aware of flea infestation symptoms at all times. Your cat may be flea-free today. They might not be tomorrow.

Flea Treatment For Cats

The good news is that there are ways to treat fleas in cats. Cat fleas are a common problem, so many prescription treatments can help your cat get rid of fleas. The most frequent technique for treating fleas in cats is oral medicine.
Keep in mind that certain medications are only accessible with a prescription, so consult with your veterinarian.

How to Get Rid of Fleas in your Home

If flea eggs and larvae are all over your house, your cat’s flea problem isn’t going away anytime soon. When you give your cat flea treatment, you must get rid of the fleas in your home to prevent them from coming back.
Find a flea treatment with low toxicity for your pet’s bedding, rugs, carpets, and furniture in the whole house. Boron-based treatments are helpful against fleas. The more diligent you are in eliminating fleas from your home, the less likely they will return.

Can you see fleas on a cat?

Yes. They are sometimes visible. You may notice little black specks of flea dirt or small scurrying insects in your cat’s fur. They may also be found on your carpets, furniture, or even your own body and clothing. Even if you can’t find any fleas, there are a few clear signs of fleas in cats that you should keep an eye out for.

Can an indoor cat get fleas?

Yes. Your cat doesn’t go outside, so it can’t possibly be infected with fleas. Unfortunately, this is not the case; while indoor cats are less likely to have fleas (as well as other pests like ticks and worms), they can still get them.

What kills fleas instantly on cats?

Dish soap. Even the mildest kinds of dish soap are very good at getting rid of fleas. Even after being diluted in water, the dish soap dissolves the flea’s exoskeleton and kills it within minutes.

Do cats act weird when they have fleas?

Yes. Flea bites are exceedingly irritating, causing your cat a great deal of discomfort. As a result, if they have fleas, they are likely to scratch more than usual to relieve the itching. They may be licking, chewing, rubbing against objects, or biting their fur more frequently as well.

How long do fleas last in cats?

Adult cat and dog fleas can live for up to a year in ideal conditions, but only one to two weeks without a host. Before reaching the adult stage, the flea life cycle progresses from egg to larva to pupa. Depending on the circumstances, the process can take anywhere from two to three weeks to many months.

Do cat fleas just go away?

“Will fleas ever go away?” you might be wondering. While some may live for 2-3 weeks, others may live for up to 12 months depending on the host they find, making it unlikely that they will leave on their own. Fleas can reproduce quickly by laying eggs in carpet, bedding, or the garden, extending the infection.


If you’ve ever wondered how to determine if your cats have fleas, look no further than these telltale signs. Whether they impact your pet’s physical or mental well-being, cat fleas can cause much more harm than just an itch. A good master should aim to keep up with regular vet visits and a flea control routine.

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