Flea Denial


Hello Catvocates! Let's talk fleas, shall we? They are creepy and crawly and...ick! Are you starting to itch yet?

It is a bit of a strange time of year to be talking about fleas, right? Aren’t fleas only a problem in the warm weather? Well, that is what most of my clients think. But, about once a week, a have a very concerned cat owner bring their beloved in for a urgent appointment due to uncontrollable itching at the base of the tail. After performing a thorough physical exam, I retrieve my trusty blue fine toothed comb from the disinfectant and go to work. Yep. There they are! Creepy, crawly fleas!

I am a bit shocked that many of my loving cat owners are firmly stuck in flea denial, as the fleas are crawling around and jumping off of the comb before our collective eyes . Evidence or no evidence a lot of my cat owners don't want to believe their cats have fleas.

Believe it or not, the fleas are there. And it is the fleas that are causing the itch. Now, not all cat itch is caused by fleas. But, if your cat is very itchy and the blue combing reveals fleas, it is HIGHLY LIKELY that those fleas are causing the itch.

"But, Dr. Bales, my cat CAN'T have fleas!!! She never goes outside!!!" She can. And she does. Fleas are perfectly happy living indoors. Year round.

"Nope. No fleas. I haven't gotten any bites." Lucky you! Actually, fleas don't like human blood. As long as your cat (or dog) is around, you are their last choice.

"Really Dr. Bales, I looked! I didn't see any fleas!" I believe you. Without the trusty blue flea comb, those little buggers can be really hard to find. They are tiny and the stay deep in the haircoat, close to the skin. Not to mention, your cat is very good at grooming them away while they lick, and itch, and itch and lick and....

So, let’s let go of the flea shame, shall we? Please, release the flea denial. Without monthly quality flea prevention your cat can, and often does, have fleas. Your veterinarian can help you and your cat get rid of these itchy and scratchy pests – year round.

Check out my next post for effective flea prevention and the possible life and death dangers of choosing the wrong flea medicines. Read Part 2

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